Forschungskolloquium zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte

Data Absence and the Failures of Big Data Empiricism

16:00 - 18:00 Uhr
Hybrid (TU Hauptgebäude, Straße des 17. Juni 135, Raum H3002 sowie über Zoom)
Veranstaltet von
Axel Gelfert (Fachgebiet Theoretische Philosophie, TU Berlin), Adrian Wüthrich (TU Berlin)
Vortragende Person(en)
Sabina Leonelli (Philosophy and History of Science, Exeter)

Im Forschungskolloquium werden zum einen laufende Examensarbeiten und Promotionsprojekte vorgestellt und diskutiert, zum anderen kommen in eingeladenen Vorträgen aktuelle Forschungsthemen der Wissenschaftsgeschichte zur Sprache. Das Kolloquium steht allen Interessierten offen und richtet sich besonders auch an Masterstudierende. Masterstudierende, die einen Vortrag halten möchten, mögen sich bitte spätestens im Ende März beim Leiter des Forschungskolloquiums melden.


Sabina Leonelli: Data Absence and the Failures of Big Data Empiricism

The datafication of society is said to be revolutionizing how researchers investigate the world, resulting in improved scientific communications, faster data integration and analysis, and more reliable outputs. This talk interrogates the role that big and open data play in scientific research and, more generally, as grounding for the development of empirical knowledge. Building on a long-term study of data practices in biology, biomedicine and environmental science, I argue that data-driven modes of discovery do not necessarily constitute a rupture from previous ways of doing research and do not always improve the reliability of the resulting insights. Rather, recourse to Big and Open Data continues - and exasperates - a long-standing understanding of discovery as grounded on data accumulation and the extraction of information, which does not align with the ways in which many researchers in the life sciences use and interpret data. Through a combination of historical and social scientific research and philosophical analysis, I discuss this approach to scientific epistemology, which is sometimes discussed as ‘big data empiricism’ and review its multiple failings. I then propose an alternative framing of the role of data in the process of inquiry, which focuses on the limitations of data as research components and the unavoidable value judgements involved in using data as scientific evidence.

Further information on Sabina Leonelli: (1) (2)


Zoom-Meeting-ID: 676 1596 5991 Kenncode: 615106