[spsp-members] International Postdoc Forum for the Philosophy of Science: 8 Feb (Wednesday)

Alan Love aclove at umn.edu
Mon Feb 6 02:12:50 UTC 2023

*8 February 2023, 12:15pm CST (UTC+6*)
*Just a tool? How AI challenges views on scientific discovery*
Donal Khosrowi (Philosophy, Leibniz University Hannover)

*Abstract*: Artificial intelligence (AI) plays increasingly important roles
in scientific discovery, e.g. when identifying three-dimensional protein
structures with the help of DeepMind’s AlphaFold. Discovery involving AI
raises several important epistemic-ethical questions, including: who is
responsible for the discoveries made? The engineers who build systems like
Alpha Fold; Alpha Fold itself; both? How should we credit the agents and
entities involved in AI discovery? And are there principled limitations
regarding what kinds of contributions machines can make to discovery?
Traditional accounts of discovery have been agent-centred: they aim to
identify a specific agent who is responsible for conducting all, or at
least the important part, of a discovery process. It is argued that these
accounts experience difficulties capturing scientific discovery involving
AI and that similar issues arise for human discovery. An alternative,
collective-centred view is proposed as superior for understanding
discovery, with and without AI. This view maintains that discovery is
performed by a collective of agents and entities, each making contributions
that differ in significance and character, and that attributing credit for
discovery depends on various finer-grained properties of the contributions
made. Detailing its conceptual resources, it is argued that this view is
considerably more compelling than its agent-centred alternative.

*Commentator*: Cat Saint-Croix, Philosophy, University of Minnesota

The International Postdoc Forum for the Philosophy of Science
is organized by the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science
<https://cla.umn.edu/mcps> (MCPS). It showcases virtual research
presentations from international scholars with commentaries from local MCPS
community members. Presentations are by Zoom webinar. Please join our mailing
list <http://eepurl.com/dj3RlD> or email mcps at umn.edu for a link to attend.
Alan C. Love
Winton Chair in the Liberal Arts
Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Department of Philosophy & Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science
University of Minnesota

*Current Project:* Agency, Directionality, and Function: Foundations for a
Science of Purpose <https://www.biologicalpurpose.org>
*New Paper!* The hierarchical basis of serial homology and evolutionary
novelty <https://doi.org/10.1002/jmor.21531> (available upon request)
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