Critical Perspectives on Science

In the natural sciences there is often a lack of awareness of the research philosophy that is at the basis of the sciences practices and its epistemology. OtherWise finds it important to organise events about philosophy of science and questioning the dominant scientific paradigm that is currently the status quo. In this way, OtherWise provides a space to reflect on science practices and scientific viewpoints at the Wageningen University, that is predominantly focussed on natural sciences.

Historically and also in our modern times, the creation of knowledge or the determination of what is knowledge is related to power. Eurocentric viewpoints often overrule local and indigenous knowledge. Also rational knowledge is often considered more important than know-how, embodied knowledge, intuition or religious believes. In our events, we want to create dialogue on what is knowledge and what science practices could value other ways of knowing.

Every year we organise a 4-day training in February on Alternative Research Methods. These methods include visual and participatory research methods, as well as research methods that include storytelling or sensory data. In this training, participants acquire skills to use more creative, inclusive and bottom-up research methods. By organising this training, OtherWise wants to open up a dialogue about what are the limits science and what are the possibilities within science to transform our ways of creating knowledge about our world.

Moreover, OtherWise organises events that explore the role of objectivity and subjectivity in science. Scientists use their rational thinking, but their personal influence on science is inevitable, as they have a personal interest or probably even passion for their research. What does this mean for the practice of science and the production of knowledge? Within the social sciences, questions are often raised about the claimed objectivity of the scientist. Within disciplines outside the social sciences, not much attention is being paid to this discussion. OtherWise provides a space to discuss differences between disciplines and create bridges that could lead to better collaborations.