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Queen's University

Sergio Sismondo

B.A., M.A. (Toronto), M.A., Ph.D. (Cornell)
Associate Professor


Office: Watson 335
Phone: (613) 533-6000 ext. 77042

Cross-appointed faculty - Department of Philosophy

Research Areas

  • Sociology of Science and Technology
  • Philosophy of Science

Most of my research explores the philosophical consequences of seeing science as a thoroughly social activity. Historical and sociological work on the practice of science should affect our views of a diverse set of issues in the philosophy of science, from the realism/anti-realism debate to the scope of standpoint epistemologies. Recently I have been looking at negotiations and debates about whether particular models get to count as good representations, and learning surprising things about metaphysics from those debates. I try to combine a down-to-earth or deflationary approach that focuses on ordinary scientific work, while insisting that we can draw philosophical lessons from that work. Sometimes my interest in science as a social process and in deflationary philosophy of science draws me further afield, into social theory and general issues in metaphysics

I have taught at Queen's since 1993, the first three years of that as a Webster/SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities. In addition to my appointment in Philosophy I am cross-appointed to the Department of Sociology at Queen's. I did my Ph.D. in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University, and earlier degrees in Philosophy at the University of Toronto.



Current Major Projects

Metaphysics of Scientific Practice

I apply deflationary strategies to questions of realism: given what we know about scientific practice, what are the objects of scientific inquiry? I explore how scientists work between theoretical, experimental, simulated, and natural worlds, and the philosophical terms in which to view these worlds.

Pharmaceutical Knowledge

The pharmaceutical industry has successfully integrated itself into both medical research and medical practice. Key questions arise about the extent of its control in both arenas. To address such questions, I plan to look at points at which research, education, and marketing come into contact.

A Sociology of Philosophy

Patterns and practices of philosophical writing reveal intense stratification in North American philosophy. Research is underway for an article exploring this stratification and its philosophical consequences. A symposium around this issue was organized for the Canadian Philosophical Association's 2003 meeting.


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Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000