Historical epistemology and ontology involve the long-term historical examination of the fundamentals of a scientific worldview, the principles of justification, the evolution of hypothesis testing, the place and meaning of evidence. Research in this area is concerned with the historical development of notions (as well as normative dimensions) of evidence, proof, objectivity, classification, concept formation, issues of realism and anti-realism, and the meaning of scientific objects and the development of disciplines and styles of reasonings. Philosophy of science in Canada is strikingly historically informed; the philosophical and social interests of the historical actors is an important topic within history of science in Canada.
The changing norms of scientific knowledge-formation is an area of increasing interest in the social, philosophical and rhetorical study of science, technology and medicine in Canada, and Canadian scholars are amongst the leaders in the field internationally.
The cluster will combine these interests, providing new opportunities for unique inter- and trans-disciplinary research projects in, for example, the rise of evidence-based medicine, the standards of public proof of the reliability and safety of biotechnology, and the norms and ownership of scientific knowledge. Here the cluster will open up engagement with practicing scientists, as have the pioneering efforts of Social Studies of Medicine at McGill, the Philosophy of Science Research Group at Western, the Perimeter Institute at Waterloo, the Evolution Studies Group at Dalhousie or the new Pacific Institute for Theoretical Physics at UBC.