Dan Hicks, a Philosopher

My research deals with philosophy of science and political philosophy, and especially the intersection of the two. I am generally interested in what might be called the political economy of science: the ways in which science, as a productive activity, is socially organized and interacts with other kinds of activities and organizations (social movements, the state, the market, etc.). My focus is on distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate kinds of influence on science. My primary work at the moment is on two related projects, on the commercialization of scientific research and on the controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms. I have broad interests, so at any given time I'm usually working on some side projects as well.

In my dissertation, I develop two rival conceptions of scientific practice, both built from a general conception of social practices that draws on Alasdair MacIntyre and John Dewey. I show that these rivals are closely linked to the two basic sides in the science and values debate -- the debate over the extent to which ethical and political values may legitimately influence scientific inquiry. Finally, I start to develop an account of justice that is sensitive to these legitimate and illegitimate influences. A longer abstract is given on the research page.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rotman Institue of Philosophy at Western University in London, Ontario. I finished my Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame in glamorous South Bend, Indiana, in April 2012. While I was a grad student, I also taught for Johns Hopkins' CTY Summer program, which is an academic "summer camp" for 12-16-year-olds. I taught classes on chaos theory and fractal geometry and various logic courses at various CTY sites on both coasts, but I primarily taught critical thinking / informal logic at the Baltimore site. I've also taught philosophy and math at various community colleges and the IU campus in South Bend. Before coming to Notre Dame, I did some graduate work in the math and philosophy departments at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and majored in math and political science at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. While at Puget Sound, I was in the Honors Program (a Great Books program by another name) and participated in various debate, music, and undergraduate research activities. I was born and grew up in Northern California.

Contacts, Social Media, etc.


Postdoctoral Fellow,
Rotman Institute of Philosophy,
Western University

Professional interests

Philosophy (and history) of science, political philosophy, logic, philosophy of mathematics, feminist philosophy, pragmatism, philosophy of food


Non-professional interests

From October 2012 to June 2013, I served on on the board of directors of Purple Porch Co-op, a local food co-operative in South Bend. I was the board's secretary and co-chaired two committees related to membership and community events. Also baking, cooking, biking, backpacking, photography, politics.