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Isaac Record


Isaac Record

Assistant Professor of Practice, Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University
Director of the Collaborative Experiential Learning Laboratory

Professional Interests

How does the way we think affect what we end up knowing?

We increasingly rely on technology to find information, make choices, and take action. My research explores (1) accounts of communal knowledge practices, which have been developed in exciting ways by philosophers of science, social epistemologists, historians, sociologists, and learning designers, and (2) concerns about trust in technology, under investigation by philosophers, anthropologists, and sociologists of technology. I study the practices of scientists and others who use instruments, the debates that accompany the introduction of new techniques to established disciplines and other knowledge contexts, and the epistemological consequences of pursuing inquiries or education within a technological infrastructure. I believe that empirical investigations into knowledge practices are a necessary complement to traditional philosophical work based on conceptual analysis and thought experiments. The resulting situated understanding of our epistemic and ethical condition is sensitive to a network of factors, including values, capabilities, and material resources, allowing us to better integrate our understandings of knowledge and action.

From 2012-2015, I worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Semaphore Lab, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto explores the epistemic, ethical, and practical dimensions of emerging technologies such as 3D printers, programmable controllers, and sensor toolkits. My dissertation (University of Toronto, 2012) examines the development of the digital computer as a scientific instrument, with particular attention to the development of the Monte Carlo technique in atomic research.

Recently, I have focused my attention on teaching practices, especially experiential learning, critical making, and reflective practice.

I am currently teaching about technology and culture; how to think about science; and wearables, health, and data ethics. I am also developing a book-length treatment of knowledge practices on the Internet.

AOS: philosophy of science, philosophy of technology, epistemology

AOC: science and technology studies, history of science