Stotz and Griffiths, Biohumanities
which it results can be expressed in a non-technical way, and can thus make a major
contribution to the public understanding of science.
The remaining sections of the paper will give more substance to these remarks with two
specific examples of research in which we have participated: the Representing Genes
project and the Innateness study. Section two uses these project to highlight the new field
of experimental philosophy of science, to introduce the ideas of scientific concepts as
'tools' for research and the experimental philosopher of science as a 'conceptual ecologist'.
Section three provides an example of how constructive criticism of research in molecular
and developmental biology can lead to the formulation of a new vision of 'postgenomic
biology'. In section four we examine biohumanities in the role of a critical communicator
of scientific results and scientific practice to wider audiences. We hope that these
examples all point towards a new and fruitful relationship between the humanities,
biology and society.
2. Experimental Philosophy of Biology as Conceptual Ecology
The new field of `experimental philosophy' (X-phi) brings empirical work to bear on
philosophical questions (Stotz, 2008). We have been involved in two X-phi projects. The
first focused on changing concepts of the gene. Previous research established that it is
possible to operationalize questions about the gene concept in a survey instrument
completed by researchers, and hence to examine the prevalence of particular gene
concepts in different biological fields (Stotz et al., 2004). The Representing Genes Project
was an extension of that earlier work (Stotz and Griffiths, 2004). The next section briefly