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Texas A&M-Kingsville faculty member is principal investigator for $573K National Science Foundation Grant

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Dr. Brian Robinson

Dr. Brian Robinson

KINGSVILLE (September 23, 2022) — Dr. Brian Robinson, associate professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, is the principal investigator on a grant from the National Science Foundation worth nearly $573,000.


The project, Investigating the Philosophical Commitments of University Scientists across Disciplines, will look at philosophical views on the nature and practice of science as others in the same scientific discipline.


Robinson said $90,000 of the funding will come to Texas A&M-Kingsville while the remainder will be spread among his collaborators: Dr. Chad Gonnerman, associate professor of philosophy at University of Southern Indiana; Dr. Aaron McCright, professor of sociology at Michigan State University; Dr. Troy Hall, professor of forest ecosystems and society at Oregon State University; and Dr. Michael O’Rourke, professor of philosophy and AgBio Research at Michigan State University.


“Do scientists in a scientific discipline have roughly similar philosophical views on the nature and practice of science as others in the same discipline, and do they together clearly differ in those philosophical views from scientists in other disciplines?” Robinson questioned.


“It has generally been assumed that the answer to both parts of this question are ‘yes.’ But it has never been checked before. It was just assumed,” he said. “Whether or not that assumption is right makes a big difference in how scientists collaborate on interdisciplinary projects, such as addressing big issues like climate change or a water crisis, and how to help scientists collaborate more effectively.”


Robinson and his collaborators will first interview 50 scientists. “They will be selected after consulting with an external board of experts to ensure we get many different disciplines, have demographic diversity and will be based on how much interdisciplinary research they have done in the past.”


After completing the interviews, Robinson and his project collaborators will develop questions for a nationwide survey. Then, the survey will be sent to 3,500 randomly selected scientists from universities across the country to provide an overview of every scientific discipline.


About Dr. Brian Robinson

Robinson has been at Texas A&M-Kingsville since 2016, when he started as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 2021. Before coming to Texas A&M-Kingsville, he was a visiting assistant professor at Grand Valley State University and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Michigan State University.


He received his bachelor’s degree as a University Scholar with emphasis in classics from Baylor University; his master’s degree in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary; his master's in philosophy from University of Colorado Boulder and both his master’s in philosophy and doctorate from the Graduate Center at City University of New York.



Category: General Univ , Arts/Sciences

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