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Social and Cognitive Diversity in Science: An Epistemic Assessment

The research project examines the role of diversity in the production of scientific knowledge. We approach diversity from the perspective of philosophy of science and social epistemology. We aim to answer three main questions:  What are the epistemic benefits of social and  cognitive diversity?  Under what circumstances does social diversity give rise to cognitive diversity, and social/cognitive diversity to epistemically valuable outcomes?  How should scientific communities and institutions manage epistemic costs and risks due to increased social and cognitive diversity?


Scientific communities have become increasingly diverse in terms of their members gender, race, cultural and national background. Multicultural or otherwise heterogeneous groups and organizations are seen as an untapped resource for economic and social development. There is a need to understand better what benefits diversity brings to scientific communities and research groups, and what social mechanisms mediate between social/cognitive diversity and epistemically valuable outcomes.  

The results of the project are relevant not only to scientific communities but also to other social groups and organizations, including corporations, professional communities, and the society as a whole. As the project is concerned with scientific communities, its impact beyond academia is indirect, mediated by higher education and scientific research in various academic fields. In the long run, the project can contribute to higher education and scientific research as a means of securing that, for example, racial, cultural, and language minorities have equal opportunities to participate in the production of knowledge and to develop their perspectives on science, technology, society, and culture.

Funding source

Academy of Finland

Contact persons

Kristina Rolin

Tutkimusetiikan yliopistonlehtori

kristina.rolin [at]

+358 50 4377 456