Integrative and Comparative Issues

Jane Maienschein, Philosophy Department
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

What themes unify integrative and
comparative issues?

Integrative and comparative issues promote conversation across specialty boundaries. Dialogues occur on a range of crosscutting conceptual, practical and social issues relating to the study of organisms, their behaviors, interrelations and environment. Questions may be historical, philosophical, sociological or biological and may include interest in promoting scientific literacy through education and ethics considerations.

How diverse is the group of scientists who are interested in integrative and comparative issues?

Some interested in integrative and comparative issues are trained as biologists; they seek to understand the theoretical basis for evolutionary theory, for example, or to ask epistemological questions about why we use the techniques or organisms that we do. Others are trained in the history of science, philosophy of science, or have attended special graduate programs devoted to questions about the nature of science and its social and institutional contexts. Such science studies programs provide another professional entry to the study of these larger questions, as do special programs in conceptual foundations of science.