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Academic Affairs

East Tennessee State University

Research Award

David Harker PhotoDr. David Harker received the Distinguished Faculty Award for Research.  He is an associate professor of philosophy in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Philosophy and Humanities.

            Harker has developed an international reputation as a top scholar in the philosophy of science.  His book, “Creating Scientific Controversies: Uncertainty and Bias in Science and Society,” published by the Cambridge University Press in 2015, is being used as a textbook in both the United States and Canada.  His nomination for the ETSU award says the book is “the only book of its kind, and while scholarly in nature it is accessible to someone with a modest knowledge of the natural sciences and health fields.”  One individual writing in support of Harker’s nomination said the book “engages both with science and the wider social and political context of science,” and calls it “one of the most important books in philosophy of science of recent years.”

            His research has been published in some of the world’s top philosophical journals, including the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Philosophical Studies, South African Journal of Philosophy, and Studies in History and Philosophy of Science.  In addition, he has given conference presentations in the U.K., Germany and South Africa and throughout the U.S.

            Harker’s “field of philosophy of science is not one where success can be measured in terms of grant money, or even sheer numbers of publications and presentations, but it is central to how we think, and to the liberal arts in general,” his nomination states.  “David is a shining example of how a faculty member … can make important contributions to a central discipline and whose impact is and will be felt around the world.”

            Harker, who joined the ETSU faculty in 2006, attended the University of Sheffield, England, where he earned his B.A. with first class honors in pure mathematics and philosophy and M.A. with distinction in philosophy.  He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  In 2003, he was a visiting scholar at the London School of Economics’ Centre for the Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences, and he was a visiting fellow at the University of Leeds’ Centre for History and Philosophy of Science in 2015.

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