Dan Hicks

Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Philosophy

Research Area:
Science and Values
Philosophy of Science
Social and Political Philosophy

After the first few years of a PhD program in mathematics, Dan Hicks realized that he was spending all of his free time reading philosophy and needed to be in a field that appealed to both his technical and humanistic sides.  He received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in May 2012, specializing in both philosophy of science and social and political philosophy (a branch of ethics).  His work examines science as a social activity, and he is especially interested in the way it interacts with other aspects of our society, such as the feminist and environmentalist movements and the economy.  While working on his PhD he became involved in a local food cooperative, and this stimulated an interest in scientific, social, and economic aspects of the food system.  His current research deals primarily with commercial funding of scientific research and the public controversy over genetically modified foods.  He’s taught classes on the food system, ethics, formal and informal logic, chaos theory, and college algebra, with students as young as 12 and as old as 50. After two years at the Rotman Institute, Dan became a Science and Technology Policy Fellow in Washington, DC, with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  From September 2015-August 2016, he was hosted as a AAAS Policy Fellow at the US Environmental Protection Agency.  Then, from September 2016-August 2017 (anticipated), he was hosted for a second year as a AAAS Policy Fellow at the US National Science Foundation.

My research deals with philosophy of science and political philosophy, and especially the intersection of the two. I am generally interested in what might be called the political economy of science: the ways in which science, as a productive activity, is socially organized and interacts with other kinds of activities and organizations (social movements, the state, the market, etc.). My primary long-term project involves an account of science as a social practice, drawing on the work of the ethicist Alasdair MacIntyre, and (based on this) distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate kinds of influence on science. My intellectual interests extend to basically any topic that touches on this project, including collective agency and responsibility; ethical analyses of capitalism and liberalism; feminist philosophy, especially care ethics and philosophy of science; philosophy of social science, especially economics; science communication and science policy; and the history of philosophy of science.

During my time at the Rotman Institute, my major writing projects will include papers on the ethics of commercial funding for scientific research, the ongoing controversy over genetically modified foods, socialist values in Otto Neurath’s economics, and — in collaboration with a graduate school colleague — the philosophical challenges posed by dual-use research. I also hope to organize a workshop for early-career scholars in “the area” (for some value of “the area”) who work on science and social values, and work on minor writing projects on a game that I co-designed — to teach operators in propositional logic — and a network analysis of the history of philosophy. If I still have some spare time after all that, I hope to contribute to some of the active research groups at the Rotman Institute and serve as a mentor to the graduate students.


Hicks, Daniel.  Review of Paul Pojman, ed., Food Ethics and David Kaplan, ed., The Philosophy of Food.  Agriculture and Human Values Fall 2013 (in press).

Hicks, Daniel.  On the Ideal of Autonomous Science.  Philosophy of Science December 2011; 78:1235-1248

Is Longino’s Conception of Objectivity Feminist?, Hypatia 26:2 Spring 2011; 333-351

Doctoral Thesis:

Scientific Practices and their Social Context, April 2012, University of Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame

Spring 2013:  Self and Society; Are We Eating Good Food?

Fall 2012:  Are We Eating Good Food?

Spring 2012:  Are We Eating Good Food?

Fall 2011:  Introduction to Philosophy

Spring 2011:  Introduction to Gender Studies (co-instructor)

Fall 2011:  Introduction to Philosophy

Fall 2010:  Introduction to Philosophy

Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth Summer Programs

2013:  Logic:  Principles of Reasoning

2012:  Logic:  Principles of Reasoning

2011:  Logic:  Principles of Reasoning; Mathematical Logic

2010:  Mathematical Logic

2009:  Mathematical Logic; Chaos and Fractals

2008:  Chaos and Fractals

2007:  Chaos and Fractals

Other Teaching

Spring 2011:  Introduction to Philosophy, Indiana University at South Bend

Summer 2006:  Intermediate Algebra, Lake Michigan College

Fall 2005:  College Algebra/Trigonometry, Ivy Tech Community College, South Bend

Spring 2005:  Applied Linear Algebra, Unviersity of Illinois, Chicago