The Ontology of Science: The Question of Morality, Identity, and the Place of the Person in Research and Practice

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A conception of science that follows an epistemic ideal has for decades been highly influential in social science inquiry including international development and healthcare.
This ideal, in turn, has strongly influenced our ways of living as researcher and practitioner. On the other hand, an ontological approach toward systematic inquiry brings to the fore the critical place of the person in research, action, and concomitant matters of morality and identity. This panel opens for discussion the moral implications of recent brain research and the implications for placing the person as learner at the center of social science inquiry. The person in this case refers to both the researcher and the local polity member in society, institution, and village. In each situation, the dictum of Paul Ricoeur to create and live in just institutions serves as a directive for the researcher in the specific examples of our applied projects: narratives from women living with AIDS; a concept of progress in international development; autopoiesis and critical hermeneutics; and alternative healing and western medicine among the Hmong. Moreover, we further the discussion of the role identity has in the design and application of research and subsequent findings. We posit that moral action and identity considered through the ontological expressions of recognition, attestation and forgiveness — he very characteristics of a person that give credence to scientific inquiry — establish the bedrock for the practice ensuing from research findings.

Keywords: Ontology of Science, International Development, Identity, Morality, Personhood
Stream: Applied Science
Presentation Type: Colloquium in English
Paper: Clash of Two Worlds, The

Dr Ellen A. Herda

Professor, Department of Leadership Studies/Organization and Leadership Program, University of San Francisco
San Francisco, California, USA

Ellen Herda, Professor of Anthropology, School of Education , University of San Francisco, teaches anthropology research, socioeconomic development and policy analysis. Her publications on critical hermeneutic research reflect her own field work and project development in the areas of youth and adult education, community leadership, organic agriculture, and technology in Burma, Thailand and Laos . Her book, Research Conversations and Narrative / A Critical Hermeneutic Orientation in Participatory Inquiry, was the first published work to serve as a guide to social science field researchers whose academic interests and personal praxis follow the interpretive tradition.

Dr Valerie Dzubur

Associate Professor, Division of Nursing Practitioner, Samuel Merritt College
Oakland, California, USA

Dr. Hamaseh Kianfar

HIV Medical Case Manager, Women’s Specialty Clinic, University of California, San Francisco

Hamaseh works with HIV- positive women and children providing integrated medical and psychosocial services to those infected. Using the interpretive approach and applied narrative identity theory, her research focuses on helping improve public policies and education programs related to HIV.

Dr. Kimberly C. Mendonca

Consultant, National Compliance Office of Ethics and Integrity, Kaiser Permanente Health

Kimberly focuses on ensuring access to health care for low-income and elderly Americans. Her research, through the framework of critical hermeneutics, reflects her interest in international development as it influences leadership, health care and education in Lao, PDR.

Ref: Y10P0207