The epistemological foundations of data science: a critical analysis

26 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2022

See all articles by Jules Desai

Jules Desai

University of Oxford - Faculty of Philosophy

David Watson

University College London

Vincent Wang

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Mariarosaria Taddeo

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Luciano Floridi

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute; University of Bologna- Department of Legal Studies

Date Written: January 13, 2022

Abstract

The modern abundance and prominence of data has led to the development of “data science” as
a new field of enquiry, along with a body of epistemological reflections upon its foundations,
methods, and consequences. This article provides a systematic analysis and critical review of
significant open problems and debates in the epistemology of data science. We propose a partition
of the epistemology of data science into the following five domains: (i) the constitution of data
science; (ii) the kind of enquiry that it identifies; (iii) the kinds of knowledge that data science
generates; (iv) the nature and epistemological significance of “black box” problems; and (v) the
relationship between data science and the philosophy of science more generally.

Keywords: Black box; Data-driven science; Data science; Epistemology; Foundationalism; Philosophy of science.

Suggested Citation

Desai, Jules and Watson, David and Wang, Vincent and Taddeo, Mariarosaria and Floridi, Luciano, The epistemological foundations of data science: a critical analysis (January 13, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4008316 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4008316

Jules Desai

University of Oxford - Faculty of Philosophy ( email )

10 Merton Street
Oxford OX1 4JJ
United Kingdom

David Watson

University College London ( email )

1-19 Torrington Place
London, WC1 7HB
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://dswatson.github.io

Vincent Wang

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Mariarosaria Taddeo

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Luciano Floridi (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.philosophyofinformation.net/about/

University of Bologna- Department of Legal Studies ( email )

Via Zamboni 22
Bologna, Bo 40100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.unibo.it/sitoweb/luciano.floridi

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