T.Y. Branch


I am a philosopher of science investigating values and their implications for public engagement and trust in science.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Social Credibility and Trustworthiness of Expert Knowledge and Science-Based Information (SOCRATES) Centre for Advanced Studies at the Institute for Philosophy at Leibniz University Hannover.

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Prior to my position at the Leibniz University of Hannover, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow (wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) at the Cologne Center for Contemporary Epistemology and the Kantian Tradition (CONCEPT) working on the project "Moral obligation, epistemology and public health: the case of vaccine hesitancy".


I have also been a postdoctoral researcher at Institut Jean Nicod, an analytic-oriented interdisciplinary research centre combining philosophy, social science and cognitive science. This was part of the EU Horizon 2020 project: Policy, Expertise and Trust in Action (PEriTiA) studying affective and normative factors that play a role in decisions to trust.


My research on values is aimed at addressing normative questions pertaining to how values are presented in science communication. A large part of this work is informed by my doctorate. I combined historical research with philosophical critique to examine the erasure of non-epistemic (e.g. personal, social, political) values from science communication.

I argue that the value-free ideal (VFI) for science --the dominant ideal for science from the Cold War until the end of the 20th century-- minimizes the importance of non-epistemic values in science, which influences the selection of science education and communication models.

This is a philosophical problem because although the VFI been identified as the wrong ideal for science, its legacy continues to misrepresent science as value-free, making it less engaging, and contributing to a crisis of trust in science.

My dissertation "Contextualizing Science for Value-Conscious Communication" about this topic, can be found here.

For a short CV, see here.


"Hylozoic Ground", part of the Canada Pavilion Facility designed by Philip Beesley for the Venice Biennale. Image by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra.


Near-living architecture incorporates biological features into environments that are responsive to occupants in that space. The structures pictured, are mini ecosystems — chemically infused with biologically active layers — that undergo actions like osmosis. They react and change in relation to inhabitants of the space. My research asked what applications near-living architecture might have with respect to understanding theories of emergence.

For information and interviews about my Philosopher-in-Residence research in architecture see here and here. For more on near-living architecture, see Philip Beesley Architect Inc.


I also have ongoing work in the philosophy of data science. By integrating myself in a data science laboratory I uncovered how the non-epistemic values of scientists impact research decisions and the consequences of these values in a broader societal context.

As part of this research project, I developed a novel 'value-conscious' methodological contribution to collaborative socio-technical integration --a science and technology studies (STS) method for humanities scholars wanting to engage scientists directly.

With the transactional expertise in data science earned from this project, and my work on values in science as social indicators of trust, my upcoming research in this area will reconstruct the value-rich relationship between developers, AI and publics to understand how this interaction can go beyond mere reliance and encourage socially responsible data-based innovation.


For an interview about my integrated work in computer science and values see here.


Branch, T.Y. & G. M. Duché (2022) Affective Labor in Integrative STS Research. Science, Technology, & Human Values. https://doi.org/10.1177/01622439221143804. [Open Access]

Branch, T.Y. & Gloria Origgi (2022) Social Indicators of Trust in the Age of Informational Chaos. Social Epistemology, 36:5, 533-540. https://doi.org/0.1080/02691728.2022.2121622. [Free Access]

Branch, T.Y. (2022) Enhanced Epistemic Trust and The Value-Free Ideal as a Social Indicator of TrustSocial Epistemology 36:5. https://doi.org/10.1080/02691728.2022.2114114. [Open Access]

Holst, Susan Owens, Folco Panizza, Silje Maria Tellmann, José van Dijck & Maria Baghramian (2022) A New Dark Age? Truth, Trust, and Environmental ScienceAnnual Review of Environment and Resources 47:1. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-120920-015909. [Open Access]

Branch, T.Y., Gloria Origgi & Tiffany Morisseau (2022) Why Trust Raoult? How Social Indicators Inform the Reputations of ExpertsSocial Epistemology 36:3, 299-316. https://doi.org/10.1080/02691728.2022.2042421.



Science Education under the Social Contract for Science
"Science in Democracy Talk Series"
University of Pennsylvania | Penn Philosophy - SNF Paideia Program
September 19.

How POS 'scaffolding' can support the bridge between STS and SCS
"RRC and c:o/re Conference: Nowhere(to)land? What Science Studies Contribute to Science Communication"
Bonn | Forum Internationale Wissenschaft (FIW)
June 14-16.

Distinguishing Disciplinary Norms for Public Scientific Testimony
"Applied Epistemology: Virture, Vice and Bias,"
June 5-9.

Values and Vulnerability: The Impact of Error Expositions on Trust in Science
"Malfunction, Error, failure: How to learn from scientific mistakes?"
Budapest, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences,
May 25-26.

Science Communication and the Legacy of the VFI for Epistemic Testimony
"Linguistic and Epistemological Perspectives on Public Scientific Testimony"
University of Sweden, Sweden
April 28 - 30

The Ecosystem of the VFI and its role in the New Demarcation Problem
Budapest University of Technology and Economics
MTA Lendület "Values and Science” Research Group
April 24

Public Communication Science Technology (PCST) Conference
"Roundtable: Visible Scientists in the age of Covid-19: Characteristics, Changes, Challenges  "
Roundtable: Toward a unified research agenda for communicating basic science
April 11 - 14

International Postdoc Forum for the Philosophy of Science Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science (MCPS)
"The Value-Free Ideal and the Resilience of the Deficit Model in Science Communication"
University of Minnesota, USA
April 5

The Legacy of the Value-Free Ideal of Science Workshop
"The Social Contract for Science and the Value-Free Ideal" with Heather Douglas
Uppsala University, Sweden
February 16 - 17


Leibniz University Hannover 
Institute of Philosophy / SOCRATES

Lange Laube 32
30159 Hannover