Top of the Heap: Helen Verran by Hannah Gibson

For this installment of the Top of the Heap series, I spoke with Helen Verran, a historian and philosopher of science who is Adjunct Professor at Charles Darwin University in Australia as well as holding a position at the Norwegian University of the Arctic.

Helen Verran

bodyipadA display of a story about computer application that was never built – the Touch Pad Body. In 2016 it exists only as electronic seed code in a few computers. Apart from that it has life in two stories that have been told about it: a pamphlet of four pages (see PDF here; first page at right) and an academic paper (Christie and Verran, 2014). The experience of collectively imagining the Touch Pad Body as an entity, and imbuing it with what might be called ‘life in potentia’, was an element in an inquiry with the project name “East Arnhem Client Education and Health Interpreting”. That inquiry conducted as contract research for a local health services provider, instances the logic of inquiry that I elaborate here. It is the experience of such inquiry and the experience in such inquiry, which the books at the top of my pile of current reading attend to, as in undertaking methodological study I further elaborate what method in relational empiricist inquiry is. For me, unlike most of my contemporaries, method is quite a different matter than methodology.

In Australia I work as part of the Ground Up group in the Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University in Australia’s Northern Territory. We undertake contract research, what might be called commonsense inquiry in search of useful and good responses for everyday problems of those who live in the NT’s Indigenous communities.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.