Heather Douglas

(517) 355-4492


Associate Professor
Philosophy of Science; Values in Science; Science in Society; Responsible Research; Science Policy


Heather Douglas joined MSU’s Department of Philosophy in the Fall of 2018. Her research focuses on the relationship between science and democracy, including the role of social and ethical values in science, the nature of scientists’ responsibility in and for science, and science-policy interfaces such as science advising, science funding, responsible research oversight/cultivation, and science communication. She is interested in how citizens can and should interact with science, including the bases for citizens’ trust in scientists. She has also worked on the nature of objectivity in science and how to weigh complex, non-convergent sets of evidence.

She is the author of dozens of articles and essays, several edited collections, The Rightful Place of Science: Science, Values, and Democracy (2021), and Science, Policy and the Value-Free Ideal (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009). She is a fellow of the Institute for Science, Society, and Policy at the University of Ottawa and a member of the Socially Engaged Philosophy of Science Group at MSU. In 2016, she was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For 2021-2022, she is the Senior Visiting Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh.

She is interested in and willing to direct graduate work, particularly involving philosophical approaches to science policy issues or philosophy of science work with clear science policy implications. Her recent graduate seminars include Values in Science (2020), Science, Citizens, and Democracy (2020), and The Commercialization of Science (2019). Past and current graduate student projects she has directed/is directing include: Ty Branch’s Contextualizing Science for Value-Conscious Communication (2019) Char Brecevic’s Patient Nonadherence: Imagining a Way Forward

For more about her work, see:




University News

Philosophy Professor Honored for Influential Research on Values in Science
Published August 11, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
A picture of a woman with a red turtleneck, blonde hair, and blue eyes.
A research paper written by Heather Douglas, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University, is being recognized as one of the most influential to ever be published by the Philosophy…Read now »
College Welcomes 30 New Faculty and Staff Members
Published August 30, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
brick building with a blue sky surrounded by trees
This year, the College of Arts & Letters welcomes 30 new faculty and staff members. They include the following:  Qais Assali Qais Assali, Visiting Assistant Professor and…Read now »
Heather Douglas to Join Department of Philosophy Faculty
Published August 2, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
a woman with hair pulled back in a maroon turtleneck
Heather Douglas will join the College of Arts & Letters on August 16, 2018, as an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy.  A philosopher of science, Douglas’…Read now »