Vienna International Summer University 2009: The Culture of Science and Its Philosophy

The Vienna International Summer University next year (July 13-24, 2009) will be on the topic “The Culture of Science and Its Philosophy”. Call for Participation just came in. Stupid framed website: to apply, go to the website, then click on “Application” in the navigation bar on the left.

Call for Application
Application deadline: January 30, 2009

VISU Vienna International Summer University
SWC Scientific World Conceptions

Since 2001 the University of Vienna and the Institute Vienna Circle have been holding an annual two-week summer program dedicated to major current issues in the natural and social sciences, their history and philosophy. The title of the program reflects the heritage of the Vienna Circle which promoted interdisciplinary and philosophical investigations based on solid disciplinary knowledge.

As an international interdisciplinary program, VISU-SWC will bring graduate students in close contact with world-renowned scholars. It will operate under the academic supervision of an International Program Committee of distinguished philosophers, historians, and scientists. The program is directed primarily to graduate students and junior researchers in fields related to the annual topic, but the organizers also encourage applications from gifted undergraduates and from people in all stages of their career who wish to broaden their horizon through crossdisciplinary studies of methodological and foundational issues in science.

The summer course consists of morning sessions, chaired by distinguished lecturers which focus on readings assigned to students in advance. Afternoon sessions are made up of tutorials by assistant professors for junior students and of smaller groups which offer senior students the opportunity to discuss their own research papers with one of the main lecturers.

The Culture of Science and Its Philosophy
Vienna, July 13 – 24, 2009
organized by the University of Vienna and the Institute Vienna Circle.

A two-week high-level summer course on three main themes: aspects of the philosophical debates from about 1870 to 1950; the idea that scientific knowledge is perspectival and issues related to the social responsibilities of science, the social dimensions of science and the truth of scientific claims.

There are three main overlapping themes in the course. One theme concerns crucial aspects of philosophical debates from roughly 1870 to 1950, the alternatives offered, and some lingering consequences for analytic philosophy that arise from its historical relations to scientific philosophy. A second theme concerns the possible replacement of the Enlightenment idea that science delivers the absolutely objective truth by the view that scientific knowledge is perspectival, and the consequences of this view for how contemporary scientists confront religion. A third theme concerns twentieth-century scientists and philosophers of science who sought to sort out questions of the social responsibilities of science, the social dimensions of science, and the truth of scientific claims.

The lectures will deal with the following topics:

  • Scientific Perspectivism: An Alternative to Objectivist Realism
  • Scientific Neo-Kantianism and Positivism in Germany from 1870 to 1914
  • Naturalism, Pragmatism, and Experimentalism in American Philosophy of Science, 1870–1950
  • Scientific Realism and Scientific Socialism in France from Belle Epoque to Cold War
  • Bernalism and Approaches to the History and Philosophy of Science in Great Britain
  • Hierarchy and Intention in Scientific Representation
  • “Die wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung”: Logical Positivism from Austria and Germany to North America, 1920–1950
  • Weimar Berlin and Historical Sources of the View of Science as Social Practice
  • Politics and Values in the Philosophy of Science of Polanyi, Popper, and Kuhn
  • Science without Laws, Realism w/o Truth, Judgment w/o Rationality
  • Analytic Philosophy as Marginal Science
  • Contemporary Scientists Confront Religion

Main Lecturers:
Ronald Giere (University of Minnesota, USA)
Mary Jo Nye (Oregon State University, USA)
Alan Richardson (University of British Columbia, Canada)

International Program Committee
John Beatty (Vancouver), Maria Luisa Dalla Chiara (Florence), Maria Carla Galavotti (Bologna), Malachi Hacohen (Durham/Raleigh), Rainer Hegselmann (Bayreuth), Michael Heidelberger (Tübingen), Elisabeth Leinfellner (Vienna), Paolo Mancosu (Berkeley), Paolo Parrini (Florence), Friedrich Stadler (Vienna), Michael Stöltzner (Columbia), Roger Stuewer (Minneapolis), Thomas Uebel (Manchester), Jan Wolenski (Cracow), Anton Zeilinger (Vienna).

Karoly Kokai (Secretary of the VISU, Vienna)

The Main Lecturers

Ronald N. Giere is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus as well as a member and former Director of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Understanding Scientific Reasoning (5th ed., 2006), Explaining Science: A Cognitive Approach (1988), Science Without Laws (1999), Scientific Perspectivism (2006), and editor of Cognitive Models of Science (1992) and Origins of Logical Empiricism (1996). Prof. Giere is a Past President of the Philosophy of Science Association and a member of the editorial board of the journal Philosophy of Science. His current research focuses on agent-based accounts of models and scientific representation, and on connections between naturalism and secularism.

Mary Jo Nye is Emeritus Horning Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History at Oregon State University. She is a former president of the History of Science Society and received the Society’s 2006 Sarton Medal for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement. Her research focuses on the history of the modern physical and chemical sciences, science and politics, and the philosophy of science. She is editor of the volume on Modern Physical and Mathematical Sciences (2003) in The Cambridge History of Science series, and her most recent book is Blackett: Physics, War, and Politics in the 20th Century (2004). She is completing a book on scientific life and the philosophy of science in the 20th century, with a focus on Michael Polanyi (1891–1976) and his era.

Alan Richardson is Professor of Philosophy and Distinguished University Scholar at the University of British Columbia. His research examines the relations between the history of science and the history of philosophy in the era since Kant. He is currently President of the International Society for History of Philosophy of Science (HOPOS). His publications include the monograph, Carnap’s Construction of the World: The Aufbau and the Emergence of Logical Empiricism (1998) and the anthologies, Origins of Logical Empiricism (1996, co-edited with Ronald N. Giere), Logical Empiricism in North America (2003, co-edited with Gary L. Hardcastle), and The Cambridge Companion to Logical Empiricism (2007, co-edited with Thomas Uebel). His current book project is tentatively entitled, Logical Positivism as Scientific Philosophy.

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