Do the history of science and the philosophy of science have a future together?

June 16th 12-6 p.m.

Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London (together with Division of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds)

Over thirty years ago Lakatos famously quipped that “philosophy of science without history of science is empty; history of science without philosophy of science is blind”. However, the relationship between the two has changed dramatically since those halcyon days. From the perspective of the philosopher of science it may appear that the history of science has narrowed its focus to social and local histories with little if any philosophical input or consideration. On the other hand, the historian of science, looking at what goes on in the philosophy of science, may see a highly formalised discourse that has little relevance to the understanding of scientific practice or the actual history of scientific development.

Our aim in this workshop is to contemplate these different perceptions and explore ways in which the two disciplines might more productively relate to one another in the future. We shall do so not only with regard to research in the field but also in relation to how teaching might be informed by this relationship. It is our intention to hold further annual workshops, developing specific themes as they emerge and initiating new approaches to this issue.

The first workshop will be held at UCL. and is open to all in the HPS community but we would particularly welcome postgraduates and postdoctoral scholars in the field.


12.00-1.00pm Welcome and sandwich lunch 1.00-2.30pm Session 1 Hasok Chang, (UCL): ‘HPS as ‘Complementary Science” Greg Radick (Leeds): ‘Get Real!’

2.30-3.00pm coffee/tea

3.00-4.30pm Session 2 Michela Massimi (UCL): ‘Towards a Historically Informed Philosophy of Science’ Steven French (Leeds): ‘Mind the Gap: Exploring the Asymmetries of History and Philosophy of Science’

4.30-5.00pm coffee/tea

5.00-6.00pm Session 3 Panel discussion on HPS teaching: Joe Cain (UCL); Geoff Cantor (Leeds); Grant Fisher (UCL); Graeme Gooday, (Leeds); Chair: David Mossley (HEA)

6.00-8.00pm Reception and buffet supper

Registration: £20 (inc. lunch and buffet supper). Please contact Steven French at [email protected] before June 2nd.