Paris/London/Konstanz Workshop on History and Philosophy of Science Formal vs. Historical Accounts of Scientific Theory Change Université Paris IV (Sorbonne) December 13-14, 2004

For a number of years, logicians and philosophers of science have developed formal models of belief change in logical and probabilistic frameworks. A large body of literature now exists and is expanding, often associated with work on non-classical logics and computer science. In spite of the fact that many of these models are relevant to traditional issues in the philosophy and methodology of science – such as the nature of confirmation, explanation, theory change and truth – there has been only little contact between these formal approaches and more historically oriented work in the philosophy of science. Recent work on belief revision, Bayesian epistemology and topics such as incommensurability or truth approximation suggests that a dialogue between the two traditions in the philosophy of science can be renewed to the benefit of both. To encourage the dialogue, each paper presented at the workshop will be commented on by someone from the other tradition.

The present workshop brings together scholars from Paris, London and Konstanz. It is part of the Paris-based project Connaissance, Revision, Preuve et Changement Scientifique which explores the merits and limitations of formal and historical approaches to scientific theory change. The workshop is the first step of a more regular cooperation between British, French, German and other European researchers in the relevant fields.

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