The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective (PSE)

The European Science Foundation Networking Programme ‘The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective’ (PSE) – which ran from May 2008 to April 2013 – has focused on the philosophy and foundations of the natural and social sciences, as well as on the history of philosophy of science. Its aim was to foster exchange among scholars from all over Europe, to build a network of strong and durable relations between individuals, academic institutions, and research centres. This goal has been pursued from a strongly interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary perspective and largely achieved by the organisation of a series of international workshops involving eminent European and non-European scholars and junior researchers.

In pursuing the enhancement of the European tradition and current research in the philosophy of science, PSE has worked closely with the EPSA.

PSE’s activities were coordinated by a Steering Committee which included the representatives of 18 European countries: Maria Carla Galavotti (Chair), Italy; Miklos Redei (Co-Chair), UK; Gereon Wolters (Co-Chair), Germany; Diderik Batens, Belgium; Claude Debru, France; Javier Echeverria, Spain; Michael Esfeld (2010-2013), Switzerland; Jan Faye, Denmark; Olav Gjelsvik, Norway; Gerd Grasshoff (2008-2010), Switzerland; Theo Kuipers, The Netherlands; Ladislav Kvasz, Slovakia; Adrian Miroiu, Romania; Ilkka Niiniluoto, Finland; Tomasz Placek (from 2010), Poland; Demetris Portides, Cyprus; Wlodek Rabinowicz, Sweden; Friedrich Stadler, Austria; Gregory Wheeler, Portugal.

PSE covered all the main fields of research in the philosophy of science and focused on the following five main topics, which were addressed on a yearly basis: 

    1. The present situation in the philosophy of science (1st year); 
    2. Explanation, prediction and confirmation (2nd year); 
    3. Probability and statistics (3rd year); 
    4. The sciences that philosophy has neglected (4th year); 
    5. New directions in the philosophy of science (5th year). 

These topics were addressed from different angles by the five teams of researchers, according to their specificity. This allowed PSE to cover practically all fields of the philosophy of science, and tackle all the most debated issues in that arena.

The five PSE teams: 

    • Team A: Formal Methods. Leader: Stephan Hartmann, Co-leader: Thomas Müller; Team members: Gabriella Crocco, Franz Dietrich, Igor Douven, Adam Grobler, Vincent Hendricks, Franz Huber, Hannes Leitgeb, Joke Meheus, Gabriella Pigozzi, Stathis Psillos, Jan-Willem Romeijn, Jon Williamson. 
    • TEAM B: Philosophy of the Natural and Life Sciences. Leader: Marcel Weber, Co-leader: Hanne Andersen; Team members: Aristides Baltas, Raffaella Campaner, Martin Carrier, Mehmet Elgin, Anne Fagot, Jean Gayon, Paul Hoyningen-Huene, Michael Joffe, Peter McLaughlin, Tim Lewens, Thomas Reydon, Arno Wouters. 
    • TEAM C: Philosophy of the Cultural and Social Sciences. Leader: Wenceslao J. Gonzalez, Co-leader: Amparo Gomez; Team members: Daniel Andler , Marcel Boumans, Paolo Garbolino, Gerd Gigerenzer, Bengt Hansson, Rainer Hegselmann, Christian List, Katarzyna Paprzycka, Arto Siitonen, Matti Sintonen, Wolfgang Spohn, Antonio Zilhao. 
    • TEAM D: Philosophy of the Physical Sciences. Leader: Dennis Dieks, Co-leader: Guido Bacciagaluppi; Team members: Anouk Barberousse, Jeremy Butterfield, Mauro Dorato, Roman Frigg, Holger Lyre, F.A. Muller, László E. Szábó, Henrik Zinkernagel. 
    • TEAM E: History of the Philosophy of Science. Leader: Thomas Uebel, Co-leader: Michael Stoeltzner; Team members: Anastasios Brenner, Cristina Chimisso, Massimo Ferrari, Michael Heidelberger, Gürol Irzik, Berna Kilinc, Artur Koterski, Thomas Mormann, Elisabeth Nemeth, Graham Stevens, Pierre Wagner.

During the five years of its duration PSE organised two plenary conferences - the opening conference held in 2008 in Vienna, and the final conference that took place in 2012 in Bertinoro (near Bologna) – and eleven workshops, organised in the intermediate years by the 5 teams belonging to PSE. In addition to these events PSE produced a few more, including a roundtable on “Philosophy of Science in Europe: past, present and future” that took place in 2009 in Amsterdam during the second EPSA Conference; a Symposium on “New Challenges for Philosophy of Science”, organised in 2011 as part of the third EPSA conference held in Athens; a Conference on “Philosophy of science in Europe - European philosophy of science and the Viennese heritage” (Vienna 2011) jointly organised by PSE and the Institute Vienna Circle; the workshop on “Causation, dispositions and probabilities in physics and biology”, held in 2012 in Lausanne; and the workshop “Philosophy and the sciences - old visions, new directions” that took place in 2012 in Cambridge (UK).  

PSE produced a book series called “The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective”, published by Springer; series editors M.C. Galavotti and F. Stadler. The five volumes that appeared in the series are: 
    1. The Present Situation in the Philosophy of Science (proceedings of the conference held in Vienna, 18-20 December 2008), edited by F. Stadler, D. Dieks, W.J. Gonzalez, S. Hartmann, T. Uebel, M.Weber, Springer, 2010.
    2. Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation (proceedings of the workshops held in 2009), edited by D. Dieks, W.J. Gonzalez, S. Hartmann, T. Uebel, M. Weber, Springer, 2011. 
    3. Probabilities, Laws, and Structures (proceedings of the workshops held in 2010), edited by D. Dieks, W.J. Gonzalez, S. Hartmann, M. Stoeltzner, M. Weber, Springer, 2012. 
    4. New Challenges to Philosophy of Science (proceedings of the activities held in 2011), edited by H. Andersen, D. Dieks, W.J. Gonzalez, T. Uebel, G. Wheeler, Springer, 2013. 
    5. New Directions in the Philosophy of Science (proceedings of the activities held in 2012), edited by M.C. Galavotti, D. Dieks, W.J. Gonzalez, S. Hartmann, T. Uebel, M. Weber, Springer, 2014. 
In addition to the 5 volumes of the PSE series, two more volumes collecting the contributions delivered at the PSE-IVC joint conference held in Vienna on December 5-7/2011 were published: 
    1. Die europäische Wissenschaftsphilosophie und das Wiener Erbe, edited by E. Nemeth and F. Stadler, Springer, 2013. 
    2. Philosophy of Science in Europe – European Philosophy of Science and the Viennese Heritage, edited by M.C. Galavotti, E. Nemeth, F. Stadler, Springer, 2014.
For more detailed information on PSE, please have a look at the final brochure "The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective (PSE)" (PDF, 5.29 mb).

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