EPSA19 will take place 11-14 September 2019 at the University of Geneva's Uni Mail building. It will mark the 7th biennial meeting of the European Philosophy of Science Association since it was founded in 2006. The printed programme is available to view and download here. The book of abstracts is available to read here. For more information about planning your trip and visiting Geneva look here.

    Last-minute changes

    For a conference of this size, some last-minute changes to the programme are inevitable. An up-to-date programme is available to view and download here. You can also follow live updates on Twitter.

    Plenary Speakers

    We are excited to announce our three plenary speakers for EPSA19:

    Tarja Knuuttila – University of Vienna

    Model-based Theorizing: An Artefactual Account 

    In  the  current  discussion,  several  philosophers  have  argued  that  model-based theorizing makes use of a particular epistemic strategy: surrogate reasoning. More often than not, models as surrogate objects are envisaged in terms of abstract structures or fictions. In contrast, I will argue for an artefactual approach to modelling. The artefactual account focuses on the erotetic  function  of  modelling  and  the  various  external  representational  tools  used  in  model  construction  that  enable,  but  also  delimit  scientific reasoning.   Models   as   epistemic   artefacts   are   designed   in   view   of   some  pending  scientific  questions,  allowing  for  further  exploration  and repurposing. I will exemplify the artefactual account through an example from synthetic biology that showcases the different modes and media that models can embody.

    Francesco Guala – University of Milan

    Bad arguments against naturalism in the philosophy of social science

    In  the  philosophy  of  social  science  naturalism  is  still  facing  a  strong  opposition from influential scholars who argue that philosophical analysis must  be  autonomous  from  scientific  investigation.  Anti-naturalists exploits  philosophers’  traditional  diffidence  toward  social  science  and nurture  the  ambition  to  provide  new  foundations  for  social  research.  A  classic anti-naturalist strategy is to identify a feature of social reality that prevents scientific explanation and prediction. An all-time favourite is the dependence of social phenomena on human representation. I will examine two prominent versions of the dependence thesis and conclude that they both  fail.  Contemporary  social  science  is  capable  of  accounting  for  the  causal  dependence  of  social  reality  on  representation,  and  there  is  no  reason  to  believe  that  social  entities  are  ontologically  dependent  on  the  acceptance of so-called constitutive rules.

    Henk de Regt – Free University, Amsterdam

    Understanding Scientific Understanding

    It  is  widely  acknowledged  that  a  central  aim  of  science  is  to  achieve  understanding  of  the  world  around  us.  But  what  precisely  is  scientific understanding,  and  when  is  it  achieved?  In  my  book  Understanding  Scientific  Understanding (OUP,  2017),  I  present  a  philosophical  theory of scientific understanding that answers these questions. This contextual theory  describes  and  explains  the  historical  variation  of  criteria  for  understanding  actually  employed  by  scientists.  In  my  talk  I  will  outline  the  theory  and  illustrate  it  with  a  historical  case  study  of  the  genesis  of  quantum theory in the first decades of the twentieth century. I will show that debates about the nature of scientific understanding, and about the conditions for the intelligibility of physical theories, played a crucial role in this important period in the history of physics.

    Women's Caucus Keynote

    We are also pleased to announce the keynote speaker for the 2019 Women's Caucus which is sponsored this year by Springer:

    Heather Douglas – Michigan State University

    Contours of Science and Justice

    What is the relationship between science and distributive justice?  Science is a resource, a source of power for supporting decisions, for categorizing, and  for  revealing  levers  of  action.    As  such,  it  is  a  matter  of  justice  how  this resource is distributed.  The history of science over the past century reveals  many  ways  in  which  the  pursuit  of  science  can  be  structurally  unjust as well as ways it can be part of the pursuit of a more just society.  I  will  describe  aspects  of  science  and  justice  in  the  access  to  science,  the  use  of  human  subjects,  the  relationship  with  communities,  and  the  shaping of the research agenda.  This overview of some of the key aspects of  science  and  justice  will  be  used  to  show  that  the  values  that  drive  research agendas are not just an ethical matter, but also a political matter. Scientists, and philosophers of science, need to attend not just to ethical values in science but also to power, and how science can ameliorate past injustices and current inequalities.

    Women's Caucus Meeting

    The Women's Caucus Meeting will take place on Thursday September 12th, 13:30-14:30 in Room M1170. Everybody is welcome, there is no need to register. As this is a lunchtime meeting, please feel free to bring your lunch to the meeting venue. A full meeting agenda will be available at the registration desk in Geneva. The most notable points on the schedule include a report from the current co-chairs (Sabina Leonelli and Lena Kästner) about the Caucus activities during the past two years, the election of a new senior co-chair and a discussions of current and future projects of the Caucus.

    Junior Scholars Event

    On Thursday 12 September 17:00-18:30 the EPSA will host a special Junior Scholars Event. The aim of the Junior Scholars Event is to help junior members of the EPSA to navigate the complex world of academia and to teach them valuable skills for a career in philosophy of science.

    This year’s Junior Scholars Event focuses on publication. Journal publications are often a “make or break” criterion for aspiring junior philosophers. The chances for acquiring funding at postdoc stage and to get a tenure track position are greatly improved by having publications in international peer-reviewed journals; and there are also traditional dissertations. How to make it into a publishable book and how to decide whether that is worthwhile?

    By understanding the mechanics of the publication business, and the incentives of the parties involved, junior philosophers of science will improve their publication-related skills, which will accompany researchers throughout their career.

    The event will start with a panel discussion (30 min), with various stakeholders in the publication circuit present, e.g. editors of journals, representatives of publishers, and senior as well as junior scholars with experience in publishing.

    After the panel discussion, there will be two workshops (60 min), in which we will discuss:

    1. How and what to publish to build a career (for those who want a general orientation)
    2. How to write and review journal papers (for those who are specifically interested in learning about the processes around journal publications)

    No registration is necessary. Just come and join the discussion! Since the program is already packed with intellectually demanding activities and people will likely be tired, we would like to keep the session informal and enjoyable. Feel free to bring drinks and food!

    Organized by Phyllis Illari, Maria Kronfeldner, Federica Russo, Jan Sprenger and Javier Suárez, on behalf of the EPSA Steering Committee and the European Journal for Philosophy of Science.

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