CFP: ‘Science versus Society? Social epistemology meets the philosophy of the humanities.’ (Foundations of Science)

Posted: 25 de March de 2012 by Fernando Furtado in Call for Papers, Event, News

Call for papers

‘Science versus Society? Social epistemology meets the philosophy of the humanities.’

Special Issue of Foundations of Science

http://www.vub.ac.be/FOS/

Guest Editors: Anton Froeyman, Laszlo Kosolosky and Jeroen Van Bouwel (Ghent University)

Aim of the issue:


The aim of this issue is to bring together two philosophical disciplines, i.e. social epistemology and philosophy of the humanities, that have been dealing with the same topic: the relation between science and its social context.

First, the relation between science and society is one of the focal points of the recently developed discipline of social epistemology. Social epistemology can be seen as a compromise between analytical philosophy of science (departing from a too idealist and individualistic view of scientific practice) and sociology of science (departing from a merely descriptive, constructivist view). Social epistemology regards the social and cultural aspects of science as essential, while still holding on to notions such as scientific rationality and objectivity, be it in more social versions than traditional philosophy of science.

On the other hand, philosophers of the humanities and social sciences (philosophers of history, anthropology, political sciences, sociology, psychology/psychotherapy, post-colonial studies, gender studies… ),  have been thinking about the relation between society and the disciplines they study in comparable terms. Ever since the days of Max Weber and the Neo-Kantians, there has been a continuous discussion about the role of the social and historical context of the humanities. Contrary to mainstream philosophy of science, the social context of the humanities has never been out of focus. Philosophers of history for example have always pondered about the role of history in the construction of national or post-national identities, and theorists of anthropology have wondered about whether or not anthropology carries an imperialistic subtext. Entire new disciplines such as post-colonial and gender studies have arisen as a consequence of changing social circumstances and have prompted many discussions about the role of social and political context in other disciplines.

Bringing these two groups of scholars together has obvious advantages for both parties. Social epistemology, on the one hand, may benefit from a surplus of tradition and experience in the philosophy of the humanities and may learn to know a whole new array of case-studies. Philosophers of the humanities, on the other hand, might learn to know a way of doing general philosophy of science that is more receptive to the issues they are concerned with.

We invite both social epistemologists and philosophers of the humanities (such as theorists of history, anthropology, psychology/psychotherapy, gender studies, post-colonial studies, political sciences,…) to submit papers on the relation between scientific (understood in the broad sense as Wissenschaft) disciplines and society. Purely theoretical papers are welcome, but reference to case-studies is especially appreciated. Continental and analytic theoretical frameworks will be treated with equal consideration.

Possible questions and topics for discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • Impact of shifting from an individual to a social level of analysis on issues such as pursuit worthiness of theories, scientific integrity, values, engagement, objectivity, consensus, disagreement, propositional attitudes and expertise.
  • Democratize science and/or scienticize democracy: why and how to deal with democratic influences on science, and vice versa.
  • Political consequences of scientific theories: liberation, recognition, or imperialism?
  • Governmental involvement in and funding of scientific research
  • Scientific justification or legitimation of a political system, or scientific justification and legitimation of opposition or revolution; how do certain scientific research programs consolidate certain political systems?
  • Uncertainty or dissensus in science versus public demand for unanimity or consensus.
  • The public role of the scientist: public participation and influence on policy making
  • Society and its “others”: the role of history, anthropology, psychology, psychotherapy, gender studies,… in assessing, liberating or repressing the others of a community.

Submission details:


The deadline for receipt of submissions is 31 October 2012, after which the papers will be subjected to external peer review. This special issue of Foundations of Science will appear in print as one of the issues of 2013. Articles will appear online first within a few weeks after acceptance.

Papers should preferably not exceed 8000 words. If so, please keep in mind that length should be in good equilibrium with content, in order for quality and readability to be maintained.

Authors should submit manuscripts electronically, prepared as a PDF or Word document or rtf attachment, and emailed to Laszlo.kosolosky@ugent.be with the heading ‘CFP: Science versus Society’. In their email message, authors should include their full name, affiliation and address for email correspondence.

Further enquiries can be addressed to Laszlo Kosolosky (laszlo.kosolosky@ugent.be), Anton Froeyman (anton.froeyman@ugent.be) or Jeroen Van Bouwel (jeroen.vanbouwel@ugent.be). If in doubt whether their work fits our description, authors are cordially invited to send in a short abstract.

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