2016 Basel

Group excursion to Käserstatt in the Swiss alps

Reconceiving and Explaining the Success of Science

Organizers: Alan Love (University of Minnesota), Ken Waters (University of Calgary), Marcel Weber (University of Geneva), and Bill Wimsatt (University of Chicago/University of Minnesota)

Invited Speakers: Nancy Nersessian (Harvard University/Georgia Institute of Technology) and Alyssa Ney (UC Davis)

Dates: 1 August – 12 August, 2016

Location: Basel, Switzerland

Venue: Hotel Bildunszentrum 21

  • A group of people seated at picnic tables under white table umbrellasScientific metaphysics is based on the idea that metaphysics—the study of what the world is ultimately like—should be informed by the remarkable success of science. The 2016 Summer Institute will address the idea that the success of science can inform metaphysics by: (a) considering different interpretations of the success of science, (b) examining how the success of science interpreted in various ways might be explained, and (c) exploring the metaphysical implications of these explanations. We will consider the possibility of interpreting the success of science in terms of broadly conceived investigative practices as well as the theories and models that are involved in these practices. Invited speakers will include Nancy Nersessian (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Alyssa Ney (UC Davis).
  • This is the first of three summer institutes sponsored by the project: From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics that advances a new approach for scientific metaphysics. Instead of focusing attention on the fundamental theories of science, this project analyzes successful scientific practices that depend on modest theoretical claims but nevertheless undergird advances across sciences that deal with complexity, especially in biology. This approach probes the metaphysical implications of stable forms of successful practice in situations where local, partial theories of complex phenomena do not yield integrated, comprehensive outlooks across different levels of organization.
  • Seminar meeting for summer institute participantsThe primary emphasis of the 2016 Summer Institute is the professional development of junior scholars, especially graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. It will offer an opportunity for graduate students and recent PhDs to gain knowledge of important bodies of philosophical literature on metaphysics, scientifically informed metaphysics, and scientific practice. It will provide opportunities for participants to develop current research projects and identify new ones. The Summer Institute will also help participants make connections with researchers who share interests in philosophy of science, philosophy of scientific practice, and metaphysics. The program will be structured to provide opportunities for collaboration.
  • Accepted participants will receive generous stipends to offset expenses associated with travel to and attending the Summer Institute.
  • Questions about the 2016 Summer Institute can be addressed to Marcel Weber