[SPSP-members] Fwd: SVT: 50th Anniversary of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: Conference 14. September
Jeroen P. van der Sluijs
j.p.vandersluijs at uu.nl
Fri Jun 8 09:58:38 CDT 2012
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Subject: SVT: 50th Anniversary of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of
Scientific Revolutions: Conference 14. September
Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2012 10:13:29 +0200
From: Judith Ann Larsen <Judith.Larsen at svt.uib.no>
50th Anniversary of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Date and Time: 14.9.2012 09.00 - 16.30
Place: To be announced
Dear SVT Friends!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Thomas Kuhn's
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It is no doubt one of the most
important books in the history and philosophy of science of our time.
The book challenged the traditional view of scientific progress as
accumulation, replacing it by an alternative view of science as
consisting of periods of normal science interrupted by scientific
revolutions. Scientific revolutions change the rules and standards of
scientific practice, and even change the criteria of what is regarded as
a scientific problem. The book itself caused a revolution in the
philosophy and history of science, and had a lasting influence on other
fields, like the social studies of science. The keywords of the book,
like "paradigm", "normal science" and "scientific revolution", have
found their way into almost every academic discipline. Structure is one
of the most quoted academic books regardless of discipline, and its
influence reaches far outside Academia. Former Vice President Al Gore
characterized it as one of the most influential books of the last
century, and when Kuhn died in 1996 The New York Times credited him with
making the term "paradigm" a part of everyday language.
On this occasion the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the
Humanities and the Program in the History of Science, University of
Bergen, are organizing a one-day conference. In addition to the
historical context and the historical significance of the book, the
conference will focus on some of its controversial aspects. It is an
amazing fact that these aspects are almost equally controversial today.
For example, from the very beginning some critics argued that Kuhn did
not distinguish adequately between the descriptive and the normative
elements of his theory, and even made normative inferences from factual
descriptions. Other critics alleged that his thesis of
incommensurability necessarily implies relativism, even irrationalism.
Others again argued that his monolithic view of normal science is
erroneous, and overlooks the diversity of science. We have invited four
distinguished scholars to discuss these questions.
9:00 am Welcome and introduction
9:30 am Paul Hoyningen-Huene: Kuhn's Development before and after Structure
10:30 am Evelyn Fox Keller: Roads Since Structure
11:30 am Coffee break
12:00 am Lorraine Daston: History and No End: Does the History of
Science Have a Structure?
1:00 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Jerome Ravetz: Thomas Kuhn and the end of scientism
3:15 pm Panel discussion (with the four invited speakers in the panel)
4:30 pm End
About the speakers
Lorraine Daston is director of the Max Planck Institute for the History
of Science in Berlin, and professor at the Committee on Social Thought,
University of Chicago. She has published on, among other subjects, the
history of probability and statistics (Classical Probability in the
Enlightenment, 1998), wonders in early modern science (Wonders and the
order of nature : 1150 – 1750, 1998 – with Katharine Park), and the
history of scientific objectivity (Objectivity, 2007 - with Peter
Galison). Her most recent book is Histories of scientific observation
(2011 - ed. with Elizabeth Lunbeck).
Evelyn Fox Keller is professor emerita of History and Philosophy of
Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her research
focuses on the history and philosophy of modern biology, especially on
genetics and its language, and on gender and science. Keller is the
author of a biography of the geneticist and Nobel laureate Barbara
McClintock (A Feeling for the Organism,1983) and of The Century of the
Gene (2000) which traces the history of genetics in the 20th century.
Her most recent book is The mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture
Paul Hoyningen-Huene is professor for Theoretical Philosophy and General
Philosophy of Science and Founding Director of the Center for Philosophy
and Ethics of Science, Leibniz University of Hannover. Originally a
theoretical physicist, he became a philosopher of science with
particular interest in the work of Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend.
Among others he has published the book Reconstructing Scientific
Revolutions: Thomas S. Kuhn's Philosophy of Science (1993), (German
orig. 1989), with a forword by Kuhn, and he has published some of
Feyerabend's letters to Kuhn. He has just finished the manuscript of the
book Systematicity: The Nature of Science, where he argues, as the title
indicates, that the distiguishing mark of scientific knowledge is its
Jerome Ravetz is an independent philosopher of science. He is well known
for his early book Scientific Knowledge and its Social Problems (1971).
In 1990 he published Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy with
Silvio Funtowicz, on the management of uncertainty and quality, and in
the following years they pioneered the field of Post-Normal Science (a
term that alludes to Kuhn's "normal science"). His most recent book is
No-Nonsense Guide to Science (2006). He is now concerned with
"paleo-normal science" and the contemporary pseudo-mathematical social
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