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Perspectives on Scientific Practice from Science and the Science Studies
The workshop is articulated in five thematic sessions, each lasting one day:
All speakers will be invited: there is no public call for papers. The programme is completed by a public lecture (details to be announced).
Session 1: Objectivity
The present-day natural sciences explicitly portray their findings as objectively valid throughout the universe, independent of their human and historical origins. History and social studies of science, by contrast, are devoted to showing how scientific knowledge is constructed by local, contingent, and contextual processes. How is the discrepancy between these perspectives to be bridged? Are historians and sociologists of science compelled to deconstruct all claims to objectivity made on behalf of scientific knowledge, or can they provide a convincing account of how scientific findings transcend their provenance?
Session 2: Credibility
Among scholars working in the field of science studies it is widely held that the public credibility of science is on the wane. Is there really a crisis in the relation between science and society and what are the factors determining the changes in the cultural authority of science? In what way can scientists contribute to enhance the public credibility of their expert claims?
Session 3: Interaction between Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and
- Relations among the scientific and academic disciplines
- The need for interaction among disciplines in the modern academic system and knowledge society
- Issues of academic policy relevant to such interaction
Session 4: Communication
If the astronomer Carl Sagan in the 1970s and 1980s met some
disdain for popularizing science, nowadays most scientists are convinced of the
necessity of communicating science to a wider audience, i.e. the taxpayer: it
pays off. There is also increasing popular interest in the history of science,
as can be inferred from the success of Dava Sobel’s Longitude and Michael
Session 5: Autonomy
Since the Scientific Revolution physics has become a kind of exemplar of science. In the last hundred years this position has been seriously challenged and discussed, notably by researchers and philosophers dealing with the life sciences. Has the success of molecular biology finally demonstrated the non-autonomous character of biology? Will or should the ongoing debate about specific properties of living organisms and a related specific epistemology affect the grand strategies of biological research?