The Stanford School of Philosophy of Science

October 25 - 26, 2013

October 07, 2013


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This conference will be exploring and interrogating what is typically known as the "Stanford School" in the philosophy of science. From roughly the 1970s to the 1990s, a group of influential philosophers, and historians and philosophers of science, worked at the same institution, Stanford University. They included Nancy Cartwright, John Dupré, Peter Galison, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Ian Hacking, and Patrick Suppes.

Interconnected themes of shared concern include:

(1) disunity and pluralism of scientific theory and practice,

(2) the nature of scientific modeling, in its dizzying variety of forms and purposes,

(3) post-positivistic and practice-oriented articulations of scientific knowledge and practice.

Moreover, their influence straddles academic, public policy, and general audience contexts. For instance, both Cartwright and Hacking refocused their critical analytical eye, from abstract theoretical physics to a broad variety of disciplines, including economics, medicine, and psychology. Dupré subsequently went on to

become director of a center (EGENIS) concerned with the social and technological impacts of genomics. Galison helped produce two documentaries, on the H-bomb and government secrecy. Suppes was central to building CSLI. Their commitment to tasks beyond the ivory tower perhaps emerges from their relevance-based, and practice-oriented, attitudes in analytical philosophy of science.

The conference will bring together most of the leading figures from the Stanford School, along with a group of students who have developed the research program(s), a set of "parallel" philosophers of science, and many of the Stanford School's collaborators from the exact and special sciences. The time is ripe for a well-deserved celebration—with space for critique and disagreement, so essential to philosophy—of the efforts of this group of impressively committed, creative, energetic, and talented philosophers of science.

Click here to view a conference poster with agenda or see link below.

This conference is free and open to the public.

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