PhilSci Archive SPSP 2009

Anyone on the SPSP2009 program can post their preprints. The header for the SPSP2009 conference is up and customized posting instructions are available at:

Papers are available at:

Call for papers (closed)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For registration and further information visit our website We expect to provide notification about the acceptence of papers by March 31st, 2009.

Deadline for submission: February 1st, 2009.

Notification about acceptence: March 31st, 2009

The Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice (SPSP) aims to create an interdisciplinary community of scholars who approach the philosophy of science with a focus on scientific practice and the practical uses of scientific knowledge. For further details on our objectives, see our mission statement@

The SPSP biennial conferences provide a broad forum for scholars committed to making detailed and systematic studies of scientific practices — neither dismissing concerns about truth and rationality, nor ignoring contextual and pragmatic factors. The conferences aim@cutting through traditional disciplinary barriers and developing novel approaches. We welcome contributions from not only philosophers of science, but also philosophers working in epistemology and ethics, as well as the philosophy of engineering, medicine, agriculture, and other practical fields. Additionally, we welcome contributions from historians and sociologists of science, pure and applied scientists, and any others with an interest in philosophical questions regarding scientific practice.

The SPSP Conference in 2009 will be held concurrently with a large workshop for teachers on integrating historical, philosophical and sociological perspectives into science teaching ( Joint sessions are planned.

In addition to keynote lectures by invited speakers, the conference will feature parallel sessions with contributed papers. For the 2009 conference, we particularly welcome contributions on the topics listed below; however, other topics are by no means excluded. Please indicate clearly in your abstract which of the following topics (if any) your paper addresses — this will help us construct coherent themed sessions.

In addition to individual papers, proposals for whole, thematic sessions with coordinated papers are strongly encouraged, particularly those which include multiple disciplinary perspectives and/or input from scientific practitioners. Session proposals must include a 500-word abstract for each paper (or an equivalent amount of depth and detail, if the format of the proposed session is a less traditional one). Multiple submissions of any form by the same person will not be allowed.

  1. Philosophy of Science and Science Education: How does philosophy of science inform science teaching? What ideas about scientific practice, including those based on historical and sociological perspectives, are important to teach? How can they be effectively taught in a science classroom? How is such understanding assessed? What insights and challenges might such contexts offer to philosophers?
  2. Epistemology of Scientific Practice: There has been a degree of disconnection between epistemology and the philosophy of science, despite the clear relevance of the two fields to each other. We welcome contributions that flesh out epistemologists’ concerns in terms of scientific practice, or broaden traditional epistemological categories in order to make them more suitable for the understanding of knowledge practices.
  3. Experimental Practices: More than 20 years ago the ‘new experimentalists’ in philosophy of science called for a more serious engagement with experimental practice. The work continues, and significant questions remain. How are scientific phenomena produced and observed — in the laboratory, in the observatory, in the field, and even in the armchair? What exactly does the knowledge of phenomena consist in? What are the characteristics of the technologies and sites that enable scientists to identify the objects of their study and to theorize about them?
  4. Practices of Modeling, Simulations and Computer Experiments: Anyone familiar with today’s cutting-edge scientific research will feel how out of touch our common philosophical images of scientific activity are. Most scientific theorizing today seems to happen in the form of modeling and simulation. Has there now been enough philosophical work on modeling, after the flurry of activity in recent decades? Have we, for instance, paid enough attention to the more applied and complex subjects that tend to be neglected in traditional philosophy of science, including climatology, synthetic chemistry, ecology and seismology?
  5. ‘Knowing Well’, Values, and Evidence-for-Use: How do philosophical approaches to knowledge change when the context shifts from ‘pure’ science to applied science and public policy, in areas such as engineering, agriculture and medicine? How do we go beyond mere knowing to ‘knowing well’? How does the blurring of the traditional distinction between ‘fact’ and ‘value’ affect our conceptions of evidence and epistemic justification? And how do individual and social values and sense of responsibility shape the scope, focus and methods of scientific practice?
  6. Rationality, Pluralism and ‘Styles of Reasoning’: Philosophers tend to accept very few kinds of reasoning as rational: deductive, inductive/statistical, and perhaps abductive. From historical and empirical studies it appears that scientific practices employ many other styles of reasoning. Often, these other ‘styles’ are seen as ‘merely heuristic’ and unable to play a role in the justification of knowledge. Is it possible to present more interesting accounts of these other styles of reasoning and of rationality?
  7. Philosophical Pragmatism and Science in Practice: Are there existing philosophical frameworks that are particularly well-suited for the understanding of ‘science in practice’? In recent years many people have paid renewed attention to the American pragmatists in this connection: Dewey, Peirce, James, and also C. I. Lewis. Can pragmatism really provide useful guidance for the philosophy of science in practice? If so, which ideas are most useful for which purposes?
  8. Social Epistemology: Within both the philosophy and sociology of science, there is a shared interest in the production, assessment, and validation of knowledge. We welcome contributions which synthesize sociological and philosophical points of view — empirically based research into the origination and transmission of scientific knowledge, as well as considerations about the social issues which arise when such knowledge is applied in a variety of types of practice.

Keynote speakers:

Helen Longino

Mary Morgan

For further information about the conference, see the conference website:

Call for Expressions of Interest SPSP 2011 (closed)

Site for the Third Biennial International Conference of the Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice (SPSP), 2011

The organization committee of the Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice (SPSP) invites expressions of interest to host the third international conference of the SPSP to be held in 2011, most likely during the northern hemisphere summer. The hosting site will be responsible for all local arrangements, with the organization committee taking responsibility for programming and other arrangements. We anticipate a 2.5 to 3 day conference, roughly similar in format to the first and second international conference, with approximately 100 attendees (though this number may be greater depending on the conference’s location and other events to be held in conjunction with it). In both conferences we have sponsored 2-3 plenary speakers. Therefore, registration fee needs to be set to cover these costs. Importantly, we strongly appreciate efforts to keep costs down, for instance by multiple options for lodging, meals, etc. Other opportunities for reducing costs for graduate students are welcome as well.

For more details, please see

Expressions of interest should contain the following information, in no more than approximately 1000 words total:

  1. practical information regarding proposed conference facilities including meeting rooms with audiovisual support; accommodation (a mixture of types of lodging is desirable including lower cost options for graduate students); arrangements for registration and program printing; coffee/tea breaks, meals, and receptions; estimated costs; overview of travel to and accessibility of the conference site; other activities or conferences to be held in conjunction with the SPSP; ideas for and prospects for obtaining funds and support staff for the conference; and prior experience of the proposed local arrangements chair(s) and local arrangements committee members.
  2. Intellectual reasons why the proposed hosting institution/location is appropriate for SPSP, considering its goals and mandate; these could include but are not limited to other conferences to occur in conjunction with the SPSP conference, an active philosophy of science community in the local area, etc.

Expressions of interest should be submitted by email no later than May 15th 2009, to Marcel Boumans: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The organization committee will consider proposals in advance of the SPSP2009 conference held in June, in hopes of announcing the location for the next conference@that time.

Organisation Committee

Rachel A. Ankeny

The University of Adelaide This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mieke Boon

University of Twente

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Marcel Boumans

University of Amsterdam

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Hasok Chang

University College London

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With additional members for the programming of the Minnesota conference:

Douglas Allchin

University of Minnesota

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Tarja Knuuttila

University of Helsinki

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Julian Reiss

Erasmus University Rotterdam

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Andrea Woody

University of Washington

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Advisory Board

Nancy Cartwright

London School of Economics

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Henk De Regt

Free University of Amsterdam

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John Dupre

University of Exeter

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Mary Morgan

London School of Economics

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Margaret Morrison

University of Toronto

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Nancy Nersessian

Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Alison Wylie

University of Washinton

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Conference Programme

Last updated: 18 June 2009


On Wednesday 17 June, all participants are welcome at our informal get-together [location and time will be announced].


THURSDAY 18 June 2009


Registration (Nicholson building)


Opening by Rachel A. Ankeny


Keynote address 1: Mary Morgan: Facts in Practice - The Lives of Facts

Chair: Mieke Boon




Concurrent sessions A


A1. Symposium: The nature and epistemological status of the phenomena established through experimental practices.

A2. Causes and models of diseases

A3 Contexts in epistemology

Chair: Alexandra Bradner

A4. Collaboration and consensus

Chair: Maya Goldenberg


Léna Soler

Frédéric Wieber

Emiliano Trizio


Marta Halina, Harmonizing Models and Phenomena: The Case of Aflatoxin

Deepanwita Dasgupta, Scientifc Discovery in an Asymmetrical Landscape

Alison Wylie, Transformative Criticism in Archaeology: The Epistemic Rationale for Collaborative Practice


Dana Tulodziecki, Reasoning about cholera: the inferential practices of John Snow

Monika Wulz, Social Concepts and Methods in Epistemology around 1930: Edgar Zilsel’s Sociohistorical Approach to Epistemology and his Concept of Science as an “Infinite Process”

Melinda Fagan, Collaboration, toward an integrative philosophy of scientific practice


Leen De Vreese, The need for a practical concept of disease

Janet D. Stemwedel, Sifting sound science from snake-oil: In search of demarcation criteria for science as actually practiced





Concurrent sessions B


B1. Symposium: Implementing psychiatric genetic research

B2. Values in Epistemology

Chair: Mark Risjord

B3. Information and inference in biology

Chair: Alan C. Love



James Tabery

Jennifer McCormick et al.

Kenneth Schaffner


Justin Biddle, Transient Underdetermination and Values in Science

Barton Moffatt, A Reexamination of Biological Information from the Perspective of Practice


Elizabeth Potter, Hybrid Values in Epistemic and Non-Epistemic Practices

Joel Velasco, Parsimony and Model Selection in Phylogenetic Networks


Monica Aufrecht, The context distinction controversies over feminist philosophy of science

Bert Nederbragt, Cells that count: The standardizing of diagnostic tests for bovine mastitis




Concurrent sessions C


C1. Symposium: Causation in human behavioral genetics

C2. Evidence

Chair: Aris Spanos

C3. Collective dimensions of knowledge

Chair: Justin Biddle

C4. Experimental practices

Chair: Emiliano Trizio


Kathryn Plaisance

Eric Turkheimer

Ken Waters

James Woodward


Aris Spanos, On Securing the Trustworthiness of Evidence: Modeling the Global Surface Temperature Data

Hanne Andersen, Modeling collective belief in science

Muk Yan, Reliability and External Validity in Neurobiological Experiment


Deborah Mayo, A Philosophy of Evidence Relevant for Regulation

Bill Rehg, Crossing Boundaries: Contexts of Practice as Common Goods

Bradley E. Wilson, Nature as Laboratory: Experiments in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Kent W. Staley and Aaron Cobb, Internalist and Externalist Aspects of Justification in Scientific Inquiry

Kirstin Borgerson, Amending and Defending Critical Contextual Empiricism: Lessons from Medical Research

María Jiménez-Buedo and Luis M. Miller, Experiments in the Social Sciences: The Relationship between External and Internal Validity


Picnic at East River Flats

FRIDAY 19 June 2009


Concurrent sessions D


D1. Symposium: The Economics of Scientific pluralism

D2. “Knowing well” in medicine

Chair: Susan Hawthorne

D3. Between mathematics and experiments

Chair: Carol Cleland



Rogier De Langhe

Matthias Greiff

Jeroen van Bouwel


Barry DeCoster, Improving medical explanations: Rethinking explanatory structure and agency

Mikaela Sundberg, Exploring and Accounting for Unexpected Simulation Results


Miriam Solomon, Three new paradigms in medical epistemology

Henrik Kragh Sørensen, Are proofs mathematical experiments? Are mathematical experiments proofs?


Emily L. Evans, Uncertainty and Public Health Research Ethics

Michael Barany, Computer experiments in harmonic analysis




Concurrent sessions E (60 minutes)


E1. Experimental replications

Chair: Bradley Wilson

E2. Genetics and public knowledge

Chair: Michael Barany

E3. Philosophy and Policy

Chair: Scott Hayger

E4. Patients and medical evaluations

Chair: Marta Halina


Peter Heering, Styles of experimenting as an analytical category for scientific practices

Lily Farris, Knowing well, values and evidence-for-use

Marc Kirsch, Vincent Guillin, et al., In search of tools to bridge the gap between science and policy making

Leah McClimans, A Philosophical Framework for Patient-Reported Outcome Measures


Hasok Chang, Historical experiments, lost knowledge, and the purpose of science education

Kimberley Thomas-Pollei, The rise of gentics: Producing knowledge, regulating bodies and transforming patients

Evelyn Brister, Knowledge, Values, and Epistemic Authority in Land Management

Susan Hawthorne, Science, Society, and Reinforced Intolerance of Mental Illness




Plenary session: Douglas Allchin and participants in the "Teaching Science through History" workshop




Concurrent sessions F (120 minutes)


F1. Symposium: Experimental Practices in Developmental Biology

F2. Pragmatism and scientific practice

Chair: Carol Cleland

F3. Styles

Chair: Kent Staley



Alan Love

Stephen Ekker

Laura Gammill

David Greenstein

Ann Rougvie

Jonathan Slack

David Zarkower


John Capps, Pragmatic Truth and Scientific Practice

Alexandra Bradner, On the Very Idea of a Style of Reasoning


Amy L. McLaughlin, Pragmatic Recommendations for Doing Science within One's Means

Stéphanie Ruphy, From Hacking’s plurality of styles of scientific reasoning to « foliated » pluralism, a new form of ontologico-methodological pluralism


Jan De Winter, Explanations in Software Engineering: The Pragmatic Point of View

Erich Reck, Styles of Reasoning in Mathematics: the Case of Richard Dedekind


Sarah Star, Revisiting Ontology and Its Consequences




SATURDAY 20 June 2009


Concurrent sessions G


G1. Symposium: Causation and Evidence in the Historical Sciences

G2. Images and observation


Michael Barany

G3. Politics and political science


Maria Jimenez Buedo



Derek Turner

Carol Cleland

Kevin Francis


Vincent Israel-Jost, Data processing in observation

Sharon Crasnow, Evidence for Use: The Role of Case Studies in Political Science Research


Chiara Ambrosio, From Similarity to Homomorphism: Toward a Pragmatic Account of Representation in Art and Science, 1880-1914.

Zahra Meghani and Jennifer Kuzma, Democratization of risk assessment of converging technologies


Robyn Bluhm, Cognitive Substraction Techniques and neuroimaging research

James H. Fetzer, Assassination Science: Critical Thinking in Political Contexts




Concurrent sessions H


H1. Workshop: Evaluating NOS Knowledge in Science Teaching

H2. Evidence in medicine


Leah McClimans

H3. Models


Deepanwita Dasgupta



Douglas Allchin


Kristen Intemann and Imaculada de Melo-Martín, Evidence for Use: The Case of the HPV Vaccine

Isabelle Peschard, On the Use and Assessment of Models: Forget about Representation


Brendan Clarke, Inverting the Pyramid: A Reassessment of the Roles of Experiment in Evidence-Based Medicine

Mieke Boon and Tarja Knuuttila, How do models give us knowledge?


Maya J. Goldenberg, Critical condition: Can feminist accounts of evidence rehabilitate evidence-based medicine?

Chris Mack, Mathematical Realism: A view from industry




Concurrent sessions J


J1. Symposium: The Epistemic Roles of Organisms in Biological Practice

J2. Standpoints

Chair: Kirstin Borgerson

J3. Interpretation and practice in physics

Chair: Kent Staley



Sabina Leonelli

Staffan Müller-Wille

Christian Reiss

Rachel A. Ankeny

Ken Waters


Elizabeth Silver, Epistemology under pressure: Sacrificing knowledge to keep big pharma under control

Thomas Boyer, Coexistence of several interpretations of quantum mechanics and the fruitfulness of scientific works


Mark Risjord, Why A Nurse Knows Better: Standpoint Epistemology and Nursing Science

Antigone M. Nounou, A Story about Gauge Potentials, Holonomies and Time


Douglas Allchin, Socializing Epistemics: Resolving the Ox-Phos Debate

Robert Hudson, Realism and the Bullet Cluster




Keynote address: Helen Longino: "Pluralism and Practice: Thinking about Behavioral Research"

Chair: Hasok Chang


Closing: Hasok Chang