This award provides support for a workshop to integrate two distinct fields, history of science and philosophy of science. A substantial number of scholars on both sides of the disciplinary divide started an international, interdisciplinary initiative in 2007 to advance the integration of these two fields. It was thought early on that it would necessary to develop a unified methodology to bring about integration. But attempts to do so only served to bring to light very substantial difficulties. The organizers of this workshop propose an alternative methodological approach that would serve to integrate these two disciplines together that advocates pluralism in methods. Discussion will focus on how the community can be cohesive, and how new scholars can be mentored, if there is no single methodology serves to define the field. It will also focus on the development of a dynamic and flexible repository of Integrated History and Philosophy of Science (Integrated HPS) works as an essential tool for capturing the contours of such a community and for allowing for effective mentoring and orientation of early career researchers.
The organizers of this workshop contend that the field of Integrated HPS needs a pluralistic framework for the analysis of the full sweep of science in past and present, combining philosophical analysis and historical evaluation of science in diverse ways. The workshop will bring scholars from both fields together to make progress towards articulating a new understanding of the field, characterizing the Integrated HPS community as a community of problem solvers. The conference discussion will investigate a problem-centered and pluralistic methodology for integrated HPS that benefits from the diverse approaches emerging in recent HPS scholarly literature. Workshop participants will begin discussion and planning for an eventual publishing and repository project that goes well beyond the conference itself and can serve as a model for other interdisciplinary fields of study in the humanities and social sciences.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.