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Conference Aims

Unlike the so-called ‘analytic’ tradition stretching from Frege, Russell and Carnap to Sellars, Quine and Putnam, what is nowadays referred to as ‘continental philosophy’ is usually thought to have little or nothing to say to — or indeed to learn from — the sciences. Regarded by both its opponents and many of its advocates as having more in common with aesthetics, literary theory, politics, theology or cultural studies, where continental philosophers do engage with the sciences at all, their approach is often thought to be invariably either wholly derogatory or simply dilettantish in character. While such views are indeed widespread, especially amongst analytical philosophers, they tend to neglect the work done by philosophers in this tradition, both past and present, who have seriously engaged not only with the ‘human’ or ‘cultural’ sciences (Geisteswissenschaften), but equally with the endeavours of the natural and exact sciences. Thus, while ‘philosophy of science’ has become virtually synonymous with the analytic and positivist traditions (primarily the Vienna Circle and its successors), the purpose of this conference is to begin to redress the balance by bringing together a group of internationally renowned philosophers whose work reflects the broad range of ‘continental’ approaches to the philosophy of science typically ignored by the Anglo-American mainstream.