UCL News


Kant and the Philosophy of Science conference

13 July 2007

Around 70 philosophers of science gathered at UCL to attend an international conference on 'Kant and Philosophy of Science Today', organised by the Department of Science & Technology Studies (STS).

Michael Friedman


The conference, which took place on 2-3 July, was "a major international event to explore the legacy of Immanuel Kant's philosophy for current debates in philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of physics and to foster international collaboration among Kantian scholars worldwide" said conference organiser Dr Michela Massimi.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), a great philosopher of the European Enlightenment, remains hugely influential, especially with his 'Copernican Revolution', in which he introduced the human mind as an active originator of experience rather than just a passive recipient of perception. His ideas relating to morality and science eradicated medieval thinking and laid the foundations for philosophy of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Together with her co-organisers, Dr Hasok Chang (UCL STS) and Professor Marcus Giaquinto (UCL Philosophy), Dr Massimi assembled a unique panel of outstanding international scholars in the field. These included Professor Michael Friedman (Stanford University), Professor Carl Posy (Hebrew University, Jerusalem), Professor Daniel Sutherland (University of Illinois at Chicago), Professor Margaret Morrison (University of Toronto), Professor Tom Ryckman (Stanford University) and Professor Roberto Torretti (University of Puerto Rico).

The conference was jointly sponsored by the Faculty of Mathematics & Physical Sciences, the Royal Institute of Philosophy, the British Academy, the British Society for Philosophy of Science, and the Institute of Philosophy. "We are deeply grateful to all the people who have made this terrific event possible, and to the MAPS Faculty in particular for co-sponsoring it," Dr Massimi said.

This is the second major achievement in philosophy of science for UCL STS this year. Earlier, Dr Chang was awarded the prestigious Lakatos Prize for his book 'Inventing Temperature'. Professor Friedman commented: "With this major event, headed up by Michela Massimi, and the Lakatos Award that Hasok Chang has received earlier this year, the STS Deptartment is really establishing itself as a leading department in the field of philosophy of science at the international level."

The proceedings of the conference will soon be published in a Cambridge University Press volume edited by Dr. Massimi as a supplement to the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal 'Philosophy'.

Image: Professor Michael Friedman (Stanford University)