Intellectual Humility in the Sciences

December 5, 2023
Department of Philosophy, Durham University

48-49 Old Elvet
United Kingdom


Durham University
University of St. Andrews
Cambridge University
Durham University (PhD)


Durham University
Cambridge University
Durham University (PhD)

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Intellectual humility has become an increasingly prominent topic in philosophy and psychology. Scholars working on it, however, have noted two significant gaps in the literature. These result essentially from researchers (a) focussing predominantly either on conceptual analysis or on empirical investigation in controlled environments and (b) conceiving of intellectual humility almost exclusively as a trait or state exhibited by individuals. The two lacunae this has created are, firstly, a relative dearth of research on intellectual humility in social contexts, and secondly, an almost total lack of work on intellectual humility as a collective or institutional virtue. To fill these gaps, authors have advocated expanding the investigation to other fields, and an area that has been identified as a potentially fruitful but largely untapped arena is the history, philosophy, and sociology of science. Being concerned largely with intellectual activity in various social and institutional contexts, these disciplines can shed important light on intellectual humility not only as an individual but also a collective virtue and on the kinds of social and institutional settings that might foster or disincentivise it. The purpose of this informal workshop is to bring together researchers in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science at the Department of Philosophy, Durham University to share their work in progress on the topic.



Thomas Rossetter

The Quintessences of Quotidian Substances: Humility, Hubris, and Doubt in the Early Development of Chemically-Engineered Foodstuffs


Robin Hendry

Metaphysics in Chemistry


Marabel Riesmeier

The Development of Structural Formulas – A Case of Collective Epistemic Humility?


Sam Colclough and Deb Marber

Collective Intellectual Humility through the Lens of Scientific Institutions – The Case of SAGE and Independent SAGE

The workshop is free and open to all. No need to register, just turn up.

For further information, please email: [email protected]

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