Applied Science: Historical, Epistemological, and Institutional Characteristics

July 2, 2012 - July 13, 2012
University of Vienna


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Martin Carrier
Universität Bielefeld
Rose-Mary Sargent
Merrimack College
Peter Weingart
Universität Bielefeld

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Since 2001 the University of Vienna and the Institute Vienna Circle have been holding an annual two-week summer program dedicated to major current issues in the natural and social sciences, their history and philosophy. The title of the program reflects the heritage of the Vienna Circle which promoted interdisciplinary and philosophical investigations based on solid disciplinary knowledge.

As an international interdisciplinary program, VISU-SWC brings graduate students in close contact with world-renowned scholars. It operates under the academic supervision of an International Program Committee of distinguished philosophers, historians, and scientists. The program is directed primarily to graduate students and junior researchers in fields related to the annual topic, but the organizers also encourage applications from gifted undergraduates and from people in all stages of their career who wish to broaden their horizon through crossdisciplinary studies of methodological and foundational issues in science. The summer course consists of morning sessions, chaired by distinguished lecturers which focus on readings assigned to students in advance. Afternoon sessions are made up of tutorials by assistant professors for junior students and of smaller groups which offer senior students the opportunity to discuss their own research papers with one of the main lecturers.

Applied Science Historical, Epistemological, and Institutional Characteristics

Vienna, July 2 - 13, 2012

organized by the University of Vienna and the Institute Vienna Circle.
A two-week high-level summer course on questions related to fundamental philosophical problems of scientific evidence, spanning a wide range of topics in cognitive psychology, statistics, and sociology, and addressing normative, historical and topical issues from an international perspective.

Main Lecturers: Martin Carrier (Bielefeld University) Rose-Mary Sargent (Merrimack College) Peter Weingart (Bielefeld University)

International Program Committee John Beatty (Vancouver), Maria Luisa Dalla Chiara (Florence), Maria Carla Galavotti (Bologna), Malachi Hacohen (Durham/Raleigh), Rainer Hegselmann (Bayreuth), Michael Heidelberger (Tübingen), † Elisabeth Leinfellner (Vienna), Paolo Parrini (Florence), Friedrich Stadler (Vienna), Michael Stöltzner (North Carolina), Roger Stuewer (Minneapolis), Thomas Uebel (Manchester), Jan Wolenski (Cracow).
Karoly Kokai (Secretary of the VISU, Vienna) [email protected]

The main Lecturers

Martin Carrier

Martin Carrier is Professor of Philosophy at Bielefeld University. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Münster and earned his habilitation at the University of Konstanz. His chief area of work is the philosophy of science, in particular, historical changes in science and scientific method, theory-ladenness and empirical testability, intertheoretic relations and reductionism, and presently methodological issues of application- oriented research. Carrier is a member of the “German Academy of Science Leopoldina,” the “Mainz Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Literature,” and the “Academia Europaea.” He was awarded the Leibniz Prize of the German Research Association (DFG) for 2008. His publications include The Completeness of Scientific Theories. On the Derivation ofEmpirical Indicators within a Theoretical Framework: The Case of Physical Geometry (Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994); Nikolaus Kopernikus (Beck 2001); Wissenschaftstheorie: Zur Einführung(Junius 2006, rev. 2008); Raum-Zeit (de Gruyter 2009).

Rose-Mary Sargent

Rose-Mary Sargent is Professor of Philosophy at Merrimack College and Editor-in- Chief of HOPOS:The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science. She earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. Her research focuses on experimental practices from the 17th century to the present. Currently she is working on a study of Francis Bacon’s vision of how experimental science would lead to useful knowledge that would advance the common good and how the inherent tensions within this program were revealed as subsequent generations attempted the pursuit of science in the public interest. In addition to numerous articles, she is the author of The Diffident Naturalist: Robert Boyle and the Philosophy of Experiment (University of Chicago Press 1995), and editor of Selected Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon (Hackett 1999).

Peter Weingart

Peter Weingart is Professor Emeritus of Sociology (sociology of science and science policy) at Bielefeld University, Germany. He was director of the Institute for Science and Technology Studies (IWT) and director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF 1988–1994). He is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Engineering Sciences (acatech) in Germany. He is managing editor of the Yearbook Sociology of the Sciences and since 2008 he is editor-in-chief of Minerva. He has published numerous articles and books in the sociology of science and science studies, among them Metaphors and the Dynamics of Knowledge (with S. Maasen, Routledge 2000), Die Stunde der Wahrheit? (Velbrück Wissenschaft 2001), Die Wissenschaft der Öffentlichkeit(Velbrück Wissenschaft 2005).

Applied Science: Historical, Epistemological, and Institutional Characteristics

In the course of the twentieth century, science became increasingly intertwined with technology and matters of social relevance. As a result, science is viewed today as an essentially practical endeavor. Science and technology appear inextricably interwoven with one another. This development is viewed in many quarters as a fundamental reorientation of science and its relationship with technology. Science in the context of practice is assumed to operate under conditions significantly different from the rules and regulations of traditional academia. There are three overlapping themes in the course that deal with the topic from a historical, philosophical, and sociological perspective, respectively. The issue involves methodological and epistemological questions concerning research in the service of technological development as well as sociological questions about the institutional characteristics such research acquires. These questions give rise to various contrasts and oppositions such as commissioned research versus research in the public interest, epistemic research versus application-oriented research, research under the aegis of the linear model versus applied research.

The lectures will deal with the following topics:

  • Nationalism, Commercialism, and Popularization (1750–1840)
  • Utilitarianism, Positivism, and Victorian Society (1840–1900)
  • The Professionalization of Science, Logical Empiricism, and the Rhetoric of Pure Science (1900–1950)
  • National Politics and the Commodification of Science (1950–2000)
  • Beyond 2000: A Reassessment of the Concept of Science in the Public Interest
  • Values and Objectivity in Science
  • Theories for Use: The conceptual structure of research in the context of application
  • On the Question Dynamics of Research: Modes of Finding and Losing Research Topics in Science and Technology
  • Science in the Grip of the Economy? Conditions of applicationoriented research
  • Epistemic and Social Conditions of Scientific Expertise
  • Knowledge, Politics and Commerce: The ethical dimension
  • The self-referential direction of research
  • Institutional patterns for basic and applied research
  • Origins of the linear model and the innovation paradigm
  • National Innovation Systems – the concept, comparative perspective
  • Science funding or innovation policy?

For further inquiries, please send email to [email protected] or consult the IVC's Web site:

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