From ϕ -science to practical realism: an international conference in honour of Rein Vihalemm (1938–2015)

August 13, 2019 - August 14, 2019
Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics, University of Tartu

Room 336
Jakobi 2

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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  • Estonian Research Council (projects PUT732, PRG462)
  • Estonian Ministry of Education (IUT20-5)

Keynote speakers:

Cambridge University
Tallinn University of Technology
University of Helsinki
University of Tartu


University of Tartu
University of Tartu
University of Tartu
University of Tartu
University of Tartu

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The philosophy of science unit at the University of Tartu, founded in 1992, owes much to Professor Rein Vihalemm (1938–2015). He established research in this disciplinary area and supervised many students who now work in the field. Internationally Vihalemm is known as a founder, and was known as an active member, of the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry (ISPC). He edited the volume Estonian Studies in Philosophy of Science in the renowned series Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science (2001). Vihalemm participated in fifteen Congresses of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and many other conferences. From the 1990s onwards, he published numerous research articles in journals, handbooks and collections of papers by leading publishers such as Oxford University Press, Springer and others.

One of Vihalemm’s major theoretical achievements was the development of the concept of ϕ-science – the theoretical account of the physical sciences that enabled him to explain the differences between various research disciplines and characterise the nature of chemistry as partially a ϕ-science. The concept of ϕ-science captures constructive activities that scientists are engaged in. Vihalemm’s main contribution to the philosophy of science is the programme of practical realism that analyses these activities.

On the 9th of December 2018 Rein Vihalemm would have had his 80th birthday. To celebrate, we invite philosophers of science to a conference on Vihalemm's work in Tartu on Aug 13-14, 2019.


This workshop is organized by the Unit for Philosophy of Science, Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics, University of Tartu, and Estonian Association for the Philosophy and History of Science.

Contact information: Please send an e-mail to:

The event is supported by the the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (IUT20-5), by the European Union via European Regional Development Fund (Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies), PUT 732 and PRG 462 of the Estonian Research Council and the Faculty of Humanities and Arts, University of Tartu.

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August 13, 2019, 9:00am +03:00

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