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Call for papers of the conference “Crossing the boundaries. Reassessing historical epistemology between science and philosophy


05th – 06th June 2019
Sala Principi d’Acaja, Palazzo del Rettorato, Università degli Studi di Torino, Via Verdi 8, Turin (Italy)


The notion of historical epistemology arose within the field of Althusserian scholarship on Bachelard’s thought, aimed at identifying some common traits of the French epistemological and structuralist approaches to philosophical and historical problems in the study of science. During the 60s and the 70s the term épistémologie historique came to denote a specific group of authors responsible for the development of a distinctive “ style français en épistémologie” (Braunstein 2002). Recent historiography, though, showed that the peculiar interaction between science and philosophy, deemed typical of this tradition, was not only a general tendency of French philosophy of sciences already with previous thinkers the likes of Meyerson, Brunschvicg, Rey and Metzger, but had also been subject to a partial and belated rediscovery by other endeavours to integrate the two domains: from Anglo-Saxon post-positivist epistemology to that of the German-speaking countries. Still nowadays, new forms of historical epistemology and the so-called “Integrated History and Philosophy of Science” (Stadler 2017) reveal a long-standing interest, both theoretical and historical, for a research program that strives to be increasingly more interdisciplinary.
Therefore, a novel assessment of this strand of thought is needed. It should reconstruct at greater length its origins and evolution, thoroughly framing contacts, relations and influences among its different representatives and movements. The aim of the conference is thus to reassess historical epistemology in its historical context and value. To this end, we seek to bring together the best contemporary young and senior scholars in this field.

Possible topics could include (but are not limited to):

  • authors from the historical epistemology tradition (Meyerson, Brunschvicg, Rey, Metzger, Bachelard,  Koyré, Canguilhem, etc.),
  • reception and influences of historical epistemology in the history of philosophy of science (Duhem, Cassirer, Kuhn, etc.),
  • reconstructions of the role of academic or scientific institutions, groups and journals in the development of historical epistemology (Centre de Synthèse, Institut d’Histoire des Sciences, Isis, etc.).


The abstracts of the talks must be maximum 500 words long and, since they will be subject to blind refereeing by the Scientific Board, they should not contain any personal or institutional information about the author. The deadline for submission is 17th March 2019; acceptance will be notified by 15th April 2019. The final schedule of the event will appear in early May 2019.
Organizers invite contributions from young scholars (PhD students, Post-Doc researchers) for presentation at the conference. There will be five slots: each selected participant will have 30 minutes to present his or her paper; the following 15 minutes will be devoted to discussion.
Keynote Speakers

  • Anastasios Brenner (Montpellier)
  • Marco Giovanelli (Tübingen)

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