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Event: Conference: Should we choose one unique scientific theory?

Event date October 20, 2021 - October 22, 2021
Location France
Host(s) University of Lorraine, Nancy
Event website/information
MultiScienceS International Conference
Should we choose one unique scientific theory?

New perspectives on the problems of “theory choice” and “paradigm selection”:
What if the monist, realist and inevitabilist commitments about science were relaxed?
Hybrid event: in presence and online – to register, click here.
For more details and summaries of the talks, see the event’s webpage.
We are also on facebook.
The conference will take place on two sites:
October 20th
91 Avenue de la Libération, 3rd floor, Salle Internationale.
54000 Nancy
October 21 and 22
23 Boulevard Albert Ier, Building G., Room G04.
Campus Lettres & Sciences Humaines, University of Lorraine, 54000 Nancy
“Theory choice” or “theory selection” is pervasively treated as a fundamental task of science, if not the primary task of any theoretical inquiry. As commonly understood, scientists, or at least scientists working on fundamental theories in a given field, should engage in systematic comparative evaluations of competing frameworks available at a given stage of scientific development, so to recognize the right one or at least the best one at this stage, and then to select it as the basis of future theorizing, while ceasing to take seriously and explore further its competitors.
Such a conception has been, and still is to a considerable extent, a pivotal, largely unquestioned commitment about science. Accordingly, the so-called “problem of theory choice”, or latter the broader “problem of paradigm selection”, acquired the status of a central issue in the philosophy of science.
Regarding these problems, innumerable writings have been produced by meta-studies about science, and myriads of disparate purported solutions have been elaborated, about how to choose.
The conference, however, aims to explore a more fundamental, logically prior question: The question of whether or not, and why, we should choose one unique scientific theoretical framework to the detriment of all its rivals. In other words, the aim is to consider the issue, not of the methodology and historical reasons of theory choice, but of the very rationale of the categorical imperative “select the best theory and abandon the exploration of its competitors”. Put differently, the aim is to characterize the features, and to critically discuss the impacts, of what can be called the “monist regime of our science”.
October 20, 2021 (“salle internationale”, 91 avenue de la Libération, 3rd floor)
Opening (Léna Soler)
CHAIR (morning): Katherina Kinzel

Joseph D. Martin, Durham University, Department of History, Durham, United Kingdom

Institutional Entrenchment and the Trouble with “Science”
Commentator: Cyrille Imbert
Léna Soler, Université de Lorraine, Archives Henri Poincaré-PReST, Nancy, France
How the monist order of our science loads the dice in philosophical debates about science
Commentator: Theodore Arabatzis
12h05-13h30 Lunch
CHAIR (afternoon): Michel Bitbol
Yemima Ben-Menahem, Department of Philosophy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Lessons from Empirical Equivalence and Non-Reductionism
Commentator: Sjoerd Zwart
Hasok Chang, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Why realism should be pluralist
Commentator: Theodore Arabatzis
Jamie Shaw, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Science Funding Policy without Theory Choice
Commentator: Sjoerd Zwart
19h Diner
October 21, 2021
room G04, 23 Bd Albert 1er, building G
CHAIR (morning): Hasok Chang
Marij van Strien, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany
Quantum mechanics as a battle ground for monism and pluralism in philosophy of science
Commentator: Jamie Shaw
Oliver Passon, School of Mathematics and Natural Science, University of Wuppertal, Germany
Should we choose between the different interpretations of quantum mechanics?
Commentator: Michel Bitbol
Manuel Bächtold (speaker), LIRDEF, University of Montpellier, France
The multiple interpretations of quantum mechanics: a case of theory underdetermination?
Commentator: Sjoerd Zwart
13h-14h30 Lunch
CHAIR (afternoon): Theodore Arabatzis
Pablo Acuña, Philosophy Institute, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
Quantum underdetermination and quantum pluralism
Commentator: Michel Bitbol
Marie Gueguen, Marie Curie Fellow, Institut de Physique de Rennes 1, France
No view from nowhere: surplus structure, naturalism and theoretical internalism
Commentator: Michel Bitbol
October 22, 2021 (room G04, 23 Bd Albert 1er, Building G)
CHAIR (morning): Joseph D. Martin
Gregory Radick, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
What makes an alternative virtual scientific sequence historically plausible? A report from the coalface
Commentator: Theodore Arabatzis
Katherina Kinzel, Assistant Professor in the History of Modern Philosophy, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Utrecht University, Netherland
From Perspectivism to Systematic Unity: Kant’s Ideas of Reason and the Debate on Scientific Pluralism
Commentator: Baptiste Mélès
Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Thinking with and beyond Mill: Towards a Scientific Pluralism in a Truly Open-Minded World
Commentator: Hasok Chang
End of the conference
Event organized by Léna Soler, with the support of the Archives Henri-Poincaré – Philosophie et Recherches sur les Sciences et les Technologies (AHP-PReST), the scientific council of the University of Lorraine, the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Lorraine, and CNRS.
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