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Event: Workshop: Reactivity, Prediction and Intervention in the Human Sciences

Event date August 18, 2021 - August 20, 2021
Submission deadline April 16, 2021
Location Helsinki, Finland
Host(s) University of Helsinki
Event website/information

Call for Papers/Abstracts:

Workshop: Reactivity, Prediction and Intervention in the Human Sciences

August 18-20, 2021 in Helsinki

The workshop Reactivity, Prediction and Intervention in the Human Sciences will be the third one in a series of workshops on Reactivity in the Human Sciences generously funded by The Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). Its focus is on the effects of reactivity on human sciences’ ability to predict and intervene effectively on the social world – a phenomenon variously discussed under the labels of reactivityreflexivityself-fulfilling prophecies, and performativity

Both philosophers and social scientists have been worrying about social scientific predictions whose truth value might change by becoming known, about the usefulness and legitimacy of social measures when people change their behaviour as a reaction to being measured and about the epistemic and moral dangers posed by models and theories of social phenomena becoming true simply in virtue of being performed as such. Yet, in spite of the long history of several of these debates, it still remains unclear whether reactivity is in fact a phenomenon unique to the human sciences, whether it is an insurmountable problem for such sciences, and more generally, what its methodological, epistemic and moral implications are.

Questions to be addressed include, but are not limited to:

⁃            Is reactivity a problem for theory confirmation?

⁃            To what extent is reactivity a problem for prediction and/or intervention? 

⁃            Are the concepts of performativity, reflexivity, self-fulfilling prophecies, etc., just different labels for the same phenomenon, or do they refer to genuinely different kinds of phenomena?

⁃            Are there ways of mitigating the possible unintended effects of reactive measures?

⁃            What are scientists’ responsibilities for the performative effects of their theories or models?

Confirmed speakers:


Anna Alexandrova (Cambridge University) 

Jacob Bush (University of Aarhus)

Caterina Marchionni (University of Helsinki)

Uskali Mäki (University of Helsinki)

Robert Northcott (Birkbeck College)

Ekaterina Svetlova (University of Leicester)

Call for abstracts

Up to four contributed papers will be accepted for presentation at the workshop. We invite submission of abstracts of maximum 1000 words. 

Please send an abstract no later than April 16, 2021 to Caterina Marchionni at Travel expenses within Europe and accommodation will be covered. Submissions from early career scholars and/or from scholars in the Nordic countries are encouraged. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Caterina at

 Dates and Deadlines


Submission Deadline: April 16, 2021

Notifications: May 14, 2021

Workshop: August 18-20, 2021

Conference Venue – a hotel conference center located in the immediate surroundings of Helsinki with a stunning view on the Finnish archipelago.

EJPS Topical Collection

On the theme of the workshop series Reactivity in the Human Sciences, we are collecting contribution for a Topical Collection to appear in the European Journal of Philosophy of Science. The deadline is August 31, 2021. The full call for papers can be found here: European Philosophy of Science Association (EPSA) – Reactivity in the Human Sciences. Submission to the Topical Collection is open to anyone interested in reactivity, including of course participants at our workshops.

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