Discovery in the social sciences

A workshop on "Discovery in the social sciences: Towards an empirically-informed philosophy of social science" will take place at the University of Leuven, Belgium, March 22-23, 2011. The aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars who are working in the philosophy of the social sciences, especially those interested in scientific practice. The theme is discovery in the social sciences. The keynote speakers are Alison Wylie (University of Washington) and Jack Vromen (Erasmus University Rotterdam). We invite submissions of extended abstracts (about 1000 words), and we are especially eager to hear from young researchers. Submission deadline for abstracts: 31 December, 2010. Here is the workshop's website.






We are interested in both case studies that examine specific instances of discovery in social sciences, and in more theoretical or methodological papers that are informed by scientific practice. We take 'discovery' in a broad sense, meaning discovery of empirical phenomena, theories and laws. 'Social sciences' refers to a broad range of disciplines, including (but not limited to) economics, anthropology, history, archaeology, psychology (including neuroscience), linguistics, and sociology.


Possible topics (not an exhaustive list) include

What is specific to discoveries in the social sciences? What is the epistemic role of artefacts in discovery, for example in neuroscientific research? Can we discern patterns in discovery in the social sciences? The discovery of laws in social sciences. Case-studies of discovery in specific social sciences. Creativity in social scientific practice.

Please send your abstract, preferably as pdf or rtf to Helen De Cruz, using the following e-mail address @ (remove spaces) by December 31 2010. (Notification of acceptance: January 15, 2011.) Please also indicate your position (e.g., graduate student, postdoc, assistant professor).

Scientific committee: Helen De Cruz (University of Leuven), Eric Schliesser (Ghent University), Farah Focquaert (Ghent University), Raymond Corbey (University of Leiden and Tilburg University).

This workshop is supported by funding from the University of Leuven and Ghent University.

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