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Workshop: Concept Formation in the Natural and Social Sciences

The Institute of Philosophy at the University of Zurich is organizing a workshop on the topic of concept formation in the natural and the social sciences.
Universität Zürich
09:30 - 18:00

That empirical results play an important role in the formation of scientific concepts has been central to analyses in the history and philosophy of science. Duhem stressed the role of empirical results in conventions, Carnap stressed their role in explication, and recent historical and philosophical investigations stressed their role in the standardization of measurement. These investigations, however, have focused mainly on the natural sciences, and the relation between the role of empirical results in the natural sciences and their role in the social sciences is still a topic of much dispute. It is often argued, for instance, that measurement in a strict sense is impossible in most or all of the social sciences, and that accordingly no standardization of quantities is possible. More generally, it is often claimed that the social sciences are not as directly related to empirical results as the natural sciences for a variety of reasons, and that therefore concepts are formed in very different ways, with very different results.

Speakers: Georg Brun, Adam Caulton, Uljana Feest, James Justus, Hanna Pułaczewska, Samuli Reijula, Mark Risjord, Elina Vessonen, Jo E. Wolff