CFP/CFA: Feyerabend 2018 Workshop: Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Science in a Free Society

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Call for Papers
May 17, 2018 to May 20, 2018
Texas, United States
Subject Fields: 
History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Philosophy

A workshop in conjunction with the 2018 Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology Conference.

Invited Speaker:

  • Kathleen Okruhlik, Department of Philosophy & Rotman Institute of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario

Co-Organizers: Matthew J. Brown (UT Dallas) and Ian James Kidd (University of Nottingham)

2018 year marks the fortieth anniversary of Paul Feyerabend’s book Science in a Free Society, his provocative engagement with philosophical issues concerning the authority of science in democratic societies. The book marks a shift of emphasis in Feyerabend’s philosophical concerns, away from epistemological and methodological issues in the physical sciences, and onto social and political issues – such as values in science, epistemic and cultural diversity, and the complicity of science in oppressive projects and systems. Read in this way, Science in a Free Society offers ways of connecting Feyerabend’s later work to subsequent developments in feminist epistemology and philosophy of science, postcolonial science and technology studies, and political and socially engaged philosophy of science. This event explores the claim that Feyerabend anticipated these and other projects in philosophy of science, and that his later work can be profitably understood in their light.

Potential topics in the spirit of Science in a Free Society include, but are not limited to:

  • What is the role and authority of experts in democracy?
  • Can science pose a threat to democracy?
  • Scientism and the public understanding of science
  • Can and should science be democratically controlled?
  • Should we have separation of science and the state?
  • What is so great about science? Should its success be taken for granted?
  • Feyerabend’s “free society” and “democratic relativism” as political philosophy
  • The repression of “scientific heresies” and the defense of “pseudoscience”
  • Feyerabend’s rehabilitation of Aristotelian science and mathematics
  • Reason and practice — Feyerabend as a pragmatist?
  • The reception of Against Method and its influence on Feyerabend’s work post-1975
  • Feyerabend’s changing ideas about incommensurability from 1978 on.
  • What is the place of Science in a Free Society in the history of philosophy of science?

Papers need not be primarily exegetical in nature, but should engage substantively with some aspect of Feyerabend’s work. Proposals should include a 250-300 word abstract.

Submission Deadline: January 15, 2018

Submit a Proposal

The Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology works to foster diversity and inclusiveness in our programming, events, and outreach efforts. Proposal authors and panel organizers will be asked to submit an optional 50-100 word diversity statement with their submission. We will also publish a statement of Conference Aims, Values, and Norms and designate an ombuds for the conference, who can receive confidential reports of inappropriate behavior and work with the organizers to determine appropriate responses.

Feyerabend 2018, as well as the workshop “Racism and the Disciplinary Differentiation of Science and Philosophy,” will take place prior to the Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology Conference. Workshop participants are encouraged to stay for the second workshop and the conference. Submissions to the workshops and the conference will be considered separately.

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