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For an Historical Epistemology of Technical Transformations

Pour une épistémologie historique des transformations techniques

Third Workshop on Historical Epistemology

Troisièmes journées d’études épistémologie historique

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Published on Friday, December 02, 2016


Ces troisièmes journées d’études seront consacrées à la place des techniques dans les études d’épistémologie historique. Il s’agira d’explorer cette thématique d’un point de vue méthodologique et d’approfondir différents cas d’étude de transformations techniques et technologiques.



The 3rd Edition of this Workshop is dedicated to the role of techniques within the field of Historical Epistemology (HEP). This topic will be developed from a methodological point of view and different case studies involving technical and technological transformations will be taken into account.

The problem of techniques is a crucial matter for HEP, broadly understood: although it is chiefly understood as a conceptual history, HEP has systematically drawn from the study of techniques for inquiring about the concrete development of scientific practices. Moreover, the connection between sciences and techniques has been widely discussed by many, if not all, of the practitioners of HEP, often with the result of highlighting the primacy of the technical, experimental and productive moments over the theoretical and speculative ones.

With this in mind, the workshop will involve discussion of on-going researches about different technical and technological transformations in many different fields: the medical and the social sciences, biology, physics and other disciplines in which the researchers have borrowed from HEP’s toolbox. We expect contributions from different approaches in order to address the proposed topic in its generality, in particular according to the two following axes:

  1. Historical epistemologists facing techniques Compared to Anglo-Saxon philosophy of science, which, until the 1980s, had maintained a strong link to a post-positivist programme granting primacy to theories over observation and experimentation, French epistemology reassessed the role of techniques with a certain precocity. In their analyses of scientific knowledge, Bachelard, Koyré, Canguilhem and Foucault assigned to techniques a particular role. In the contemporary moment of HEP it is I. Hacking who has decisively contributed to reestablish the centrality of the “laboratory style” and of the ways to intervene in the world with respect to the ways to conceive it. In his wake, other authors, like L. Daston, P. Galison and H.-J. Rheinberger have given full attention to the material history and to the role instruments and apparatuses play in the production of scientific knowledge. What did the taking into account of techniques change? How did this consideration itself evolve over time?
  2. History of techniques, history of concepts On the methodological level, we welcome proposals dealing with the relationship between techniques and theories within the history of science and, more generally, on the role techniques have in the processes of scientific development. Under this light, particular attention will be given to those interventions which will envisage to discuss the originality of HEP with respect to other epistemological approaches within science studies, i.e. the science, technology and society studies (STS), but also the relation to other philosophical traditions which have dealt with the same questions, such as phenomenology (Husserl, Merleau-Ponty), anthropology (Gehlen, Marquard), hermeneutics (Nancy), social philosophy (Ellul), etc.

Submission guidelines

Proposals (500 words plus a short presentation of the candidate) must be sent by February 3rd, 2017 (notification of acceptance or refusal by February 27th), in word or pdf formats, to epistemologiehistorique@gmail.com. The languages of the workshop will be French and English. 

Important dates

  • Application deadline: February 3rd 2017
  • Notification of acceptance: February 27th 2017
  • Text submission: May 6th 2017
  • Workshop days: May 18-19-20 2017

Scientific committee

  • Christian BONNET, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.
  • Jean-François BRAUNSTEIN,  Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.
  • Arnold I. DAVIDSON, University of Chicago.
  • Pierre WAGNER, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Organizing committee

  • Ivan MOYA DIEZ, Laurent LOISON, Matteo VAGELLI (coordinateurs)
  • Tiago ALMEIDA, Marcos CAMOLEZI, Wenbo LIANG, Gabriele VISSIO


  • Sorbonne - 17 rue de la Sorbonne
    Paris, France (75005)


  • Friday, February 03, 2017

Attached files


  • épistémologie historique, histoire des sciences, histoire des techniques, histoire des concepts


  • Ivan Moya Diez
    courriel : imoyadiez [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Ivan Moya Diez
    courriel : imoyadiez [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« For an Historical Epistemology of Technical Transformations », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, December 02, 2016, https://calenda.org/386479

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