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Cross-Medium Science

Thursday, May 27, 2021, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The Philosophy Department of the Central European University, the Institute Vienna Circle and the Unit for Applied Philosophy of Science and Epistemology (of the Department of Philosophy of the University of Vienna) are jointly organizing a series of talks this term.

(Further speakers will be 10 June: Patricia Blanchette; 17 June: Gaile Pohlhaus; Ruth Weintraub, 24 June: Marta Sznajder.)

The meetings will be online via ZOOM:

You can also log into our meetings through the Zoom application (rather than by clicking the link above), by using the following credentials:

Meeting-ID: 987 6775 8229
Password: IVC-APSE


I offer an account of the epistemology of science, focused not on what scientific knowledge is, but on what scientific knowledge is about. On this view, scientific knowledge is of conditional properties exhibited by ‘mediums’. A medium is a material system that exhibits a set of conditional properties in virtue of (1) its constitution, (2) our capacity to intervene/observe it, (3) our ‘procedural constraints’ (that is, the sets of operations that are considered legitimate concerning that medium). Scientific knowledge, on this view, is fundamentally constrained by the material systems scientists examine. I’ll illustrate the view by examining some experimental and modelling practices in ecology, before putting the account to work, demonstrating how it can make sense of scientific diversity, generalizations and idealizations.