Various forms of relativism have been salient in the history, philosophy and sociology of science for at least a century. Debates over historicism and psychologism were widespread and lively especially, but not only, in the German-speaking world between the 1890s and 1940s (e.g.Windelband, Rickert, Droysen). The “rationality wars” of the 1960, especially in the philosophy of the social sciences (e.g. Winch, Hollis, Lukes, MacIntyre, Taylor) were fought primarily in the Anglophone world. Many the central arguments in this “war” had their origins in controversies in the social sciences themselves (at least since Westermarck and Boas). Wittgenstein was also an important influence. Kuhn, Feyerabend, “the Strong Programme” (e.g. Barnes, Bloor, Collins, Shapin), Feminist philosophy of science (e.g. Haraway, Harding, Longino), and various movements in social and cultural history (e.g. “new historicism”) are central landmarks in the argumentative landscape of the last fifty-odd years.
The purpose of this Summer School is to review and reassess some central junctions in the history of, and contemporary debates about, relativism in “science studies” (broadly construed to include history, philosophy and sociology of science). In doing so, we shall draw on recent new formula-tions and defenses of relativism in epistemology, moral philosophy and philosophical semantics (e.g. Boghossian, Kölbel, MacFarlane, Rovane, Wright).
The course offer 5 ECTS credits for students at Master and PhD level. The requirements are:
- active participation in the discussions
- preparing introductions to readings as well as comments on talks
- preparing an essay of 7.000 words on a topic of the Summer School