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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) is a network of academics and students working in the philosophy of science in various parts of the University of Cambridge, including the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and the Faculty of Philosophy. The Wednesday afternoon seminar series features current research by CamPoS members as well as visitors to Cambridge and scholars based in nearby institutions. If you are interested in presenting in the series, please contact Matt Farr (mwef2). If you have any queries or suggestions for other activities that CamPoS could undertake, please contact Huw Price, Jeremy Butterfield or Anna Alexandrova.

Seminars are held on Wednesdays, 1.00–2.30pm on Zoom.

Michaelmas Term 2021

10 November
Jacob Stegenga (HPS, Cambridge)
Sisyphean science: why value freedom is worth pursuing

Coauthored with Tarun Menon (School of Humanities, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru)
The value-free ideal in science has been criticised as both unattainable and undesirable. We argue that it can be defended as a practical principle guiding scientific research even if the unattainability and undesirability of a value-free end-state are granted. If a goal is unattainable, then one can separate the desirability of accomplishing the goal from the desirability of pursuing it. The state with the ideal degree of value involvement cannot be given an independent characterisation, and cannot serve as an action-guiding target, so it can only reliably be attained if scientists treat value-freedom as their goal.

Download this paper

17 November
Mathias Frisch (Leibniz University Hannover)
Climate storylines and managing uncertainty

In this talk I examine the use of storylines in the most recent IPCC report, AR6, and argue that, in light of the deep uncertainties affecting detailed projections of climate futures, presenting low-likelihood but high-impact storylines serves an important purpose for structuring public policy decisions.

24 November

1 December