Zentrum für Wissenschaftstheorie
Domplatz 23
48143 Münster
Tel.: +49 251 83-29319
Fax: +49 251 83-24268


Conference "The Problem of Relativism in the Sociology of (Scientific) Knowledge"
(March 22th-23th 2011, University of Siegen)


Conference Poster The Problem Of Relativism

Conference poster as pdf-file 

Are knowledge and our epistemic norms culturally and socially relative? What would be the consequences of such a relativism for traditional topics in philosophy? Questions like these are the focus of recent discussions in epistemology and philosophy of science. Moreover, they have also been intensively discussed in the sociology of knowledge since 20th century.

The aim of the conference is to dicuss the problem of relativism in the sociology of (scientific) knowledge from historical (Mannheim, Fleck) as well as systematic perspectives. By bringing together leading philosophers and sociologists working in the field, the conference's objective is to develop a genuine interdisciplinary exchange. A special focus lies on recent discussions, for example, on Naturalism, Incommensurability, and the Strong Programme.

The conference is part of a research project on relativism in the sociology of knowledge at the University of Siegen, funded by the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). It is organized in cooperation with the Center for Philosophy of Science (Zentrum für Wissenschaftstheorie) at the University of Münster that was already hosting a conference on Kuhn and Fleck in 2008. 



  • Maria Baghramian (Dublin) - "Contested Truths, Constructed Realities" 
  • Barry Barnes (Exeter) - "Relativism as an Extension of the Scientific Project" 
  • Martin Endreß (Trier) - "Methodological Relationalism" 
  • Eva-Maria Jung (Münster) - "Knowledge, Practice, and the Problem of Relativism – Reconsidering Michael Polanyi’s 'Personal Knowledge'"
  • Hubert Knoblauch (Berlin) - "Relativism, Meaning and Explanations in the New Sociology of Knowledge"
  • Richard Schantz (Siegen) - "Realism, Naturalism and Relativism" 
  • Markus Seidel (Münster/Siegen) - "Karl Mannheim, Relativism and Knowledge in the Natural Sciences - a deviant interpretation" 
  • Harvey Siegel (Miami) - "Is Relativism Really Incoherent? On Some Recent Arguments For and Against"
  • Claus Zittel (Florenz/Olsztyn) - "Thinking Styles in Action. Fleck's Concept of Style and the Problem of Relativism" 
  • Students of the University of Siegen - "Theory-Ladenness and Relativism"




The audience at Barry Barnes' talk 


 Dsc00744   Harvey Siegel in discussion with Richard Schantz 

Dsc 0018

 H. Siegel, A. Wenclawiak, A. Zoller, M. Endreß, R. Schantz

 Dsc 0011

Martin Endreß on "Methodological Relationism"
Richard Schantz defending realism Dsc 0008



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Zentrum für Wissenschaftstheorie
Domplatz 23 · 48143 Münster
Tel.: +49 251 83-29319 · Fax: +49 251 83-24268