Events in English

The ZfW regularly organises and hosts interdisciplinary events such as workshops and conferences on widespread aspects of philosophy of science.

Though most of them focus on a German speaking audience, we are always interested in featuring events in English as well.

  • Biological Functions - From Zebra Stripes to Synapses (January/February 2020)

    This colloquium centered around Justin Garsons book "What Biological Functions Are and Why They Matter" (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Garson is one of the leading experts in the field of bilogical functions. Based on the structure of the book, this colloquium was seperated into two parts. On the the first day Garson's theory concerning the gerneralised selection-effects of the biological functions and their alternatives was discussed. The second day gave room for the debate about philosphical applications in the philosophy of biology, psychiatry and the mind.

    This event was organized by Fabian Hundertmark and Behzad Nematipour. It took place at the University of Bielefeld. Speakers were among others: Joe Dewurst (München), Fabian Hundertmark (Bielefeld), Ulrich Krohs (Münster), Behzad Nematipour (Münster) and Peter Schulte (Zürich).

  • Philosophical Perspectives on Ecological Niches (July 2019)

    The ecological niche is a key conceptual tool for capturing the intricate interactions between an organism and its environment. Within ecology, the niche is generally taken to comprise any environmental factors that determine the establishment or survival of a population. More recently, evolutionary biologists have argued that the way organisms construct their niches is an important evolutionary process. This development gave reason to reflect philosophically about the concept of ecological niches.

    Central questions discussed at the workshop concerned the ontological status of such niches, the connection with different concepts like fitness and function as well as the implications of niche individualization.

    This workshop was a part of the DFG-sponsered  Collaborative Research Centre “A Novel Synthesis of Individualisation across Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC³)” and took place in Bielefeld on the 15 and 16 July 2019. It was organised by Prof. Ulrich Krohs (Münster), Behzad Nematipour (Münster), Prof. Marie I. Kaiser (Bielefeld) andRose Trappes (Bielefeld).


    Antoine C. Dussault (Collège Lionel-Groulx/Université du Québec à Montréal)

    Alkistis Elliott-Graves (University of Helsinki)

    Holger Schielzeth (Universität Jena)

    Alan C. Love (University of Minnesota)

    James Justus (Florida State University)

  • (Scientific) Observation and Background Effects - Conceptualization, Epistemic Issues & Mechanisms (July 2019)

    On the 11 and 12 July 2019 the ZfW hosted a workshop about "(Scientific) Observation and Background Effects - Conceptualization, Epistemic Issues & Mechanisms". It was organised by the ZfW-members Raja Rosenhagen and Niko Strobach. Speakers came from the Ruhr University Bochum, the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, the Ashoka University Sonipat Haryana and the University of Münster.

  • Instrumentalist approaches to biological functions (October 2018)

    On 5 October 2018 the ZfW invited to a satellite workshop of the 1st Münster Evolution Meeting. Human biologist Katja Nowick (FU Berlin) and philosopher of biology Ulrich Krohs (WWU Münster) presented short inputs on relativistic and instrumentalist stances on functions from an empirical and philosophical perspective, respectively. Afterwards they discussed prospects and problems of pluralist and instrumentalist approaches with participants.

  • Colloquium in Honour of Rosemarie Rheinwald (May 2014)

    The Centre for Philosophy of Science (ZfW) supported a colloquium in honour of Rosemarie Rheinwald taking place at the University of Münster 9-10 May 2014 (Convenors: Nancy Cartwright, Brigitte Falkenburg, Ulrich Krohs, and Wolfgang Spohn).

    Further information can be found here.

  • The Problem of Relativism in the Sociology of (Scientific) Knowledge (March 2011)

    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 the 20th century.

    The aim of the conference is to discuss 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 organised in cooperation with the Centre for Philosophy of Science (Zentrum für Wissenschaftstheorie) at the University of Münster that was already hosting a conference on Kuhn and Fleck in 2008.

  • Scientific Knowledge (July 2008)

    From 21 July to 23 July 2008 several speakers discussed the influence of Ludwik Fleck on Thomas Kuhn and his opus magnum "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" as well as their impact on philosophy of science.

    A detailed programme can be found here.

  • The Nature of Scientific Evidence (July 2007)

    This workshop intended to contribute to two central aspects of the debate on the status and character of scientific evidence: On the one hand, it sought to clarify different understandings of the term "evidence". On the other hand, participants discussed to which extent various disciplines differ in their conception of the types and qualities of scientific evidence.