28 Jun 2022 - 29 Jun 2022All dayOnline/in person in the Audit Room, King's College Cambridge

Description

This conference is organised by the ‘Expertise Under Pressure‘ project at the University of Cambridge and the ‘Philosophy of Science and Epistemology‘ group at the University of Vienna. It is funded by the Humanities and Social Change International Foundation.

Convenors

  • Anna Alexandrova (University of Cambridge)
  • Martin Kusch (University of Vienna)

Overview

The status of social sciences vis-à-vis natural sciences and humanities is a long-standing controversy. From as early as 18th century and throughout 19th and 20th centuries, their supposed distinctiveness animated key debates about the goals and methods of political economy, sociology, anthropology, and eventually the study of politics. Philosophers too have long looked for the special features that all and only social sciences possess. Such an exceptionalism has at times been grounded in free will, interpretation over explanation, historicity over universality, interactive kinds, special connection to moral values and social movements, and so on. In opposition to exceptionalism, naturalists have sought to show that none of these are significant or unique and hence no distinctive logic for social sciences is necessary. It is hard to imagine these debates getting resolved but it is crucial to understand their function. This two-day conference traces the roots of exceptionalism and anti-exceptionalism in different national contexts and examines its role and appropriateness in the social sciences of today.

Speakers

Registration

Registration is by invitation only. If you are interested in participating, please email Anna Alexandrova (aa686@cam.ac.uk) as soon as possible and by 10 June, indicating the reasons for your interest and whether you wish to attend in person or online.

 

Programme

Tuesday 28 June: National histories of exceptionalism
8:30 – 9:00

Registration

9:00 – 9:15

Welcome and introduction: Anna Alexandrova and Martin Kusch

9:15 – 10:45

 

Wolf Feuerhahn : ‘Sciences versus Lettres: a state-sanctioned dualism (France, 1808-1914)’

Discussion chaired by Federico Brandmayr

10:45 – 11:00

Break

11:00 – 12:30

Martin Kusch: ‘Unity or disunity of the sciences? The German debate around 1900’

Discussion chaired by Anna Alexandrova

12.30 - 14:00

Lunch

14:00 – 15:30

Thomas Uebel: ‘Early-twentieth-century anti-exceptionalism in the German context’

Discussion chaired by Uljana Feest

15:30 – 16:00

Break

16:00 – 17:30

Emily Hauptmann: ‘Standing out or looking for cover: strategies for defending public funding for the U.S. social sciences’

Discussion chaired by Cléo Chassonnery-Zaïgouche

Wednesday 29 June: Exceptionalism today
9:00 – 9.30

Registration

9:30 – 10.30

Uljana Feest: ‘Specialness and (dis)unity: the case of Psychology’

Discussion chaired by Martin Kusch

10:30 – 11:30

Federico Brandmayr: ‘ The views of British academics on the (dis)unity of social science’

Discussion chaired by Emily Hauptmann

11:30 - 12:00

Break

12:00 – 13:00

Inkeri Koskinen: ‘Creating looping effects in activist research’

Discussion chaired by Thomas Uebel

13:00 – 15:00

Lunch

15:00 – 17:00

Round table: How today’s disciplines define their specialness

Matei Candea on anthropology

Jason Blakeley and Mark Bevir on political science

Gabriel Abend on sociology

Anna Alexandrova on economics

17:00 – 17:15

Break

17:15-18:15

Round table Q&A, and closing remarks

Chaired by Anna Alexandrova

Upcoming Events

CENTRE FOR RESEARCH IN THE ARTS, SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES

Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk