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Aims of the Conference

It is undisputed that Neokantianism plays an important role for the development of the (German) academic philosophy and, especially, of the philosophy of science during a period of dynamic growth within the sciences in general. The Bochum conference will shed a fresh light on Neokantian philosophy encompassing an approximate time period between about 1865 and the First World War by emphasizing the following aspects:

• It will bring together experts for the history and philosophy of a broad range of disciplines. Therefore, not only the prominent examples of mathematics (with its revolutions in geometry, analysis and set theory) and physics (with its ‛theory boost’ in electrodynamics and thermodynamics) will be discussed, but also biology (with the Darwinian revolution and the rise of theoretical biology), psychology and anthropology (oscillating between sciences and humanities), chemistry (developing its own scientific shape), and the growing and society transforming technical sciences.

• It will enfold the interplay between philosophy and the sciences. It is, therefore, on the one hand, interested in the reaction of Neokantian philosophers on dramatic changes due to the scientific world view but, on the other hand, it is also interested in the reflection of scientists of that period on their philosophical basis and their reception of the then leading academic philosophy.

• It will work in the spirit of an ‛Integrated History and Philosophy of Science’. Therefore, it will entangle the question for an adequate historical picture of the philosophy and sciences of a certain period with systematic questions for their respective status and patterns of their mutual interplay.
One of the guiding questions will be whether a specific type of modernization takes place: a pluralisation of theories, combined with a growing skepticism against metaphysics, with the willingness to accept changing theories instead of fixed ‘systems’, hypotheses instead of ‘eternal’ laws, with an increasing tendency to integrate empirical and pragmatic approaches as well as historiographical reflections into philosophy of science. These seem to be characteristics of a general development in ‘advanced modernity’ which can perhaps also be applied to the formation of Neokantianism and its interaction with the sciences.

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