Philosophy of Science
Abteilung Philosophie
Universität Bielefeld > Fakultät > Philosophie > Forschung > Philosophy of Science

Philosophy of Science

Philosophy of science is one of the department's main areas of research and teaching. At present, five philosophers work in this field; they share an interest in questions concerning the relations between science and society, science and values, methodology, simulation, and science in the context of application.

At Bielefeld University, philosophy of science stands in a tradition of a long-established focus in science studies; it is part of the Institute for interdisciplinary Studies of Science (I²SoS), which includes history of science and economics of science. The I2SoS hosts several research projects, amongst them the Doctoral School (Graduiertenkolleg) Integrating Ethics and Epistemology of Scientific Research (a joint project of Leibniz University, Hanover, and Bielefeld University, funded by the German Research Foundation, DFG), a DFG-sponsored research project on methodological questions of climate research, a Dilthey Fellowship funded by Volkswagen Foundation on Science and Values, and a EU-funded project on responsible research and innovation.

Philosophy of science can be studied as part of the BA and MA philosophy programme  offered by the department, as part of a philosophy of science minor in others programmes, and within the MA programme History, Economics, and Philosophy of Science (HEPS) offered together with the Departments of History and Economics. HEPS includes an international track taught in English.

Staff and key research areas

Professor Dr Martin Carrier addresses methodological changes in response to the pressure of practice that science needs to face. What are the features, if there are any, that distinguish fundamental research from application-oriented research in methodological respect? He attempts to capture the relevant features in terms of the interrelations of different kinds of values (epistemic, economic, social etc.).

Dr Saana Jukola is interested in how non-epistemic factors influence medical and nutrition research. Particularly, her focus is on the effects of institutional factors, such as research funding and science policy.

Junior Professor Dr. Marie I. Kaiser works in the philosophy of biology, general philosophy of science, and metaphysics of science. In particular, her research focuses on the concept of reductive explanation in biology, mechanisms, part-whole relations, causal modeling, complex systems, biological individuality, and the methodology of philosophy of science.

Dr Johannes Lenhard, PD. Against a background of general philosophy of science and philosophy of mathematics, he asks: How is using computers related to transformations in methodology, epistemology, and the social organization of the sciences?

Dr Cornelis Menke is interested in methodology, science and values, pragmatism, and philosophy of applied statistics, and ancient philosophy. Particularly, he works on non-logical and pragmat(ist)ic aspects of confirmation and theory assessment, encompassing both classical (values of theory choice) and statistical methodology.


Science studies at Bielefeld University

Philosophy of Science at Bielefeld University is a key research area in science studies and engages in inter-disciplinary co-operation with other disciplines in general and other fields of science studies in particular. Traditionally, there are strong connections and collaborations with the history of science, sociology of science, and, more recently, economics of science.

Science studies at Bielefeld have a long tradition, going back to one of the university's key research areas (Universitätsschwerpunkt USP Wissenschaftsforschung), and including the former Institute of Science and Technoloy Studies IWT (Institut für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung) focusing on sociology, philosophy, and history of science. The Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) - Germany's oldest centre of advanced studies - hosted several research groups, cooperation groups and workshops on science studies, among others the research group Science in the Context of Application (2006-2007) and the cooperation group Mathematics as a Tool (2012-2015).


The I²SoS

The Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies of Science (I²SoS) provides an interdisciplinary platform for joint research in history, philosophy, and economics of science and science studies in general. It fosters collaboration among the disciplines engaged in science studies and hosts a weekly research seminar, interdisciplinary projects as well as the journal Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy.


Research seminars and reading-groups

At the weekly I²SoS research seminar, papers are given by invited speakers from across the philosophy, history, economics and sociology of science. Additionally, there are readings groups and workshops, as well as the regular departmental seminar of the philosophy department.


Research projects

Doctoral School (Graduiertenkolleg 2073) Integrating Ethics and Epistemology of Scientific Research. This School is a joint undertaking of Leibniz University, Hanover, and Bielefeld University. It is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG); since 2015.

Dilthey Fellowship Science and Values (VolkswagenStiftung; since 2009)

Climate Engineering In Between Reliability and Liability (CEIBRAL), an interdisciplinary project funded by DFG as part of SPP 1689 (2013-2016). Continued as “Climate Engineering Liability and Reliability: An Integrated Treatment   (CELARIT)” 2016-2017.

Responsible Research and Innovation, a project funded within the Nucleus consortium (New Understanding of Communication, Learning and Engagement in Universities and scientific institutions) within Horizon 2020. Duration: 2015-2019.


Teaching and international exchange

Philosophy of science can be studied as part of the BA and MA philosophy programme offered by the department, as part of a philosophy of science minor (Kleines Nebenfach Wissenschaftsphilosophie), and as part of the MA programme History, Economics, and Philosophy of Science (HEPS) offered together with the Departments of history and economics. HEPS includes an international track taught in English.

There are established exchange programmes for students with internationally leading research institutions such as the University of Notre Dame or Paris-Sorbonne University.

The department of philosophy partakes in the European Ph.D. -Network in Philosophy, a joint scholarly program aimed at promoting the scientific quality and the internationalization of doctoral education, as well as providing doctoral students enhanced career possibilities. The participants of this network are the University of Bergen, Bielefeld University, the University of Bucharest, the University of Helsinki, the University of Modena & Reggio Emilia, Paris 1, and Uppsala University. The Network is intended to facilitate joint supervision of PhD theses and to foster the integration of the program’s doctoral students into European academic communities. The Network focuses on Theoretical Philosophy, in particular, philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophical logic, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind.




Verantwortlich für die Pflege der Seite: Cornelis Menke.