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AISB event Bulletin Item

CONFERENCE: "The Problem of Relativism in the Sociology of (Scientific) Knowledge", 22-23 Mar 2011, Germany

University of Siegen, Germany

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,
Polanyi) 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 in the sociology of knowledge at the University of Siegen and organized in cooperation with the Center for Philosophy of Science (Zentrum fr Wissenschaftstheorie) at the University of Mnster.

Practical Information:
Date: Tuesday 22th - Wednesday 23th March 2011
Venue: University of Siegen, Arthur-Woll-Haus, Am Eichenhang, 57068 Siegen Conference Language: English
Contact: Markus Seidel, M.A. (

Maria Baghramian (Dublin) - "Contested Truths, Constructed Realities"
Barry Barnes (Exeter) - "Relativism as an Extension of the Scientific Project"
Martin Endre (Trier) - "Methodological Relationism"
Eva-Maria Jung (Mnster) - "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 (Mnster/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"