Seminar on philosophy of the social sciences

lfilo2940  2018-2019  Louvain-la-Neuve

Seminar on philosophy of the social sciences
5 credits
30.0 h
Dedeurwaerdere Tom; Maesschalck Marc coordinator;
Main themes
The seminar will deal with a topic in the area of the philosophy of the human sciences to be determined by its members in relation to research projects they are currently involved in. Active participation in discussions is strongly encouraged. Professors and researchers from the UCL who are interested in the topic and specialists in the topic from outside the UCL are invited to participate in the seminar.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


Upon successful completion of the seminar the student should be able :
- To conduct research into a topic in the area of the philosophy of human sciences based on a critical analysis of major works and texts by authors who are dealing with that topic, and also based on contributions presented in the framework of the seminar;
- To write a scientific paper on a precisely delimited research topic that is germane to the topic of the seminar ;
- To participate actively in cooperative research in the philosophy of the human sciences, especially through participation in discussions of contributions made within the framework of the seminar


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
The philosophical stakes of research into social and ecological transition : from post-postivism to contemporary transdisciplinary science
The dynamism of science has been catalytic for human prosperity in recent history. Conventional perspectives of the ivory tower model of modern science are however rivalled by the failure of humanity to tackle global crises of an economic, environmental and social nature. Operational solutions to these pressures have grown and exposed the pitfalls of modern science to date.
Research institutions globally are eschewing traditional practice, converging around ideas of transdisciplinary sustainability science. New practice based on science-society research partnerships, experiential learning in higher education and iterative and participatory modelling has become manifest.  This course investigates the core concepts, tools and institutional strategies of this evolving field. Prominent research programs within heterodox economics, the environmental sciences and transition theory are explored through diverse case studies, revealing challenges and advancements for transdisciplinary research. The need for reform of modern science is facilitated by consideration of action points to overcome the institutional barriers of putting sustainability science into practice.
Teaching methods
Evaluation methods
A critical commentary of 10 pages will be prepared by the student, based on his analysis of one of the background texts. This work will be presented orally at the course (compulsory part of the evaluation). The commentary can be made in English or in French.
Other information
Online resources
Portefeuille de lecture
1.       Introduction : Le contexte d'une refondation épistémologique de la pratique scientifique contemporaine: l'exemple des sciences du développement durable
·         Dedeurwaerdere, T., 2013. Les sciences du développement durable pour régir la transition vers la durabilité forte.
·         Maesschalck, M. 2010. Transformations de l'éthique. Peter Lang. pp. 163-186.
2.       L'émergence d'une conception post-métaphysique et post-empiriciste des sciences
·         Habermas, J. 2001 (1999 éd. Originale). Vérité et Justification, chapitre 4 : manière de « détranscendantaliser : de Kant à Hegel et retour », Paris : Gallimard, pp. 125-166.
·         Bohman, J. 1991. The New Logic of Social Science. In  New Philosophy of Social Science. 57-101.
·         Putnam, H. 2004 (éd. Originale 2002). L'enchevêtrement des faits et des valeurs. In Fait/Valeur : la fin d'un dogme. pp. 89-105, pp. 37-54
3.       L'approfondissement dans les théories de la complexité, le pragmatisme social et la phénoménologie radicale
a.      Théorie de la complexité et l'auto-capacitation des acteurs
·         Ostrom, E. 2007. A diagnostic approach for going beyond panaceas. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Vol. 104 (39), pp. 15183.
·         Funtowicz S, Ravetz J (1993) Science for the Post-Normal Age. Futures 25:739-755
b.      Pragmatisme social et l'exigence éthique de la recherche
·         Bernstein, R.J. 2010. Prologue. In The Pragmatic Turn. Polity Press, pp. 1-31.
·         Bernstein, R.J. 2010. The ethical consequences of William James's Pragmatic Pluralism.In The Pragmatic Turn. Polity Press, pp. 53-69
·         Bernstein, R.J. 2010. Pragmatism, Objectivity and Truth. In The Pragmatic Turn. Polity Press, pp. 106-124.
·         Hilary Putnam, 2004. The Three enlightenments. In Ethics Without Ontology. Harvard University Press, pp.89-108.
c.       Phénoménologie radicale et la créativité sociale de sujets situés 
·         HUSSERL E., De la synthèse passive. Logique transcendantale et constitutions originaires, trad. par Bruce Bégout et Jean Kessler avec la collaboration de Natalie Depraz et Marc Richir, Grenoble, Jérôme Millon, 1998pp. 191-200.
·         Merleau-Ponty, M. 1964. L'oeil et l'esprit. Paris : Gallimard, pp. 9-35
·         Merleau-Ponty, M. 1945. Phénoménologie de la Perception : La spatialité du corps propre et la motricité, pp. 114-130.
4.       Exemples de l'imbrication fait/valeurs en sciences humaines
·         Putnam, H. 2004 (ed. orig. 2002). Sur la rationalité des préférences. In Fait/Valeur : la fin d'un dogme. pp. 89-105.
·         Feenberg, A. (Re)Penser la Technique, chapitre 3 : le problème de l'action, La Decouverte, 2004, pp. 75-108.
5.       Exemples de processus de recherche transdisciplinaires
·         Lang, D., Wiek, A.,  Bergmann, M., Stauffacher, M., Martens, P., Moll, P.,  Swilling, M.,  Thomas,  C.J., 2012, "Transdisciplinary research in sustainability science: practice, principles, and challenges", Sustainability science, published online Feb 2012.
·         Bohman, J.  2001. Participants, Observers and Critics: Practical Knowledge, Social Perspectives, and Critical Pluralism. In W. Rehg and J. Bohman (eds.). Pluralism and the Pragmatic Turn, Cambridge (MA): MIT Press, pp. 87-113.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Philosophy

Master [120] in Ethics