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LTF Lecture with Mieke Boon: How do models represent? The role of perspectives

Thursday 26 September 2019
Past events 2019
P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden

The Leiden Theoretical Philosophy Colloquium Series is pleased to announce a lecture by

Prof. dr. Mieke Boon (University of Twente)


This paper aims at an account of the role of perspectives in scientific research practices, focusing on their epistemological role in constructing representations (such as scientific models) that can be successfully used in epistemic task. In accounting for scientific representation, the notion of perspectives functions as a metaphor (e.g., Massimi & McCoy, eds., 2020). I propose a distinction between two versions of this metaphor. The first draws on the meaning of perspectives in graphic art and complies with forms of scientific realism. The second interprets perspectivism as a Kantian-Kuhnian take on empiricism, emphasizing the non-eliminable role of the perspective as part of the epistemic actor’s knowledge of what is represented. This implies a form of Van Fraassian anti-realism. To the concern that the latter gives leeway to harmful forms of subjectivism and relativism, I reply that the perspectives themselves can and must be made explicit.


Mieke Boon is full professor in Philosophy of Science in Practice at the University of Twente (The Netherlands), where she is a core teacher in the programs Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society (PSTS) and in the University College ATLAS. In 2005 she initiated the Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice (SPSP) and was member of the SPSP organizing committee until 2016. Since 2015 she is member of the European Philosophy of Science Association (EPSA) steering committee, and chair of the chamber theoretical philosophy of National Dutch Research School in Philosophy (OZSW). She studied philosophy at the University of Leiden. Her scientific background is in chemical engineering in which she received an MSc and PhD, both cum laude. In 2003-2008 and 2012-2017 she worked on personal research grants of the Dutch National Science Foundation (NWO-Vidi and NWO-Vici/Aspasia), aiming to develop a philosophy of science for the engineering sciences. UT People, Research Gate.

All are welcome!

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