10th Anniversary Conference

10th Anniversary Conference


Anniversary conference cancelled!

Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak the anniversary conference will not be taking place in May. We hope to reschedule the conference for next year, and will keep you updated here with any further developments.


To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Leibniz University Hannover’s Institute of Philosophy, we will be holding a conference with the overarching theme: “The Role of Science in Society”.

Registration is free, but mandatory, for anyone interested. Please register at conferences@philos.uni-hannover.de.

© Various Copyrights

Invited speakers for the 10th anniversary conference: Prof. Dr. Rebecca Kukla (Georgetown University), Prof. Dr. Lisa Herzog (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), Prof. Dr. Jutta Schickore (Indiana University), Prof. Dr. Gary Hatfield (University of Pennslyvania), Prof. Dr. Philip Kitcher (Columbia University), Prof. Dr. Anjan Chakravartty (University of Miami), Prof. Dr. Tim O’Connor (Indiana University) & Prof. Dr. Eric Winsberg (University of South Florida).


We are very pleased to be hosting some of the world’s leading philosophers of science, who will give talks addressing various dimensions of this theme. These talks will, among other things, tackle questions concerning the role of societal values in science, from setting scientific aims, to establishing standards of scientific evidence. They will address the challenges in communicating scientific results to society at large, the problem of widespread societal scepticism concerning scientific results, and interrogate what responsibilities scientists have to society, and how they are best upheld.


Here you can find a list of the invited speakers and a short synopsis of each talk:

  • Prof. Dr. Philip Kitcher (Columbia University) - Keynote Lecture

    Scientific Progress and the Search for Truth

    In his public keynote lecture, Philip Kitcher will discuss how we should decide the proper aims of scientific research, and on what constitutes scientific progress. He argues that while many scientific activities are usefully understood as making progress by contributing to our knowledge of the world, true progress in science is pragmatic progress, which is achieved when scientists seek knowledge as a means towards further ends that are determined by practical and social needs external to science. Society hence has the important role of delivering the concerns and values that determine what constitutes scientific progress and what the aims of science should be.

  • Prof. Dr. Eric Winsberg (University of South Florida)

    Severe Weather Event Attribution: Why Values Won’t Go Away

    Eric Winsberg will address the overarching theme of why questions of value are unavoidable in science, how they come into the equation, and how we should communicate this to society at large. Focusing on climate science, Winsberg considerstwo competing approaches to attributing extreme weather events to climate change, one of which is claimed to be more ‘objective’ and thus superior to the other. Winsberg argues, however, that both approaches are laden with substantive social values and differ only in how much emphasis they put on the avoidance of false negative and false positive results; so that neither approach can avoid making value judgments and the choice between them is fundamentally value-laden. This will illustrate the unavoidability of making value- based judgments when deciding between different scientific methodologies in general.

  • Prof. Dr. Rebecca Kukla (Georgetown University)

    The Aesthetics of Objectivity

    Rebecca Kukla will address issues surrounding the role of values in science, focusing on how values inextricably penetrate our standards of objectivity in scientific representation. Kukla argues that the information communicated by, for instance, visual representations of data is ineliminably shaped by aesthetic values and choices, and that there are no objectively undistorted aesthetic choices to be made. While there are ways of making representations 'look neutral', this neutral look is itself a stylistic aesthetic choice, and one that carries with it a variety of substantive value presuppositions. So, rather than enhancing objectivity, purportedly neutral aesthetic values tend to induce undue partiality in our scientific representations. Against this background, Kukla argues that, perhaps surprisingly, aesthetic creativity, which suspends unhelpful ideals of neutrality, can counter ideology and enhance objectivity.

  • Prof. Dr. Lisa Herzog (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)

    Knowledge, Power, and the Challenge of Institutionalization

    Lisa Herzog will focus on the problem of increasing resentment and scepticism directed at scientific experts in recent years. Herzog investigates what underwrites these tendencies and argues that the vulnerability of expertise to scepticism is an unavoidable feature of expert-laypeople relationships, which are marked by an asymmetric relationship of trust, and where this trust is highly vulnerable to externally induced scepticism. Herzog then considers how institutional change might protect expert-laypeople relationships from erosion by populism-fuelled science scepticism.

  • Prof. Dr. Anjan Charkravartty (University of Miami)

    Transcribing Knowledge: From Science to Society

    Anjan Charkravartty will focus on the general issue of how scientific findings should be adequately communicated to the public, and how can they be translated into public policy. Specifically, he considers how the widespread use of models in science, especially in the context of informing policy, can be defended to an increasingly science-scepticalpublic, and what science communication can do to help facilitate public understanding and acceptance of scientific knowledge that is underwritten by the use of models.

  • Prof. Dr. Jutta Schickore (Indiana University)

    Peculiar Blue Spots: Causes, Circumstances, and Evidence around 1800

    Jutta Schickore will provide a historical case study analysing how, in the late 18th and early 19th century, investigators across different disciplines have changed their standards concerning what scientific goals to pursue, and who can be a reliable provider of evidence. This case study can help address the overarching question of how standards of evidence operate in science. This question has broad significance, for instance, forcontemporary discussions of evidence-based policy, which has dramatically altered what evidence is considered to be a sufficiently credible basis for public policy, and who can be considered to be a trustworthy supplier of such evidence.

  • Prof. Dr. Gary Hatfield (University of Pennsylvania)

    Phenomenally Converging Railway Tracks: A Misperception?

    Addressing a similar theme as Jutta Schickore, Gary Hatfield will provide a more fundamental perspective on the nature of perception and its role as a potentially reliable form of evidence. Hatfield considers cases where it seems that agents misperceive their environment, but argues that there is a wide class of putative misperceptions that nevertheless play a useful role in being action-guiding and ecologically efficient, as judged by perceiver-dependent standards. Thus, Hatfield shifts the focus from truth as criterion of adequacy of empirical inquiry to the more heavily pragmatic criterion of reliability.

  • Prof. Dr. Tim O’Connor (Indiana University)

    Probabilistic Explanation and Free Will

    Moving beyond the science in society theme into broader philosophical waters, Tim O’Connor will give a talk on probabilistic explanation and free will. O’Connor takes issue with recent objections to causally indeterminist (‘libertarian’) accounts of free will. These objections target the thesis that human free choices are or would be governed by objective probabilities. O’Connor argues that these objections do not succeed while, significantly, remaining neutral on the metaphysics of free choice and action. Contrary to widespread assumption, he argues that many thicker metaphysical accounts are not so much rival theories of freedom but rather one account of freedom developed within different theories of the root categories of substance, property, and causation, which provide independent grounds to adjudicate theories of freedom are.


Conference Schedule
PDF, 291 KB



The conference will be held at the Königlicher Pferdestall, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Appelstraße 7, 30167 Hannover.



Hannover Airport (HAJ/EDDV) is an international airport and a regional hub.
The airport is directly connected to Hannover's main station via public transport
(S5 – Hannover/ Hameln). For timetables and ticket information click here.

If you arrive at another airport, use the national rail (DB) to get to Hannover's main station.

Direction from Hannover's main station to the venue by local transport:

When you arrive at Hannover's main railway station "Hannover Hauptbahnhof", you have to take the tram/ subway system (Uestra) to the venue. Use lines 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, or 9 to "Kröpke (U)" station. From there use lines 4 or 5 to get to the closest station to the venue, which is "Schneiderberg (U)". You can walk from there to the conference venue in about 8 minutes; directions can be found here.



We have reserved several rooms at the Star Inn Hotel Hannover, Hamburger Allee 65, 30161. It's reasonably priced and is within walking distance of public transport "Werderstraße (U)" (~6 min.); directions are available here. If you would like one of these rooms, please let us know before the 1st of May, 2020.


Child care options

We have child care options in place for attendees who will travel with their children. Please contact us, if you wish to make use of this offer and we will gladly provide you with further information and instructions.


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us via: