Scientific Reasoning in Action – From the Early Modern Period to 1900

Date: 10-12 October 2018

Organization: the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science (Ghent University) and the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science (Brussels)

Workshop chairs: Steffen Ducheyne (Brussels), Jonathan Regier (Ghent)  & Erik Weber (Ghent).

Local organising team: Thijs De Coninck, Roxan Degeyter, Erik Weber & Dietlinde Wouters.


This  workshop seeks to scrutinize scientific reasoning processes in actual scientific practice (induction, transduction, abduction, analogical and statistical reasoning, and, in general, reasoning from observational and experimental information, and collecting experientia and observation), ranging from the early modern period to 1900. Submissions on all scientific disciplines during this period will be considered. Ideally, submissions should approach scientific reasoning processes from an Integrated History and Philosophy of Science perspective, i.e. they should integrate historical and philosophical perspectives in their analyses. More historically oriented submissions are however welcomed insofar as the material they cover has the potential to engender interesting philosophical analyses.

Keynote speakers

Maarten Van Dyck (Ghent University)

Marij van Strien (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)

Charles Wolfe (Ghent University)

Abstract submission

We welcome submissions on any topic that fits into the scope as described above. Send your abstract of 300 to 500 words to:  before 7 September . Notification of acceptance: 15 September 2018.


Note: Ghent University has awarded the Sarton Chair in history of science 2018-2019 to professor Robert Westman from the University of California (San Diego). The lectures delivered by the chair holder on this occasion can be attended by workshop participants and are included in the schedule below.


Day 1 (Wednesday October 10)

14.00-15.10        Keynote 1: Maarten Van Dyck (Ghent University), Physics as a Problem Solving Activity

15.10-15.45         Coffee Break

15.45-16.30        Iulia Mihai (Ghent University)   Brook Taylor, Analogy and Newtonian Isochrony.

16.30-17.15         Andrea Bréard (Université Paris Sud) Analogy or Induction? Translating and interpreting Li Shanlan’s Argumentative Mode

Workshop diner at 19.00 in restaurant Jour de Fête, Gustaaf Callierlaan 233, 9000 Gent.


Day 2 (Thursday October 11)

9.30-10.40          Marij van Strien (Bergische Universität Wuppertal), Reasoning from Metaphysical Principles in 19th Century Physics

10.40-11.00         Coffee Break

11.00-11.45          Henk de Regt (VU University Amsterdam), Intelligibility and metaphysics: understanding gravitation

11.45-12.30          Ivan Malara (Ghent University),

12.30-13.30         Lunch Break

13.30-14.15          Jonathan Regier (Ghent University), Johannes Kepler and Method as Justification.

14.15-15.00          Chiara Ambrosio (University College London), In Pursuit of History: Lessons from C.S. Pierce’s History of Science.

Sarton Chair Lecture

16.00-18.00        Robert Westman (University of California – San Diego), ‘Either/Or vs. Both/And: Carl Gustav Jung, Wolfgang Pauli and the Kepler-Fludd Polemic’.

Location:             Aula, Voldersstraat 9, 9000 Gent.


Day 3 (Friday October 12)

9.30-10.40          Keynote 3: Charles Wolfe (Ghent University), The Idea of “Philosophy of Biology before Biology”. 

10.40-11.00         Coffee Break

11.00-11.45          Bohang Chen (Ghent University), Kant’s Reasoning on Evolution.

11.45-12.30          Steffen Ducheyne (VUB Brussels), Van Musschenbroek on Newton’s regulae philosophandi, Aquatic Polyps, and the Dangers of Analogy. 

12.30-13.30         Lunch Break

13.30-14.15          Erik Weber & Leen De Vreese (Ghent University), The Causes and Cures of Scurvy. On James Lind’s Methodology.

14.15-15.00          Geoffrey Blumenthal (University of Bristol), Reasoning in Practice in Late Eighteenth-Century Chemistry.

Sarton Medal Lecture

16.00-18.00         Robert Westman (University of California – San Diego), ‘Science and Survival: Jonas Salk, Jacob Bronowski and the ‘Two Cultures’ Question’

Location:              Auditorium 2 (Franz Cumont), Campus Boekentoren, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent.




Panamareko room Zebrastraat events centre (


Registration is closed.

Book of abstracts

The book of abstracts can be downloaded here: Scientific reasoning in action – Book of abstracts