The IUHPS Joint Commission

A brief history (written by Wilfrid Hodges in 2011, last updated in 2013)

The International Union of History and Philosophy of Science, IUHPS, came into being in 1956 with two parts, the Division of History of Science (DHS) and the Division of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (DLMPS). By 2006 the DHS added 'and Technology' and became the DHST.

Starting in 1964, the IUHPS sponsored a series of 'International conferences of the History and Philosophy of Science' on topics that were of interest to both divisions. Since 1978 these have normally run in the years in which neither Division had a Congress, i.e. the even-numbered years. In the years before a DHS(T) Congress, i.e. the years divisible by 4, a representative of the DHS(T) organized the meeting; in the years before a DLMPS Congress the meeting would be organized by a representative of the DLMPS.

In 1999 the two Divisions drew up a Joint Agreement for a Joint Commission, whose President would be responsible for organizing these meetings of common interest. Starting with the Oviedo Congress of the DLMPS in 2003, the Joint Commission President also organized sessions of common interest at the Congress. That Congress also had a session contributed by the DHS. In subsequent years some problems came to light with the Joint Agreement, and in fact the Joint Commission was out of action in 2008-10. At present [2011] the arrangements for the Joint Commission are controlled not by the Joint Agreement but by Article 21 of the DLMPS Statutes.

Here follows a list of the meetings organized by the Joint Commission or its predecessors.

  • Florence and Pisa, Italy 1964. An International Symposium on 'Galileo nella Storia e nella Filosofia della Scienza' was organised by V. Ronchi and T. Viola with funding from both Divisions. The Proceedings were published in Florence in 1967 by the Gruppo Italiano di Storia delle Scienze.
  • Jyväskylä, Finland 1973. An 'International Conference on the History and Philosophy of Science' was organized by J. E. Murdock, M. Hesse, V. Sadovsky. We have no record of the topics covered.
  • Pisa, Italy 1978. Jaakko Hintikka organized the Second International Conference on History and Philosophy of Science. The Proceedings were published as Theory Change, Ancient Axiomatics, and Galileo's Methodology, Proceedings of the 1978 Pisa Conference on the History and Philosophy of Science, Volumes 145 and 146 of the Synthese Library, edited by J. Hintikka, D. Gruender and E. Agazzi, and published by Reidel in 1981.
  • Montréal QC, Canada 1980. The Third International Conference on the History and Philosophy of Science was organized by Michael Ruse in Montréal in 1980, and it led to two volumes of Proceedings under the title Nature Animated. (One volume was published by Reidel in 1983 and the other by Springer in 1982.)
  • Blacksburg VA, U.S.A. 1982. The Fourth International Conference on History and Philosophy of Science produced a volume Change and Progress in Modern Science, edited by Joseph C. Pitt and published by Reidel in 1982.
  • Veszprem, Hungary 1984. The fifth Joint International Conference on the History and Philosophy of Science yielded a volume Scientific Knowledge Socialized, edited by Imre Hronszky, Márta Fehér and Balázs Dajka, Kluwer, Dordrecht 1988.
  • Gent, Belgium 1986. This was the sixth Joint International Conference of History and Philosophy of Science. The topics and organizers are not recorded.
  • Coimbra, Portugal 1988. This was the seventh joint international conference of History and Philosophy of Science. Again the topics and organizers are not recorded.
  • Florence, Italy 1990. An '8th joint meeting of the two Divisions of IUHPS' took place in 1990 in Florence. The organizers were Paolo Galluzi and Maria Luisa Dalla Chiara. The topic was 'History and Philosophy of the Modern Sciences', with subtopics 'Philosophy in History of Science', 'Images of Scientific Progress' and 'Historical and Philosophical Issues of the 20th century sciences'.
  • Campinas, Brazil 1992. What would have been the ninth joint conference was scheduled for Campinas in 1992, with the theme 'Scientific discovery', but there is no clear evidence that it ever took place.
  • Warsaw, Poland 1994. This was held jointly with a meeting of the newly formed Association for Foundations of Science Language and Cognition. The topic was 'Theories and Models in Scientific Processes', which was also the title of the Proceedings, edited by William E. Herfel, Władysław Krajewski, Ilkka Niiniluoto and Ryszard Wójcicki, Rodopi, Amsterdam 1995. Both meetings were sponsored by the Batory Foundation (a branch of the Soros Foundation).
  • Liège, Belgium 1996. A joint DHS/DLMPS meeting on 'Science, Philosophy, and Religion in Islam and in the West' was announced for 1996, but again there is no record that it took place. Perhaps it was absorbed into the DHS Congress that took place in Liège in 1997.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1998. This was a meeting on 'Philosophical Problems in the Historiography of Science', with Elliott Sober as Progam Chairman and Wesley Salmon as Local Arrangements Chairman. The meeting was described as a 'DHS-DLMPS Joint Conference', but 'organized by DLMPS'.
  • Zürich, Switzerland 2000. This meeting was organized on behalf of the DHS by Erwin Neuenschwander. The topic was 'Scientific Models: Their Historical and Philosophical Relevance'.
  • Paris, France 2002. On behalf of the DLMPS, Anne Fagot-Largeault chaired the Progam Committee for a meeting on 'Relations between History and Philosophy of Science', with Daniel Andler chairing the Organizing Committee. The meeting was supported by the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, the French Ministry for Research and Technology, and several French universities and research institutes. The Secretary-General of the DHS, Juan José Saldaña, attended the meeting. At a session of the Joint Commission during this meeting, plans were made to have two DHS-related Special Symposia at the 2003 DLMPS Congress, as follows.
  • Oviedo, Spain 2003. At the 2003 Congress of DLMPS, Anne Fagot-Largeault organized and chaired a 'Joint DHS-DLMPS Symposium' on 'Scientific (Evidence-Based) Medicine, 19th-20th Centuries'. All five papers from this Symposium are included in the published Proceedings of the Congress. Also Juan José Saldaña, with Alexandre Herlea, organised on behalf of DHS a Special Symposium on 'Philosophy, Methodology and History of Technology', not represented in the published Proceedings.
  • Brussels, Belgium 2004. In this year the baton passed back to the DHS, who had continued Erwin Neuenschwander as their Joint Commission President. The topic of the meeting was 'Probability and Physical Reality'.
  • Paris, France 2006. When the turn of the DLMPS came again, it appointed Jacques Dubucs as Joint Commission President. He organised a meeting on 'Calculability and Constructivity: Historical and Philosophical Aspects'.
  • Beijing, China 2007. Claude Debru, on behalf of the DHST, provided for the DLMPS Congress a joint DHST-DLMPS Special Symposium, on 'The Uses of the Internet in History and Philosophy of Science'.
  • Nancy, France 2011. As Joint Commission Chair, Imre Hronszky organised at the Nancy Congress a Joint Commission Symposium on 'Development of cognition in technology and technosciences'.