About

About POSS Roundtable

The impetus for the Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable was a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on Philosophy of the Social Sciences convened by James Bohman and Paul Roth at the University of Missouri, St. Louis in the summer of 1998. Alison Wylie joined Bohman and Roth and, as the founding organizers, they hosted the first meeting of the Roundtable in 1999.

The Roundtable met annually in St. Louis until 2004, hosted alternately by St. Louis University (Bohman), Washington University (Wylie), and UM-St. Louis (Roth), and has since met at a number of other venues in North America. In addition to UC-Santa Cruz (where Roth relocated) and at Barnard College/Columbia University and the University of Washington (where Wylie relocated), it has been convened by Stephen Turner at the University of South Florida (2007), by Mark Risjord at Emory University (2009), and by David Henderson at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (2012). The current organizing committee is comprised of the three founders and three subsequent local hosts.

All but one meeting of the Roundtable has been in North America. The 2011 Roundtable meeting was held in Paris, hosted by Alban Bouivier at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris. This meeting was a catalyst for the formation of the European Network for the Philosophy of the Social Science (ENPOSS) which has been meeting annually since 2012. The Roundtable and ENPOSS periodically collaborate on joint conferences: the first joint RT/ENPOSS meeting was convened in Venice, in September 2013, and the second will be held in May 2015 at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Annual meetings of the Roundtable have established a tradition of working conferences that bring together an intellectually diverse and international community of philosophers and social scientists who share an interest in philosophical questions that arise in, and about, the social sciences. It is run as an intensive workshop-style meeting; typically two keynote speakers [jump link to list of keynotes below] are invited but all other presentations are selected from submissions received in response to an open call for extended abstracts. The organizers are committed to a pluralist vision of philosophy of the social sciences; they welcome submissions from widely diverse areas within philosophy – epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and of language, action theory, and social/political theory – and encourage engagement with the whole range of social sciences, from anthropology and history, sociology and political science, to psychology, cognitive science, and economics. The Roundtable has become a key forum for discussing foundational questions in social theory, issues raised by explanatory paradigms and theoretical presuppositions, the orienting epistemic ideals and methodologies, and the ethical and political implications of the social sciences.

Each year a selection of Roundtable papers are invited for publication in an annual special issue of the journal, Philosophy of the Social Sciences.

For more information, see the following: