The news archive of the German Society for Philosophy of Science (GWP).

Submitted by Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla (DCLPS, University of Duesseldorf)


CALL FOR PAPERS (Salzburg, deadline: May 1, 2021)

Salzburg Conference for Young Analytic Philosophy: SOPhiA 2021
September 9 – 11, 2021
Department of Philosophy (Humanities), University of Salzburg, Austria

SOPhiA 2021 provides an opportunity for students and doctoral candidates in philosophy to take a first peek into the philosophical business and to get in touch with prospective and well-established philosophers. Contributions in every discipline of philosophy (epistemology, ethics, logic, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, etc.) are welcome. As common in analytic philosophy, contributors should make use of understandable language as well as rational argumentation. In addition to the conference presentations, there will also be affiliated workshops on selected topics in analytic philosophy.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Marian David (University of Graz)
  • Herlinde Pauer-Studer (University of Vienna)
  • Markus Schrenk (University of Duesseldorf)


  • Scientific Impartiality and Marginalized Groups (Organisation: Sophie Nagler (Oxford, MCMP) & Hannah Pillin (LSE, MCMP) & Deniz Sarikaya (Hamburg))
  • Moral and Scientific Expertise (Organisation: Alexander Christian, Julia Mirkin (Duesseldorf))
  • Social Ontology (Organisation: Thorben Peterson (Bremen))
  • Realities of Free Will (Organisation: Maria Sekatskaya (Duesseldorf))

Call for papers:
Students and doctoral candidates (pre-doc) in philosophy are encouraged to submit an abstract prepared for double-blind review. We are committed to fostering diversity and equality in our programs. Submissions from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome. Abstracts should not exceed 2.000 characters. All submissions should be suitable for a presentation of approximately 20 minutes in length (plus 10 minutes discussion). Please submit your abstract with a biographical note and a short CV attached in a separate document at until May 1, 2021. Attendees are asked to register at the same site before the conference. Note that authors may appear as co-authors on multiple submissions, but not more often than once as first author/presenter.

Additional information concerning COVID-19:
At the moment, we are planning the conference as a physical event. If it will be possible to hold the conference as a physical event in September 2021, the conference will conform to the COVID-19 safety measures for public events according to recent standards at that time. The organising committee reserves the right to hold the conference as a mixed or online event if need be. Authors of accepted contributions will be updated and informed in time about the status of the conference.

SOPhiA best paper award:
Contributors are also invited to submit a full paper (from 4.000 up to 8.000 words) not including any author or affiliation information. A selection of full papers will be published in KRITERION — Journal of Philosophy. The best contribution will also be awarded with 250 EUR at SOPhiA 2021. Please prepare your full paper according to the guidelines available at and submit it via e-mail (subject line: SOPhiA 2021) to Please note that only full papers in English submitted before the general deadline (May 1, 2021) can be considered for the SOPhiA best paper award and that contributors are not allowed to be first or co-author of more than one paper submitted for the SOPhiA best paper award.

Submission deadline: May 1, 2021
Notification deadline: June 1, 2021

Submitted by Adrian Wüthrich (TU Berlin).

2nd Call for Papers

We extend the deadline for submissions to the workshop announced below until 15 January 2021. For this second call, we particularly encourage contributions dealing with the life sciences, or with periods before the 20th century.

Virtual entities in science: a virtual workshop

5, 12 and 19 March 2021, online 

Organized by the Project Virtual Particles” (A1) of the Research Unit The Epistemology of the Large Hadron Collider”

Not only since the sudden increase of online communication due to the COVID-19 situation has the concept of the “virtual” made its way into everyday language. In this context, it mostly denotes a digital substitute of a real object or process. “Virtual reality” is perhaps the best known term in this respect. 

With these digital connotations, “virtuality” has been used also in science and research: Chemists use virtual laboratories, biologists do virtual scanning of molecular structures, and geologists engage in virtual field trips. 

But the concept of the “virtual” has a much longer tradition, dating back to long before the dawn of the digital age. Virtual displacements and virtual images were introduced in classical physics already in the 18th century. They represented auxiliary objects or processes without instantiation, with the purpose of efficiently describing specific physical systems. Through Heisenberg’s use of “potentia” in his late attempts to interpret quantum mechanics, the term “virtual” may even relate back to Aristotle.

In today’s physics, the term virtual is mostly associated with the quantum world, first and foremost with the “virtual particle” of quantum field theory. It has become such an integral part of modern high energy physics that its ontological character may be considered to go beyond the purely auxiliary, which is typically associated with the virtual. The various possibilities for a virtual particle to manifest itself in a measurement highlights, furthermore, how “potentiality” continues to be a characteristic feature of virtual entities. 

In other disciplines, however, use of the term “virtual” without a digital connotation is much rarer. While concepts like “virtual adrenaline” in medicine and biochemistry arise in the 1940s, and the “virtual moon” figures quite prominently in some (English translations of) Babylonian calendar texts, these examples seem to be rather singular occurrences of entities that were explicitly called “virtual”. The basic idea behind the terminology of the virtual, however, could be much more common, even outside of physics. The “invisible hand” in economics, or the “vital force” in biology, for instance, do carry aspects of a virtual entity, even if they have not been called that way. 

For this workshop we invite contributions that address the historical formation and philosophical interpretation of concepts of virtual entities in physics and other disciplines – in whatever terms they may come. The main goal of the workshop is to bring to the fore similarities and differences in the meanings and functions of these concepts so as to be able to precisely characterize why certain entities are considered virtual in specific contexts, why a different terminology was often used in each individual case and in what sense the virtual entities relate to the real world. 

We are looking for contributions that address the role of these concepts in theoretical as well as experimental activities, and for investigations into the origins of the terminology of the virtual as it was applied to the various disciplines of natural science. Work that integrates philosophical and historical approaches is particularly welcome. 

Among other things, contributions may focus on one of the following aspects which are usually associated with virtual entities, in particular if we think of the virtual particle of modern quantum field theory:

·    The terminology of virtuality, including its etymology, and why it was applied to the entities in question: Why not other terms like “substitute” or “auxiliary”? 

·    The potentiality inherent in virtual entities to bring about certain effects, which may eventually be realized or not: How is this to be understood exactly? 

·    The ontology of virtual entities: How is it different from real entities, and how do we get epistemic access to virtual entities? 

The workshop will be held online. Apart from the contributed talks, the program will feature a small number of keynotes. To contribute a paper, please send a title and an abstract (approx. 200 words) along with your name, affiliation and contact details to no later than 15 January 2021 (extended deadline). 

For further information and updates please consult the conference webpage or contact one of the organizers. 

Robert Harlander, Jean-Philippe Martinez, Friedrich Steinle, Adrian Wüthrich (

Submitted by Niels Martens (University of Bonn).

The Heinrich Hertz Fellowship in History and Philosophy of physics is designed to allow graduate students (typically PhD students but Master students can also apply) and early-career postdoctoral scholars to spend either half of or a full academic year at the University of Bonn to work on any topic in the history and philosophy of physics. They have no formal duties apart from following their own research agenda and interacting with the other historians and philosophers of physics in Bonn [ ]. Hertz fellows are provided with:

  • A (possibly shared) office in the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Bonn. 
  • Reimbursement of all travel and visa costs to come to Bonn. 
  • A monthly stipend of 2500 Euros to cover accommodation and maintenance during the stay in Bonn. Stipends are not generally taxable in Germany. Fellows have to show that they have sufficient (travel) health insurance for their stay in Bonn. 
  • Reimbursements of some conference travel and similar expenses during the stay in Bonn.

Fellows can apply to spend either the winter semester, the summer semester or both (i.e. the whole academic year including the time between the two semesters) in Bonn. In the academic year of 2021/2022, the winter semester goes from early October to the end of January (with a two week break for the holidays) while the summer semester lasts from early April till the end of July.  

If you are interested in a Hertz fellowship, please send your complete application documents by 31 January 2021 to Ms Yvonne Luks at Before sending your application, please combine and convert all of your documents into one PDF file. A complete application will consist of a.) a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, a writing sample of no more than 10.000 words; and b.) up to three letters of reference which must be sent by the letter writers or the placement service directly to the above address. In your cover letter, please state for which semester(s) you would like to come to Bonn, what kind of research project you intend to pursue during your time here, and why pursuing this project in Bonn would be particularly useful to you. If you have questions, please contact Prof. Lehmkuhl (

The University of Bonn is committed to diversity and equal opportunity. It is certified as a family-friendly university. It aims to increase the proportion of women in areas where women are under-represented and to promote their careers in particular. It therefore urges women with relevant qualifications to apply. Applications will be handled in accordance with the `Landesgleichstellungsgesetz’ (State Equality Act). Applications from suitable individuals with a certified serious disability and those of equal status are particularly welcome.

Special Issue on Bayesian Epistemology: Deadline 15.Jan.2021

Bayesian epistemology remains the dominant account of rational beliefs, it underpins the dominant account of decision making in science and beyond, as well as many of our statistical methods. While important applications continue to to emerge, the work on the foundations of Bayesian epistemology never stops and a number of challenges are emerging.

The aim of this special issue is bring together scholars exploring applications, challenges and foundations of Bayesian epistemology.
The special issue will appear in the open-access journal Kriterion.

Topics of interest (in alphabetic order) are not limited to:

    Bayesianism and Artificial Intelligence
    Bayesian Networks
    Bounded Rationality
    Evidence Aggregation
    Foundational Aspects of Bayesian Statistics
    Higher Order Evidence
    Imprecise Bayesian Approaches
    Interpretations of Probabilities
    Judgement Aggregation
    Maximum Entropy (Applications, Inference and Methods)
    Multi Agent Epistemology
    Objective Bayesian Epistemology
    Principles of Bayesianism (Conditionalisation, Probabilism, Total Evidence)
    Updating Procedures (Jeffrey, KL, L&P).

Deadline for submissions: 15.Jan.2021.
Submissions of a manuscript (pdf only) prepared for double-blind peer review are to be sent to the guest editor:

This special issue appears in conjunction with a conference dedicated to Bayesian epistemology.

This special issue and the conference are organised by
Juergen Landes (LMU Munich)

Submitted by Karim Baraghith (DCLPS, University of Duesseldorf).


The DCLPS is organising a one-day Zoom-workshop on


Date & Venue: January 22, 2021, Zoom


Invited Speakers:

  • Azita Chellappoo (Bochum)
  • Cecilia Heyes (Oxford)
  • Larissa Mendoza Straffon (Bergen)
  • Samir Okasha (Bristol)
  • Mason Youngblood (New York)


Over the past decades, theories of cultural evolution gained more and more attention in the special sciences and in philosophy of science. Of particular interest is the mutual interaction and connection between culture and cognition. Culture has a huge impact on how (and what) we think and core aspects of thinking (such as memory, causal understanding, a theory of mind, rationality and other ‘cognitive gadgets’) are responsible for the products of cultural evolution.

Both share a Darwinian explanatory framework at their core, involving variation, selection, and reproduction/transmission. However, biological and cultural evolution differ in many important aspects and precise mechanisms – and many of these differences originate in the fact that we face ‘thinkers’ and more or less rational agents in cultural evolution. For example, cultural selection is subject to a whole range of ‘biases’ that have no analogue in biological evolution and are mostly grounded in cognitive capacities of the cultural agents.

While it is the aim of the special sciences to empirically explore this vast field of possible links between culture and thinking, social learning and cognition, it is the aim of philosophy of science to conceptually structure and represent this growing body of research. This workshop aims at bringing together scholars of both fields to inspire dialogue and future collaborations.


Call for registration:
To register, please contact one of the organisers before January 22, 2021.


Organisation & Contact:
Karim Baraghith and Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla
Duesseldorf Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science, DCLPS, University of Duesseldorf
Inductive Metaphysics: a DFG funded research group, the goal of which is to establish how empirical sources and inductive forms of inference play a role in metaphysical research


Important links:
Workshop website:
Inductive metaphysics:

Submitted by Benedikt Loewe (Universities of Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Cambridge).


World Logic Day 2021

14 January 2021

Twitter: @UNESCO_WLD
Facebook: @WorldLogicDay

UNESCO proclaimed 14 January to be World Logic Day, a global day of
supporting the development of logic through teaching and research, as well
as to public dissemination of the discipline. The Conseil International de
Philosophie et des Sciences Humaines (CIPSH) and its member organisation,
the Division for Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and
Technology of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science
and Technology (DLMPST/IUHPST), are coordinating the dynamic and global
annual celebration of World Logic Day aiming at fostering international
cooperation, promoting the development of logic, in both research and
teaching, supporting the activities of associations, universities and
other institutions involved with logic, and enhancing public understanding
of logic and its implications for science, technology and innovation.

We invite everyone in the world interested in logic to organise events
celebrating World Logic Day 2021 on 14 January 2021 (or on convenient date
close to the 14th of January). WLD events

  • can be academic or non-academic,
  • can be aimed at the general public or specialists,
  • can focus on any of the many facets of logic from disciplines such as
    mathematics, philosophy, computer science, linguistics, or others, and
  • can use any format, e.g., it could be a lecture, a workshop, a panel
    discussion, an information bazaar, etc. etc.

Please be aware that in the current global pandemic, almost all events
will be virtual. This is a huge opportunity since it will allow people
from outside of your local community to participate without any travel
expenses. However, it also means that all WLD events will be in
competition with each other for the attention of the global logic
community, especially if they all take place at the same time. Be aware of
this issue as you organise your WLD event and decide on the time schedule.
As mentioned, the event does not have to be on 14 January 2021, but can be
on a date close to that day.

If you are organising an event and wish to be listed in the official list
of WLD 2021 events on our website and use the official WLD logo in your
announcements, please follow the simple and informal instructions below to
obtain the status of an official WLD 2021 event.


(1) Create a website for the event or a draft flyer (in pdf format) that
describes the event. The website/flyer must contain the following

  • What is going to happen? (Format, speakers, etc.)
  • When is it going to happen? (Date and time.)
  • Who is organising it? (Name of the main organiser and contact
  • In which format is it going to happen? (If in a physical location,
    give location information; if online, say how participants may obtain the
    login information.)

(2) Send an e-mail to wld (at) cipsh (dot) international with the link to
the website and/or with the draft flyer as a pdf attachment and a formal
request to be added to the list of UNESCO WLD events. We expect to decide
on each request within five working days. If you have not received a
message within a week, feel free to send a reminder.

(3) If your event fits with the principles of UNESCO World Logic Day, it
will be added to the official list on our website and you will get the
official WLD graphics to use on your website and in your flyer. (You can
send us an updated flyer for the list on our website once you have
incorporated the graphics.)

After the event, please send a brief report (at most one page, in pdf
format) to wld (at) cipsh (dot) international that will be published on
the website.

Submitted by Jürgen Landes (MCMP, LMU Munich).


The Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy invites abstracts for the following event:

Philosophy and Methodology of Medicine

Online at the MCMP, LMU Munich
June 1-3, 2021

The claims of medicine have been supported by a wide variety of different methods, ranging from randomized controlled trials to expert judgement and mechanism-based reasoning. Miriam Solomon has therefore aptly characterized medicine in terms of a developing, untidy, methodological pluralism. But can philosophers help with this development? In recent years, philosophers of science have become increasingly interested in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the various methods employed in medicine. Some have defended the methodological superiority of randomized controlled trials, or at least meta-analyses of such trials. Others have challenged this superiority by on the one hand stressing the weaknesses of such methods in terms of their internal or external validity, and on the other hand emphasising the strengths of alternative methods, including methods involving expert judgement and mechanistic evidence.

This online conference will bring together philosophers of science and medical methodologists in an attempt to make progress towards resolving these debates concerning the strengths and weaknesses of the various methods employed in medicine.

We welcome submissions of abstracts of no longer than one page (not including references) for thirty-minute talks on topics in the philosophy and methodology of medicine, including but not limited to:

  • Causal inference in medicine
  • Foundational issues in statistics in medicine
  • Bias in medical inference
  • Medical epistemology
  • Multi-agent medical epistemology
  • Mechanisms in medicine
  • Analogy and extrapolation in medicine
  • Expert judgement in medicine.

The conference will be preceded by a Summer School to introduce graduate students and others to the main themes in the debates.

Call for abstracts

Upload an abstract (pdf) at

Length of abstract: Up to 1 page of text, references can go on Page 2.

Deadline: 03.03.2021.

The Easychair submission form also asks you to fill a field called ”abstract”. Just type ”N/A” or similar.

Expected notifications: End of March 2021

Jürgen Landes (MCMP)
Michael Wilde (Kent)

Submitted by Ludger Jansen (ZfW, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster).


Einladung — Call for participation


ZfW-Ringvorlesung „Wissenschaft und Öffentlichkeit in der Corona-Krise“


Vorträge ab dem 12.11.2020 immer Donnerstag, 18:15 bis 20:00 Uhr, online, nach Anmeldung



Die Corona-Krise markiert eine Zäsur im Verhältnis von Wissenschaft und Öffentlichkeit. Wissenschaftlich sichtbar gemachte Gefahren und Risiken führen zu außergewöhnlichen politischen Maßnahmen und tiefgreifenden Änderungen in vielen Bereichen der Gesellschaft und der alltäglichen Lebensführung der Menschen.

Die interdisziplinäre Ringvorlesung des Zentrums für Wissenschaftstheorie an der Universität Münster geht dieser Transformation nach und lädt dazu ein, grundsätzlich über die
gesellschaftliche Dynamik der Corona-Pandemie und das Verhältnis von Wissenschaft und Öffentlichkeit zu reflektieren. Wie lässt sich das Geschehen beschreiben und einordnen? Was darf der Staat in solchen Ausnahmesituationen und wo liegen die Grenzen zwischen wissenschaftlicher Expertise, politischer Meinung und verschwörungstheoretischer Verirrung?

Die Fachdisziplinen der Vortragenden reichen von der Philosophie und Soziologie über die Rechtswissenschaften bis hin zur Virologie und Journalistik. Die Ringvorlesung richtet sich an ein allgemeines Publikum.

Die Veranstaltung findet ausschließlich in digitaler Form über die Plattform ‚Zoom‘ statt, jeweils donnerstags von 18.15-20.00 Uhr. Um an einem oder mehreren der Termine teilzunehmen, melden Sie sich bitte an unter: Die Zugangsdaten werden Ihnen dann per E-Mail zugesandt.


Fabian Anicker und Carsten Ohlrogge


Weitere Informationen:






Vorträge (Do 18:15-20:00 Uhr)

  • 12.11.2020 Prof. Dr. Rudolf Stichweh: Die Corona-Pandemie und die soziologische Differenzierungstheorie
  • 26.11.2020 Volker Stollorz, Redaktionsleiter Science Media Center: Journalismus über Wissenschaft im Weltereignis Pandemie. Praxis und Herausforderungen
  • 03.12.2020 Prof. Dr. Christoph Möllers: Verfassungsrechtliche
    Grenzen der Pandemiebekämpfung und Grenzen des Verfassungsrechts in der Pandemie
  • 14.01.2021 Prof. Dr. Michael Butter: Verschwörungstheorien in der Corona-Krise
  • 21.01.2021 Dr. Manuel Rivera: Krise wovon – Wandel wohin? Werte und Wahrnehmungsmuster im Klima- und Pandemiediskurs
  • 28.01.2021 Prof. Dr. Dieter Birnbacher: Triage unter Krisenbedingungen. Gibt es eine gerechte Lösung?
  • 04.02.2021 Prof. Dr. Melanie Brinkmann: Von Wuhan in die Welt: der Siegeszug des SARS-CoV-2

Submitted by EPSA.


EPSA21: Call for Papers and Symposia
8th Biennial Conference of the EPSA in Turin, Italy

The European Society for Philosophy of Science (EPSA) invites contributed papers and proposals for symposia for its next conference, EPSA21, to be held in Turin (Italy) on 15-18 September 2021. The conference will feature contributed talks, symposia, and posters covering all subfields of the philosophy of science, and will bring together a large number of philosophers of science from Europe and overseas. We also welcome philosophically-minded scientists and investigators from areas outside the philosophy of science, for example, as symposium participants; and we particularly welcome submissions from women, ethnic minorities, and other under-represented groups in the profession.

The conference has ten sections:
1. General Philosophy of Science
2. Philosophy of the Physical Sciences
3. Philosophy of the Life Sciences
4. Philosophy of the Cognitive Sciences
5. Philosophy of the Social Sciences
6. Philosophy of Technology and Philosophy of Interdisciplinary Research
7. Philosophy of Science in Practice
8. Formal Philosophy of Science
9. Integrated History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science
10. Ethical Issues in the Sciences

The EPSA21 Programme Committee, headed by Caterina Marchionni and Jon Williamson, will strive for quality, variety, and diversity on the programme. A selection of accepted contributed and symposium papers will appear in the European Journal of Philosophy of Science (EJPS).

Contributed Papers
We invite submissions of both a short abstract (max. 1000 characters) and an extended abstract (max. 1000 words) through EasyChair, our online submission system, by 18 January 2021. The extended abstract should include the number and title of the relevant section and the title of the paper. The allocated time for delivering contributed papers at the conference will be 30 minutes, including discussion. Please prepare your abstracts for blind review, and submit your extended abstract as a PDF file.
Authors who want their paper to be considered for the poster session in case of non-acceptance as a talk should tick the appropriate box in EasyChair. Authors whose papers could not be accepted for presentation as a talk but who are offered a place in the poster session will be notified in the decision email.
graduate student prize will be awarded to the best student paper accepted for presentation at the conference.

We invite submissions of both a short abstract (max. 1,000 characters) and a full proposal through EasyChair, our online submission system, by 18 January 2021. The full proposal should include the number and title of the relevant section, the title of the proposed symposium, the contact details of the organizer(s) (who may or may not be a speaker) and the names and short CVs of all speakers (max. 1 page in total), a general description of the topic and its significance (max. 1,500 words), and titles and abstracts of all papers (max. 300 words for each paper).
Accepted symposia will be allocated 120 minutes, including discussions. They can have any format but the maximum number of speakers is five.
Symposium proposals that explore connections between different areas or research programs in philosophy of science or between philosophy of science and sciences are encouraged. Please submit the full proposal as a PDF file.

Poster Session
We invite contributions of posters, which will be presented in a dedicated poster session. Posters can be submitted either as a second option for papers that are also submitted as contributed talks or specifically for the poster session. For poster submissions, please follow the guidelines for contributed papers, add the word “Poster” below the title on both abstracts, and submit your abstracts either by ticking the “Poster” box in the contributed paper track or by uploading your material in the poster track in EasyChair.

Submission Guidelines and Rules
  • The deadline for all submissions is 18 January 2021.
  • All submissions should be made through EasyChair. Please note that first-time users have to register as users of EasyChair.
  • To present at the conference, you must be an active and paying member of the EPSA. Join or renew membership today.
  • Authors can simultaneously make one submission for each of the three above types (contributed paper, symposium, poster), but any author can appear on the programme only once as a presenter or symposium organizer.
  • In case of acceptance of multiple submissions by one author, the programme committee will give symposium participation priority over contributed talks and contributed talks over posters.
  • For co-authored contributed papers, symposium papers, and posters it will be assumed that the first author will present the paper or poster unless specified otherwise. Accordingly, authors presenting at EPSA21 may also appear as co-authors of other papers that are part of the programme, but not as first author/presenter.
  • The decisions on the acceptance of submissions will be announced on 19 April 2021.

Submit online 

For all enquiries, please contact the EPSA mailbox at
EPSA21 in Turin – Join the EPSA for a discount on conference registration  and more.JOIN

Submitted by Florian Boge (Wuppertal University).


Call for Papers for a Minds & Machines Special Issue on

Machine Learning: Prediction Without Explanation?

Over the last decades, Machine Learning (ML) techniques have gained central prominence in many areas of science. ML typically aims at pattern recognition and prediction, and in many cases has become a better tool for these purposes than traditional methods. The downside, however, is that ML does not seem to provide any explanations, at least not in the same sense as theories or traditional models do.

This apparent lack of explanation is often also linked to the opacity of ML techniques, sometimes referred to as the ‘Black Box Challenge’. Methods such as heat maps or adversarial examples are aimed at reducing this opacity and opening the black box. But at present, it remains an open question how and what exactly these methods explain and what the nature of these explanations is.
While in some areas of science this may not create any interesting philosophical challenges, in many fields, such as medicine, climate science, or particle physics, an explanation may be desired; among other things for the sake of rendering subsequent decisions and policy making transparent. Moreover, explanation and understanding are traditionally construed as central epistemic aims of science in general. Does a turn to ML techniques hence imply a radical shift in the aims of science? Does it require us to rethink science-based policy making? Or does it mean we need to rethink our concepts of explanation and understanding?

In this Special Issue, we want to address this complex of questions regarding explanation and prediction, as it attaches to ML applications in science and beyond.
We invite papers focusing on but not restricted to the following topics:

  • (How) can ML results be used for the sake of explaining scientific observations?
  • If so, what is the nature of these explanations?
  • Will future science favor prediction above explanation?
  • If so, what does this mean for science-based decision and policy making?
  • What is explained about ML by methods such as saliency maps and adversarials?
  • Does ML introduce a shift from classical notions of scientific explanation, such as causal-mechanistic, covering law-, or unification-based, towards a purely statistical one?
  • (Why) should we trust ML applications, given their opacity?
  • (Why) should we care about the apparent loss of explanatory power?

The Special Issue is guest edited by members of the project The impact of computer simulations and machine learning on the epistemic status of LHC Data, part of the DFG/FWF-funded interdisciplinary research unit The Epistemology of the Large Hadron Collider

For more information, please visit

Deadline for paper submissions: 28 February 2021
Deadline for paper reviewing: 19 April 2021
Deadline for submission of revised papers: 03 May 2021
Deadline for reviewing revised papers: 07 June 2021
Papers will be published in 2021

Submission Details
To submit a paper for this special issue, authors should go to the journal’s Editorial Manager The author (or a corresponding author for each submission in case of co- authored papers) must register into EM.
The author must then select the special article type: “Machine Learning: Prediction without Explanation?” from the selection provided in the submission process. This is needed in order to assign the submissions to the Guest Editor.
Submissions will then be assessed according to the following procedure:
New Submission => Journal Editorial Office => Guest Editor(s) => Reviewers => Reviewers’ Recommendations => Guest Editor(s)’ Recommendation => Editor-in-Chief’s Final Decision => Author Notification of the Decision.
The process will be reiterated in case of requests for revisions.

Guest Editors

  • Dr. Florian J. Boge, postdoctoral researcher, Interdisciplinary Centre for Science and Technology Studies (IZWT), Wuppertal University
  • Paul Grünke, doctoral student, research group “Philosophy of Engineering, Technology Assessment, and Science”, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Rafaela Hillerbrand, head of the research group “Philosophy of Engineering, Technology Assessment, and Science”, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

For any further information please contact:
– Dr. Florian J. Boge:
– Paul Grünke: