Olofos Seminar session 6 : Between Practical Reason and Mathematical Models: social inquiries as practical reasoning


20 mai 2022


L57 (Faculté de Philosophie, Université de Namur, Rue Joseph Grafé)

The Institut supérieur de philosophie of the UCLouvain, the research centre CEFISES, and the contact group OLOFOS ((Onto-)LOgical Frameworks Of Science) are very happy to invite everyone interested to the sixth meeting of this year’s OLOFOS seminar.

Speaker: Jérémy Grosman UNamur

Commentator: Thibault De Meyer ULiège


The present talk investigates some of the conceptual issues raised by the roles norms (or values) hold in social research and engineering. The thesis I shall defend may be succinctly expressed as follow: most social inquiries are better conceived as practical, rather than theoretical, inquiries. The talk aims at unfolding the thesis' presuppositions (about institutions, practices and normativities) and spelling out its implications (in terms of concepts used, explanations constructed and interactions fostered). The first section briefly reviews some of the most cogent arguments supporting the entanglement of facts and values, as well as some of the practical challenges encountered by social scientists. The second section, departing from an empirical case study borrowed to a presumably successful application of mathematical economics to enrollment and segregation processes at school, attempts to further articulate some of the modalities such entanglements may take. The third part seeks to provide a philosophical account of the roles norms (or values) have in social research and engineering.


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