PhiLabo: Why science needs philosophy and vice versa

Talk by Lucie Laplane (CNRS, Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Paris)

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Dr. Lucie Laplane


Science was formerly an integral part of philosophy, but these two broad disciplines have gradually grown apart and are now typically viewed as completely different endeavors. In this talk, I will argue in favor of a renaissance in the integration of science and philosophy.

First, I will argue that philosophy can fruitfully contribute to science. This argument is the output of a collaborative work with a group of scientists and philosophers, recently published in a generalist scientific journal (Laplane, Mantovani et al., PNAS 2019). We used three examples of significant philosophical contributions to current biology to illustrate that “science needs philosophy,” and discussed way to facilitate cooperation between these two disciplines.

Second, I will argue that conversely, experimental biology can fruitfully contribute to philosophy. Present-day philosophers often perceive experimental biology as completely different from, and even antagonistic to philosophy, as much as scientists perceive philosophy as completely different from, and antagonistic to, science. Drawing on concrete personal examples of introducing experimental work in my practice of philosophy of stem cell and cancer, I will show how getting involved with experimentation can help philosophy to fruitfully contribute to science. 


(PhiLabo = Philosophy in Laboratory)


Dr Lucie Laplane is a philosopher of science working at the interface of philosophy and cancer biology. She has published the book "Cancer Stem Cells: Philosophy and Therapies" at Harvard University Press and many philosophy papers engaging with topics within biology and medicine.

Published July 25, 2019 9:28 PM - Last modified Oct. 21, 2019 11:34 AM