On the 20th of November 2015 it will be held at Palácio do Vimioso of the University of Évora the Évora’s 6th Symposium in Philosophy and History of Science and Technology entitled “A priori, thought experiments and atomism”, organized by João Príncipe (UE, IHC/CEHFCi), José Luís Garcia (ICS), Lídia Queiroz (CFCUL/IF-FLUP) and Luís Miguel Carolino (ISCTE, CIES-IUL).
In a non-empiricist, historically informed, perspective of epistemology a priori judgments have a decisive role to obtain knowledge. In the physical sciences the comprehensibility of nature, the explanation of phenomena, is deeply connected with the human skill to derive theories (though refutable) from natural preconditions for the comprehensibility of the domain to which they apply. Thought experiments and atomistic are also evidence for this constitutive a priori power. A critical and open appraisal and discussion of the connections between these three major examples that sustain a rationalistic point of view, are the subject of this year Évora’s Symposium. Olivier Darrigol and Hermínio Martins will be our main speakers. Darrigol’s paper “The robust necessity of some physical theories” and Martins’ paper on thought experiments, whose ideas directly inspired our choice, are included in our forthcoming volume Évora Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science (volume 1), a festschrift in honour of Hermínio Martins.