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Melbourne, Australia
Aug 23-24 2014




Philosophy of Science

What Counts as Science?


The Demarcation Problem

Science Truth

Philosophy of Science

a branch of philosophy concerned with the foundations, methods, and implications of science. The central questions concern what counts as science, the reliability of scientific theories, and the purpose of science. This discipline overlaps with metaphysics, ontology and epistemology, for example, when it explores the relationship between science and truth.


questions what knowledge is and how it can be acquired, and the extent to which knowledge pertinent to any given subject or entity can be acquired. Much of the debate in this field has focused on the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification.

Unprecedented Technological Growth

Over the last few decades we have seen unprecedented technological change.   Our ability to visualize impacts of technological convergence in the short, medium and long term is detrimental to our survival.  With informed estimates of possible futures, we can hope to achieve clearer visions for a better future, let’s leverage growth in powerful new technologies  to solve global problems.

Thank You!

Many Thanks to all who participated in the 2013 Science, Technology & the Future conference! It was a huge success!

Videos of the presentations will be at

Join the Meetup Group for up to date info on related activities!

What is ‘Science, Technology & the Future’?

A diverse range of thought leaders will explore potentials in technological growth to solve some of humanities grandest challenges. Scientists, Engineers and Philosophers will discuss evidence-based research, community awareness of science, and scenarios for navigating our future.

“Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.”Albert Einstein

The Science, Technology & the Future conference will held in Melbourne, Australia during National Science Week

Also on Friday Nov 29th there was a pre-conference mixer at Melbourne Uni Graduate House – a meet and greet for fellow conference attendees and presenters!

Conference Themes

We live in a time of great change, and unprecedented risks to global safety and prosperity. Some of these changes may threaten our survival — but let us take solace that great change brings great opportunities. We have the societal framework to deal with increasingly complex problems, harnessing the accumulated weight of thousands of individuals in fields as narrow as a nanotube and as overlapping as the world wide web. Let us take the opportunity to future-proof our efforts to find solutions.

Under normal conditions the research scientist is not an innovator but a solver of puzzles, and the puzzles upon which he concentrates are just those which he believes can be both stated and solved within the existing scientific tradition. Thomas S. Kuhn

  • Materials Science / Nanotechnology

    Advances in Nanotechnology and Materials Science will help convert Waste into useful material, and help develop powerful photovoltaics to leverage energy from the largest power source in the solar system – dramatically reducing our footprint on the environment.

  • Neuroscience & Artificial Intellignece

    Neuroscience will continue to inspire AI, and vice versa. With more intelligence, we can hope for quicker and better solutions to achieving our goals and solving our problems.

  • Ethics Guided by Evidence & Reason

    Science is opening up more and more ways to pursue evidence based research on what it means to be human – expanding our sphere of ethical consideration.

  • Opportunities & Risks

    Technology is a double edged sword.  In deciding to develop or not develop technology, to research or not research – we must respect both risk and opportunity

Quotes from people involved

Marcus Hutter

The grand goal of AI is to develop systems that exhibit general intelligence on a human-level or beyond. If achieved, this would have a far greater impact on human society than all previous inventions together, likely resulting in a post-human civilization that only faintly resembles current humanity.

Marcus HutterProfessor at ANUPaper UAI - A Gentle Approach
Peter Doherty

If we want our species to survive in the long term, human beings cannot afford to stop reaching for the stars.

Peter DohertyNobel LaureateThe Beginners Guide to Winning a Nobel Prize
Tim van Gelder

The fact that Deep Blue can beat Kasaprov just shows that brute force can sometimes achieve what would otherwise require real thought.

Tim van GelderApplied EpistemologistInto the Deep Blue Yonder
Adam Ford

Bright stars are rising in the east. China is flourishing! With its long history, rich culture and huge economy China is poised ready to change the world. Now think: what if China decided to focus a moderately significant amount of it’s vast resources to the development of radically transformative technologies? It is no surprise that many believe China will lead the way in Robotics and Biotechnology in the not too distant future.

Adam FordConference OrganizerLifeboat Bio

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Science In Practice

Philosophy of science has traditionally focused on the relation between scientific theories and the world, at the risk of disregarding scientific practice. In social studies of science and technology, the predominant tendency has been to pay attention to scientific practice and its relation to theories, sometimes wilfully disregarding the world except as a product of social construction. Both approaches have their merits, but they each offer only a limited view, neglecting some essential aspects of science. We advocate a philosophy of scientific practice, based on an analytic framework that takes into consideration theory, practice and the world simultaneously.

Fundamental Research

Often we are made aware of new gadgetry, shiny and improved!  Short term technological spinoffs from research can be useful, though some of the greatest human achievements have come through dedication to long term fundamental research which provides new knowledge.  There are also considerable financial reward per unit of effort in the long run.

Overcoming Limitations

What is science for?  Overcoming limitations is something that our species has been doing for a very long time – how can we use philosophy to guide science?