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Typically, scientists call subjects they investigate scientific phenomena. While the notion of a scientific phenomenon seems to be common in science, apart from a few exceptions, it has not been systematically discussed in philosophy of science. This is surprising. Has the notion simply been overlooked? Or are there deeper reasons for this obvious neglect?  
One reason might be that the notion is generally considered as unproblematic in the sense that there is wide agreement as to what it means. This, however, is not the case. One way to understand the notion of a scientific phenomenon traces back to the ancient astronomical program called “Saving the phenomena” which claims that astronomical theories should account for the observed orbits of celestial bodies without violating the principles of Greek natural philosophy. In this sense, scientific phenomena are observed facts that should be explained. As Bogen and Woodward (1988) have pointed out, however, scientific explanations often do not concern observed facts, but rather some general patterns that can be inferred from the data. They suggest to broaden the notion of a scientific phenomenon in order to include these unobservable patterns and to take scientific phenomena generally as the explanada of scientific theories. Over and above this question concerning the observability of scientific phenomena, a second problem arises: If knowledge about phenomena is indeed typically gained via inferences, in what sense are phenomena theory-laden? Are scientific phenomena that are inferred on a par with theoretical entities? 
A second reason for not discussing the notion in philosophy of science might be that its analysis might not yield any philosophical insights. Depending on the way one uses the notion, one ends up in well-known discussions either about observations or about theories and explanations. Although scientists talk about phenomena, this notion, one could claim, does not do any philosoph
ical work in order to illuminate the way science works.
The conference aims at better understanding of the notion of a scientific phenomenon. How should the notion be used? Does it, in one sense or the other, do any philosophical work at all?

Thursday September 11th 2008
9:00 - 9:15                 Welcome and introduction

9:15 - 10:45                James Woodward (CALTECH)
                                 Data and Phenomena Revisited

10:45 - 11:15
             Refreshment Break

11:15 – 12:00             Samuel Schindler (University of Leeds)
                                 Refusing the ‘Bottom-up’ Construction of Scientific Phenomena

12:00 – 12:45
            Ioannis Votsis (University of Düsseldorf)
                                 Data meet Theory: Up Close and Personal

12:45 – 14:15             Lunch Break

14:15 -15:45               Michela Massimi (UCL)
                                 From Data to Phenomena: a Kantian Stance

15:45 – 16:15
Refreshment Break

16:15 – 17:45             Peter Machamer (
University of Pittsburgh)
Data, Phenomena, Reliability and Validity

Friday September 12th 2008

9:00 – 10:30
              Sandra Mitchell (University of Pittsburgh)

                                 Emergent Biological Phenomena

10:30 – 11:00             Refreshment Break
11:00 – 11:45             Jochen Apel (University of Heidelberg)
                                 What Scientific Phenomena Are Not

11:45 - 12:30              Uljana Feest (TU Berlin)

                                 What Exactly Is Stabilized When Phenomena Are Stabilized?
12:30 - 14:00              Lunch Break 
14:00 - 15:30              Brigitte Falkenburg (University of Dortmund)
                                 Phenomena, Data, and Experiments in Physics
15:30 – 16:00             Refreshment Break
16:00 - 17:30              Andreas Hüttemann (University of Münster)
                                  Phenomena and Idealization

17:30 – 18:15              Benedikt Löwe (University of Amsterdam) & Thomas Müller (University of Utrecht)
                                  Which Phenomena for Philosophy of Science?
19:00                          Conference Dinner 

Saturday September 13th 2008

9:00 – 10:30                Stephan Hartmann (University of Tilburg)
                                  Theories, Models and Phenomena: A Bayesian Account
10:30 – 11:00              Refreshment Break 
11:00 – 11:45              Mauricio Suarez (Complutense University of Madrid)
                                  Data, Phenomena and Representation   

11:45 - 12:30              Eran Tal (University of Toronto)
                                 From Data to Phenomena and Back Again:
                                 Signatures of a Quantum Phase Transition
12:30 - 14:00              Lunch Break 
14:00 - 15:30              James McAllister (University of Leiden)
                                 What Do Patterns in Empirical Data Tell Us About the Structure of the World?
15:30 – 16:00             Refreshment Break 
16:00 - 17:30              James Bogen (University of Pittsburgh)
                                 Saving the Phenomena and ‘Saving the Phenomena’
17:30 – 18:00             Final Discussion 

The conference is organized in cooperation with the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum der Universität Heidelberg. It takes place at Hauptstraße 242