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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?

 The conference takes place at IWH Heidelberg
                                                           Hauptstraße 242
                                                           69117 Heidelberg      
 I. From Frankfurt Airport to Heidelberg Main Station  

 1.         By German Railway to Heidelberg Main Station (Hauptbahnhof).
By Lufthansa Airport Bus. The bus stop is located at the Meeting Point in Terminal 1                  arrival area, hall B, exit B4. It will take you to the Crowne Plaza Hotel (Kurfürstenanlage              1-3) in Heidelberg (price EUR 19.00). From there, you can take a taxi to the IWH.

 II. From Stuttgart Airport to Heidelberg Main Station

 1.         By German Railway to Heidelberg Main Station (Hauptbahnhof).

 III. From Heidelberg Main Station  to IWH 

 1.         Take the S-Bahn (S1, S2 - destination "Osterburken") and get off at "Karlstor". Travel                  time: approx. 5 minutes. It is a 3-minute walk to the IWH from there, see map.
 2.         Take Bus 33 (direction "Köpfel") from the stop in front of the train station. Get off at                     "Neckarmünzplatz" Travel time: approx. 16 minutes. It is a 2-minute walk to the IWH                  from there, see map.


 IV. To IWH  by car
 1.         Autobahn A5
             Take A5 to the exit 38 ("Heidelberg Mitte"). At the end of the autobahn, get in the left lane              and take local road B37 towards Eberbach/Mosbach along the Neckar river. At                          "Karlstor", the second traffic light after the old bridge ("Alte Brücke"), turn right into "                     Hauptstraße" (narrow street). The IWH is on your left. The nearest parking opportunities              are "Parkhaus 13" (parking garage 13) at the "Karlsplatz" (16,30 € per day) and                          "Parkhaus 12" (parking garage 12) at the "Kornmarkt" (10,- € per day).A fee is charged.              It is a 3-minute walk from there to the IWH.
 2.         Autobahn A6
             Take autobahn A6 to the "Sinsheim" exit. Turn onto local road B37 towards                                  Neckargemünd and drive to Heidelberg along the Neckar River. At "Karlstor", turn left                  into "Hauptstraße". Follow the directions under IV. 1 from there.