History and Philosophy of Sciences

Welcome to the Department of History and Philosophy of Sciences

In Portugal, the Department of History and Philosophy of Science is the only academic department exclusively dedicated to teaching and research the historical and philosophical dimensions underlying the construction, structure and implications of science.

The Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon is a pioneer in the field of History and Philosophy of Science. This area is essential to the training of science and engineering students. Science and engineering play such a prominent place in present day societies that understanding their historical evolution and clarifying the conditions that shaped them as unique forms of knowledge have become issues of the utmost importance. It is now acknowledged that science and engineering students should have at their disposal a set of disciplines in the area of ​​social sciences and humanities, which include History and Philosophy of Science, transversal both to their core disciplines and to areas identified as “Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness” by the European Commission.

In this sense, and at the level of the 1st cycle (undergraduate degree), the Department of History and Philosophy of Science not only offers a wide range of courses grouped in the area of Cultural, Social and Ethical Training (FCSE), but also offers the only Minor in History and Philosophy of Science existing to date in Portugal. This offer is not restricted to students from the Faculty of Sciences. It is opened to all interested students, including those enrolled in the General Studies (Estudos Gerais) undergraduate degree and those from the Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon.

The Department of History and Philosophy of Science does not offer yet an undergraduate degree in History and Philosophy of Science. This undergraduate training can be completed through the General Studies degree, in which the Department has been actively collaborating since its creation. Through the appropriate combination of Majors and Minors in scientific areas (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc.), History, Philosophy and History and Philosophy of Science, the student will be able to obtain an excellent training in History and Philosophy of Science. S/he can then proceed to postgraduate training at our Department.

With regard to 2nd and 3rd cycles (MSc and PhD, respectively) in History and Philosophy of Sciences, in the last decades (since 2003) the Department has fostered the training of renowned Portuguese specialists and professionals. Thus, teaching and research are closely linked in our Department, which is associated with two high quality research centers by national and international standards – the Interuniversity Center for History of Science and Technology (CIUHCT) and the Center for Philosophy of Science of the University of Lisbon (CFCUL). Together, they placed the Portuguese communities of historians and philosophers of science on the international map of these specialties, in terms of publications, projects and networking with the most reputable international academic institutions. They have also been attracting researchers and graduate students from all over the world.

Additionally, researchers associated with the Department pay special attention to matters of interest to Portuguese society, such as issues of scientific and technological heritage; ethical, political and esthetical implications of scientific and technological activities; the scientific legacy in national archives and outreach. With regard to the latter, they have explored various means of communication, including popularization of science articles and books, participation in radio and TV programs, popularization of science events and the organization of a wide range of exhibitions, some of which have been awarded reputed prizes.

Ana Simões, October 10, 2021
Head of Department