Boston University’s Center for Philosophy and History of Science is one of twenty-two independent research centers and institutes within Boston University’s College of Arts of Sciences. The current director of the Center is Alisa Bokulich, who holds a Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science and is a Professor in the Philosophy Department at BU.

Our Mission

The Center’s mission is to build bridges between the humanities and sciences by promoting interdisciplinary research into the historical, philosophical, and social factors that govern the theory and practice of science. For over 50 years, the Center has organized the Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science, which each year brings 20-40 of the world’s top philosophers, historians, and scientists to the Center to discuss the history, conceptual foundations, and methodologies of the sciences. This lecture series has become a premier national and international forum for dialogue concerning all aspects of the philosophy and history of the sciences, mathematics, and logic. The Center’s Affiliate Members program consists of over 40 scholars from over a dozen universities and colleges in New England. The Center is also pleased to welcome visiting researchers and visiting students from around the world.

A Brief History

The Center was founded by Robert S. Cohen and Marx W. Wartofsky in 1960 as an offshoot of the Institute for the Unity of Science, which was itself the American transplant of the historic Vienna Circle. It is the second oldest such center in North America. In 1993, Alfred I. Tauber was appointed Director, succeeding Professor Cohen and in 2010, Alisa Bokulich was appointed Director, succeeding Professor Tauber.

More information about The Center’s history and some of its key people can be found here: Center History, and in our Colloquium archives.

Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science

Beginning in 1963, the proceedings of many colloquia were published in the series Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science (first by the D. Reidel Publishing Company, and now by Springer). Under the editorship of Robert Cohen, the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science produced more than 200 volumes in the philosophy and history of science. The series is now edited by Alisa Bokulich (BU), Jurgen Renn (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Germany) and Kostas Gavroglu (University of Athens, Greece) and numbers over 300 volumes.

Center for Einstein Studies

For many years, the Center for Einstein Studies, which was founded and directed by Professor John Stachel, was affiliated with the BU Center for Philosophy & History of Science. Professor Stachel is no longer active, and his papers have moved to The Einstein Papers Project at CalTech. This Center for Einstein Studies webpage serves simply as a historical record of the activities of the Center for Einstein Studies while John Stachel was at Boston University. For scholars interested in Einstein, Boston University’s Mugar Library is one of three institutions in the world to hold a complete copy of physicist Albert Einstein’s papers.

The Robert S. Cohen Archives

To consult the Robert S. Cohen Archives, which contains correspondence, unpublished and published manuscripts and typescripts, reprints, journal issues, news clippings, photographic prints, sound recordings, memos and notebooks, please contact the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.

Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center
Boston University

771 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

Phone: 617-353-3696
Fax: 617-353-2838
Email: archives@bu.edu