There is a long tradition of research into the history and philosophy of science at the Hebrew University. Beginning in the 1950s and 1960s these subjects were taught be professors Yehosua Bar-Hillel and Samuel Sambursky, who were internationally renowned scholars as well. In the 1970s the program for history and philosophy of science was founded within the faculty of natural sciences and mathematics, and a decade later it was reorganized as an interdisciplinary and inter-faculty program, anchored at the humanities faculty. The number of researchers in the history and philosophy of science, as well as the range of topics being studied, have expanded in recent years to include the history and philosophy of the social and life sciences.
There are 15 PhD students in the program and a similar number of M.A. students. The program also offers a section for B.A. students from the humanities and the natural sciences.
Students in the program can specialize in a range of areas includes: philosophy of modern physics; philosophy of modern life sciences; history of ancient, medieval and modern science; history of medicine; philosophy of the social and human sciences; science-based epistemology and metaphysics and more.
The program hosts the bi-weekly interdisciplinary seminar, in which Israeli and international scholars in the history and philosophy of science discuss their ongoing research. In addition, members of the program hold reading groups on history and philosophy of physics, biology, psychology and neuroscience and other topics. Scholars from around Israel take part in these groups and students are invited to attend.
The program draws on extensive research resources at the Hebrew University and in affiliated institutions, including:
- The Edelstein Center library for Research in the history and Philosophy of Science.
- Hebrew University Libraries
- The National Library
- The Einstein Archive at the National Library
- The Newton Collection at the National Library
- The National Library’s manuscript Collection
The program works in close collaboration with the Edelstein Center for History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine. The Center hosts senior scholars from around the world, and provides scholarships for postdocs and graduate students.
The program enjoys close ties with other institutions in Jerusalem and in Israel, including the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Tel Aviv University. Together, these institutions sponsor the Bar Hillel Colloquium, a lecture series in which leading scholars from around the world give talks and discuss their work with faculty and students. The program also works in collaboration with the Interuniversity Program in the History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, funded by the Council for Higher Learning’s Humanities Fund.