How can incomprehension between scientific disciplines be dealt with? Anne-Françoise Schmid’s work was central to the conference on “Generic philosophy at the heart of contemporary science” held on September 23, 2014 at Mines ParisTech. Our paper mobilises the wealth of contributions produced for this conference to answer the issue of interdisciplinary understanding as addressed in A.-F. Schmid’s work by bringing into dialogue these contributions and Einstein’s text on ether and relativity. Inspired by Foucault’s genealogical approach, the paper devises an artificial dialogue which highlights the contribution of fiction in the elaboration of scientific concepts, and thus illustrates the usefulness of a “generic space” for the creation of common concepts proposed by A.-F. Schmid’s generic epistemology. Einstein explains how the concept of ether not only stimulated the imagination of physicists but also actually helped form theories of physics until the concept was abandoned. Einstein’s grasp of the construction of the theories that preceded relativity helps us understand the contemporary scientific potential of generic epistemology. The article concludes with the proposal of a four-dimensional topography of this generic space (“disciplinary depth”, “epistemological length”, “disciplinary linking” and “epistemological conceptualisation”) that includes the concepts of generic epistemology (“collective intimacy”, “Poincaré criterion”, “dynamic matrix” and “integrative object”).
Find the article at the Web site of the journal Natures Sciences Sociétés.
(Otherwise, don’t hesitate to contact me if you can’t access it).