History

Some Background to the Inter-Divisional Teaching Commission (IDTC) of the Division of History of Science and Technology (DHST) and the Division of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (DLMPS) of the International Union for History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS).

The General Assembly of the DLMPS at its Nancy congress (July 2011) agreed to an earlier DHST resolution to establish an Inter-Divisional Teaching Commission (IDTC).
Some background: The International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) was founded in 1931. It is an umbrella grouping of national and international scientific associations (physics, chemistry, geosciences, mathematics etc.). In 1945 ICSU came under the patronage of UNESCO, the cultural and educational arm of the United Nations. In 1956 the two separate member unions for history of science and for philosophy of science coalesced into the International Union for History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS) and as such became a member of ICSU. The disciplinary identities were retained by the creation of separate divisions within the IUHPS – the Division for History of Science and Technology (DHST), and the Division for Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (DLMPS).

These divisions hold separate quadrennial congresses, and occasionally a joint congress. The most recent DHST congress was in Budapest (2009) and the next will be in Manchester (2013); the most recent DLMPS congress was Nancy (2011) and the next will be in Helsinki (2015).
Their websites, where more detailed information about the history, structure, activities and purposes of the divisions can be obtained, are respectively: www.dhstweb.org and www.dlmps.org.
Financial support for the two divisions comes from membership dues paid by national and international history of science and technology and philosophy of science and logic associations, and from the congresses. Their scholarly and ‘outreach’ work (conferences, publications, newsletters, websites, etc.) is conducted mainly by constituent commissions (ancient science, medieval science, modern physics, Islamic science, Arabian logic, etc). This work is financially supported by the divisions.
In 2007 the DHST created a Teaching Commission with Michael Matthews (University of New South Wales) as president and Kostas Skordoulis (University of Athens) as secretary. In 2011 at its Nancy congress, the DLMPS agreed that rather than establish its own separate Teaching Commission, there should be an Inter-divisional Teaching Commission with the above officers augmented by others.

The Inter-Divisional Teaching Commission (IDTC) has three purposes:

First a disciplinary purpose: To assist in the better and more informed teaching of the history and philosophy of science and technology as a subject in universities, and high schools where increasingly ‘Nature of Science’ is a component of national science curricula.

Second a service purpose: To promote the utilisation of history and philosophy of science and technology of science in university and school science courses, in programmes for the preparation of science teachers, and in museums and other informal institutions and locations.

Third a cultural purpose: To show that the history and philosophy of science and technology can contribute positively to a better understanding, and hopefully resolution, of some of the major social, cultural and ideological issues with which people around the world are engaged.