Philosophy, sciences and society

Lecturer(s): José PENUELAS, Romain SAUZET
Course ⋅ 6 hTC ⋅ 6 h


Research consists of confronting what is not known or what does not yet exist. We are not starting from scratch, since we already have many resources (pre-existing knowledge; skills; models, etc.). These resources will constitute some steps of the research process, but they will not answer all the problems, especially the general problems: why do we do research? What are we trying to promote? How should we do it? On what subjects? For what objectives? This course therefore proposes to take on these questions whether it is by addressing research methods (interdisciplinarity), the condition of contemporary research (technoscience) or even the role and place of values in research (progress, improvement , development).

This course also offers a cycle of general culture conferences for the R&D engineer.


Technosciences, Interdisciplinary, Transdisciplinarity, Values, Progress, Big Science, Sustainable Development, Environment.


  • 4 lectures on two main themes: Interdisciplinarity & The place and role of values in science.
  • 2 tutorials on case studies illustrating the two main themes: Big Science projects (Manhattan Project) and what value do we want to promote through research (transhumanism).
  • A series of conferences on the means of financing research and the major challenges in terms of energy resources.

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a critic on the resources and values carried by R&D.
  • Understand the characteristics of contemporary research beyond immediate projects.
  • To be able to debate socio-technical controversies.
  • To be able to identify the major national and European research structures.


  • A two-hour table assignment combining a text study and a general question about the course.
  • Report on the conference cycle.