Yann Benétreau-Dupin


Doctoral Student

Department of Philosophy

Research Area:
History and Philosophy of Science
Science Education

Yann Benétreau-Dupin is a Ph.D. student at Western University Department of Philosophy, beginning in 2011-2012. His academic interests are in the history and philosophy of science, in philosophical foundations of physics and methodology in experimental sciences. He is interested in issues of justification of scientific models and of what constitutes a scientific experiment. He has worked on the history of the logical positivists, and on defending an empiricist approach to structural realism. Yann is also interested in considering how philosophical debates on the nature of science are relevant to science teaching. In France, he developed educative programs aimed at fostering hands-on, inquiry-based scientific projects. In Boston, he took part in a teaching and research project focussing on helping secondary physics teachers become more proficient in physics concepts and teaching strategies, that merges physics content with readings from the history and philosophy of science, and the education research literature. He is an assistant editor for the journal Science & Education (Contributions from History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science and Education).

For his doctoral studies, Yann wishes to focus on philosophical issues in contemporary cosmology. Such a domain offers a specific set of hypotheses and experimental conditions (not only due to the scale of its object of study, but also to the singular character of its hypotheses). In particular, he is interested in studying to what extent the uniqueness of the universe challenges the project of cosmology as a science, and how this issue affects the validity of particular related experimental studies (in particle physics for instance).

MA Thesis:

Empiricist Criteria of Meaning, Boston University, 2010.


(with Pierre Wagner, université Paris-1) Translation into French of Rudolf Carnap’s article “Testability and Meaning” with introduction (in preparation)

(project coordinator, co-editor, and co-writer): Planète Sciences (collective). Pas à pas dans l’univers, 15 expériences d’astronomie pour tous. Vuibert, Paris, 2009


Benétreau-Dupin Y. “An Empiricist Criterion of Meaning” South African Journal of Philosophy 2011, 30 (2).

Book Chapters:

(with Horacio Tignanelli) “The Contribution of History and Philosophy to the Teaching of Astronomy” in Matthews M. (ed.) History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Handbook. Springer. (in preparation, expected publication in 2013)

Invited Talks:

“An Introduction to the History of Astronomy through a Few Experiments” Summer talk at the Philosophy Department of the University of Texas at El Paso. May 2011.

Conference Presentations:

Garik, P., Garbayo, L., Benétreau-Dupin, Y. et al. “Teaching Teachers the Conceptual History of Physics.” 11th International History, Philosophy, and Science Teaching Conference, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece, June 2011.

Benétreau-Dupin Y. “An Empiricist Criterion of Meaning” Annual Conference of the Philosophical Society of Southern Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal, January 2011.

Benétreau-Dupin, Y. “Physical Multiple Realizability” Arkansas Philosophy Conference, Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Nov. 2009

Comments on Seremetis, A. “Can Functionalism Accommodate Extended Cognition?” Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference on Consciousness, Boston University, May 2010

Project Title: How Can the History and Philosophy of Science Contribute to U.S. Science Teaching?

Role: organizer

Project Members: Prof. Peter Garik (BU School of Education) and Prof. Alisa Bokulich (BU Dept of Philosophy), Primary Investigators.

Brief Description: Interdisciplinary conference and workshop, to be part of the 2012-13 program of the Boston Colloquium on Philosophy of Science. Invited speakers of the conference and workshop participants include Katherine Brading (Notre Dame), Richard Duschl (Penn State University), Gerald Holton (Harvard), Michael Mathews (UNSW, Australia), Mildred Solomon (Harvard Medical School, Hastings Center). For details and updates, see http://www.bu.edu/hps-scied.

Fall 2011, Big Ideas, University of Western Ontario [TA]

Fall 2011, Seminar on the Nature of Research, BU [helped develop syllabus]

Fall 2009-Summer 2011, ITOP courses, Boston University:

Forces and Motion, Rotation and Gravitation, Fluids and Thermodynamics, Electrostatics, Magnetostatics & DC Circuits, Waves and Geometrical Optics, Electromagnetism and Physical Optics, Quantum Physics, Special Relativity, Computer Modeling, Everyday Application of Physics [Teaching and research assistant, lecturer for the HPS content, grader for the physics and HPS contents. Courses taught by Andrew Duffy, Nicholas Gross, and Manher Jariwala.]

Spring 2007: Experimental workshops in observational astrophysics for EPF Engineering University (Sceaux, France) [Workshop leader, co-organized with Frédéric Amauger]

Fall 2006: ‘Sharing Knowledge’, Paris Astrophysics Graduate School (école doctorale d’astrophysique d’Île de France) [Workshop leader, co-organized with Pacôme Delva]