Editions 2015  · 2013 · 2010

2011 Rationale

The creation of the Fernando Gil International Prize for Philosophy of Science was announced by the Portuguese government at the time of his death, to honor his memory and work (1937-2006).

The Prize intends to award a work of particular excellence in the domain of the Philosophy of Science, whether regarding general epistemological problems or particular scientific areas. The 2010 prize was awarded to Ladislav Kvasz, a Slovak Mathematician and Philosopher.

The recipient of the Prize is requested to deliver an original public lecture that will be published by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and to conduct a specialized seminar for students and researchers in Lisbon on the occasion of the Prize ceremony.


The Prize was launched as a joint initiative of the Portuguese government, represented by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education), and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

The Fernando Gil International Prize is awarded every year in Lisbon. The amount to be paid to the laureate will be 125.000,00 €.


Only original and recent works of a single author, from any nationality or professional affiliation, published during the three previous years (2008 , 2009 and 2010) will be taken into consideration.

Nominations to the Fernando Gil International Prize 2011 should be sent to premio-filosofia@fernando-gil.org.pt until February 28, 2011 at 12h00 UTC, and include the following elements:

  • The complete publication data of the nominated work;
  • A critical review of the work being proposed for the prize emphasizing the elements considered to be more relevant for the awarding of the prize (2000 characters);
  • A brief comment on the author biography (2000 characters).

Simultaneously, a bound paper copy of the nominated publication should be sent to the Foundation for Science and Technology:

Foundation for Science and Technology
C/O: Andreia Rosa
Av. D. Carlos I, 126
1249-074 Lisboa — Portugal

Award committee

Photo Henry Altan

Henri Atlan

Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris

Atlan graduated in medicine and biophysics at the University of Paris. He then moved to California working at the NASA Ames Center and University of California Berkeley on aging and radiation biology. He was then interested in applying cyberbetics and information theory to living organisms and went to the Weizmann Institute in Israel to work under the biophysicist Aharon Katchalsky. Returning to Paris in 1972 his publications from that year on information theory and self-organizing systems achieved a wide readership. He taught biophysics at the Hotel Dieu University of Paris 6 and at the Hadassah Hebrew University Hospital of Jerusalem and philosophy of biology at the Ecole des Haures Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He established and still serves as the Director of the Human Biology Research Center at the Hadassah Hospial in Jerusalem.

Author of a theory of complexity and self-organization, numerous publications in cell biology and immunology, artificial intelligence, and philosophy of biology, his work encouraged interest in cognitive science in France.

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Per Aage Brandt

Case Western Reserve University

Per Aage Brandt, b. 1944 in Buenos Aires, Danish citizen. Ph.D. from the University of Copenhagen 1971, Thèse d’Etat in Semio-Linguistics from the Sorbonne, Paris, 1987. Professor of semiotics and founder of The Center for Dynamic Semiotics, University of Aarhus (1993); professor of Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University (2005 - ). Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, French Ministry of Education 2002; Officer of the Order of the Dannebrog, Queen of Denmark 2004; Grand Prix de Philosophie de l’Académie Française 2002; Otto Gelsted Prize, Danish National Academy; Life-long Merit Award, Danish Ministry of Culture, 2009. Founder of the journal Cognitive Semiotics (2007 - ).

Latest books: Spaces, Domains, and meaning, 2004. Morphologies of Meaning, 1995. Dynamique du sens, 1994. Works in linguistics, semiotics, poetics, cognitive semantics, aesthetics, philosophy. Translator from the French, English and Spanish, musician, and poet (30 volumes published since debut 1969).

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Marcelo Dascal

Tel Aviv University

Marcelo Dascal graduated in philosophy and electrical engineering from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, studied linguistics and epistemology in Aix-en-Provence (France) and obtained his PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem supervised by Yehoshua Bar-Hillel.

His work in the philosophy of language focuses on the theory of language use, i.e., pragmatics. He is the editor of Pragmatics & Cognition. He is renowned for his work on Leibniz which emphasizes that Leibniz’ account of the contingent as well as of the social world requires involves also a ‘soft’ version of rationalism, which views rationality as not based on certainty.

Dascal was a fellow of the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies and of the Jerusalem Institute for Advanced Studies, held the Leibniz Chair at the Leipzig University Center for Advanced Studies, and was a Gulbenkian Professor at the University of Lisbon. For his achievements he received the Humboldt Prize and the International Society for the Study of Argumentation’s Prize of Argumentation.

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Vincent Descombes

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris

His major work has been in the philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. He is particularly noted for a lengthy critique in two volumes of the project he calls cognitivism, and which is, roughly, the view current in philosophy of mind that mental and psychological facts can ultimately be treated as, or reduced to, physical facts about the brain. Descombes has also written an introduction to modern French philosophy (Le même et l'autre) focused on the transition, after 1960, from a focus on the three H's, Hegel, Husserl and Heidegger to the "three masters of suspicion", Marx, Nietzsche and Freud.

Vincent Descombes teaches at the Centre de recherches politiques Raymond Aron, part of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. He holds an appointment in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

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Donald A. Gillies

University College, London

Professor Donald Gillies as an undergraduate studied Mathematics and Philosophy at Cambridge (1962-66). In 1966 he became a graduate student in Professor Sir Karl Popper’s department at the London School of Economics, and completed his PhD on the Foundations of Probability with Professor Imre Lakatos as supervisor in 1970. Since 1971 he has been a full-time member of staff of London University. He was editor of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1982-85), and President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science for the period 2001-3. His research has been in the general area of philosophy of science with a main specialisation in logic, foundations of probability and philosophy of mathematics. Since 2000, he has been working on a new research programme concerned with the application of philosophy of science to medicine.

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Giulio Giorello

Università degli Studi di Milano

Giulio Giorello is Full Professor of Philosophy of Science at Università degli Studi of Milan. He took degree in philosophy as well as in mathematics. He teached at the University of Pavia, Milan and Catania, holds courses at Politecnico Milan and IUAV-University of Design Venic. He has been President of SILFS (Società Italiana di Logica e Filosofia delle Scienze: Italian Society of Logic and Philosophy of Sciences). From the early studies in philosophy and history of mathematics, his research interests have focused on the scientific change and the relationship between sciences, ethics, and politics. He is author of numerous essays on main concepts of contemporary epistemological issues. Moreover, he is columnist of the main italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, and editor of the collection «Scienza e Idee» at Raffaello Cortina Editore. His most recent books include: with Pier Luigi Gaspa La scienza tra le nuvole. Da Pippo Newton a Mr Fantastic (2007); with Simona Morini, Harsayi (2008); with Edoardo Boncinelli Lo scimmione intelligente (2009); Lussuria. La passione della conoscenza (2010); Senza Dio. Del buon uso dell’ateismo (2010).

Photo Manuel Silvério Marques

Manuel Silvério Marques

Centro de Filosofia, Universidade de Lisboa

Born in Lisbon in 1946, MD, PhD. Clinical Hematologist (IPO, Portuguese Institute of Oncology, Lisbon). Since 1985: member of the Philosophy of Knowledge Cabinet (Chair: Fernando Gil) and since 2005: member of the Center of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, Lisbon University; in 2006 retired from the IPO. In 2007-2006, member of the Board the National Council of Ethics on Clinical Research and, in 2004-2002, member of the Board of the National Ethics Committe. Visiting Associate Fellow at the Darwin College, Cambridge University, in 1999 and in 1990 Visiting staff of the Unité Fonctionelle de Greffes Medullaires, Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon. Lecturer on Hematology, Bioethics, Philosophy of Medicine in several pre- and post-doc Courses in various Medical Universities and Hospitals. Dozens of papers and two books published. Latest papers: “A febre, a fibra e o espasmo” (“Fever, fiber and spasm”) BNP, Lisboa, 2010; “Contágio. Contribuição para a Epistemologia e a Ética da Saúde Pública” (“Contagion…”) ActaMedPort, 23, 2010.

Photo Maria Filomena Molder

Maria Filomena Molder

Departamento de Filosofia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Associate Professor at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL). Member of the Instituto de Filosofia da Linguagem (IFL, UNL). Member of the Conseil Scientifique du Collège International de Philosophie, Paris in 2003-2006 and 2006/2009. PhD in 1992 on Goethe’s Morphological Thought.

Published several books, including: O Pensamento Morfológico de Goethe (Goethe’s Morphological Thought), 1995; Semear na Neve. Sobre Walter Benjamin (Sowing in the snow. On Walter Benjamin), 1999, Pen-Club 2000 Award for the Essay category;Matérias Sensíveis (Sensitive Matters), 2000; A Imperfeição da Filosofia (The Imperfection of Philosophy), 2003; O Absoluto que pertence à Terra (The Absolute that Belongs to the Earth), 2005; Editor of Paisagens dos Confins. Fernando Gil (Boundaries Landscapes. Fernando Gil), 2009; Símbolo, Analogia e Afinidade (Symbol, Analogy and Affinity), 2010; Editor of Rue Descartes nº68, “Philosopher au Portugal Aujourd’hui”, 2010.

Photo Frédéric Nef

Frédéric Nef

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris

Frederic Nef has written many books and papers. Among the books: L´object quelconque, Vrin, Paris, 1998, Qu´est-ce que la métaphysique?, Gallimard, 2005, Traité d´ontologie à
l´intention des non philosophes et de ceux qui le sont
, Gallimard, 2009, with Pierre Livet: Les êtres sociaux, processus et virtualité, Herman, Paris, 2008. He has recently completed a book on emptiness: Le vide, logiquement, to appear at Editions du Seuil, Paris in 2011.

Frederic Nef is working on the ontology of connexion, modalities, metaphysics of social objects, ontological structures. Among his favorite philosophers: Brentano, Leibniz, Plato, G. Bergmann.

Frederic Nef was a close friend and a colleague of Fernando Gil, and he treasures the memory of the discussions he had with him in Jerusalem under the snow.

Photo Jean Petitot

Jean Petitot

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris

Born in 1944, Jean Petitot is a specialist of mathematical modeling in cognitive sciences and a philosopher of science.

He is full Professor at the Mathematical Center of the EHESS in Paris and former director of the CREA at Ecole Polytechnique. He is member of the International Academy of Philosophy of Science, of the Scientific Committee of many international associations and of the Editorial Board of many journals.

He is the author of Neurogéométrie de la vision (Ellipses, 2008), Per un nuovo illuminismo (Bompiani, 2009), Morphologie et Esthétique (Maisonneuve et Larose, 2004), three other books, and more than 300 papers. He is also co-editor of Constituting Objectivity (Springer, 2009), Histoire du libéralisme en Europe, (PUF, 2006), Neurogeometry and Visual Perception (J. of Physiology-Paris, 2003), Au Nom du Sens, hommage Umberto Eco (Grasset, 2000).

Photo Bertrand Saint–Sernin

Bertrand Saint–Sernin

Institut de France

Bertrand Saint-Sernin was born in Brest (Finistère) in 1931. His university studies took place in Paris. He became Agrégé de Philosophie in 1958. His work included political science at OECD (1963-1965) and in the French public administration (DGRST :1965-1969), while always teaching at the Sorbonne. He completed his Doctorate on mathematics of decision theory in 1971, and was nominated Professor at the Université de Lille III in 1972. Between 1973 and 1982, he was Recteur d’Académie before being nominated Chief of Staff for the Minister of National Education in 1986-87. He also was Recteur de l'Académie de Creteil in 1987-1989, later member of the National Committee for the Evaluation of Universities (1989-1993). After teaching at the Université de Nanterre (1989-1993), he was elected to the Université de Paris-Sorbonne, being now Professor Emeritus. B. Saint-sernin is the author of thirteen books and of a great number of articles. His works centers on decision, action and reason. He has written about authors such as Cournot, Whitehead, Simone Weil, Maurice Blondel. After 2002 he is a member of the Institut de France (Académie des sciences morales et politiques).