Welcome to the History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program at Notre Dame
Our doctoral program offers graduate-level instruction leading to a discipline-based HPS Ph.D. (philosophy, history, theology).
We offer a distinctive, inter-departmental doctoral program which prepares graduates to succeed in a wide range of professions and research activities, from professorships and administration in academia to science journalism and positions in museums, libraries, and publishing houses. We also offer a concurrent masters to students enrolled for a Ph.D. in another Notre Dame program.
Faculty members are drawn from a variety of departments including history, philosophy, theology, English, and the program of liberal studies. Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds in the humanities and sciences, and take their HPS expertise on into positions in academia and elsewhere (see our alumni page).
We are proud of our unique inter-departmental program. Here are some activities that you can take part in.
Keep in touch with the HPS community here at Notre Dame: check out the calendar of HPS Upcoming Events!
Congratulations to Erica Freeman!
Congratulations to Erica Freeman! Erica defended her M.A. thesis yesterday under the direction of Phil Sloan. Her project was entitled "Darwin on the 'more interesting" and 'most intricate' problems for natural selection."
Richard Oosterhoff awarded A&L post-doc
Congratulations to HPS history track student Richard Oosterhoff, who has been awarded an Arts and Letters post-doc for 2013-14. Richard, who is currently a fellow of the Notre Dame Institute of Advanced Study, will teach courses for the History Department and for PLS. Richard’s research concentrates on the cultural history of Renaissance science, with special interests in universities, production and consumption of books, the interdisciplinary use of mathematics, and the relation of scholarly and "unlearned" knowledge of nature. We are delighted that he will be with us for another year. Congratulations Richard!
Congratulations to Katherine Brading!
The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) has awarded a 2013 fellowship to Katherine Brading, who is William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and director of the History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) graduate program.
Brading received the ACLS fellowship for a research project called “Theoretical Physics as a Contribution of Philosophy,” which features Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most influential scientists of all time, as its central figure.
Join us for the HPS Spring Workshop!
Friday, May 3rd, 2013- Two great events happening for ND HPS! Come to Erik Peterson's (HPS Alumn, University of Alabama) brown-bag lunch “When Did the Influence of the Environment on Evolution Become Heretical (Again)?”. And then join a series of presentations of HPS graduate students in preparation for conferences they will be attending this summer! Feedback is most welcome. For more information, click here.
Good news from Lee Mayo!
Starting this fall, Lee Mayo (HPS alumn, Philosophy track, 2011) will be teaching full time at Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN. Congratulations to Lee. Lee’s responsibilities include courses in logic and critical thinking, philosophy and film, and a history of science course covering the “Romantic” era of science. This summer, he will be teaching on-line courses in ethical theory and business ethics.
Congratulations to Manuela and Charles!
Manuela Fernandez and Charles Pence will be presenting at the Fourth Conference of the European Philosophy of Science Association (EPSA). The conference will be organized and hosted by the Finnish Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki, Finland, 28-31 August 2013. Manuela will give a talk on "Commercialization and the limits of well-ordered science", and Charles' paper is titled "Process and Product Concepts of Natural Selection and Genetic Drift".
Philosopher Janet Kourany delivers two major lectures
HPS professor Janet Kourany has been busy this spring! In addition to working on her latest book entitled Forbidden Knowledge: The Social Construction and Management of Ignorance, Janet has given two major lectures in the US and Canada. Her first talk was at the "No Limits" conference at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, where she was the keynote speaker. Her presentation, entitled “But What Happens When the Scientists Are Women?” challenged the concern that science will be less sound if women are allowed to conduct it.
Her most recent talk, "Bacon's Promise," was delivered at the University of Alberta as part of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Strategic Knowledge Cluster grant that funds "Situating Science," a seven-year project promoting communication and collaboration among humanists and social scientists that are engaged in the study of science and technology.
HPS Alumnus Erik Peterson has accepted a tenure-track position at University of Alabama!
We are delighted to officially share the news that HPS history track alumnus Erik Peterson has accepted a tenure-track position teaching history of science in the History department at the University of Alabama. The department is making the Plato to NATO survey course one of the core requirements for history credit, and this will be among Erik’s teaching duties. Many, many congratulations to Erik on this well-deserved appointment. We look forward to building stronger links with Alabama through Erik, and to supporting him in whatever ways we can in his new position. Congratulations Erik!
Congratulations to Manuela Fernandez, Pablo Ruiz, and Monica Solomon!
Manuela Fernandez and Pablo Ruiz will be commentators at the APA Pacific Division Meeting. The conference takes place March 27-30, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Manuela will comment on Joshua Houston's paper, “Meadian Pragmatism and Scientific Objectivity", and Pablo will comment on Gerald D. Doppelt's work on structural realism as "the best explanation of the predictive success of science".
In July, Pablo will also be present at the conference for the Foundations of Physics at LMU (organized by the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy). His paper deals with the question: "Are Elementary Particles Irreducible Representations? Color, Flavor, and Structuralism about SU(3)". In May, Monica will present the 4th Bucharest Graduate Conference in Early Modern Philosophy a paper on Newton's mathematical time.
March 15th, 2013. Matthias and Monica presented at the Philo-STEM 5, the Midwest Workshopin Philosophy of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Monica Solomon presented a paper on the mathematical composition of motions and the philosophical lesson to be taken from a comparison between Galileo's derivation of a parabolic path and Newton's rule for composing forces. Matthias Egg's paper was titled "Common Cause Explanations in Quantum Mechanics". There he argues for an explanation of the correlations observed in Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) type experiments in terms of (nonlocal) common causes. PhiloSTEM-5 was organized by the Department of Philosophy at Purdue University, in Fort Wayne.
Welcome Matthias and Leandro!
We are happy to welcome our two visitors: Matthias Egg and Leandro Guedes. Matthias has recently defended his PhD thesis on scientific realism in particle physics at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). He is now continuing his research on scientific explanation and causality in the context of quantum mechanics, and its relation to explanations in other contexts. He is also interested in ontological issues surrounding quantum field theory. Leandro comes from Brazil, he is an astronomer, and decided to turn his formation toward History and Philospphy of Science. Read more about our HPS Visitor Program!
On March 6th, Grant Ramsey gave talk at University of Maryland entitled Human Nature in a Post-Essentialist World
Grant Ramsey is Associate Professor of Philosophy and his research interests are in the philosophy of biology. In his talk at University of Maryland, Grant will suggest an account of human nature —the “life-history trait cluster” conception of human nature- that should satisfy the following desiderata: it should (1) be the empirically accessible (and thus not based on occult essences) subject of the human (psychological, anthropological, economic, biological, etc.) sciences, (2) help clarify related concepts like innateness, naturalness, and inevitability, which are associated with human nature, and (3) characterize human uniqueness.
Moiz Hasan has arrived safely at McGill.
Moiz Hasan (3rd year, History Track) is spending this semester working with Professor Jamil Ragep. Professor Ragep visited us from McGill last year to give an HPS colloquium talk. Moiz is spending this semester working with Professor Ragep, looking at unpublished Arabic manuscripts of the medieval Islamic scientist/theologian al-Sharif al-Jurani, with a view to better understanding certain historical and philosophical aspects of the relationship between science (particularly, astronomy and natural philosophy) and religion in Islamic intellectual history. He is also participating in classes. We wish him a productive and enjoyable semester, and look forward to hearing lots more about it on his return!
Congratulations Steve Case for the success of his Evidential Reasoning in Astronomy and Cosmology Workshop!
The workshop was a great success in bringing together faculty and students from physics, astronomy, history and philosophy for superb talks and wonderful discussion. Our thanks to Steve for all the work that he put into organizing the conference, and we look forward to the fruits of ongoing discussions, at Notre Dame and beyond, prompted by this conference.
We already have one such example: Chris Graney, one of the attendees, hosts a science talk show on a local Louisville Catholic radio station. A couple of weeks after the workshop, he interviewed Steve Case. The interview aired last week and has been posted as a podcast: http://www.wlcr.org/archives/SC130306.mp3. In it Steve discusses the workshop and his own research on the physical nature of the stars. Great stuff!
Charles Pence is teaching a class on Ethics of Emerging Weapon Technologies during Spring 2013
Charles is an HPS PhD student and now a candidate on the job market. His dissertation is on chance in evolution theory. During Spring 2013 he teaches Ethics of Emerging Weapon Technologies. The class is focused on the rapidly changing landscape of twenty-first century battlefield: from the much-publicized deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles to the development of futuristic enhanced soldiers, ubiquitous surveillance technologies, and fully autonomous robotic systems. Visit Charles' webpage or click here to read more about his class and other graduate students news.
HPS Postdoc Catherine Jackson will be a keynote speaker at the Summer Symposium 2013 of the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry
Catherine Jackson specializes in history of chemistry and history of science, and she is currently working to complete the manuscript of a book provisionally entitled Material World: Analysis and Synthesis in the Making of Modern Chemistry. During Fall 2012, Catherine taught the class entitled "Doing Science, Doing History," a class that used the history of 19th century chemistry to build skills in reading, writing and presenting original work in history of science.
The ISPC-SS2013 will be held in Montevideo, Uruguay, July 31- August 2. The Symposium will be devoted to specific key topics within the field of the philosophy and history of chemistry, such as: chemistry in the 19th century, chemistry and society, what do orbitals mean to chemists?, modeling and structure in chemistry, Is chemistry the fundamental science?, etc.
Congratulations to HPS student Steve Case!
Steve Case's paper, "These Divine Animals: Physicality of the Stars in Platonic and Aristotelian Thought," was selected to be included in the online conference proceedings publication of the 2013 Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies Graduate Student Conference. Steve's paper was among the elite group of twelve papers selected from forty-eight papers. Congratulations to Steve for this piece of excellent scholarship!
For the most recent news from the HPS program, click on one of the following:
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Last updated: 04/26/2013