FALL 2015

Joyce Chaplin. Subject Matter: Technology, The Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500-1676, by Joyce Chaplin (Harvard University Press, 2001)


Probability and Statistics: Historical and philosophical aspects of the spread, diversification, and amplification of statistical inference practices. Various readings.

FALL 2014

Working Knowledge: The Making of the Human Sciences from Parsons to Kuhn, by Joel Isaac.


Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Aggression and Sexuality, by Helen E. Longino.

FALL 2013

How the Cold War Transformed Philosophy of Science: To the Icy Slopes of Logic, by George Reisch. 


Week 1-4: Pseudoscience Michael Gordin, The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).

Week 1: Introduction-Chapter 1 (pp. 1-48)

Week 2: Chapter 2-3 (pp. 49-105)

Week 3: Chapters 4-5 (pp. 106-163)

Week 4: Chapter 6-Conclusion (pp. 163-212)

Weeks 5-7: Pluralism

FALL 2012

Tuesday, August 28th. History of Astronomy
Steve Case and Marvin Bolt;
Crowe, Michael J. "Herschel, Sir John Frederick William, first baronet (1792–1871)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; Williams, M.E.W (1983). "Was there such a thing as stellar astronomy in the eighteenth century?" History of Science 11: 369-388

Tuesday, Sept 4th. Agnotology
Janet Kourany and Manuela Fernández
Proctor, R. 2008 "Agnotology: A Missing Term to Describe the Cultural Production of Ignorance (and its Study)"; Oreskes, N. & Erik Conway. 2008. "Challenging Knowledge: How Climate Science Became a Victim of the Cold War"

Tuesday, Sept 11th. Voluntarism and Scientific Realism
Anjan Chakravartty
van Fraassen, Bas (2004). "Replies to discussion on The Empirical Stance." Philosophical Studies 121: 171-192; Chakravartty, Anjan (2011). "A puzzle about voluntarism about rational epistemic stances." Synthese 178: 37-48

Tuesday, Sept 18th. Science communication
Melinda Gromley and Jessica Baron
Lynn K. Nyhart, "From the HSS President: History of Science Unbound," Newsletter of the History of Science Society 41.1 (Jan 2012): 1-2, 4; Zuoyue Wang and Naomi Oreskes, "History of Science and American Science Policy," Isis 99 (June 2008): 365-73; John L. Heilbron, "Applied History of Science" Isis 78.4 (Dec 1987): 552-563; Katie Plaisance and Carla Fehr, "Socially Relevant Philosophy of Science," A poster presented at the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology meeting, 12 July 2011

Tuesday, Sept 25th. Philosophy of Biology
Charles Pence
Beatty, J. H. (1992). "Random drift." In E. F. Keller & E. A. Lloyd (Eds.), Keywords in evolutionary biology (pp. 273–281). Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press; Matthen and Ariew (2002). "Two ways of thinking about fitness and natural selection." The Journal of Philosophy 99 (no. 2): 55-83; Pence. "It's okay to call genetic drift a "force." Preprint.

Tuesday, Oct 2nd. Early Modern Science
Robert Goulding and Richard Oosterhoff
Edward Muir. The culture wars of the late Renaissance skeptics, libertines, and opera. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2007, chapter 1, pp. 13-59; Copenhaver, Brian (1992). "Did science have a Renaissance?" Isis 83 (no. 3): 387-407.

Tuesday, Oct 9th. Pluralism and the philosophy of physics.
Katherine Brading and Pablo Ruiz de Olano.
- Brading. K. 2010. "Autonomous Patterns and Scientific Realism", Philosophy of Science, Vol. 77, No. 5, pp. 827-839; - Chang, H. 2012. "Pluralism in Science: A Call to Action", Chapter 5 of Chang, H 2012. Is Water H2O? Evidence, Realism, and Pluralism, Springer.

Spring 2012

Continental Philosophy of Science at the Beginning of 20th Century
Main readings: Hans-Jörg Rheinberger’s An Epistemology of the Concrete: Twentieth Century Histories of Life and Émile Meyerson’s Philosophy of Science

Week 1: Background: Gary Gutting, French Philosophy in the Twentieth Century, Assigned: Chp. 2 (Science and Idealism); Recommended: Chp. 1.

Week 2: Émile Meyerson’s Philosophy of Science
Readings: Meyerson, Author’s Prefaces to English and French Editions of Identity and Reality and final chapter; “Introduction” to Meyerson selection in Joseph Kockelmans Philosophy of Science: The Historical Background pp. 328-31.
Recommend: Meyerson Chp. 1 from Identity and Reality

Week 3: French Historical Epistemology
Readings; Assigned: Gaston Bachelard “Epistemology and History of the Sciences”, in J. Kockelmans and T. Kisiel, Phenomenology and the Natural Sciences pp. 317-346; T. Lenoir, “Forward” (pp. i-xix) and Rheinberger “Prologue” (pp. 1-10) of Epistemology of the Concrete.

Week 4: Rheinberger, Epistemology, chps. 1-2 (14-48)

Week 5: Rheinberger, Epistemology, chps. 8-9 (pp. 153-202)

Week 6: Rheinberger Epistemology Part 4, chps 11-13 (217-252)

Week 7: Summary Discussion: Assigned: Gutting, French Philosophy, chp. 8, (215-57). Recommended: Gutting, French Philosophy, chp. 12 (353-79)

Fall 2010

Ludwik Fleck. 1935. Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact. Edited by: Thaddeus J. Trenn and Robert K. Merton. Translated by Frederick Bradley and Thaddeus J. Trenn. Foreword by Thomas Kuhn. (University Of Chicago Press, 1981)

Fall 2009

Harold J. Cook. Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine and Science in the Dutch Golden Age. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007).

Fall 2008

Steven Shapin, The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008).

Spring 2008

John H. Zammito, A Nice Derangement of Epistemes: Post-positivism in the Study of Science from Quine to Latour (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).

Fall 2007

Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity (New York: Zone Books, 2007).

Spring 2007

January 23: Kristian Camilleri. "Constructing the Myth of the Copenhagen Interpretation."

January 30: Enda Leaney. "Tea, Cakes and Science: Promoting Science in Nineteenth-Century Ireland." Background reading: Enda Leaney. "'Missionaries of Science: Provincial Lectures in Nineteenth-century Ireland." Irish Historical Studies 34, no. 135 (May, 2005).

February 6: Chris Hamlin: Leading a discussion of John Pickstone's paper, "Ways of Knowing and of Working: An Exploration of Practices and Categories in the Histories of Science,Technology, and Medicine."

February 13: HsingChi von Bergmann: "Condition of Contextualized Science Education in Forty-two Countries." Background Reading: H. A. Wang and W. H. Schmidt. "History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science in Science Education: Results from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study." Science & Education 10 (2001), 51-70.

February 20: Alan Padgett. “Induction after Foundationalism: Four Theses on Informal Inference.” From: Alan G. Padgett. Science and the Study of God: A Mutuality Model for Theology and Science. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2003.

February 27: Teasel Muir-Harmony. "Tracking Diplomacy: The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Satellite Tracking Station in India."

March 6: Alex Skiles. "How Do Symmetry Principles Relate to the Laws of Physics?"

Spring 2006:

January 24: Don Howard. "Physics as Theodicy."

January 31: Brian Pitts. "Does the Big Bang Demystify Creation in the Finite Past?"

February 7: Dan McKaughan. "The Influence of Niels Bohr on Max Delbrück: Revisiting the Hopes Inspired by 'Light and Life'."

February 14: Christina Turner. "The Early History of Gravitational Lensing."

February 21: Lydia Patton. "Logic and Philosophy of Science in the Early Marburg School."

March 7: Dan Pasch. "Herbert Blumer's Methodological Project."

March 21: Kim Pelis. "A Louse, Divided: Contrasting Styles of Epidemiological Demonstration in French North Africa, 1906-1922."

Fall 2005:

August 30: Phil Sloan. "Kant on the History of Nature."

September 6: Phil Mirowski. "Rethinking the Commercialization of Science."

September 13: George Howard. "Stan Ovshinsky and the Hydrogen Economy:

Creating a Better World.

September 20: Don Howard and Buket Korkut-Raptis. "Michael Friedman and the Contingent A Priori."

September 27: Pietro Corsi. "The Biology of Lamarck: Text and Context."

October 4: Holly Vande Wall. "Natural Kinds of Chemistry: A Critique of Brian Ellis’ New Essentialist Ontology."

October 11: Nahyan Fancy. "The Virtuous Son of the Rational: A Traditionalist’s Response to the Falāsifa’s dismissal of Revelation."

October 25: Katherine Brading and Joe Zepeda. Leading a discussion of Hasok Chang's work on "How Do You Make the First Thermometer?"

November 1: Hasok Chang. "Spirit, Air, Quicksilver: How to Determine a Temperature Scale."

Spring 2005

Mary Poovey, A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences of Wealth and Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).

Fall 2004

Bas C. van Fraassen, The Empirical Stance (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002).

Spring 2004

Robert J. Richards, The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002).

Fall 2003

Helen Longino, The Fate of Knowledge (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002).

Spring 2003

A selection of "classic" papers in the history of science.

Fall 2002

Philip Kitcher, Science, Truth, and Democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

Spring 2002

William Clark, Jan Golinski, and Simon Schaffer, eds.,The Sciences in Enlightened Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).

Fall 2001

Thomas S. Kuhn, The Road Since Structure: Philosophical Essays, 1970-1993, With an Autobiographical Interview. James Conant and John Haugeland, eds. (University of Chicago Press, 2000).

Spring 2001

Lily E. Kay, Who Wrote the Book of Life: A History of the Genetic Code (Stanford University Press, 2000).

Fall 2000

John Brooke and Geoffrey Cantor, Reconstructing Nature: The Engagement of Science and Religion (Oxford University Press, 1999).

Spring 2000

Mara Beller, Quantum Dialogue: The Making of a Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).

Fall 1999

Noretta Koertge, ed., A House Built on Sand: Exposing Postmodernist Myths about Science (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).

Spring 1999

Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998).

Fall 1998

Abner Shimony, Search for a Naturalistic World View. Vol 1, Scientific Method and Epistemology (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

Spring 1998

N. Jardine, J.A. Secord, and E.C. Spary, eds., Cultures of Natural History (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

Fall 1997

Evelyn Fox Keller and Helen Longino, eds., Feminism and Science (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).