« October 2012 »

Mon Oct 1, 2012

HPS Lecture - Michael Crowe and Christopher Graney. “Life as We Know It"

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Location: 215 DeBartolo Hall

Title:  “Life as We Know It,” by Professors Michael J. Crowe and Christopher M. Graney
From the beginning the human race has scanned the heavens for the meaning of our existence and for signs of creatures living far, far away. The search itself says a lot about who we are.

Note:  This talk is based on an essay that will be published in the Fall issue of Notre Dame Magazine.

Tue Oct 2, 2012

HPS Reading Group

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Location: 131 Decio

Early Modern Science

-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. …

Thu Oct 4, 2012

HPS Colloquium - Norman MacLeod. “Mass Extinctions in the Geological Record: Causes and Consequences”

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Location: 209 DeBartolo Hall

“Mass Extinctions in the Geological Record: Causes and Consequences”
Click here to see the poster

Norman MacLeod

     With its biblical overtones, the phenomenon of ‘mass extinction’ has intrigued and puzzled scientists in many different disciplines ever since the middle 1800s. Over the intervening 150 years an impressive number of hypotheses and mechanisms have been proposed to account for these global biotic turnover events (e.g., Benton 1990). Unfortunately, few of these hypotheses have been tested against empirical observations.

Tue Oct 9, 2012

HPS Reading Group

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Location: 131 Decio

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,

Fri Oct 12, 2012

Margaret Humphreys “Of Wards and War: The Importance of Good (and Bad) Medical Care in the American Civil War”

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Location: 119 O'Shaughnessy

During the crisis following the Haitian earthquake of 2010 one physician commented that "we're practicing Civil War medicine here," referring to the absence of supplies and primitive environment of care. Actually, the well-run Civil War hospital offered superior care to that possible in quake-ravaged Haiti.  This paper will outline the components of the best and worst of Civil War medicine, and argue that the conditions in southern hospitals were so far inferior to those of the north that it probably made a difference to the war effort.  In the northern hospitals men shot rats as a target practice game; in the south they roasted them for lunch.  Important aspects of the best care were nutritious food, medicines such as chloroform, quinine, and opium, and sufficient staff to ensure cleanliness and care of the weakened or wounded body.  It is difficult to assess hospital outcomes due the quality of the data, but what information is available indicates that the disparities between northern and southern hospitals were a factor in the manpower issues that dominated the war’s final years.…

Wed Oct 24, 2012

HPS Writing Essays Workshop

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Location: 400 Geddes Hall

 Writing Essays in History, Philosophy, and HPS
Anjan Chakravartty & Tom Stapleford
Wed, Oct 24th, 4.15pm-6.00pm
400 Geddes Hall



History and Philosophy of Science programs are interdisciplinary. Generally, however, one is first trained in a particular discipline: graduate students typically enter HPS programs with prior degrees in history, or philosophy, or science, or some other field. Often, this leads to feelings of concern (sometimes, terror :) about writing an essay in a graduate course in a discipline in which one has little or no prior training. In this session, we will outline what is expected of essays in history, philosophy, and HPS, and offer some concrete suggestions and techniques for finding a suitable topic, doing appropriate research, and writing and editing essays. No preparation is required and there will be time for discussion, so bring your questions!

Thu Oct 25, 2012

HPS Reading Group

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Location: 131 Decio

The last HPS Reading Group meeting for the Fall semester. We'll decide the topic for Spring 2013. If you would like to join our reading group, please send an email to Katherine Brading (kbrading1@nd.edu), the director of the HPS program. Please see more information about our sessions by visiting the HPS Reading Group webpage

Tue Oct 30, 2012

John Burnham “The Death of the Sick Role: A Problem in Healthcare, Sociology, History, Anthropology, Medicine,and Public Policy at the Turn of the 21st Century"

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Location: 209 DeBartolo

In the middle of the twentieth century, everybody knew what it was to be sick.  A person felt bad, stopped regular life routines, and went to the doctor.  Sociologists called this universal behavior “taking the sick role.”  Several decades later, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, it was becoming more and more difficult to take a sick role.  Social norms had changed.  Medicine had changed.…