« 2012 »

Mon Jan 23, 2012

Thu Feb 9, 2012

Trevor Pinch. "Science, Our Benevolent Monster" Phi Beta Kappa Lecture


Location: 102 Debartolo

Trevor Pinch
Department of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University

Trevor Pinch will argue that the best knowledge we as humans have achieved so far, scientific knowledge, is fundamentally social knowledge.    He will explore what follows from this for thinking about scientific and technological expertise and our relationship to such experts, and offer the notion of a Golem – a friendly benevolent monster – as a way of thinking about science.…

Wed Feb 15, 2012

Thu Feb 23, 2012

Thu Mar 29, 2012

Wed Apr 4, 2012

Tue Apr 10, 2012

Mark Largent. "Vaccine Anxieties: The Modern American Vaccine Debate"


Location: 319 DeBartolo Hall

Mark Largent
James Madison College, Michigan State University

Nearly 40% of American parents have refused or delayed at least one routine vaccination for their children. Parents commonly cite concerns that vaccines might cause autism, but scientists and physicians have stridently rejected any connection. The vaccine-autism debate is a proxy debate, and behind it looms a number of serious and sometimes intractable problems with the modern vaccination schedule. This talk will describe the emergence of the modern American vaccine debate and uncover some of the concerns that animate parents' anxieties about vaccines.…

Wed Apr 11, 2012

Wed Apr 18, 2012

Susan Hackwood. "Science, Values, and Public Policy"


Location: 217 DeBartolo Hall

Susan Hackwood
Executive Director of the California Council of Science and Technology
"Science, Values, and Public Policy"

The intersection between science and technology, and public policy is a fascinating world. Decisions made by policy makers have an enormous impact on our life – think of the economy, healthcare, education, the environment, safety and security. Policy decisions most often have a science or technology component that policy makers and their staff are simply not trained to handle. Asking an expert is not enough. Clear communication, trust and accountability are paramount to science advising. A technical topic is inherently difficult to explain, not just because of the knowledge of the listener, but also because policy makers are looking for a “one handed answer”, not an “on the other hand”. Also, the scientific method does not take into account very real personal feelings such as outrage, irrational hope or groupthink.…

Thu Apr 19, 2012

Sarah Parker. "Beyond Bacon: From Scientific Theory to Practical Medicine in Thomas Browne’s Pseudodoxia Epidemica"


Location: 126 DeBartolo Hall

Sarah Parker
Ph.D. Candidate, English and Comparative Literature
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

English physician and author Thomas Browne has often been heralded as one of the first medical authors to take up the philosophy of science Bacon proposed in his Advancement of Learning (1605) and Novum Organon (1620). In book two of Advancement, where Bacon outlines his theory of the idols, he calls for a “Kalender of popular Errors, […] chiefly, in natural Historie such as passe in speech & conceit, and are neverthelesse apparently detected and convicted of untruth” (AL, 2I2r 35-36). By the middle of the century, Thomas Browne was working on, publishing, and continually expanding his Pseudodoxia Epidemica: or, enquiries into very many received tenents and commonly presumed truths

Mon Apr 23, 2012

Scott Shackelford. Reilly Forum: "Cyber War and Peace"


Location: 210-214 McKenna Hall

Scott Shackelford Kelley School of Busines, Indiana University
Is cyber peace possible?  If so, what might it look like?

Shackelford will analyze the merits and drawbacks of the emerging “polycentric” approach to cybersecurity that includes both the public and private sectors with regulation occurring at multiple levels. One component of cyber peace is defining state responsibility for cyber attacks. At a time in which the unchecked sovereign authority of states is being challenged across many arenas, state responsibility remains a key component of international security. But the speed and anonymity of cyber attacks makes proving state responsibility difficult. Prof. Shackelford will analyze potential legal regimes of state responsibility for cyber attacks, and speak more generally about the applicability of international law and relations to conceptualizing cybersecurity and fostering cyber peace.

Tue Apr 24, 2012

Sir Patrick Bateson. "The Active Role of Behaviour in Evolution"


Location: 283 Galvin Life Sciences Building

Sir Patrick Bateson, FRS Professor of Ethology (Emeritus),
Cambridge University and President of the Zoological Society of London

Abstract: The orthodox position about biological evolution, still clung to by many, is that changes in genetic organization produce phenotypes that might or might not have a selective advantage over others.  Those organisms that survive and reproduce are essentially passive in the evolutionary process.  In opposition to this view much evidence suggests that a variety of processes operating in the life-time of the individual influence actively the evolution of its descendants.  These include dispersal, choice, control of the environment and developmental plasticity.  In this talk I shall review some of the evidence that requires a fresh approach to biological evolution.…

Mon Apr 30, 2012

Sarah Parker. "'More than dust & ashes’: Medicine and Autobiography in John Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions"


Location: TBA

Sarah Parker
Ph.D. Candidate, English and Comparative Literature
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

‘More than dust & ashes’: Medicine and Autobiography in John Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions
The speaker of Donne’s Devotions (1624), reflects at length on his experience with illness. Though this text frequently references the concerns, admonitions and diagnosis of the physicians attending the ailing patient, the Devotions does not allow these figures a voice. By avoiding direct quotation of his attendant physicians, the speaker mediates and even effaces medical explanations for his suffering. I argue that the absenting of medical rhetoric allows the suffering speaker to emphasize his individuality by narrativizing his illness in strictly spiritual terms. The Devotions undermines the physicians’ authority by trumping the generalizations of corporeal diagnosis that medicine offers with special claims to a spiritual experience of suffering as a process of punishment and atonement for past sins.

Fri May 11, 2012

Workshop: Ancient Skepticism, Voluntarism, and Science


Location: 210-214 McKenna Hall

Ancient Skepticism, Voluntarism, and Science University of Notre Dame
210-214 McKenna Hall
11 May 2012

The idea of warranted suspension of belief – that there are conditions under which one should ascribe neither truth nor falsity to certain kinds of proposition – is famously associated with Pyrrhonian skepticism, as discussed by Sextus Empiricus. The idea of voluntarism in contemporary epistemology and the philosophy of science – that reasonable beliefs with respect to certain kinds of proposition admit of voluntary control, and that the subject matters of reasonable belief are subject to voluntary choice – has come under increasing scrutiny. This workshop aims to explore some nascent connections between these ideas in ancient philosophy, epistemology, and the philosophy of science.

Wed May 30, 2012

Sat Jun 2, 2012

Alumni Weekend Dual Degree Reception


Location: Geddes Hall Coffee House

The Reilly Center seeks to initiate a program that will link graduates and students of Notre Dame's Five Year Dual-degree program in Arts and Letters/Engineering (AL/ENG). If you are an alumnus or alumna of the dual-degree program, please join the staff of the John J. Reilly Center to share your thoughts and ideas on internship, mentoring, and coaching opportunities.…

Tue Jun 5, 2012

NDnano Seminar: Molecule to Manufacture to Market


Location: 120 DeBartolo Hall

Molecule to Manufacture to Market: The Scientific Basis for the Responsible Development of Nanotechnology
Charles L. Geraci, Jr., PhD, CIH
Coordinator, Nanotechnology Research Center National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

The rapidly growing number research investigations and proposed applications of nanoscale science and engineering to a broad array of materials is generating new knowledge almost daily. One specific area of knowledge growth is that of understanding the potential hazard posed by the nanoscale form of these materials; both the nanometer form of established materials, such as Titanium dioxide; and novel materials, such as Carbon Nanotubes (CNT). Both types of nanomaterials are now available for investigation, development, and commercialization. Although there is still uncertainty about the potential human health effects of workplace exposure to nanomaterials, the growing body of evidence supports a need for proactive risk management actions that will protect workers. The workers included in this line of thinking range from basic investigators in academic, government, and private research institutes; entrepreneurs demonstrating the proof of concept for applications; material scientists involved with process scale up; manufacturers of nanomaterials; and users of nanomaterials or nano- intermediates to fabricate a nano-enabled products. Nanoscale Titanium Dioxide presents an opportunity to re-evaluate what was previously known about a high-volume industrial chemical, and how its hazard and risk profile has been changed by a move into the nanoscale realm. CNT presents a different picture because it is a ‘new’ material for which the body of toxicology knowledge is growing. Currently there is still uncertainty about the potential health hazards of CNT, and there is particularly high…

Fri Jun 8, 2012

History of Science Society Welcome Conference


Location: McKenna Hall

A conference to welcome the History of Science Society's executive office to its new home at the University of Notre Dame and the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values

The Humanities in Science, Engineering and Medicine
Speakers will include:
Lynn K. Nyhart, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Angela Creager, Princeton University
Marsha Richmond, Wayne State University
Bernard Lightman, York University

Thu Aug 9, 2012

Randall Dipert, a Discussion on Cyberwarfare


Location: 400 Geddes Hall

Cyberwarfare: Extending the Domain and the Search for Relevant Analogies

Randall Dipert, C.S. Pierce Professor of American Philosophy at University of Buffalo, will give a presentation followed by a discussion on Thursday, August 9 at 10:00am in 400 Geddes Hall (the Conference Room). For information about Randall Dipert see, http://dipert.org/

Tue Aug 21, 2012

Fri Aug 24, 2012

Tue Aug 28, 2012

Wed Aug 29, 2012

Reilly Center Forum - Erik M. Conway. “Dreaming of Mars Sample Return, from Viking to the Mars Science Laboratory”


Location: 200 McKenna Hall

Erik M. Conway, “Dreaming of Mars Sample Return, from Viking to the Mars Science Laboratory”

Planetary scientists have long wanted to bring samples of the other planets back to Earth for analysis. They routinely argue that better instrumentation exists on Earth than can be delivered to a planetary surface; that samples brought back to Earth can foster a broader range of experiments than can be sent into space; that returned samples can be re-examined as scientific instrumentation improves. The lunar samples returned by the Apollo missions to the Moon are the totemic examples, subject to research for decades since their return.…

Tue Sep 4, 2012

The Insider


Location: Montgomery Auditorium in LaFortune

The Insider will be shown on Tuesday, September 4 at 5:00pm in La Fortune’s Montgomery Auditorium. Pizza, drinks, and popcorn will be provided. Then come discuss the film on Thursday, September 6 from 12:30-1:30pm in Geddes Coffeehouse at the inaugural Ethics Café. The Insider can be checked out and viewed at Hesburgh Library as well. …

Wed Sep 5, 2012

Thu Sep 6, 2012

Ethics Café - What Would You Do? A Discussion of The Insider


Location: Geddes Coffeehouse

Come discuss ethical issues pertaining to scientific research, business, and journalism as raised in the major motion film, The Insider. You’re welcome to bring a lunch. Desserts and drinks will be provided.

If you haven’t seen The Insider it will be shown on Tuesday, September 4 at 5:00pm in La Fortune’s Montgomery Auditorium. Pizza, drinks, and popcorn will be provided. You can also read “The Man Who Knew Too Much”

HPS Reading Group


Location: 131 Decio


1) Proctor, R. 2008 "Agnotology: A Missing Term to Describe the Cultural Production of Ignorance (and its Study)"


2) Oreskes, N. & Erik Conway. 2008.  "Challenging Knowledge: How Climate Science Became a Victim of the Cold War"


The Proctor reading is a general introduction to agnotology, touching briefly on the cases of tobacco and military secrecy. The Oreskes & Conway reading is an earlier version of their main argument in Merchants of Doubt