« 2012 »

Tue Sep 11, 2012

HPS Reading Group


Location: 131 Decio

Voluntarism and Scientific Realism:

-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.…

Tue Sep 18, 2012

HPS Reading Group


Location: 131 Decio

Science Communication / Policy / Outreach / Education

-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.

Sat Sep 22, 2012

David Hernandez. “Caesar’s Legacy at Butrint: Archaeological Discoveries From Current Excavations in the Heart of the Ancient City”


Location: Annenberg Auditorium, Snite Museum

This lecture is part of Notre Dame's Saturday Scholar Series. Each lecture and Q&A is presented in the Snite Museum’s Annenberg Auditorium on “home game” Saturdays. All lectures are free and open to the public.

“Caesar’s Legacy at Butrint: Archaeological Discoveries From Current Excavations in the Heart of the Ancient City”

Mon Sep 24, 2012

Jameson Wetmore. “Facilitating Reflection on Nanotechnology and Society”


Location: 110 Stinson-Remick Hall

“Facilitating Reflection on Nanotechnology and Society”

Jameson Wetmore, Center for Nanotechnology and Society, ASU

“Since its founding in 2005, I have worked with the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University. Through that experience I have had the opportunity to study a broad number of issues including: the ways that nanotechnologists think about the future, the relationship between nanotechnology and religion, the development of new regulations based on scale, and the equity implications of emerging technologies. These issues are important not only to scholars, but to citizens as well. To make better decisions about our collective future, we need a public that is able to reflect on the important new advances in science and technology.  Understanding technical details can sometimes be important, but the ability to see the ways in which science and technology are integrated into and affect our daily lives is crucial. My work, therefore, has recently focused on developing techniques for helping the public better understand some of the basic research being done on the social aspects and implications of nanotechnology and perhaps get public input on the direction of future research.  This presentation will use one of the recent products of the collaboration to explore the ways in which issues of nanotechnology and society can be brought to a public audience for reflection.”…

Tue Sep 25, 2012

HPS Reading Group


Location: 131 Decio

Philosophy of Biology

-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 

Mon Oct 1, 2012

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


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


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”


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


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”


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


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


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"


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.…

Thu Nov 1, 2012

Reilly Center Forum - Jessica Payne. "Sleep on it! There’s More to It Than Just the Old Adage"


Location: 200 McKenna Hall

Jessica Payne, "Sleep on it! There’s More to It Than Just the Old Adage"

People spend up to 1/3 of their lives sleeping, yet scientists are still trying to determine sleep’s function. One of the best theories to date is that sleep is by and for the brain, in the service of cognition. In this talk, we will learn about the sleeping brain, and how it influences memory, emotion, decision making, creativity and insight. The broad question is, “What is sleep and what does it do for us?”…

Mon Nov 5, 2012

History and Philosophy of Science Workshop


Location: Montgomery Auditorium, LaFortune Student Center

Papers to be presented at the 2012 HSS/PSA Meeting in San Diego, CA

Monday November 5th, 1:00 pm

Montgomery Auditorium, LaFortune Student Center

1:00 pm Manuela Fernández Pinto, John von Neumann: Beyond the Theory of games
1.30 pm Katherine Brading, Presentism as an empirical hypothesis
2:00 pm Coffee break…

Thu Nov 8, 2012

Leibniz-Newton-Kant Discussions I


Location: Philosophy Conference Room, Malloy Hall



12:30-1:30, Brownbag discussion: “Philosophy of Physics in Friedman's Kant and the Exact Sciences” led by Marius Stan

1:30-2:30, Unity in pre-critical Kant and the first critique, Aaron Wells

2:30-3:30, Unity in Newton, Katherine Brading

HPS Colloquium - Marius Stan


Location: 213 DeBartolo Hall

This talk is part of the HPS Colloquium Series

Marius Stan

Abstract Unlike most in his age, Kant was a constant and forceful defender of action at a distance. In virtue of this advocacy, he counts as a spokesman for Newtonian science. Less known are his views on contact interactions. As it rurns out, Kant developed these views so as to fulfill a foundational agenda inherited form Leibniz not Newton. This agenda required natural philosophers to show that action by contact is (1) intelligible, and (2) grounded in an a priori dynamics. To solve this dual problem, Kant draws on his metaphysics of motion and matter.…

Fri Nov 9, 2012

Leibniz-Newton-Kant Discussions II


Location: Dooley Room, LaFortune Student Center



10:00-11:00, The Notion of “quam proxime” in Newton’s Principia, Mousa Mohammadian

11:00-12:00, Newtonian composition of motions, Monica Solomon

12:00-1:00, Hume's extrinsic causal dispositions and Newton's force of inertia, Lynn Joy…

Brett Frischmann. "Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources"


Location: 1130 Eck Hall of Law

The Reilly Center is a co-sponsor of this Law and Market Distinguished Speaker Series featuring Brett Frischmann of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. In this lunchtime lecture, Frischmann will discuss his new book Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources (Oxford, 2012).

Brett Frischmann

HPS Colloquium - Andrew Janiak


Location: 220 Malloy Hall

This talk is part of the HPS Colloquium Series
Co-Sponsored with Philosophy

Andrew Janiak

Abstract: Aristotle's distinction between potential and actual infinity has an important afterlife in early modern discussions of space and geometry. Descartes seems to argue that space, which is identical with the material world, is merely potentially infinite, concluding that only God, who is distinct from the world, is actually infinite. In unpublished work, Newton rejects this Cartesian view, contending that God inhabits the world, which consequently should be characterized as actually infinite. Newton's view, held on robust metaphysical grounds, raises intriguing questions about how geometric methods can be employed to represent infinite objects and an infinite space.…

Thu Nov 29, 2012

HPS Colloquium - Nicole Archambeau


Location: 715 Hesburgh Library

This talk is part of the HPS Colloquium Series

The Spectrum of Healers and Health Care in Late Medieval Provence: From Doctors to DIY Relics in the Care of Body and Soul.

Nicole Archambeau

This essay uses medieval canonization inquests to answer the seemingly simple question: What did people do when they were sick?" My talk shows that answer was often far more complex than traditional research in the history of medicine shows. By sifting through hundreds of narratives of people coping with their own and loved-ones' health care, we find that people used a plurality of available methods and even created new ones (like making their own relics) when needed. We also see that medieval persons’ concepts of health care extended beyond the boundaries of the physical body to include the passions or what contemporaries called “accidents of the soul.” Healers and sufferers saw that sadness, fear, and anxiety could damage physical health and were health problems in their own right.…

Mon Dec 3, 2012

Reilly Center Forum - W. Patrick McCray. “California Dreaming: The Golden State’s Influence on Imaginings, Policies, and Narratives of Nanotechnology”


Location: 200 McKenna Hall

W. Patrick McCray, “California Dreaming: The Golden State’s Influence on Imaginings, Policies, and Narratives of Nanotechnology”

Despite its seeming newness, nanotechnology already has many different historical narratives. From seminal speeches at the start of the Space Age to futuristic imaginings in the 1980s to industrial commercialization in the 1990s, the emergence of nanotechnology as an idea and a research program connects to California in a variety of ways. In this talk, I explore how the West Coast version of nanotechnology resonated among researchers, policy makers, the media, and the public within and beyond the Golden State. Seen more broadly, this California-infused perspective gives insights into the nature of technological ecosystems, historical analogies, and the challenges posed by competing historical narratives.…

Tue Dec 4, 2012

Fri Dec 7, 2012