« October 2013 »

Tue Oct 1, 2013

Wed Oct 2, 2013

Alfred Nordmann. "Nanotribology and the Quest for the Frictionless Surface: How an Impossible Object Inspires Science & Engineering"

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Location: Hesburgh Center Auditorium

Prof. Alfred Nordmann
Professor, Institut für Philosophie, Technische Universität Darmstadt
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, University of South Carolina

Abstract: As research fields go, tribology is concerned with the rather mundane problem of increasing
the efficiency of machines by reducing the loss of energy from friction. Like other emerging technologies,

Thu Oct 3, 2013

27th Annual Conference of the SLSA (The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts)

Location: McKenna Hall

PostNatural - SLSA 2013
The 27th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA)
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana (USA)
October 3-6, 2013

PostNatural

What does it mean to come “after” nature?

Where now is the boundary between human and nonhuman?

The planet’s poles are melting, alpine ice is in retreat, oceans are rising, island nations are disappearing, species vectors are shifting, tropical diseases are moving north, northern natures-cultures are moving into extinction. Acidification of ocean water already threatens food chains both natural and human while dead zones blossom and coral bleaches. Natural states of exception—historic wildfires, droughts, floods, “snowmageddons” and shoreline erosion—are the norm. Reality overshoots computer models of global warming even as CO2 emissions escalate faster than predicted, with no end in sight. Yet none of this has altered our way of living or our way of thinking: as Fredric Jameson noted, we can imagine the collapse of the planet more easily than the fall of capitalism.…

Reilly Forum: Jessica Thompson, "What Makes an Interdisciplinary Team Work? Reflections from the Field"

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Location: ND Room in La Fortune Student Center

What Makes an Interdisciplinary Team Work? Reflections from the Field

Forum, fall 2013, Thompson

Jessica Leigh Thompson
Assistant Professor
Communication and Performance Studies Department 
Northern Michigan University 

Abstract

Do you want to know what moves interdisciplinary research teams from piecemeal contributions to holistic heavy-hitters? Research teams across the country are struggling to secure funding and keep their competitive edge, but these teams need more than public speaking and public relations help, they need interdisciplinary inspiration, structure and tools for “collaborative muscle-building.” In this presentation I share insights for facilitating interdisciplinary teamwork based on my role in an NSF sponsored research team studying climate change in Mongolia. From systems thinking to meta-discussions of how language and science is negotiated, different communication tools help to integrate diverse data and perspectives across our disciplinary cultures. …

Fri Oct 4, 2013

27th Annual Conference of the SLSA (The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts)

Location: McKenna Hall

PostNatural - SLSA 2013
The 27th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA)
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana (USA)
October 3-6, 2013

PostNatural

What does it mean to come “after” nature?

Where now is the boundary between human and nonhuman?

The planet’s poles are melting, alpine ice is in retreat, oceans are rising, island nations are disappearing, species vectors are shifting, tropical diseases are moving north, northern natures-cultures are moving into extinction. Acidification of ocean water already threatens food chains both natural and human while dead zones blossom and coral bleaches. Natural states of exception—historic wildfires, droughts, floods, “snowmageddons” and shoreline erosion—are the norm. Reality overshoots computer models of global warming even as CO2 emissions escalate faster than predicted, with no end in sight. Yet none of this has altered our way of living or our way of thinking: as Fredric Jameson noted, we can imagine the collapse of the planet more easily than the fall of capitalism.…

Sat Oct 5, 2013

27th Annual Conference of the SLSA (The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts)

Location: McKenna Hall

PostNatural - SLSA 2013
The 27th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA)
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana (USA)
October 3-6, 2013

PostNatural

What does it mean to come “after” nature?

Where now is the boundary between human and nonhuman?

The planet’s poles are melting, alpine ice is in retreat, oceans are rising, island nations are disappearing, species vectors are shifting, tropical diseases are moving north, northern natures-cultures are moving into extinction. Acidification of ocean water already threatens food chains both natural and human while dead zones blossom and coral bleaches. Natural states of exception—historic wildfires, droughts, floods, “snowmageddons” and shoreline erosion—are the norm. Reality overshoots computer models of global warming even as CO2 emissions escalate faster than predicted, with no end in sight. Yet none of this has altered our way of living or our way of thinking: as Fredric Jameson noted, we can imagine the collapse of the planet more easily than the fall of capitalism.…

Sun Oct 6, 2013

27th Annual Conference of the SLSA (The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts)

Location: McKenna Hall

PostNatural - SLSA 2013
The 27th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA)
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana (USA)
October 3-6, 2013

PostNatural

What does it mean to come “after” nature?

Where now is the boundary between human and nonhuman?

The planet’s poles are melting, alpine ice is in retreat, oceans are rising, island nations are disappearing, species vectors are shifting, tropical diseases are moving north, northern natures-cultures are moving into extinction. Acidification of ocean water already threatens food chains both natural and human while dead zones blossom and coral bleaches. Natural states of exception—historic wildfires, droughts, floods, “snowmageddons” and shoreline erosion—are the norm. Reality overshoots computer models of global warming even as CO2 emissions escalate faster than predicted, with no end in sight. Yet none of this has altered our way of living or our way of thinking: as Fredric Jameson noted, we can imagine the collapse of the planet more easily than the fall of capitalism.…

Tue Oct 8, 2013

Thu Oct 10, 2013

HPS Colloquium. Cailin O’Connor - “Evolving Perceptual Categories”

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Location: 310 DeBartolo

“Evolving Perceptual Categories”

Cailin O'Connor

 
Do perceptual categories--green, cool, sweet--accurately track features of the real world? If not, are there systematic ways in which perceptual categories fail to latch onto real world structure? Attempts to answer these questions have persistently led to a further question, one with a long philosophical history. Given that human beings can only observe the world through the lens of our perceptual systems, how is it possible to know whether and in what ways perceptual categories are veridical? In this talk, I use tools from evolutionary game theory to attempt to gain traction on this problem. In particular, I employ signaling games to model perceptual signaling and elucidate how and why perceptual categories may or may not track real world structure.

Fri Oct 11, 2013

James Weatherall - “Inertial Motion, Explanation, and the Foundations of Classical Space-time Theories”

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Location: 129 DeBartolo Hall

“Inertial Motion, Explanation, and the Foundations of Classical Space-time Theories”
 

James Weatherall

There is an influential view in physics and philosophy of physics, originating with Einstein and Eddington, that holds that general relativity is distinctive in the history of physics  because it can be used to "explain" inertial, or unforced, motion.  In this talk, I will describe how a reformulation of Newtonian gravitation may be used to provide insight into claims concerning the (allegedly) distinctive explanatory resources of relativity theory.  I will then argue that Newtonian gravitation can be understood to explain inertial motion in much the same way as general relativity.  However, a careful comparative study of the status of inertial motion in the two theories reveals that neither explanation is as clean or straightforward as adherents to the view noted above believe.  I will conclude by presenting a view about the interdependencies of the central principle of physical theories that I will argue provides some insight into a sense in which inertial motion is explained in both of these theories.…

Sun Oct 13, 2013

Mon Oct 14, 2013

Tue Oct 15, 2013

Wed Oct 16, 2013

Fri Oct 18, 2013

HPS Brown Bag Talk. Carl Gillett - "The Parts of Science"

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Location: 131 Decio Hall

Carl Gillett (Northern Illinois University): "The Parts of Science"

Abstract:
So-called ‘inter-level mechanistic explanations’ famously allowed us to pierce the Manifest Image of common sense by explaining things like diamonds, with properties such as hardness and processes like scratching, using individuals with very different properties and processes, such as carbon atoms with their covalent bonding and processes of holding each other in relation spatial positions even under high pressures. This is ‘piercing explanatory power’, or ‘PEP’, where qualitatively distinct entities are used to explain each other and is distinctive of inter-level mechanistic explanations that continue to drive much scientific insight. A consensus is now emerging that inter-level mechanistic explanation is compositional in nature, for it appears to work by identifying lower level entities that compose, rather than cause or produce, certain qualitatively distinct higher level entities and hence explain the existence of those entities. However, critics have recently pressed the point that the so-called ‘new mechanism’ focused on these explanations (Bechtel and Richardson (1994), Machamer, Darden and Craver (2000), and Craver (2007)) has yet to produce an account of their compositional notions. In this paper, I offer an account of the part-whole relations between individuals posited in such explanations that accommodates their PEP and other distinctive features. And I also detail why the two most popular compositional frameworks in philosophy, from analytic metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, each fail to fit such scientific notions.…

Tue Oct 29, 2013

HPS Speaker - George Reisch. "Spies, Mobs, Conversions, and Paradigms: On the Origins and Receptions of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions"

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Location: 106 O'Shaughnessy

"Spies, Mobs, Conversions, and Paradigms: On the Origins and Receptions of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions"

Abstract: In 1962, the first sentence of Thomas Kuhn's enormously influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions announced that "History" had the power to revolutionize our understanding of science. I will argue quite differently: that examining the history of the cold war, and Kuhn's experience of it, has the power to deepen our understanding of this book and its first reception by prominent European philosophical critics. Kuhn's complex relationship to his mentor James Bryant Conant, the nation's concerns over Communist faculty and domestic spies, and its postwar relationships to its European allies together help explain why Imre Lakatos, Karl Popper, and others recoiled from Kuhn's new image of science as a kind of "mob rule" and took his "normal science" to be an image not of science but of American, postwar cultural hegemony.