HPS Grad Student Conference


Location: TBD

We thank our co-sponsor, the University of Notre Dame Department of Philosophy, for their generous support of our conference.


Understanding scientific explanation is an enduring task for philosophers and historians of science. Despite early attempts to unify scientific explanation, it is now largely recognized that the historical sciences– a diverse group that (arguably) includes including archaeology, paleontology, evolutionary biology, cosmology, and/or climate science– may appeal to different patterns of explanation than the experimental sciences. Beyond explanation, the historical sciences and experimental sciences may also differ in how they make predictions, model data, gather and analyze evidence, confirm theories, and incorporate values. The methodological differences between historical and experimental science may motivate pluralism with respect to scientific method and justification. However, it has been argued that these differences reflect the limitations of the historical sciences. These limitations could stem from an inability to intervene on their subject matter experimentally, a difficulty in reaching universal laws, and/or a focus on singular events in the deep past. To further explore these issues, the graduate students of the University of Notre Dame’s History and Philosophy of Science Ph.D. program, administered by the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, will convene a two day conference on March 25-26, 2022 for the purposes of exploring questions concerning reasoning in the historical sciences.

The conference will consist of invited speakers as well as graduate student submissions. Depending on time and interest, there may also be a professional development workshop on how lessons from the history and philosophy of the historical sciences can be integrated into the science classroom and (vice versa) how questions and case studies from the historical sciences can be integrated into the history and philosophy of science curriculum.


Friday March 25

3:30pm – 4:30pm Meira Gold, York University in McKenna B01

4:30- 5:30 Break

5:30- 6:45 Nora Mills Boyd, Siena College in the Eck Center auditorium
      ‘Stellar’ Experiments and Bad Jokes: On the Purported Epistemic Inferiority of Non-Experimental Sciences