HPS Program Welcomes Two New Postdocs

Author: Jessica Baron

The Reilly Center's History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program welcomes two new postdoctoral fellows, James Nguyen (Philosophy) and Scott Trigg (History). 

James Nguyen received his Ph.D. in Philosophy London School of Economics and Political Science in April 2016 with a thesis titled “How Models Represent." 

His area of expertise is in the general philosophy of science, where his primary area of research is on the question of scientific representation and related topics. He also works on social choice theory and has further interests in the philosophy of language, logic (formal and philosophical), aesthetics, epistemology, and decision theory. 

He published “On the Pragmatic Equivalence between Representing Data and Phenomena" in Philosophy of Science this year and has more articles forthcoming in The MonistPhilosophy of Science, and various edited collections. 

This semester, he is teaching the HPS “Philosophy of Science” course. You can find out more on his website.

Scott Trigg received his Ph.D. in History & History of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in July. He is an historian of science and religion in the premodern Islamic world and his dissertation was titled "From Samarqand to Istanbul: Astronomy and Scientific Education in the Commentaries of Fatḥallāh al-Shirwānī."

His interests include the history of astronomy and its interactions with other disciplines (natural philosophy, theology, optics), education in Islamic societies, translation and cross-cultural transmission of knowledge, the Global Middle Ages, and narratives of medievalism and modernity. His most recent article “Optics and Geography in the Astronomical Commentaries of Fatḥallāh al-Shirwānī” appeared in A.C.S. Peacock and Sara Nur Yıldız’s (eds.) Literature and Intellectual Life in Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-century Anatolia (2016). 

While at Notre Dame, he plans to work on an interdisciplinary project titled Astronomy and Theology in the post-Classical Islamic commentary tradition in which he will “explore debates and crucial developments in astronomy and related sciences within a tradition of textual commentaries, asking what made commentaries the preferred genre for Islamic scholars and how the genre constrained or enabled particular ways of conceptualizing and transmitting ideas about nature, perception, demonstration, experiment, and knowledge of God’s creation.”

This semester he is teaching a new class titled “Celestial Influence,” an “interdisciplinary seminar that examines the astrological worldviews that made celestial influence the leading cause of natural events in the sublunary realm, and their various manifestations in Mesopotamian, Greek and Chinese antiquity to the Islamic and Christian societies of early modern Eurasia.”

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