The History and Philosophy of Science

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This seminar is devoted to exploring substantive as well as methodological issues in the history and philosophy of science. Science is construed broadly and the issues considered range from epistemic and historiographic questions to issues of relevance and accountability. Topics include the presuppositions and practice of a range of life sciences, earth sciences, and social sciences as well as the physical sciences and mathematics. In the physical sciences its interests range from antiquity to contemporary quantum theory. In the life sciences and social sciences the fields considered include various forms of historical, evolutionary inquiry (in biology, geology, and the historical social sciences), biotechnology and ecology, economics, psychology and cognitive science, and interpretive social inquiry. The membership of this seminar includes scientists, philosophers, and historians. Most sessions take place in conjunction with the New York City History of Science Working Group.

Deborah Coen

Matthew L. Jones

Abram Kaplan

Meeting dates and locations are subject to change. Please confirm details with the seminar rapporteur.



09/28/2016 Faculty House, Columbia University, 64 Morningside Drive
6:00 PM
Newton's Prisms: Why Francesco Algarotti Became an Experimenter
Paula Findlen, Stanford University

10/26/2016 Fayerweather Hall, Room 513, Columbia University, 1180 Amsterdam Avenue
6:00 PM
The Fight for Science and Freedom: Recovering the Role of Science in Cold War-era Cultural Diplomacy
Audra Wolfe, Independent Scholar

11/30/2016 The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue
6:00 PM
The Two Cultures Avant La Lettre: The Sciences and the Humanities in the Nineteenth Century
Fabian Krämer, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

12/14/2016 NYU-Gallatin, Room 801, 1 Washington Place
6:00 PM
Birth of the “Atomic Tuna”: Radioactive Fallout, U.S.-Japan Alliance, and the Politics of Radiological Standards in the Mid-1950s
Toshihiro Higuchi, Georgetown University

01/25/2017 TBD
6:00 PM
Polluted Nightscapes: “Natural Night-Sky Brightness,” Skyglow, and the U.S. National Park Service
Sara Pritchard, Cornell University

02/22/2017 TBD
6:00 PM
After Math: Reasoning, Proving, and Computing in Postwar United States
Stephanie Dick, University of Pennsylvania

03/29/2017 The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue
6:00 PM
Where Entangled Empires and Early Modern Science Intertwine: An Iberoamerican Perspective
Neil Safier, Brown University

04/26/2017 New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue
6:00 PM
Scent Track: What can the History of Olfaction tell us about Theorizing in the Life Sciences?
Ann-Sophie Barwich, Columbia University