The Department of History and Philosophy of Science supports both a graduate and undergraduate program of study of science, its nature and fundamentals, its origins, and its place in modern politics, culture, and society. In the history of science, traditional and non-traditional historical methods are used to develop an understanding of how the sciences originated, how they were practiced, how they developed, and how they related to their intellectual and social contexts. These include archival research, textual analysis, and re-enactment of experiments. In philosophy of science, the sciences themselves are brought under philosophical scrutiny. We investigate the nature of science in general; what distinguishes scientific activity; how theories explain; how they are confirmed; whether they should be read literally; and the moral dilemmas raised by the sciences. We also investigate the fundamental content of individual sciences and how it bears on the ancient philosophical questions: what is the nature of space, time, and matter; what is life; and what is thought? History and philosophy of science is distinctive in integrating these two areas of study, with investigations in each area often closely interwoven.
News & Events
- Sandy Mitchell and Jim Woodward are interviewed in the latest issue of The Reasoner.
- A special issue on the Philosophy and Science of Colour Perception has just been published by the journal Minds and Machines. Edited by Mazviita Chirimuuta, it features articles by Berit Brogaard, Jonathan Cohen, Derek Brown, Keith Allen and Fred Kingdom.
- Mazviita Chirimuuta discusses her research on colour in an article and an interview with Nautilus science magazine.
- Aleta Quinn has successfully defended her thesis, "Biological Systematics and Evolutionary Theory", and will start a postdoc at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study in the fall. Many congratulations!
- Edouard Machery’s talk on implicit attitudes can now be watched on youtube.
- Congratulations to Trey Boone for his forthcoming article in Synthese: The Cognitive Science Revolution.
- Congratulations to Michael Miller who has won the Robert K. Clifton Memorial Book Prize for his paper "The Underdetermination of Field Theoretic Structure." The award is given to the best paper in the Philosophy of Physics at the Philosophy of Logic, Math and Physics Conference at Western University.
- In honor of Dementia Awareness Week, Joe McCaffrey discusses his recent article on semantic dementia and concept empiricism for the Imperfect Cognitions blog. Read more about Joe’s research at his new website.
- Edouard MACHERY will be visiting the Berlin School of Mind and Brain from June 12 to 15 for a series of lectures.
- Sandra Mitchell will be visiting University College London for the second London-Pitt Consortium exchange visit. On Thursday 28th May, Prof. Mitchell will deliver the public lecture, ‘Partial and Perspectival: Arguments for Model Pluralism’. On Friday 29th May she will lead a PhD Masterclass on 'Emergence: logical, functional and dynamical'. See here for more details.
- Joe McCaffrey has been awarded a Josephine de Karman Fellowship for 2015-2016 for his project ``Mental Function and Cerebral Cartography: Functional Localization in fMRI Research.'' Congratulations Joe!
- Recent HPS graduate, Tom Pashby, will be starting a tenure track position in Philosophy at the University of Chicago, from July 2016. Tom is currently a Provost's Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Southern California. Congratulations!
- Congratulations to Julia Bursten, Greg Gandenberger, Bihui Li, Elizabeth O'Neill, Aleta Quinn, Elay Schech, and, Kathryn Tabb who all have recently defended their dissertations!
- Mazviita Chirimuuta’s new book, Outside Color: Perceptual Science and the Puzzle of Color in Philosophy, has just been published by MIT Press and is reviewed in The New Republic.
- Greg Gandenberger, has been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship in Philosophy at the University of Bristol, and will be working on Epistemic Utility Theory. Congratulations!
- The First Edinburgh/Pittsburgh Exchange Lecture, “Is the extended mind hypothesis nonsensical?”, will be given by Dr. Mark Sprevak, Senior Lecturer, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh, on Friday, May 8 at 3:00 pm 1001-B Cathedral of Learning.