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
- The 2014 HPS Alumni Lecture will be given later this month by Tim Maudlin (NYU), who will speak on "Topology and the Structure of Space-Time". Click here for further details.
- The current edition of the Pitt Chronicle features Dr. Paolo Palmieri speaking at the University Art Gallery's celebration of 450 years since the birth of Galileo. The event was an interdisciplinary affair involving the visual arts, music and astronomy, as well as the history of science.
- An article by graduate student Morgan Thompson, Toni Adleberg and Eddy Nahmias, "Do men and women have different philosophical intuitions? Further data" is in press at Philosophical Psychology. A pre-print is also available here.
- Marina Baldissera Pacchetti will be presenting her research on Vincenzo Galilei, 16th century lutenist, music theorist and father of Galileo, at the next meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.
- Graduate student Marina Baldissera Pacchetti has been awarded a place at the Research Methods Workshop for Early-Career Graduate Students on Music and Travel, 1500-1700. The workshop will take place on March 7, at the Newberry library in Chicago.
- Graduate student Joseph McCaffrey's article "Reconceiving Conceptual Vehicles: Lessons From Semantic Dementia" appears in the latest issue of Philosophical Psychology. The article, which critiques the use of neuropsychology studies to support concept empiricism, is available online here.