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
- Congratulations to Elay Shech for his article, "Two Approaches to Fractional Statistics in the Quantum Hall Effect" just published in Foundations of Physics.
- Ken Schaffner is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award. The nominating committee wrote that his “impact both on the community of historians and philosophers of science and on biomedical research and education would be hard to overstate.” The award was made in recognition of his research on the issue of theory reduction, on the ethical and legal aspects of biomedicine, and his new work on behavioral genetics that will be published this summer by Oxford University Press. For more information on the award go here.
Congratulations to HPS students on the job market this year:
Julia Bursten: San Francisco State University (tenure track)
Bihui Li: University of Southern California, Provost's Postdoctoral Scholarship in the Humanities
Elizabeth O’Neill: Eindhoven University of Technology (tenure track)
Aleta Quinn: Distinguished Fellowship at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study
Elay Shech: Auburn University (tenure track)
Catherine Stinson: University of Western Ontario, post doc
Katie Tabb: Columbia University (tenure track)
- Congratulations to Elizabeth O’Neill for her article, “Relativizing innateness: innateness as the insensitivity of the appearance of a trait with respect to specified environmental variation,” just published in Biology & Philosophy
- On March 26, Alan Love will deliver the annual HPS alumni lecture: “Individuation, Individuality, and Experimental Practice in Developmental Biology”.
- Congratulation to Joe McCaffrey, who just published an article in the last issue of Philosophical Psychology: Reconceiving conceptual vehicles: Lessons from semantic dementia.
- The Pitt-CMU reading group in cognitive science now has a website. Check it out!
- The work of Jim Lennox will be featured in the second annual Bay Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy taking place on March 6-7, 2015 at UC Berkeley.
- HPS chair, Sandra Mitchell has just been elected President of the Philosophy of Science Association. She will serve as Vice-President and President-Elect until December 2016, and her two year term as President will run from January 2017 to December 2018. Mitchell will deliver the Presidential Address at PSA2018.