Conferences & workshops


August 18th - 22nd, 2014

Darlington Centre Boardroom - Camperdown Campus

The Unit for History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney is happy and proud to announce the first Sydney Winter International Graduate School (SWIGS): a week-long advanced seminar tutored by a visiting scholar and a Sydney-based one, focused on a theme of their recent research.
For its inaugural run, SWIGS will be convened by Anthony Grafton from Princeton and Ofer Gal, University of Sydney. The departments and programs of History of Science at Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Minnesota and Cambridge will be sending graduate student participants. Currently we are inviting applications from Sydney Post Graduates for eight more participants. To be considered please send a CV and a short (up to 500 words) summary of your research project to Ofer Gal ( The selection will be based on the capacity of the student to benefit and contribute to the discussion.
Students will be expected to have read the material beforehand, to actively participate in the discussion and to contribute informal presentations. Readings will be made available in a shared Dropbox folder.


The theme of this year’s SWIGS will be Representation and Causation in Early Modern Science:
It is a commonplace of early modern historiography that the 17th century replaced the glorious Renaissance spectacle of nature, criss-crossed by meaningful similarities and gooey webs of representation, with sombre causation and lawfulness: the Kunst- und Wunderkammer of a nature that needed interpretation dwindled into a pinball machine governed by simple rules. This conception is not completely unfounded: in optics, re-presentation of forms was jettisoned for images caused by light; in political thought the unmediated embodiment of the people by the king gave way to ideas about legally-bound sovereignty; and the harmonious structures and perfect orbits of the heavens were replaced by the causal forces of celestial physics. Yet representation was not discarded. Quite the opposite: understood in new and surprising ways, it came to fulfil a fundamental role in politics, philosophy and science, and reflections on its relations to the new causal-mathematical laws became intricate and fertile. Our seminar will explore some of these explicit reflections and embedded assumptions about the structures and functions of representation in epistemology, metaphysics, politics and natural philosophy.


  9am-1pm 1-2pm 2-6pm 6pm 7pm
Sunday 17 August         Get together at the Rose
Monday 18 August

Seminar: Vision and the Eye

Lunch Reading and Preparation    
Tuesday 19 August Seminar: Metaphysics Lunch Reading and Preparation    
Wednesday 20 August Seminar: Political Representation Lunch Reading and Preparation   Pot Luck Dinner
Thursday 21 August Seminar: The Wunderkammer and Natural History Lunch Reading and Preparation Movie: Footnote  
Friday 22 August Seminar: The Image as representation Lunch Reading and Preparation   BBQ


Rooms have been booked for participants at the Adina Hotel Apartments Chippendale

A Guide to the City of Sydney
A Guide to NSW