SCHOOL OF HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE

IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE SYDNEY CENTRE FOR THE FOUNDATIONS OF SCIENCE

2018 RESEARCH SEMINARS

The HPS Research Seminar Series runs on selected Mondays during Semester time.

All Welcome. No Booking Required. Free

Please note NEW START TIME: 5:30

CCANESA MEETING ROOM, MADSEN BUILDING
CAMPERDOWN CAMPUS

Best access to CCANESA is from the Eastern Avenue entrance of the Madsen Building. When you enter you will be on the 3rd floor. Please proceed across the foyer and take the stairs on the right up one floor. The door to CCANESA will be straight ahead on this landing



Research Seminar Series - Semester One 2018.
Date e Speaker Topic

MONDAY

5TH MARCH

6PM - 8PM

NICHOLSON MUSEUM

Professor Alan Chalmers

Professor Rachel Ankeny

Dr Daniela Helbig

HPS PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE, A CELEBRATION

Recently HPS was promoted from a Unit to School. This is a welcome change that supports and recognises the achievements of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney from 1945 to now and into the future. We have three speakers that will address the past, present and future of HPS and to recognise the outstanding success of the seminal text " What is this thing Called Science?" Alan Chalmers.

12TH MARCH

CCANESA MEETING ROOM

Wendy Kline

Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine

Purdue University

 
Psyschedelic Birth: Bodies, Boundaries, and Consciousness in the 1970s "

On November 13, 1956, recently certified Czech psychiatrist Stan Grof swallowed 150 micrograms of LSD as one of the earliest Czech volunteers for a research study. Within a few hours, his entire conception about the human psyche and the role of psychoanalysis was turned upside down.  He described being hit by a radiance comparable to a “nuclear explosion” which catapulted him out of his body, expanding his consciousness to “cosmic dimensions.”

The timing was fortuitous, for Grof was in the midst of an existential crisis.  Like many psychiatrists in Europe and the U.S. in the 1950s, he was inspired by Freudian analysis. Psychoanalysis was brilliant in theory, he believed, but abysmal in practice.  It lacked visible proof of efficacy, a reminder of the profession’s struggle for legitimacy.  Over the next fifteen years, Grof set out to provide that proof.  He established himself as the world’s foremost researcher of psychedelics, conducting over 2000 psychedelic sessions first at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Institute and then at the Esalen Institute in CA.

In this talk, I draw on the records of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center LSD Training Program Study and the papers of Grof to explore the unexpected entanglements between psychiatry, midwifery, and psychedelics. 

19th MARCH

CCANESA MEETING ROOM

MADSEN BUILDING

Anika Fiebich

  Philosopher of Mind and Action 

University of Milan  

 

A Three-Dimensional Approach to Cooperation:Implications for Social Cognition

The aim of my talk is twofold. First, I argue for cooperation as a three-dimensional phenomenon lying on the continua of (i) a behavioural axis, (ii) a cognitive axis, and (iii) an affective axis. Traditional accounts of joint action argue for cooperation as involving a shared intention. Developmental research has shown that such cooperation requires rather sophisticated social cognitive skills such as having a robust theory of mind – that is acquired not until age 4 to 5 in human ontogeny. However, also younger children are able to cooperate in various ways. This suggests that the social cognitive demands in joint action are a matter of degree, ranging from cognitively demanding cooperative activities involving shared intentions that presuppose sophisticated social cognitive skills such as having a theory of mind to basic joint actions like intentional joint attention. Moreover, any cooperative phenomenon can be located on a behavioural axis, ranging from complex coordinated behaviours (potentially determined by rules and roles) to basic coordinated behaviours such as simple turn-taking activities. Finally, cooperative activities may be influenced by (shared) affective states and agent-specificities. Hence, cooperation can be located on the continuum of an affective axis that is determined by the degree of ‘sharedness’ of the affective state in question. Second, I discuss the implications of the three-dimensional approach for social cognition. The main theories in the contemporary debate on social cognition argue for mental state attribution via folk psychological theories or simulation routines playing a key role in everyday social understanding, leading to a limited focus on those cooperative phenomena that presuppose sophisticated social cognitive competencies. Alternative approaches to social cognition, in turn, tend to overemphasize the role of social interaction in social cognition, leading to a limited focus on those cooperative phenomena that lie on a high point on the behavioural dimension. A pluralist theory of social understanding, by contrast, is able to capture the whole variety of cooperative phenomena and draws its assumptions on findings from social psychology that are neglected by traditional theories. 

26th March

CCANESA

ADAM HOCHMAN

DEPT PHILOSOPHY

MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY

Is ‘Race’ Modern? Disambiguating the Question

A debate about the historical origins of ‘race’ is currently raging. The key question race scholars are interested in is this: “is ‘race’ modern?” I show that this question is ambiguous, and that its ambiguity largely explains why the debate remains unresolved. There is not really one question that race scholars are answering, but at least six. Unless these questions are distinguished, the debate about the historical origins of ‘race’ cannot be resolved, because the answers are different for different questions. By answering the six questions, I will explain the ways in which ‘race’ is and is not modern, and offer a resolution to a seemingly intractable debate.

 

MONDAY 16TH APRIL  CCANESA MEETING ROOM MADSEN BUILDING

BIRGIT LANG

UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE

  "Normality, agency, and the public: the human case study in sexology and psychoanalysis”
The case study has proved of enduring interest to Western societies, particularly in relation to questions of subjectivity and the sexed self. This presentation interrogates how case studies have been used by early sexologists and psychoanalyst to describe and in that sense create ab/normal sexual behaviour, what we can learn about the agency of clients through the analysis of human case studies and the ways in which their cases were used by doctors to communicate academic findings within the specialist circles of their disciplines, as well as, to wider publics. The key case modalities at the heart of this talk are the sexological case study compilation, best embodied by Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis, and the long case histories of Sigmund Freud, with reference to other case writing practices. As such, this presentation engages with case studies as sites of knowledge creation and dissemination, interdisciplinary negotiation, as well as ethics.
23RD APRIL  

CCANESA MEETING ROOM

MADSEN BUILDING

 DR JOHN FORGE

Moral Responsibility Gaps and Autonomous Weapons Systems

As far as we know there are as yet no autonomous weapons systems in existence, but one can guess what they might do: think of what a drone does. Autonomous weapons would give technologically advanced countries, like the US, even greater advantages over less advanced countries, and of course over insurgents, and so it seems likely that these systems will be developed. This will be in spite of appeals not to do so. One such appeal has it that using autonomous weapons will leave ‘responsibility gaps’: if they kill innocents (or even if they only kill those they are supposed to kill) no one will be responsible. The point here is that at least some countries, again like the US, claim to abide by the norms of war – jus in bello, the Law of Armed Conflict, and so on – which means among other things that they (claim to) take responsibility for what they do in war. In this talk I want to consider whether there are, or would be, responsibility gaps if autonomous weapons were developed and used, or whether we could asign responsibility – perhaps to the operator or the designer of the weapons. I will also have something to say about how such systems seems to imply a revision of our ideas about autonomy.

 


 7th MAY  CCANESA

NEIL LEVY

DEPT PHILOSOPHY

MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY


"Scaffolded Morality"

 FRIDAY

8th JUNE

1pm to 5pm

 NEW LAW ANNEXE SEMINAR ROOM 340
 

 HPS RESEARCH PRESENTATION

KEYNOTE: Rob Wilson, Ph.D., FRSC
Professor of Philosophy
La Trobe University, Melbourne

 

3PM AFTERNOON TEA