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School of History and Philosophy of Science

Placing science in its historical and social context
At the crossroads of arts and science, we examine past and current developments in all areas of science, technology and medicine from a range of humanistic perspectives.

History and philosophy of science (HPS) is an ideal way to critically engage with science and its social and cultural significance. Any student with a genuine interest in science will derive benefit from the study of this discipline.

Teaching at the School of History and Philosophy of Science

Teaching staff in the School of History and Philosophy of Science have published widely in their fields of expertise and have gained international recognition for their research. This makes them fantastic educators, sharing their knowledge and experiences in the classroom so students can be at the forefront of innovations in the field.

The University of Sydney is ranked first in Australia and fifth in the world for graduate employability.* This stems from our immersive, research-led teaching which prepares students for the real-world and a successful career.

*QS Graduate Employability Rankings, 2019.

HPS RESEARCH SEMINAR SERIES SEMESTER ONE 2020 -

Revitalizing the History of Biopolitics: Porous Bodies, Environmental Biopower, and the Politics of Life in Ancient Rome

 The case for an unprecedented penetration of life mechanisms into the politics of Western modernity has been a cornerstone of twentieth-century social theory. Working with and beyond Foucault, this paper challenges established views about the history of biopower by focusing on ancient medical writings and practices of corporeal permeability. Through an analysis of three Roman institutions: a) bathing; b) urban architecture; and c) the military, it shows that technologies aimed at fostering and regulating life did exist in Classical antiquity at the scale of population. The paper highlights zones of indistinction between natural and political processes, zoē and bíos, that are not captured by a view of destructive incorporation of or over life by sovereign power (Agamben) or are otherwise lost in polarized views of antiquity as rigidly divided between a private and a public sphere (Arendt). It points also to a much more substantial evidence for the government of the collective body of citizens and their health than Foucault assumed in his writings on pagan antiquity (1985, 1990). In conclusion, I argue that unlike the modernistic instrumentalization of bodies and nature, ancient biopower is a heterogeneous assemblage of sensitive bodies, cosmological powers, and material devices. It is an enchanted cosmobiopolitics of humans and non-humans alike that may be theoretically significant for contemporary rediscovery of the agential power of things and tropes of biological plasticity in post-liberal and post-humanist view of politics.

MONDAY 2 nd MARCH FROM 5PM

LEVEL 5 FUNCTION ROOM F23 ADMINISTRATION BUILDING - CAMPERDOWN CAMPUS

MONDAY 9TH MARCH

LEVEL 5 FUNCTION ROOM F23 ADMINISTRATION BUILDING - CAMPERDOWN CAMPUS

Geraint Lewis -Professor of Astrophysics at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, part of the University of Sydney's School of Physics.

Title: The Cosmic Revolutionary's Handbook (Or: How to Beat the Big Bang)

Abstract: Modern science began with a revolution, and many think it's time for another. As cosmologists, I hear from people who want to overthrow the "illogical" and "unscientific" edifice of the Big Bang theory. However, their revolution isn't quite working out. What should a budding cosmologist do to get “the establishment” to listen? In this talk, I will dissect theories of the universe that science left behind, so you can learn from those that bowed out with dignity and those that went down swinging. Most importantly, I'll lay out the hurdles that your theory has to jump, the key facts about the universe as a whole that are non-negotiable.

MONDAY 23rdMARCH FROM 5PM

LEVEL 5 FUNCTION ROOM F23 ADMINISTRATION BUILDING - CAMPERDOWN CAMPUS

MONDAY 20TH APRIL

LEVEL 5 FUNCTION ROOM F23 ADMINISTRATION BUILDING - CAMPERDOWN CAMPUS

MONDAY 11TH MAY

LEVEL 5 FUNCTION ROOM F23 ADMINISTRATION BUILDING - CAMPERDOWN CAMPUS

MONDAY 18TH MAY

LEVEL 5 FUNCTION ROOM F23 ADMINISTRATION BUILDING - CAMPERDOWN CAMPUS

MONDAY 25TH MAY

LEVEL 5 FUNCTION ROOM F23 ADMINISTRATION BUILDING - CAMPERDOWN CAMPUS

News bites

Both history and philosophy of science have the potential to contribute to a deeper understanding of the nature and potential of Evolutionary Medicine. Some philosophers of science have examined key concepts in the field. Others have debated its potential to inform medical practice, or to transform understanding of health and disease. These debates will be explored and advanced at the Winter School. The overall aim of the Winter School is to encourage and enable philosophical and methodological commentary on evolutionary medicine, and to develop an agenda for research on evolutionary medicine by historians of science and medicine.

The Winter School will be of interest to early career researchers in history and philosophy of science, as well as to ECRs in medicine and biomedical science who want a broader perspective on Evolutionary Medicine.

Confirmed instructors:

 * Randolph M. Nesse (Arizona State University)  *Tatjana Buklijas (University of Auckland) *Paul Griffiths (The University of Sydney) *Dominic Murphy (The University of Sydney) * Djuke Veldhuis (Monash University)\

For all enquiries please email philosophy.tmb@sydney.edu.au

 

Our own Prof. Godfrey-Smith has been awarded the American Philosophical Society 2019 Patrick Suppes Prize in recognition of his book Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life.   He was awarded the prize at the APS Autumn Meeting on November 8, 2019.

The Patrick Suppes Prize honors accomplishments in three deeply significant scholarly fields to him, with the prize rotating each year between philosophy of science, psychology or neuroscience, and history of science. The Patrick Suppes Prize in the Philosophy of Science is awarded for an outstanding book in philosophy of science appearing within the preceding six years.

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Hans Pols

Head of School
Address
  • Room 394 Carslaw F07

School of History and Philosophy of Science

Address
  • Room 389 Carslaw F07

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