Susan Haack on Scientism and its Discontents

Does science get more credit than it deserves? Philosopher Susan Haack thinks that it does. In a talk entitled “Six Signs of Scientism” she has recently given at the Rotman School of Philosophy, the University of Western Ontario, she identifies six ways in which science is given too much credence and for the wrong reasons in areas such as law and policy. She explains why, in her view, the question of demarcation between science and non-science is the wrong question to pose, and what role science and scientists should play in public debates.


Michael Oppenheimer on Scientists’ Engagement with the Public

Geoscientist Michael Oppenheimer, who is the director of the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at Princeton University, and one of the authors of the latest IPCC report, gave a talk at the American Geographical Union meeting about the prospects and challenges that scientists who want to engage with public issues relating to their research face.


Oren Harman: The Price of Altruism

In his book The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness (W. W. Norton, 2010),  historian of science Oren Harman, chair of the STS program at Bar Ilan University, tells the history of the notion of altruism in science in a broad political and cultural context. He  interweaves this history with the personal history of George Price (1922-1975), the eccentric researcher who derived the Price Equation, and took his own life after claiming to realize the grave implications of his equation for human nature.

The New York Times selected the book as one of the 100 notable books of 2010. Harman talks about his book on the popular radio show Radiolab, and in this short video.


David Christensen and Roy Sorensen Disagreeing on Disagreement

Can a person rationally maintain her position when she comes to learn that her epistemic peer, who is presumably as competent and knowledgeable as her, holds a contradictory position? This question has recently been at the focus of intense discussion among philosophers. In this video, from Philosophy TV, David Christensen and Roy Sorensen debate it.

The Great Debate: Can Science Tell Us Right from Wrong?

An interesting event called “The Great Debate” has been recently held at Arizona State University by the Science Network.  Scientists, philosophers and public intellectuals gathered to discuss the relevance of evolutionary theory and advances in neuroscience to moral theory.

This is the concluding panel. The panelists were psychologist Steven Pinker, author Sam Harris (who was previously featured on the Bubble Chamber), philosopher Patricia Churchland, physicist Lawrence Krauss, philosopher Simon Blackburn, bioethicist Peter Singer and science communicator and psychologist Roger Bingham.…