HPS Centre Seminar Series

2017-18 Semester 2

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History and Philosophy of Science

HPS Seminar Series 2017-18: Semester 2

Seminars are held biweekly on Wednesdays in Baines Wing G36 from 3:15 to 5:00 pm

All welcome!

Enquiries to Adrian Wilson A.F.Wilson@lleds.ac.uk

7 February 2018

Prof Elselijn Kingma (Southampton)

Pregnancy and Biological Individuality


21 February 2018

Dr Fay Bound Alberti (QMUL)

“Your gift will not be wasted”: framing the emotional history and ethics of face transplants

Since 2005 human face transplants, once a topic of science fiction, have become a surgical reality. Though limited to a select number of patients, for reasons to be addressed, face transplants offer a unique opportunity to consider the relationships between identity, bodily integrity, affect and surgical innovation in the 21st century. This paper explores the framing of face transplants through the lens of emotion history and ethics, asking what an interdisciplinary historical approach can bring to contemporary medical practice.

7 March 2018

Dr Mike Stuart (LSE)

A framework for doing epistemology of (scientific) imagination

Scientists need imagination. They use it to generate hypotheses, create models, design experiments, interpret data and occasionally, invent demons, travel through time and ride on light waves. Some of these actions have epistemic import, which draws us toward the epistemology of (scientific) imagination. In this talk, I present a framework that can accommodate insights of cognitive science for investigating the epistemological uses of imagination. According to this framework, two kinds of imagination form the ends of a spectrum. On one side there is imagination that is unconscious, uncontrolled, and effortless. On the other is a kind of imagination that is conscious, controlled, and effortful. The two kinds of imagination have different epistemological strengths and weaknesses, and can be combined in ways that amplify their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. As a proof of concept, I show how this framework can dissolve two epistemological puzzles concerning imagination in science, profitably re-frame the epistemological literature concerning scientific thought experiments, and provide the beginnings of a more general epistemology of (scientific) imagination.

18 April 2018

Dr Mary Augusta Brazelton (Cambridge)

Engineering health: mass immunization in China’s wartime hinterland, 1937-45

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the technological project of mass immunization united state health administrations and international aid organizations seeking to prevent epidemics in unoccupied China’s wartime hinterland. This presentation examines a joint wartime effort between the Chinese government’s National Epidemic Prevention Bureau and the League of Nations-Health Organizations to manufacture and distribute vaccines against smallpox, cholera, and other diseases in northwest China. The hardships of war presented challenges to the development of large-scale immunization, but also led to the establishment of international aid programs that helped Chinese microbiologists acquire standard cultures, animals, and equipment. Vaccination provided a means for the beleaguered Nationalist government to quell epidemics and resist the Japanese; subsequent state involvement in the process of managing transport of vaccines, organizing and training vaccinators, and mandating the shots suggests the significance of mass immunization, as well as its reliance on technological systems in which vaccines embodied emerging biomedical standards that the state sought to institutionalize.

2 May 2018

Dr Tudor Baetu (Bristol)

Comparability, randomisation and causal inference

It is commonly held that causal inference in clinical research requires comparable groups and that the main purpose of random allocation is to achieve comparability. I argue that both claims are false. There are two distinct methods for inferring causation, one based on the method of difference and the other on statistical inference. Only the former requires comparability. The latter takes into account the probability that incomparable groups are generated and relies on random allocation in order to ensure that the treatment condition is the independent variable targeted by the allocation intervention.

Pages in this document

  1. 2017-18 Semester 2
  2. 2017-18 Semester 1
  3. 2016-17 Semester 2
  4. 2016-17 Semester 1
  5. 2015-16 Semester 2
  6. 2015-16 Semester 1
  7. 2014-15, Semester 2
  8. 2014-15, Semester 1
  9. 2013-14, Semester 2
  10. 2013-14, semester 1
  11. 2012-13, Semester 2
  12. 2012-13, Semester 1
  13. 2011-12, Semester 2
  14. 2011-12, Semester 1