On October 17, Professor David Luft gave a lecture entitled “Philosophy and Science in Nineteenth-Century Austria: Bernard Bolzano (1781-1848) and Franz Brentano (1838-1917).” The theme of Professor Luft’s talk was to give Bolzano and Brentano more credit and attention than they normally receive among English speaking historians and philosophers. Bolzano warrants such attention because his analytic methods end up indirectly influencing Anglo-American philosophers in the twentieth century, while Brentano inaugurated the other major twentieth century philosophical tradition of Continental philosophy by establishing phenomenology. Continue reading →
During my visit to the Western Michigan University Undergraduate Biomedical Ethics Symposium this last weekend, I had the chance to share an excerpt from my honors thesis with several other students interested in bioethics from across the country. The topics discussed involved relatively straightforward examples, such as case studies involving the end of life wishes of elderly cancer patients to abstract ties between Alzheimer’s disease and personal identity. Was the physician justified in resuscitating the eighty-year-old woman who asked not to be resuscitated? Continue reading →
Dr. Jonathan Israel’s April 26 talk at Oregon State, “Radical Enlightenment and the French Revolution,” presented the key figures in the early (1789-93) stage of the Revolution as proponents of what Israel terms the Radical Enlightenment. Contrary to some accounts Israel characterizes the rise of Robespierre and the Reign of Terror not as a radicalization of the Revolution and the Enlightenment project that underlay it, but as a counter-revolutionary populist reaction against the Radical Enlightenment ideas and policies of the early leaders of the revolution (orators, philosophers, newspaper editors). Israel’s talk centered around a banquet held by The British Club, a group of Anglo-American intellectuals in Paris, on the 17th of November 1792. Continue reading →
An interesting aspect of Karl Popper’s thought was the interconnection between his political philosophy and his philosophy of science. This aspect was presented by Malachi H. Hacohen, an intellectual historian of Duke University, in his talk entitled “Karl Popper and the Liberal Imagination in Science and Politics”, part of this year’s series Horning Lecture series, An Adventure of the Mind. Although Hacohen’s talk was a broader intellectual biography of Popper, what intrigued me most was Popper’s move from scientific community to an ideal Open Society. Continue reading →
Congratulations to Mary Jo Nye (Emerita Horning Professor in the Humanities) on the publication of her long-awaited study of Michael Polanyi, the celebrated scientist, philosopher, and critic of positivism. The title is Michael Polanyi and his Generation: Origins of the Social Construction of Science (Chicago, 2011). The book has already gained widespread acclaim, including a recent review by Steven Shapin in the London Review of Books called “An Example of the Good Life.” Here’s the description of Nye’s book: Continue reading →
My project lies within the history of problems. This denotes a methodological approach within historiographic practice, rather than a field of inquiry or a specific subject matter. The history of problems proceeds to examine a given issue in its historical manifestations with the hope thereby of coming to a further understanding of the issue, guided by the premise that phenomena are best understood as they manifest themselves through the fullness of time. Continue reading →
This blog keeps track of recent activities among faculty and students in Oregon State's unique program in History of Science. We have numerous course offerings for undergraduates, and we offer opportunities to pursue Master's and Doctoral degrees. Have fun reading!