History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine

HPSTM students and faculty.

Duke offers a graduate certificate certificate in History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine, open to Duke graduate students. 

Where can I find HPSTM events and activities at Duke?
Multiple departments and units contribute to HPSTM activities on campus, including:
Philosophy Department
History Department
Science and Society 
Center for Philosophy of Biology 
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience 

News and events
March 1-2, 2019: Workshop on Cognitive Control and Responsibility

Sponsored by the: John Templeton Foundation, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Philosophy at Duke University

Place: Multipurpose room – Duke Institute for Brain Science

Organizers: Santiago Amaya (Universidad de los Andes) and Felipe De Brigard (Duke University)

More information and schedule of events here.

March 5, 2019:  Talk - "Intoxicants and the Invention of 'Consumption'"

Hosted in Classroom (Formerly Carr) 229

12:00 - 1:30 PM

Lunch provided. RSVP if you will attend. 

Abstract: In 1600 the word 'consumption' was a term of medical pathology describing the ‘wasting, petrification of things’. By 1700 it was also a term of economic practice: ‘In commodities, the value rises as its quantity is less and vent greater, which depends upon it being preferred in its consumption’. This paper examines how a term of medical pathology became a normative economic descriptor. It also considers the concerns and issues that informed this semantics and why, in particular, 'intoxicants' like alcohols and tobaccos figured so prominently in its appropriation by early mercantilist writers.  

April 4-5, 2019: Du Châtelet Prize workshop

Du Châtelet Prize in Philosophy of Physics 2019: Workshop
Thursday April 4th – Friday April 5th
Duke University

A workshop on the topic of this year’s prize “How matter acts on matter: unsolved problems in the philosophy of physics, 1680-1780” at which this year’s winner will be our honored speaker, and with additional talks by members of the prize committee.

Thursday April 4th
Friedl Building 107, East Campus

2:00pm Opening remarks
2:05pm Andrew Janiak (Duke University)
“A complete book of physics: Madame Du Châtelet’s Institutions”
3:15pm Mary Domski (University of New Mexico)
“Newton on the Nature and Scope of Natural Knowledge”
4:30pm Du Châtelet Prize presentation
4:35pm Du Châtelet Prize Lecture: Adwait Parker
“Newton on Active and Passive Quantities of Matter”

Friday April 5th
Classroom Building 125, East Campus

9:30am Chris Smeenk (University of Western Ontario)
“Newton and Phenomenalism"
10:45am George Smith (Tufts University)
“The Mysteries of Liquids and Viscosity”
Lunch break
1:00pm Katherine Brading (Duke University)
“Du Châtelet on collisions”

Attendance is free and open to all.

Du Châtelet Prize Workshop Poster

Call for Applications: Vienna Summer School 2019 Scientific World Conceptions

The Vienna Summer School will be holding a two-week session, July 1-July 12, 2019 on Philosophy and Psychiatry. Fellowships are available for Duke PhD students to attend this summer school, covering tuition, accommodation, and a significant airfare subsidy (minimally $1000). Students in all disciplines are welcome to apply. Apply directly to Vienna but send the Duke coordinator (Professor Malachi Hacohen) a brief note indicating that you have submitted your application (mhacohen@duke.edu). Vienna determines admission and will be contacting successful applicants.  

Deadline: February 15, 2019. Apply here. 

This is an outstanding opportunity not only to broaden one's understanding of the relationship between the culture of science, its philosophy and scientific practice, but also to establish connections with international colleagues.  Duke students who attended the program in previous years were enthusiastic and felt the program contributed significantly to their graduate career. For two examples of what they had to say, take a look at these brief videos: VISU 2016, Alexandra Oprea, now research assistant professor at UNC, watch here, and VISU 2011, Rebecca Evans, now assistant professor at Winston-Salem, watch here.

Labs and research in HPSTM at Duke

Summer Seminars in Neuroscience and Philosophy: Collaborate in our summer seminars for neuroscience and philosophy, a three year program sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation and Duke University.

Center for Cognitive Neuroscience: CCN serves as Duke’s portal for research, education and advanced training in the psychological, computational and biological mechanisms of higher mental function, all from an interdisciplinary perspective.

MADLAB: MADLAB is built around the broad theme of how social, cultural, neurological, and biological factors shape our moral attitudes, decisions, and judgments.

Imagination and Modal Cognition Lab: Using a number of behavioral and neuroimaging techniques, the Imagination and Modal Cognition Lab explores ways in which philosophy and cognitive neuroscience interface.

Duke Initiative in Science and Society: S&S maximizes social benefit from scientific progress by making science more accessible, just, and better integrated into society.

Friends of HPSTM

Center for the History and Philosophy of Physics, St. Cross College, Oxford 

Center for History and Philosophy of Science, Boston University 


HPSTM would not be here today without our supporters, researchers, and professors at Duke and abroad. 

Seymour Mauskopf is one such person. He was recently featured in the Duke Chronicle's "Dear Old Duke" series as "a professor emeritus of history whose research has been focused on the history of science. For a ten-year stint—including the time in which the original photo was taken—he studied the history of parapsychology. Now, he teaches part-time and is finishing up a book on Alfred Nobel and his rivals over the discovery of munitions." Read his departing lecture, reflecting on his research at Duke, here. 

Left: Oct. 2, 1977, by Steve Hunt | Right: Feb. 6, 2018, by Bre Bradham

Left: Oct. 2, 1977, by Steve Hunt | Right: Feb. 6, 2018, by Bre Bradham.

Alex Rosenberg

Walter-Sinnott Armstrong 

Felipe De Brigard

Katherine Brading

Andrew Janiak

Malachi Hachonen

If you are Duke faculty and would like to be added to this list, please contact Katherine Brading (katherine.brading@duke.edu).