Past Events

Philosophy Colloquium: Anjan Chakravatty


Date: Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

Time: 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Location: West Duke 101

Title: Belief, rationality and forms of scientific disagreement


Professor Chakravatty's research interests include debates about scientific realism and antirealism, the nature of
dispositions, causation, laws of nature, natural kinds, scientific modeling and representation, and
disagreement, and interconnections between science, metaphysics, and epistemology.

HPS Holiday Refreshments

Date: Tuesday December 10th

Time: 3:00-4:30pm

Location: Philosophy Department lounge, West Duke Building

Come by and chat about shared interests and plans for the future while enjoying some festive refreshments.CISSCT Workshop "The Anthropocene, The Technosphere, and Energy Use

Date: Monday, December 9, 2019

Time: 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM

Location: Allen 314

Duke’s Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Cultural Theory (CISSCT) is sponsoring a workshop on “The Anthropocene, The Technosphere, and Energy Use.” The workshop will be held on , from 11:30 a.m. -2 p.m., in the Allen Building (Room 314). The workshop will focus on Peter Haff’s concept of the “technosphere,” and his recent—perhaps counterintuitive—suggestion that addressing the dilemmas of climate change may involve finding ways to use more, rather than less, energy. Participants are asked to read two short pieces before the workshop: Peter Haff’s “The Technosphere and its physical stratigraphic record" (2019), and a short selection from N. Kate Hayle’s Unthought: The Power of the Cognitive Nonconscious (2017) (which links the question of energy to that of information). Pdfs of these readings (as well as several other short optional readings) will be sent to workshop participants.
The workshop will begin with short statements by Peter Haff (Emeritus, Nicholas School of the Environment), Mark Hansen (Literature), and Rob Mitchell (English), and the rest of the workshop will be devoted to discussion among all participants. Boxed lunches will be provided. So that we can order the correct number and kind of lunches, and to keep the group small enough to enable conversation (i.e., maximum 25 people), we ask that you register at the following site if you are interested in participating:
If you have any questions about this event, please contact Carolin Benack at

Philosophy Colloquium: Rasmus Winther

rasmuswintherDate: Friday, December 6th, 2019

Time: 3:30 PM

Location: West Duke 202

Title: When Maps Become The World


Research interests are Philosophy of Science, Biology (Genetics, Evolutionary Theory, Psychology
and Consciousness Studies, Mathematics, Epistemology, Culture, History, Latin American Philosophy,
Pragmatism, 20th Century Analytic/Continental Philosophy, Kant to Hegel.

Philosophy Colloquium: Sarah Hutton on Emillie du Châtelet’ and James Jurin


Date: Friday, November 15

Time: 3:30 PM

Location: West Duke 202

Title: Emilie du Châtelet and James Jurin: the context and fortunes of their brief correspondence

Abstract: In this paper I discuss Madame Du Châtelet’s critique of James Jurin (1684-1750) fellow of the Royal Society, London, of which he had served as secretary between 1722-1727. Their letter exchange was sparked by Du Châtelet’s critique of Jurin’s position on forces vives  (living forces) in her Institutions physiques. It drew a response from Jurin (now lost), to which she replied. It also figures in her dispute with Dourtous de Mairan, and was printed in Italy in 1747. I shall review Du Châtelet’s arguments and set the correspondence with Jurin in context in order to shed light on Du Châtelet’s standing in scientific circles of her time.


tfacTime: 4 November 2019, 3:00-6:00 PM

Location: Searle Center Conference Room

Please RSVP here

For more information go to:



Alexander von Humboldt 250th anniversary celebration: Celebratory Colloquium


Date: 1-2 November 2019

Location: Forest History Society, 2925 Academy Rd., just off Duke’s West Campus

For more information go to

Note: There is also a Humboldt reading group this semester. If you are interested in participating in this, please contact either Daniel Richter, Prof. Soils and Ecology, or Zackary Johnson, Prof. of Molecular Biology in Marine Science, in the Nicholas School of the Environment.



HPS Lunchtime Discussion: Stefani Engelstein


Please join us on Friday, October 25th, for an informal lunchtime discussion with Stefani Engelstein.

Time: 11:30-1:00

Location: 202 West Duke Building, East Campus

These lunchtime discussions provide a venue for faculty with interests in HPS to learn about one another’s work and discuss topics of mutual interest. Please bring your own lunch.

UNC event: David Albert, “How to teach Quantum Mechanics - Part II”

Date: October 16

Time: 1:00-3:00pm

Location: Gardner 309, UNC

UNC event: The 2019 Polanyi Lecture. David Albert, “The Problem of the Direction of Time” 

Date: October 15

Time: 5:30pm

Location: Nelson Mandela Auditorium, FedEx Global Education Center, UNC

More information:

UNC event: David Albert, “How to teach Quantum Mechanics - Part I”

davidalbertDate: October 14

Time: 1:00-3:00pm

Location: Caldwell 213, UNC

More information:




Alexander von Humboldt 250th anniversary celebration: Public Lecture and Lynn W. Day Lectureship by Andrea Wulf, best-selling author of The Invention of Nature


Date: 1 October 2019

Time: 6:30-8:00pm

Location: Love Auditorium, Levine Science Research Center (LSRC) on Duke’s West Campus. Parking in Bryan Center parking lot and deck. Learn more.



Philosophy Colloquium: Elaine Landry

September 6, 2019 – On Friday, September 13, in West Duke 202, Elaine Landry from UC Davis will give a talk. Her research interests include history and philosophy of mathematics, history and philosophy of science, and Plato's philosophy of mathematics. Read more about Dr. Landry here.

The Srinivas Aravamudan Annual Lecture in Critical Theory: John Durham Peters

September 6, 2019 – On September 12 & 13, in Friedl Building Rm 115, John Durham Peters from Yale is going to give the Srinivas Aravamudan Annual Lecture in Critical Theory. The first day's topic is PICTURING WEATHER, PICTURING CLIMATE and the second day's topic is TIME AND OTHER PROBLEMS IN MEDIA THEORY. Read More->

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.

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.  

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.

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