Monday, April 12, 2010

6th Annual HAPSAT Conference

Instruments: Mental and Material
6th Annual HAPSAT Conference

On Sunday April 25, HAPSAT, the Graduate Student Society at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science at Technology at the University of Toronto, will host its sixth annual conference, Instruments: Mental and Material.

Scientific instruments have emerged as a central theme in the history and philosophy of science and in science and technology studies. In Leviathan and the Air Pump, Shapin and Schaffer cite instruments, together with writing style and modest witnessing, as the technologies that enable the new scientific life. More recently, Galison’s Image and Logic gives instrument makers equal standing with theorists and experimentalists within the trading zones of scientific discovery. The historiography of medicine has also explored how instruments played a significant role in changing the diagnostic acumen of doctors and revolutionizing concepts of disease. However, there is still a great deal of work to be done in order to consider instruments as both a serious subject of study, and a resource for historical investigation and argumentation. Similarly, since Hacking’s seminal Representing and Intervening, philosophers of science have acknowledged instruments as being of central importance to the practice of science. They have become a nexus for worries about empiricism and standards of evidence; Latour (Science in Action) for instance, has argued that facts and artifacts are constructed in the same way, while Davis Baird (Thing Knowledge) argues that instruments contain knowledge of how to produce effects.

The keynote address will be given by Jacalyn Duffin (Queen’s University): “Stethoscope: Technology and the Meaning of Life”

Registration is $10 for the conference, breakfast and lunch; $20 for the conference, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

We hope you are able to attend. Please visit the website, to register or for more information.

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