HPS Colloquia 2018 - 2019

image of doorway with skeleton

The colloquium meets generally three times per quarter on Thursdays at 4:30
in the Lane History Building, Room 307, unless noted below.

Please visit the Green library exhibit entitled, Leonardo's library: The World of a Renaissance Reader which celebrated the 500th anniversary on May 2, 1519 of the death of Leonardo Da Vinci with a opening reception of over 300 guest in the library rotunda, complete with dance, music and book art and art performance. The exhibit will be on display in the Peterson Gallery and Munger Rotunda until October 13, 2019. See the article on the exhibit in the Palo Alto newspaper online, May 29, 2019.

Previous events of the 2018 - 2019 year

  • Julia Heideklang, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft

    "Botanical Garden and Botanical Prose: The Paratextual Discourse in the 16th Century"

    Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 12-1:15pm

    Building 260 Room 252

    in the CMEMS workshop, lunch will be provided

  • Barry Loewer, Rutgers Center for Philosophy of Science

    "What Breathes Fire into the Equations"

    Since the 17th century discovering the laws of nature has been the primary goal of fundamental physics. While it is the task of scientists to discover what laws there are, it is the task of philosophers to explain what laws are. In Stephen Hawking's words the philosophical question is "What breathes fire into the equations?" In recent metaphysics there is a debate tween Humean and non-Humean answers to Hawking's question. In the course of dealing with a serious objection to Lewis' account I sketch an alternative, "the Package Deal Account" (PDA). The PDA transcends the dispute between Humean and non-Humean accounts in a manner that may strike one as a kind of Kantian compromise. In my talk after some table setting I explain and defend the PDA of laws.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 4:30 PM

    Building 200, Room 307

  • Pablo Gómez, University of Wisconsin, Madison

    "Enslaved Histories: Bodies, Capital, and Knowledge Making in the Early Modern Atlantic"

    Thursday, October 18, 2018, 4:30pm

    History Building 200 Room 307

    Friday, October 19th, 12-1:30pm

    History of Science and Technology Workshop

    Grad student mentorship session: "From Dissertation to Book" with Pablo Gómez

    Building 200, Room 307

    Please RSVP for lunch.

  • One of several visits this year to our program by distinguished Leonardo scholars for the 500th anniversary of his death in 2019:

    Carlo Vecce, University of Naples

    "A Lost Library? Leonardo's Books"

    Abstract: Throughout his life, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1509) made lists of books. His lists grew over time as a reflection of his desire to gain an education and explore different kinds of knowledge. Join Professor Carlo Vecce from the University of Naples who will discuss Leonardo's library based on his his highly acclaimed recent book, La biblioteca perduta. I libri di Leonardo (The Lost Library; Leonardo’s Books).

    Leonardo's Virgin of the Rocks

    7:00pm, Thursday, October 25, 2018

    Location Jordan Hall, Building 420, room 40

    Co-sponsored with the Continuing Studies Lectures Series

    also — Oct. 24th, noon, a talk with the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies Workshop

    "How Leonardo Worked: At His Desk with the Codex Leicester"

    Abstract: The Codex Leicester is one of the most amazing manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci: just 36 leafs, that collect from previous manuscripts more than one thousand texts, notes and drawings, mostly related to the project of a great treatise on water and Earth Sciences. How did Leonardo work to create his Codex? Which materials did he use, and how did he arrange them? Which was his method of transcription, and which were his sources? Between order and chaos, his ‘open’ textuality became the way to go across the labyrinth of reality.

    Building 260 Room 252

    Lunch will be provided

    Carlo Vecce is Professor of Italian Literature at the University of Naples "L'Orientale", and has been visiting professor at Paris 3 (Sorbonne Nouvelle) and UCLA where he teaches Renaissance literature and culture. He has worked on the manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci, publishing the Book on Painting (Codex Urbinas), the Codex Arundel, and an anthology of Leonardo’s writings. He has collaborated on the exhibitions of Leonardo’s drawings and manuscripts at Louvre (Paris) and Metropolitan Museum (New York), and organized an exhibition of Leonardo’s drawings of fable and tales from Codex Atlanticus at Ambrosian Library (Milan). His biography Leonardo is translated in several languages, and he has recently published La biblioteca perduta. I libri di Leonardo (2016). He has also published poetry, dialogues, and compositions for theater.

  • Alison McConwell, Suppes Post Doctoral Scholar, Stanford University

    "From Evolutionary Contingency to Scientific Applications of Individuality Concepts: Two Avenues to Individuality Pluralism"

    Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 4:30pm

    History Building 200 Room 15

    Abstract: Philosophers disagree over the criteria for evolutionary individuals—the units or objects of natural selection that comprise evolving populations (Godfrey-Smith 2009, Ereshefsky and Pedroso 2015, and Clarke 2013). After tracking some recent history and puzzles concerning the conceptual development of evolutionary individuality, I argue for different types of evolutionary individuals that emerge, evolve, and disappear through evolution. Rather than give a single set of criteria, I demonstrate how evolutionary contingency—a view of evolution that emphasizes the role of dependency relations and chance-based factors (Gould 1989, Beatty 1995, 2006—makes sense of that pluralism. I then explore future directions for approaching individuality pluralism from a practical vantage point.

  • Maryanne Cline Horowitz, Occidental College title page of Ortelius

    12-1:15pm, Wednesday,
    January 16, 2019

    Lunch will be provided

    "Exotic Female (and Male) Continents: Early Modern Fourfold Division of Humanity"

    Prof. Horowitz will present rival interpretations and encourage discussion of personifications of Africa, America, Asia, and Europe.

    Location Building 260 Room 252

    with the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies

    Image is early hand colored title page of Abraham Ortelius Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. 1579.
    Image courtesy of Occidental College Library Special Collections & College Archives.

  • Eileen Reeves, Princeton University

    picture of Galileo compass old watercolor

    "Faith in the Instrument: Galileo, the Church, & the Compass"

    This talk offers a literal take on the expression "faith in one's instrument." It examines the odd emergence of religious sentiment in three different versions of Galileo Galilei's compass, and asks what this sturdy mathematical device had to do with faith, and how these stray visual and textual elements might be related.

    Wednesday, January 30, 2019, noon

    Location 260 room 252, Lunch is provided

    with the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies

  • AI, Humanities & the Arts Workshop

    Thursday, February 14 | 9 AM - 5 PM
    Levinthal Hall, Stanford Humanities Center

    This one-day workshop brings together colleagues from the new Stanford Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) initiative, the Humanities, and the Arts to advance new configurations of world-class scholarship. The day will showcase collaborations between researchers who are pioneering works at the vanguard of AI, the humanities, and the arts. The finale will invite participants to highlight 5 grand collaborative social challenges for HAI.

    Including opening remarks and a panel by Londa Schiebinger

    For more information on the schedule and speakers CLICK HERE

  • Martin Kemp, Oxford University, visiting Stanford as a Kratter visiting professor, a renowned scholar on Leonardo da Vinci, on this important 500th anniversary year

    Living with Leonardo: Fifty Years of Sanity and Insanity in the Art World and Beyond: A Book Talk with the Author

    Tuesday the 19th, at 6pm in the Cantor Center Auditorium

    There will be a book signing at this Cantor event.

    Martin Kemp blue book cover Living with Leonardo Abstract: Leonardo is a unique figure in the history of world culture, attracting analysis at the highest level and a huge proliferation of crazy ideas. The lecture will look at selected incidents from Martin Kemp's engagement with Leonardo over 50 years to show how the “detached and objective’ business of historical research becomes immersed in an unmanageable context of myth and wild theories. The moral will be that how information emerges, from whom, when and where shapes its reception in both the scholarly and public arenas.

    Also, there will be a CMEMs lunch talk, noon, on February 20th, 2019

    Building 260 Room 252

    Lunch will be provided

    and he will give the plenary lecture for Humanities West Lectures on Friday, February 22nd, in San Francisco

    Martin Kemp is renowned for his lifelong work on Leonardo da Vinci and more generally the relations between art and science. He is Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Oxford University and has written a column for many years on "Science in Culture" for Nature. Professor Kemp has curated numerous exhibits on Leonardo and allied subjects in different parts of the world. His publications includes Leonardo: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man (1981), Leonardo (2005), La Bella Principessa (2010), and most recently Living with Leonardo: Fifty Years of Sanity and Insanity in the Art World and Beyond (2018).

  • Anna Kuslits, PhD candidate, visiting from University of Ednburgh title page of John Guest 1785 anatomical drawing

    4pm, Tuesday, February 26, 2019

    Pigott Hall Building 260, Room 244

    "Anatomical Collecting in the Age of Politeness: Assembling the Anatomical Museum at the University of Edinburgh, c.1720-1798"

    Anatomical museums often elicit a peculiar sense of unease from modern-day audiences. Remnants of an age when medical men habitually appropriated the bodies of those at the fringes of society for research and teaching, historical anatomical collections attest to some of the cruellest practices that form part of our medical cultural heritage.

    In this talk, I want to conjure up a different history of anatomical collecting. Using findings from my research on the Monro Collection, I will argue that anatomical collecting, at least in eighteenth-century Edinburgh, is better understood as an extension of a culture of polite sociability invested with the positive values of social and cultural improvement and of social participation and cohesion.

  • Vincenzo De Risi, French National Centre for Scientific Research, Sciences, Philosophie, Histoire
    dates of Non-Euclidean Seminars -Feb-March 2019

    Fridays, 1:30-3:30pm, Building 60, room 108

    February 1st
    Proving the Parallel Postulate: The Foundations of Geometry in the Early Modern Age

    February 8th
    The Analysis of Space: Leibniz and the Leibnizian Tradition

    February 15th
    The Anatomy of Space: Lambert’s Material Ontologies

    February 22nd
    The Structure of Space: Lambert and the Imaginary Sphere

    March 1st
    The Discovery of non-Euclidean Geometry


    Saturday, March 2, 2019, 9am -5:30pm
    Stanford Humanities Center Boardroom

    Workshop on Lambert, Kant and non-Euclidean geometry

    with Professors Jeremy Heis, UC Irvine, Daniel Sutherland, University of Illinois, and Alison Laywine, McGill University

  • El Shakry, Marta Sutton Weeks Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center & the Department of History, UC Davis

    Thursday, March 14th, 2019, 4:30pm

    Building 200, Room 302

    "Psychoanalysis and the Imaginary: Translating Freud in Postcolonial Egypt"

    This talk imagines psychoanalysis geopolitically by way of an exploratory foray into the oeuvre of Sami-Ali, the Arabic translator of Sigmund Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, author of a large body of original psychoanalytic writings, and translator of the poetry of Sufi masters. Taken together, his writings enable a critical rethinking of the role of the imaginary, the mechanisms of projection, and the epistemology of non-knowledge in the workings of the unconscious. Significantly, such a rethinking of key psychoanalytic concepts drew upon the Sufi metaphysics of the imagination of Ibn 'Arabi. Yet such theoretical work cannot be understood outside of its wider clinical context and the conditions of (im)possibility that structure psychoanalysis within the postcolony. Reconstituting Sami-Ali's early theoretical writings alongside his work with the long-forgotten figures he observed, incarcerated female prostitutes in 1950s Cairo, I argue that his clinical encounters constituted the ground of his theorization of the imaginary within the embodied subject. Attending to the work of translation inherent within psychoanalytic practice – whether from Sigmund Freud's own German writings into French or Arabic, or from clinical practice into theoretical discourse – helps us conceptualize psychoanalysis as taking place otherwise at the intersection of multiple epistemological and ethical traditions.

  • Magdalena Malecka, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellow, Philosophy Department, Stanford University

    Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 4:30pm

    Bldg 200 Room 201, confirmed

    "On the mistaken image of the behavioural sciences in policy. Lessons from history and philosophy of behavioural science."

    Recently, we are facing, worldwide, an increasing interest in applying findings of the behavioural sciences to policymaking. This phenomenon has been sometimes called ‘the behavioural turn’ in policy. Behavioural approaches are drawn upon in a variety of policy fields such as health and environmental policy, consumer protection law, as well as, for instance, in policies that tackle poverty. The behavioural turn gained momentum around ten years ago after the publication of the book ‘Nudge’ by Thaler & Sunstein. Application of behavioural research to policy has polarized scholars into fierce critics and devoted enthusiasts. All participants in the debate take at face value the image of the behavioural sciences that the advocates of the behavioural policy subscribe to. This image is mistaken, however. Building upon the scholarship in the history of the behavioural sciences (especially during the Cold War period in the US), as well as on insights from the philosophy of science (especially work of Helen Longino), I will show why and how behavioural research has been simplified and distorted in policy settings, as well as in academic discussions accompanying the behavioural turn. I then preliminarily suggest how a more nuanced and philosophically sophisticated view on the behavioural sciences could be conceptualized and I ask whether we need to, in light of this view, rethink the ways in which findings from the behavioural sciences could, and should, inform policy.

  • Feraz Azhar, Black Hole Initiative, Harvard University

    Thursday, May 2, 2019, 4:30pm

    Bldg 380 Room 380F

    "Assessing fine-tuning of cosmic inflation"

    I clarify and philosophically interpret a high-stakes dispute in cosmology about the bedrock of our understanding of the very early universe---that is, about the theory of cosmic inflation. I identify three core charges against cosmic inflation: (i) it is too permissive, (ii) it gives rise to a multiverse with associated problems of confirmation and (iii) it is finely tuned. I argue that we are, today, in a position to assess only the third charge, and thus to assess whether inflation faces a fine-tuning problem analogous to the one it was designed to solve. I then present a detailed account of how to evaluate the fine-tuning of inflation from a thoroughly modern perspective, together with recent results from an implementation of such an account.

  • Writing Global History: Rethinking the World in the Early Modern Era

    Poster made for the program with old map Stanford Humanities Center Levinthal Hall

    Paula Findlen and Alex Statman, organizers

    Download the program

    May 3, 2019, 9am-5:30pm; May 4, 2019, 10am-5pm

    Participants include:
    Wendy Belcher, Princeton University
    Alexander Bevilacqua, Williams College
    Amber Brian, University of Iowa
    Alexandria Brown-Hedjazi, Stanford
    Frederic Clark, USC
    Nancy Kollmann, Stanford
    Anna More, University of Brasilia
    Anthony Pagden, UCLA
    Qiong Zhang, Wake Forest University
    Alex Statman, Huntington Library
    Habtamu Tegegne, Rutgers University
    Caroline Winterer, Stanford
    Duygu Yildirim, Stanford
    Ines Zupanov, EHESS, Paris
    Kären Wigen, Stanford
    John-Paul Ghobrial, Oxford University

  • Mathematics in Practice

    Cypress Lounge at Tresidder Memorial Union

    Rebecca Lea Morris, organizer

    May 10- 11, 2019

    See the Website: https://mathematicsinpractice.wordpress.com

    The aim of the conference is to bring researchers working in a variety of disciplines, including history, mathematics and philosophy, together to discuss aspects of the practice of mathematics and their implications.

    Speakers include:

    Jeremy Avigad (Philosophy & Mathematics, Carnegie Mellon University)
    Yacin Hamami (Logic & Philosophy of Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
    Jemma Lorenat (Mathematics, Pitzer College)
    Ali Raza Malik (Mathematics & Computer Science, Stanford University)
    Rebecca Morris (Philosophy, Stanford University)

  • Paolo Galluzzi, Museo Galileo in Florence, also visiting us this year as a Kratter Visiting Professor, to wrap up our celebration of 500 years of Leonardo

    Galluzi book cover

    The Signs of Time: Leonardo da Vinci's History of the Earth and the Fate of Man

    Based on insightful observations and daring hypotheses, Leonardo was among the first to hold that the Earth has a long history marked by continuous transformations. In his view, these changes could create environmental conditions that would make life of man and animals impossible.

    7pm, May 14, 2019

    CEMEX Auditorium, Stanford University


    "Doing History in the Museum: Exhibits in the Making at the Museo Galileo, Florence"

    Noon seminar with lunch, Thursday May 9th, 2019, noon - 1:30pm

    Mendenhall A or B

    please RSVP to rrogers@stanford.edu

    Galluzzi is an expert on Leonardo's engagement with technology. He is the long-time director of an important museum and research institute in Florence, Museo Galileo, and has taught periodically for Stanford OSP in Florence. He is currently president of the Leonardo commission overseeing the public commemorations in Italy this year.

    Cosponsored with the History Department and the Continuing Studies Program

  • Zozan Pehlivan, University of Minnesota

    old drawing image from Zozan Pehlivan

    Tuesday, May 16, 2018, 4:30pm

    History Building 200, Room 307

    "Climate and Animals in late Ottoman Kurdistan"

    Bio: Zozan Pehlivan is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She completed her PhD at Queen's University, Kingston Ontario. Currently, she is working on her first monograph focusing on climate change and violence in the late Ottoman Empire. She is also a collaborator in a multi-disciplinary project, "Appraising Risk, Past and Present: Interrogating Historical Data to Enhance Understanding of Environmental Crises in the Indian Ocean World", funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) at Indian Ocean World Centre (IOWC) of McGill University.

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