2023 Conference program

The final program can be downloaded here.
This includes venue information, local information and the following events.

Dyason lecture: Dr Rachael Brown, Director of Centre for Philosophy of the Sciences

Fifty Years of Philosophy of Biology: Where are we now? 

David Hull’s Philosophy of Biological Science (1974) is often cited as a watershed in the establishment of philosophy of biology as a discipline. In the almost 50 years since its publication the discipline has grown to be one of the core areas in philosophy of science and a widely accepted part of mainstream philosophy. In this talk, I take a birds-eye view on the contemporary discipline, its heterogeneity, and unifying features. In doing so I consider what it is that philosophers of biology care about, what is distinctive about the field, and the hallmarks of success for the discipline. This discussion has broader implications for how we understand contemporary philosophy of science and history and philosophy of science in general.

Plenary: Mitch Gibbs, University of Sydney

The importance of culture in changing education

We live in a changing world, from climates to technologies but our education systems seem to have been left in the past. The more nation's/academia develop connections with Indigenous communities the more we are seeing Indigenous knowledges be at the forefront of academia, especially when concerning our environments. But what does this mean for the educational systems within Universities, the students coming through and the research being done. We need to start by opening up universities and allowing different experiences and expertise be widely acknowledged and accepted. Different ways of teaching can promote different ways of knowing, allowing students to be engaged in the material and being part of the change that our nation needs for the future. 

Mitchell Gibbs is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Geosciences, at the University of Sydney. Mitchell holds a PhD degree in Marine Biology/Biochemistry. Mitchell Gibbsis a Thunghutti man through kinship of the Dunghutti nation.

Plenary: Natalie Koehle, University of Sydney

Rethinking Eurasian Connections in the History of Medicine

Contemporary historians of Chinese medicine agree that medieval Chinese medicine had strong links to the rest of the world, with many of its most common materia medica being of Arabic and West Asian origin. At the same time, they maintain that the medical theories of medieval Chinese medicine remained entirely disconnected from foreign traditions of healing. This talk question this scholarly consensus. It outlines the strong resemblances with Galenic medical theories found in a little-known Yuan period medical treatise, On the Art of Nourishing Life (1338), and argues that these resemblances were the result of an hitherto overlooked knowledge transmission, that is the transmission of Galenic medical ideas to pre-modern China. Although at first sight, the treatise appears to be composed entirely within the framework of traditional Chinese medicine, it is actually a translation: Its author has rearranged preexisting emic notions and concepts and put them to work to ‘translate’ some of the core theories of Galenic medicine into a Chinese medical framework.  

Based on these findings, my I will argue that (1) in contrast to the current scholarly consensus Chinese medicine did not develop in isolation; it was inextricably entwined with the history of Eurasian medical traditions long before encountering Western medicine in the 19th–20th century. (2) Galenic humoral theories were not alien to Chinese medicine; they were an important vehicle for the Eurasian transfer of medical ideas.  

Natalie is a lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science at Sydney University. She researches the history of Chinese medicine with comparative interests in the history of Indian and medieval Greco-Islamic medical traditions. She works on two book projects: one on the history of Donkey Hide Gelatin (ejiao 阿膠), and one on the global history of Chinese phlegm (tan 痰). Her recent publications include an article on Galenic medicine in 14th century China in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, entitled “The Many Colors of Excrement: Galen and the History of Chinese Phlegm”, an essay on anatomical images in 13th century China, and an experimental edited volume, Fluid Matter(s): A Cross-cultural Examination of the Imagination of the Humoral Body, which explores the use of interactive, image-based storytelling for academic communication.

Plenary: Professor Jane Calvert, University of Edinburgh

A Place for Science and Technology Studies

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In its early days, the scientific laboratory was the preferred site for research in science and technology studies (STS). But things have changed. In my social scientific investigation of synthetic biology over the last 15 years I have spent time in large anonymous conference rooms, classrooms in need of a coat of paint, esoteric studios for artistic research, glass-walled government meeting rooms, artisan coffee houses, and high-ceilinged libraries. This has led me to the question: where does STS belong? In this talk, I journey through these different rooms, exploring the possibilities and limitations of each, and the opportunities they provide for observation, intervention, and collaboration with scientists and engineers. I end by asking whether there is a place for STS, whether STS has to create new spaces, or whether it is fated to be forever itinerant.

Jane is a Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Her research is on the social studies of the life sciences, particularly synthetic biology. She works in close collaboration with scientists, engineers, policy makers, artists and designers

The Future of HPS in Australia

Rachael Brown, Fiona Fidler, Emma Kowal, Dominic Murphy

A panel discussion on the future of History and Philosophy of Science, and science studies more broadly, in Australia, including the Heads of HPS at the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne, Dominic Murphy and Fiona Fidler, the founder of the Science and Society Network at Deakin University, Emma Kowal, and our Dyason Lecturer, Rachael Brown, the Director of the Centre for Philosophy of the Sciences, ANU.

Diversity and Inclusion in HPS

Join Gemma Lucy Smart and Lucia C. Neco, accompanied by special guests, for a candid panel discussion on diversity and inclusion within HPS and the broader academic landscape.

Considering that the structure of academia was historically tailored to serve a particular demographic, this panel aims to address the challenges faced by those navigating academia outside this conventional framework. They include women, members of the LGBTQI+ community, people of colour, First Nations scholars, Neurodivergent individuals, those identifying as Mad, individuals with disabilities, and those managing caregiving responsibilities.

During this panel session, we will leverage the AAHPSSS Conference platform to initiate conversations about our lived and living experiences, sharing valuable tips for navigating academia. Our focus will be on addressing both challenges and opportunities. Lucia C. Neco and Gemma Lucy Smart will be our hosts for the session.

Postgraduate workshop

The postgraduate workshop will be an interactive seminar with Early Career Researchers within the History and Philosophy of Science aimed at postgraduates. The aim of the session is to provide a space for the panel members and postgraduates to support one another and discuss the best ways to navigate academia as an early career HPS scholar.