I am a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Philosophy and a faculty member in the Science and Technology Studies Graduate Program. In over twenty years at UBC, I have taught many different courses in philosophy, most especially on early modern philosophy, the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and various topics in history and philosophy of science. This is my second time teaching in Arts One, which has been my favourite undergraduate teaching experience.
My research concerns the development of philosophy of science as a field in philosophy within the wider context of the philosophy’s efforts since the 19th century to rethink its relation to the sciences. Thus, I am interested in how for the past 200 years philosophers have sought to place their projects within, beside, or against projects in the sciences. I am author of Carnap’s Construction of the World (Cambridge UP, 1998), and have co-edited several volumes including, must recently, Objectivity in Science: New Perspectives from Science and Technology Studies (Springer, 2015).
In recent years I have given talks at conferences in places such as Istanbul, Athens, Vienna, Munich, Paris, and Utrecht. I am currently the President of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science and a member of the Governing Board of the Philosophy of Science Association. This year I served as an adjudicator in the US round of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship competition, which offers funding to go to Cambridge University for graduate study to students from all over the world.
I am looking forward to joining the Seeing and Knowing group, where I will be lecturing on the use of new instruments of seeing (telescopes, microscopes) in the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, the interaction of theory and visual evidence in Darwin’s work, and issues at the interface of science, medicine, and literature.
Here are a few of the reasons I especially value the Arts One experience. First, I enjoy the adventure of being with a group of students as they have a sustained engagement with sometimes difficult but always rewarding texts. Second, Arts One is by far the best program for the teaching of critical reading and writing that I have ever been part of. Third, I enjoy learning new things and profiting from the wisdom of my excellent colleagues and students.
In spare hours, I like to hang out with my granddaughter, cheer for sports teams that haven’t won anything for a half century, and figure out how comedy works.