Evidence in Contex

HAPSAT, the Graduate Student Society at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto, will host its fifth annual conference, Evidence in Context on Saturday, May 23rd, 2009.

The concept of evidence has emerged as a central theme in both the history and philosophy of science and in science and technology studies. Historically, disputes over standards of evidence have been investigated for a wide variety of sciences. From particle physics to paleontology, from cancer to climate change, historical investigations into the constantly negotiated boundaries of scientific evidence have shaped the history of science as a continuous struggle to determine what, precisely, is required to establish scientific fact. In philosophy of science, classical notions of evidence in epistemology have been recently challenged as inadequate for dealing with the practical challenges facing contemporary policy makers. Thus, philosophers have called for accounts of evidence that are more relevant to the development, reform, and refinement of policy and practice.

The Keynote Speaker for this year is Kathleen Okruhlik, The University of Western ‎Ontario.

Papers addressing, but not limited to, the following questions, are welcomed:

– How can philosophical notions of evidence inform public policy? – What is evidence for movements such as Evidence-Based Medicine? – How are evidence and standards of evidence negotiated by scientists? – How have notions of evidence changed throughout history? – How do standards of evidence relate to disciplinary boundaries? – How should contradictory evidence be resolved? – How have social, cultural, and economic contexts shaped standards of evidence? – What is the role of the public in evaluating evidence in scientific controversies? – How do disputes about standards of evidence relate to the issue of trust in science?

Graduate students and recent graduates working in fields such as HPS, STS, history, sociology, philosophy, anthropology and gender studies and law are invited to submit paper and panel proposals that critically engage with this theme.

For papers please email abstracts of up to 250 words to [email protected] by March 2, 2009 and for panels please email a document with a 250 word abstract describing the panel as a whole in addition to individual abstracts for each paper (also 250 words). Each presenter will be given 20 minutes.

HAPSAT hope to be able to offer billeting and small travel subsidies for graduate students traveling to Toronto for the conference. Please note that Evidence in Context is scheduled for the weekend right before CSHPS (Ottawa). Those interested in both conferences should contact us to take advantage of group travel from Toronto to Ottawa.

For more details and our past programs, please go to http://www.hps.utoronto.ca/hapsat/.