Thursday, March 22, 3:30 pm to 5 pm
163 Student Union
2018 Erik C. Banks Memorial Lecture in Philosophy
“Ernst Mach’s Vienna: The Place of History and Philosophy in Science”
Dr. Don Howard
Professor of Philosophy
University of Notre Dame
Today we are locked in a vigorous debate over the place of the humanities in STEM education. In past times, however, this debate did not exist, for it was once widely assumed that history and philosophy played a vital role in the training of young scientists. In this talk, Don Howard will present that story by focusing on the career and work of the prominent Viennese physicist, Ernst Mach, who also became famous as one of the most important historians and philosophers of science in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Mach’s appointment to a chair in the history and philosophy of science at the University of Vienna in 1895 marked the beginning of a long and influential tradition of integrating history and philosophy of science in science pedagogy. Howard will also discuss the equally edifying example of Albert Einstein, who likewise prized the role of history and philosophy in science teaching and who acknowledged a great debt to Mach for having taught him this lesson.
Don Howard is the former director and Fellow of the University of Notre Dame’s Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, where he now functions as co-director of the Center’s ethics of emerging technologies focus area. He holds a permanent appointment as a Professor in the Department of Philosophy. With a first degree in physics (B.Sc., Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University, 1971), Howard went on to obtain both an M.A. (1973) and a Ph.D. (1979) in philosophy from Boston University, where he specialized in philosophy of physics under the direction of Abner Shimony.