Can Science Make You Good?

23 Sep 2013
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Blumer Room - 402 Barrows Hall

Event Type
Non-CSTMS Event

Steven Shapin
Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University

The distinction between expertise and virtue is a modern cultural institution. Knowing what is and knowing what ought to be done are seen as quite different capacities, and among the consequences flowing from this difference is that technical experts are thought to be no better placed than anyone else to offer moral guidance, even when they possess uniquely deep knowledge of possible outcomes of their technical work. Science just does not make its practitioners virtuous or wise or philosopher-kings.

This talk offers a historical sketch of how these sensibilities came about, roughly from the second part of the nineteenth century, and it discusses some contemporary sociological consequences of the is/ought distinction.

This event is sponsored by: Sociology Department

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