2015 Distinguished Lecture

FindlenDr. Paula Findlen of Stanford University will deliver the 2015 HSS Distinguished Lecture on Friday, November 20th, 6:00 – 7:15 PM. The lecture will take place in the Colonial Room on the mezzanine level of the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, California.

Dr. Findlen’s abstract reads:

Shortly after Galileo published his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632), the controversial Dominican theologian and philosopher Tommaso Campanella wrote to congratulate him for writing a great “philosophical comedy.”  Galileo famously experimented with many different ways of communicating science to his society, but what was the purpose and meaning of Galileo’s laughter?  This talk explores Galileo’s relationship to the Renaissance idea of “playing seriously” (serio ludere).  It discusses play as a Renaissance epistemology, a way of knowing and believing cultivated especially during the sixteenth century by many of the most interesting scientific, philosophical, and theological minds of this era.  What were the sources that inspired this approach to knowledge?  What were the consequences of playing seriously by the early seventeenth century?  Why did Galileo chose to present himself, in the spirit of Democritus, as a laughing philosopher?

The poster session and reception will follow the Distinguished Lecture.