6th Annual HAPSAT Conference Call for Papers Instruments: Mental and Material

Call for Papers
Instruments: Mental and Material*

*6th Annual HAPSAT Conference*

On *Sunday April 25*, HAPSAT, the Graduate
Student Society at the Institute
for the History and Philosophy of Science at
Technology at the University of
Toronto, will host its sixth annual conference,
*Instruments: Mental and
Material. *

Scientific instruments have emerged as a central
theme in the history and
philosophy of science and in science and
technology studies. In *Leviathan
and the Air Pump*, Shapin and Schaffer cite
instruments, together with
writing style and modest witnessing, as the
technologies that enable the new
scientific life. More recently, Galison's *Image
and Logic *gives instrument
makers equal standing with theorists and
experimentalists within the trading
zones of scientific discovery. The
historiography of medicine has also
explored how instruments played a significant
role in changing the
diagnostic acumen of doctors and revolutionizing
concepts of disease.
However, there is still a great deal of work to
be done in order to consider
instruments as both a serious subject of study,
and a resource for
historical investigation and argumentation.
Similarly, since Hacking's
seminal *Representing and Intervening*,
philosophers of science have
acknowledged instruments as being of central
importance to the practice of
science. They have become a nexus for worries
about empiricism and standards
of evidence; Latour (*Science in Action*) for
instance, has argued that
facts and artifacts are constructed in the same
way, while Davis Baird
(*Thing Knowledge*) argues that instruments
contain knowledge of how to
produce effects.

The keynote address will be given by *Jacalyn
Duffin* (Queen's University):
"Stethoscope: Technology and the Meaning of Life"

We welcome papers addressing, but not limited
to, the following questions:

·         How do we learn from instruments? What
roles do scientific
instruments play in scientific investigations of

·         What is the relationship between
science and instrumentation?

·         To what extent have medical
instruments transformed the
patient-practitioner relationship?

·         Can abstract entities like scientific
models or mathematical
equations be considered instruments? Is there
anything to be gained by doing

·         How have social, cultural, and
economic contexts shaped decisions
about instruments?

·         How can we, as historians, learn from
instruments? Can our textual
field learn to effectively marshal material

·         How can we trust scientific

·         What kind of evidence do we get from
scientific instruments?

We invite graduate students and recent graduates
working in fields such as
HPS, STS, history, sociology, philosophy,
anthropology, gender studies, and
law, to submit paper and panel proposals that
critically engage with this
theme. For papers please email abstracts of up
to 250 words to
HAPSAT@gmail.com<mailto:HAPSAT@gmail.com> by
*March 19, 2010* 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.

We hope to be able to offer billeting and small
travel subsidies for
graduate students traveling to Toronto for the

For more details and our past programs, please
go to