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April 28, 2007, 10:30 AM

The Origins of Norms: The Place of Value in a World of Nature III

Participants: Akeel Bilgrami (moderator), Lorraine Daston, Gerald Edelman, John Forrester, Lawrence Friedman, Anne Harrington, Joel Snyder

A Conference jointly sponsored with the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. Organized by Lois Oppenheim and Akeel Bilgrami, along with Center Co-Directors Francis Levy and Edward Nersessian.

Ever since Max Weber lamented the rationalization of the world, the intellectualization that social and personal disenchantment rendered characteristic of modernity, the meaning of value has been thrown into question. How are we to understand the place of value in a world of nature when that world is viewed as containing nothing that is not countenanced by natural science? Can we account for the nature of value--and its implications for normative thinking and behavior--in terms that are exhausted by the methods and concepts of the sciences? If so, how might we elaborate those methods and those concepts? If not, what are the alternative forms of accounting for value? These and related questions will be raised and discussed by some of the most distinguished philosophers, scientists, and historians of science in the world.

Akeel Bilgrami is Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and the author of Belief and Meaning, Self-Knowledge and Intentionality, and Politics and the Moral Psychology of Identity.

Lorraine Daston is Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Her writing focuses on the history of probability and scientific objectivity. She is the author of Things that Talk: Object Lessons and Science, Biographies of Scientific Objects, and Classical Probability in the Enlightenment, which was awarded the Pfizer Prize. She has co-authored numerous books, including Wonders and the Order of Nature and Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism.

Gerald Edelman is the founder and Director of The Neurosciences Institute, a nonprofit research centre in San Diego that studies the biological basis of higher brain function in humans, and is a professor of neurobiology at The Scripps Research Institute. He is the recipient of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his work on the immune system. His books include Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge, Wider than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness, and Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of the Mind.

John Forrester is Professor of History and Philosophy of the Sciences at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Language and the Origins of Psychoanalysis, The Seductions of Psychoanalysis: Freud, Lacan, and Derrida, Dispatches from the Freud Wards: Psychoanalysis and its Passions, and Truth Games: Lies, Money, and Psychoanalysis. He is completing two books, Freud in Cambridge (with Laura Cameron) and The Freudian Century.

Lawrence Friedman, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Weill Cornell Medical College, and is on the Faculty of the NYU Psychoanalytic Institute. He is the author of The Anatomy of Psychotherapy and Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Anne Harrington is Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University, where she specializes in the history of psychiatry, neuroscience, and the other mind sciences. She is currently Co-Director of the Harvard University Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative, and is a consultant for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Mind-Body Interactions. She is the author of Medicine, Mind and the Double Brain and Reenchanted Science: Holism and German Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler.

Joel Snyder is Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. He has written extensively on the topics of photography and the theory of representation. A book of his recent essays, Visualization and Visibility, will be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2008. Mr. Snyder has curated exhibitions of photographs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is Co-Editor of Critical Inquiry, the journal of criticism and theory.


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