“The Center Debates” is a new initiative of the Center for Philosophy of Science.
Our goal is to promote serious, but respectful and constructive exchanges about controversial topics of interest to historians and philosophers of science, scientists, and the lay public. Typically two speakers with a different perspective on a given topic are invited to debate; each gives a 20-minute presentation, followed by two 10-minute responses to the other’s speaker presentation. This exchange will then be followed by a 30 minute Q&A.
See prior entries in the series & upcoming debates below.
Episode 1: Fake News & Conspiracy Theories, Oct.6, 2020
Cailin O’Connor (UC Irvine), author of The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread, and Hugo Mercier (Jean Nicod Institute, CNRS), author of Not Born Yesterday: The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe, will debate the impact of “fake news” and conspiracy theories.
Why should we care about having true beliefs? And why do demonstrably false beliefs persist and spread despite consequences for the people who hold them? Or, on the other hand, are humans not as gullible as we think?
Episode 2: COVID-19, Jan. 19, 2021
The second installment of Center Debates, Center Debates: COVID-19, will provide philosophical and epidemiological perspectives on the current pandemic by examining several scientific controversies, including lockdowns, facemasks, and vaccine allocation and dosing schedules.
Jonathan Fuller MD, PhD (University of Pittsburgh), a philosopher of science and medicine who has written public commentaries on the pandemic, will debate Marc Lipsitch, D.Phil. (Harvard University), an infectious disease epidemiologist who has led much of the science and policy discussion around COVID-19.