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Philosophy Club Meeting Tomorrow to Discuss the Problem of Pseudoscience in American History


Posted 02/05/2019
Submitted by Brian Skelly
Category: Campus Announcements, Student Announcements

Come join us at this week’s Philosophy Club meeting Thursday, February 7th from 12:15 to 1:45 in 421 Auerbach Hall as History professor Rachel Walker discusses the problem of pseudo-science in American history. 

In the age of climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers, it’s tempting to rail against “pseudoscience” and denounce its practitioners as quacks. By distancing ourselves from irresponsible research, we do much more than simply demarcate the boundaries of “real” science… We also boost our own egos. After all, what feels better than knowing that we’re smarter than the ignorant masses?  

In this talk, though, I want to propose something controversial: perhaps the term “pseudoscience” isn’t as useful as we think it is. Through an examination of the early American past, I’ll destabilize what we think we know about “real” and “fake” science. In the process, I’m hoping that we can all propose some new ways of talking about the discredited disciplines of years gone by.  

Rachel Walker is a new Assistant Professor in the History Department here at the University of Hartford. She recently earned her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in College Park, where she specialized in the history of gender, race, and popular science in early America. She is currently working on her first book project, which uncovers the hidden history of physiognomy: a discipline rooted in the idea that people’s facial features revealed their moral and mental character.

The University of Hartford Philosophy Club has an informal, jovial atmosphere. It is a place where students, professors, and people from the community at large meet as peers. Sometimes presentations are given, followed by discussion. Other times, topics are hashed out by the whole group.

Presenters may be students, professors, or people from the community. Anyone can offer to present a topic. The mode of presentation may be as formal or informal as the presenter chooses.

Food and drink are served. Come and go as you wish. Bring friends. Suggest topics and activities. Take over the club! It belongs to you!