Thursday, August 6, 2009

Paul Griffiths' Inaugural Lecture August 11th

The Sydney University Arts Association presents The Inaugural Lecture of Professor Paul E. Griffiths, Department of Philosophy and Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science

Reconstructing Human Nature: Tuesday 11th August 2009 at 6:00pm

Refreshments in the Woolley Common Room from 5:30pm. Lecture in the Woolley Theatre N395 Woolley Building. The Common Room is on the first floor of the Woolley Building. The Lecture Theatre is on the right hand side of the entrance lobby.


The idea of human nature is the locus of longstanding disputes about the relevance of the biological sciences to the humanities and social sciences. But the ideas of "human nature", "instinct", and "innateness" are not derived from the biological sciences. They originate in intuitive, pre-scientific thought about living things, sometimes known as "folkbiology". In this lecture Professor Griffiths will present a model of the folkbiological understanding of human nature, based on empirical research conducted with biologically naive subjects in Australia and North America. This folkbiological understanding of human nature is fundamentally inconsistent with current biology. This raises the pressing issue of what a biologically credible account of human nature would look like, and he will try to address this question.

A philosopher of science with a focus on biology and psychology, Paul was educated at Cambridge and the Australian National University. He taught at Otago University in New Zealand and was later Director of the Unit for History and Philosophy of Science at The University of Sydney, before taking up a Professorship in Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He returned to Australia in 2004, first as an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow and then as University Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Sydney . He spends part of each year at the University of Exeter in the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, an adjunct member of the Pittsburgh HPS faculty, and a member of the Australian Health Ethics Committee of NHMRC.

For further information regarding upcoming events, please see: Or contact:

Emeritus Professor Paul Crittenden T: 9799 7796 E:

Emeritus Professor Nerida Newbigin T: 9351 3594 E:

Dr Michael McDonnell T:9351 6733 E:

No comments:

Post a Comment