HAPSAT, the Graduate Student Society
at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
University of Toronto
5th annual conference: Evidence in Context
Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
The concept of evidence has emerged as a central theme in both the
history and philosophy of science and in science and technology
studies. Historically, disputes over standards of evidence have been
investigated for a wide variety of sciences. From particle physics to
paleontology, from cancer to climate change, historical investigations
into the constantly negotiated boundaries of scientific evidence have
shaped the history of science as a continuous struggle to determine
what, precisely, is required to establish scientific fact. In
philosophy of science, classical notions of evidence in epistemology
have been recently challenged as inadequate for dealing with the
practical challenges facing contemporary policy makers. Thus,
philosophers have called for accounts of evidence that are more
relevant to the development, reform, and refinement of policy and
The Keynote Speaker for this year is Kathleen Okruhlik, The University
of Western Ontario.
We welcome papers addressing, but not limited to, the following
- How can philosophical notions of evidence inform public policy?
- What is evidence for movements such as Evidence-Based Medicine?
- How are evidence and standards of evidence negotiated by scientists?
- How have notions of evidence changed throughout history?
- How do standards of evidence relate to disciplinary boundaries?
- How should contradictory evidence be resolved?
- How have social, cultural, and economic contexts shaped standards of evidence?
- What is the role of the public in evaluating evidence in scientific controversies?
- How do disputes about standards of evidence relate to the issue of trust in science?
We invite graduate students and recent graduates working in fields
such as HPS, STS, history, sociology, philosophy, anthropology and
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 by March 2, 2009 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 conference. Please note
that Evidence in Context is scheduled for the weekend right before
CSHPS (Ottawa). Those interested in both conferences should contact us
to take advantage of group travel from Toronto to Ottawa.
For more details and our past programs, please go to