William Goodwin at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 7th December, 1-2pm, Byrne House

Dear all,

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 7th of December. It will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1-2pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of William Goodwin, visiting from University of South Florida, USA. We will be discussing the attached paper ‘Volatile Spirits: Scientists and Society in Gulliver’s Third Voyage’.

As the title of the paper indicates, it concerns the relation between scientists and society in Gulliver’s Third Voyage (available online here), from Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. This work is going to be published in a book on Jonathan Swift and Philosophy.

One idea William would like to, perhaps, develop further in this paper is the distinction between ‘common sense’ and scientific reasoning, and the extent to which a person can be really good at the one, but not so good at the other.  As it suggested in the paper, there are versions of this idea in other philosophers of science as well (such as Kuhn), but more typically science is presented as an ‘extension of common sense’ rather than something that might be in tension with it.

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.for any other information.