Center Discussion Group

Meeting time: Friday afternoons (about every other week - see the calendar below), 1:30–3:00 pm Central time
Meeting place: Hybrid format. 737 Heller Hall and online via Zoom

The Center discussion group (CtrDG) reads and discusses works of mutual interest in the philosophy of science, broadly construed. We have a tradition of reading works of important authors and then having them visit to discuss their work with the group. CtrDG visitors have included Nancy Cartwright, John Dupré, Margaret Morrison, Bas van Fraassen, William C. Wimsatt, and James Woodward, each of whose work we read during a semester preceding their separate visits.

Colleagues from area schools and fields outside philosophy regularly participate in our discussions. We continue to seek new participants. All faculty from the University of Minnesota and area colleges and universities are welcome to attend whenever they would like (and without invitation). Postdoctoral fellows and Ph.D. students are also welcome to attend. For further information, contact Alan Love (aclove@umn.edu).

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Fall 2022

Please join our mailing list for the zoom invitation or email mcps@umn.edu

This semester we will be reading: 

Reisch, G.A. 2019. The Politics of Paradigms: Thomas S. Kuhn, James B. Conant, and the Cold War "Struggle for Men's Minds". Albany, NY: SUNY University Press.
Please obtain your copy in advance of the first meeting.

  • September 9: Bombs and Books: An Introduction (pp. xv-xl); Progress and Revolution in the Suburbs of New York Ch. 1 (pp. 3-25)
  • September 23: War and General Education at Harvard Ch. 2 (pp. 27-44); History of Science in a Divided World Ch. 3 (pp. 45-62)
  • October 7: The Cold War Conversions of Thomas S. Kuhn and James Bryant Conant Ch. 4 (pp. 65-80); Sidney Hook and the Anticommunist Inquisition Ch. 5 (pp. 81-109); Brainwashing, or the Structure of Philosophical Revolutions Ch. 6 (pp. 111-131)
  • October 21: The Necessary Dangers of Consensus and Unity Ch. 7 (pp. 133-149); The Language, Psychology, and Psychoanalysis of Scientific “Reorientations” Ch. 8 (pp. 153-169); “Attention Senator McCarthy”: The Perils of Methodology in Totalitarian Times Ch. 9 (171-196)
  • November 4: Ideology and Revolution in the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science Ch. 10 (pp. 197-213); Progress, Ideology, and “Writing History Backwards” Ch. 11 (pp. 215-233); From “Ideology” and “Consensus” to Paradigmania Ch. 12 (pp. 235-252)

  • November 18: “If Mr. Kuhn Is Right . . .”: Paradigms and Dogmas in Cold War Science Education Ch. 13 (pp. 255-270); The Magic of Paradigms Ch. 14 (pp. 271-291);  Spies, Prisons, Mobs, Bandwagons, and Beasts Ch. 15 (pp. 293-316)

  • December 2: The Thomas Kuhn Experience Ch. 16 (pp. 317-336); A Revolution and a New Ideology Ch. 17 (pp. 337-354); Epilogue (pp. 355-366)

Previous Center Discussion Group topics