A New Year of Lectures and Conversations

Aug 20, 2011 by Matthew J. Brown

I am happy to announce a new year of exciting activities and lectures from the Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology!

The theme of this year’s events is “Funded and Forbidden Knowledge.” Our events will explore the role of science in our democratic society. They will provide insight into how our values help determine what knowledge to pursue and how to apply it. We will have lectures throughout the year on the topic “Science, Politics and Cultural Values.” These events will explore how science intersects with politics and policy-making. A number of questions arise as we think about the interaction of science and policy. How much public funding should be devoted to science? Which scientific projects should get funded? And what is the role of private funding? How does the increasingly important political role of science influence and transform it? How can science retain its integrity in the political sphere? How can we use science to wisely guide public policy? How do cultural values and scientific expertise interact to produce social action? Global climate change, education policy, robotic warfare and institutions of social reform are just some of the cases we will explore. Lecturers will include science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson, political scientist Mark Brown, and philosophers Heather Douglas and Nancy Cartwright.

A second component which I am very pleased to announce is a collaboration with the Center for Vital Longevity at UT Dallas to put on three events in October on the topic of “Aging Well: Creating a Vital Life.” These lectures will look at the science and experience of aging and life extension. Science, technology, and medicine give us the knowledge that has allowed us to live longer and longer lives, presenting new medical and social challenges. Rather than merely living longer, though, we also want to know how we can age well and extend the vitality of life. Our speakers will look at these questions from psychological, philosophical and policy perspectives. Our speakers will include psychologist Laura Carstensen and philosopher William Irvine.

For information on individual events, please have a look at our events page (or the list on the right side of this page).

I’m also proud to announce our new Center for Values Fellows program. Fellows can sign up for individual lectures or for the entire season. For each lecture you sign up for, you will priority seating at the lecture, we’ll mail you a copy of the speaker’s book ahead of time, and you will be invited to a special reception with the speaker after the lecture. Joining the Center for Values Fellows is a great way to support the Center and to be part of a growing community around the issues of values in medicine, science, and technology.

I hope you’ll join us this year for our events!