The HPS Podcast - Conversations from History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science

The HPS Podcast - Conversations from History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science

Leading scholars in History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (HPS) introduce contemporary topics for a general audience. Developed by scholars and students in the HPS program at the University of Melbourne. Episodes released weekly. Current Hosts: Samara Greenwood and Carmelina Contarino.


May 31, 2023 7 mins

Welcome to The HPS Podcast! Before we dive into the history and philosophy of science interviews we’ve all been waiting for, our host Samara Greenwood takes us through the backstory to the podcast. Samara discusses what HPS is all about, the aims of the podcast, as well as a bit about the history of the discipline. We then meet the rest of the podcast crew, Fiona Fidler and Indigo Keel, before learning more about the upcoming seaso...

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In this episode of The HPS Podcast, Samara interviews a member of 'HPS Royalty' - Donna Haraway, who highlights the important role of narrative and storytelling in the sciences.

For Donna, storytelling in science involves being aware of how important scientific narratives are to scientific practice, and to the ways science contributes to humanities broader 'story' of the world. Donna proposes that engag...

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How do you view science? Is it a unified discipline that relies on a single method, or are the sciences more diverse than the standard image implies? 

In this episode of the podcast, Samara meets with the University of Melbourne’s own Dr Kristian Camilleri to talk about the Disunity of Science. 

Kristian highlights the problems with a monolithic vision of science and argues for seeing the sciences as diverse and differently...

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Does nature have a purpose?

The simple scientific answer is no, but the fuller story is, of course, more complicated than that. Concepts like goal directedness, directionality, and even purpose are used - usefully! - in biology all the time. How can we reconcile these two realities?

Today's guest on the HPS podcast is Professor Alan C. Love. Alan is professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota and...

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Professor Cordelia Fine joins Samara this week to talk about 'norms of reaction' in relation to sex differences. Feminist critics of sex difference research are often accused of claiming there are no sex differences, or that sex hormones have no influence on human behaviour. Cordelia talks us through why this is a false characterisation. Instead, feminist researchers are digging into the ways in which the developmental ou...

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This weeks guest is Greg Radick, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds.

In the podcast Greg discusses the use of counterfactuals in history of science - the term we use for asking ‘What if?’ questions about history - and their potential to subvert our conventional thinking. 

In Greg’s research, a central counterfactual question is: “What might biology be like now if a different side had t...

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On this episode Samara interviews Dr Fallon Mody, Historian of Medicine and Metascience researcher at the University of Melbourne, on the topic of Biography.

For non-historians, scientific biography is likely thought of as a straightforward telling of a celebrated individual’s life history, like Albert Einstein or Marie Curie. 

However, historians find biography - as a research tool - is better put to a broader range of uses. 

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Today on the podcast Samara talks with Dr Rachael Brown on values in science. In particular, the downfall of the value-free ideal.

Dr. Rachael Brown, is a philosopher of biology and director for the Centre for Philosophy of the Sciences at the Australian National University or ANU in Canberra.
Rachael runs her own wonderful podcast on philosophy and science called The P-Value.

In discussing values in scien...

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This week Indigo Keel interviews our regular host, Samara Greenwood, on societal contexts and science.

Samara is currently undertaking a PhD in which she investigates the various ways in which changes in society can come to shape change in science. In this episode Samara discusses some of the controversies of drawing links between political contexts and scientific change, including links between second wave feminism and Pr...

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This episode features Caleb Hazelwood, philosopher of science and PhD candidate, talking on the topic of Scientific Metaphysics. 

As Caleb explains, ‘scientific metaphysics’ refers to coming to grips with what ‘really is’ in the world – and being crystal clear about the concepts we use to describe natural phenomena and how they interact.  For example, Caleb talks about the importance of differentiating between entities we consider s...

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This week we welcome Dr Martin Bush to the podcast to discuss the role of imagery and visualisation in the circulation of science and knowledge. 

Martin is a member of the HPS department at the University of Melbourne who focuses primarily on the role of imagery in the popularisation and teaching of astronomy. In this episode, he takes us through the different arenas in which science is produced, discussed and circulated, ...

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Today on the podcast is Dr James McElvenny, historian and philosopher of linguistics, discussing the topic of language and science.

As James points out in this episode, intersections between language, the language sciences and science are many and varied. 

For example, James introduces us to the ways in which the study of language and the study of science have interacted in history, in particular through famous fi...

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"It wouldn’t make sense to leave the entire burden of upholding objectivity in science on the shoulders of fallible individuals, right?" Prof. Fiona Fidler

To finish off our inaugural season with a bang – today’s episode features the visionary researcher who initiated the idea for the podcast – Professor Fiona Fidler. 

Fiona is head of our History and Philosophy of Science Program at the University of M...

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Welcome to a special bonus episode of The HPS Podcast with Professor of Psychology, Simine Vazire, discussing the ways in which HPS scholars and scientists can work together to create better science.

We are releasing the episode to coincide with the campaign put together by Simine and others to support the legal defence of Data Colada – a group of professors who identify concerns with the integrity of published research. Members of ...

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September 28, 2023 30 mins

In this final bonus episode for Season 1 we are doing things a little bit differently. 

Instead of a one-way interview,  philosopher of physics - Joshua Eisenthal - and host Samara Greenwood have a two-way conversation reflecting on Season 1 and discuss how certain episodes intersected with their own research interests.

In particular, Josh and Sam discuss Donna Haraway's concept of Storytelling, Greg Radick&a...

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"That's what ‘repertoires’ is trying to force philosophers to look at - that whole ecosystem that encompasses the doing of science." Prof. Rachel Ankeny

We start season 2 with the wonderful Rachel Ankeny discussing scientific change and the concept of research repertoires.

Rachel is professor of History and Philosophy at the University of Adelaide, with wide ranging expertise across HPS, bioethics ...

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October 5, 2023 12 mins

Welcome to season 2 of the HPS Podcast! To ease you into a new season, Samara and Indigo sit down to reflect on the first season. 

They take a look at how the season performed, with listernership outstripping their expectations, both in terms of numbers and global reach. 

They discuss what we have to look forward to in season 2, with new events, guests and topics. 

But most importantly, it is a chance to ...

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"Scientists are not born, they are made" David Kaiser

Today's guest on the podcast is David Kaiser, Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and Professor of Physics at MIT. 

In history of science, David is best known for his books on the history of modern physics including Drawing Theories Apart, Quantum Legacies, and a personal favourite, How the Hippies Saved Physics, which in part looks at how ch...

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Season 2 of the HPS podcast welcomes back friend of the podcast, Kristian Camilleri. This time he joins us to discuss the turn to practice in the philosophy of science.

The "turn to practice" is a common name for the shift in philosophy of science theory when philosophers and social scientists moved from studying science through broad theories and began to analyse how science is actually conducted by practising s...

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"Everything on the land is reflected in the sky. So if you want to learn about indigenous astronomy, You have to learn about everything."

This week we welcome Duane Hamacher to the HPS podcast as he discusses Indigenous science and its importance in the Australian context.

Duane is a professor of astronomy who focuses on Indigenous astronomy, its history, and its present role in our knowledge systems. H...

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