There are bodies everywhere …

… in the humanities as Adam wrote in the introduction to his thesis. And they are also in the mind. ‘Embodied knowledge’ is a much discussed notion of science studies nowadays. And therefore the Institute for the History of Science and Technology’s Graduate Student Society at the University of Toronto is organizing its fourth annual one-day conference on the theme ‘Embodied Knowledge and Bodies of Knowledge’. Here’s the call for papers:

In response to accounts of science that focus on science as the product of minds and ideas, historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science have started focusing on the role that the body and material practices play in producing, transmitting, and acquiring knowledge. Examining the embodied practices of those involved in scientific research has allowed science studies scholars to paint a rich portrait of the processes involved in knowledge production. Attention to bodies and to material practices has been a way for historians and sociologists to uncover the social and cultural history of science, and for philosophers to explore the epistemology of experimental practice. Although this is an interesting and welcome turn, the concept of “embodied knowledge” itself has not received much direct scrutiny and raises a series of questions:

  • What are the relations between embodied knowledge and propositional knowledge?
  • Can certain kinds of knowledge be transmitted only through embodied practices?
  • Is embodied knowledge distinct from tacit knowledge? Are they the same?
  • Can embodied knowledge reside in non-human objects?
  • What is the relationship between theory, experimentation, and the embodied knowledge possessed by scientists?
  • How and when does the embodied knowledge of scientists constitute expertise?

Graduate students (sorry all you postdocs out there!) are invited to submit paper and panel proposals. Send an email abstract (up to 250 words) to not later than tomorrow (!), Friday 2 May. Read more here (sorry for the delay, it was announced already in February the first tinme) 

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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