The Friday Seminar

Thinking Across the Disciplines

Fridays 12:00-2:00 PM (16-136) 

The Concourse Seminar is dedicated in the spring to the critical epistemological question of how we can know those things that we think we know.  We will consider what knowledge consists of, how we acquire it, and how we can feel certain enough in it to provide us with a direction forward.  These broad concerns are not all addressed in the same way across the disciplines, as the standard(s) for truth claims can vary considerably depending on the object of one’s inquiry.  Over the course of the semester we will hear from a variety of MIT Faculty from a range of Science, Humanities, and Social Science disciplines about some aspect of their own work.  You will have the opportunity to see how different disciplines think: how they frame questions, how they gather evidence, and how they use that evidence to answer their questions.

Spring 2016 seminar schedule:

February 5: Professor Anne McCants, History (Director, Concourse)
Discovery, Explanation, Evidence, and Rhetoric”

February 12: Professor David McGee, Department of Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences
Reconstructing environmental change and its links to human history over the last 20,000 years”

February 19: Professor David Singer, Political Science
Decoding the Global Economy”

February 26: John Doench, Associate Director, Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard
The CRISPR craze: incorporating the newest technologies into biological research (while avoiding the hype)”

March 4: Mark Szarko, Michelle Baildon, Library Sciences
“What Information Science Tells Us about How We Know What We Think We Know”

March 11: Professor Sandy Alexandre, Literature
Stuff-ography: Toward a Method of Interpreting Things”

 March 18: Ballroom Dancing

March 25: SPRING BREAK (no class)

April 1: Professor Daniel Jackson, CSAIL
Photography, The Resilience Project, And Things That Matter”

 April 8: TBA (CPW)

April 15: Professor Kieran Setiya, Philosophy
The Midlife Crisis”

April 22: Professor Andrea Campbell, Political Science
Personal Narrative as Social Science: Reflections on Writing Trapped in America’s Safety Net”

April 29: Atul Singh, Founder, CEO and editor-in-chief,
“Fair Observer, Make Sense of the World”

May 6: Last Seminar (TBA)

Friday Seminar (Fall 2015)

Friday Seminar (Fall 2014)

Friday Seminar (Fall 2013)

Friday Seminar (Spring 2013)