Archives 2017-2018

58th Annual Program

For the 58th Annual BCPS program the Center will be co-sponsoring the 2017-2018 Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar on “Humanities and Technology at the Crossroads” You can learn more about their full program here:

Mellon Sawyer Seminars

Grappling with the Futures:
Insights from Philosophy, History, and Science, Technology and Society

April 29th – 30th, 2018

Grappling with the Futures Poster

Hosted by the Boston University Department of Philosophy and the Harvard University Department of the History of Science. Co-sponsored by the Boston University Center for Philosophy and History of Science, The Mellon Foundation, and the Millennium Project: Global Future Studies and Research

For more information on this event visit:

Keynote Lectures, Sunday 29th 9:00am-12:30pm
Science Center Building, 1 Oxford St., Cambridge

  • Tempting Futures

    Cynthia Selin, Arizona State University, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

  • The Buried Past of the Far Future: Scenario Thought in the Nuclear Age

    Peter Galison, Harvard University, History of Science, Physics

  • Anticipation the Philosophy of the Future

    Roberto Poli, Trento University (Italy), Philosophy of Science

Sunday 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Session 1: Plausible Futures (Philosophy)

  • Troping Futures: Applying philosophy of language to examine the prefiguration of continuity and disruption

    Nele Fischer and Sascha Dannenberg, Freie Universitat Berlin, Future Studies

  • How do we get from now to then? On the merits and limits of explanatory pluralism in future scenarios

    Yashar Saghai, Johns Hopkins University, Berman Institute of Bioethics

  • A critical realist approach to scenario modeling practice

    Eric Kemp-Benedic, Stockholm Environment Institute

Sunday 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Session 2: Global Histories of Futures Studies (History)

  • Cold War futures? Political epistemologies and flows of knowledge in transnational futures studies, 1950-1990

    Elke Seefried, University of Augsburg, Modern History

  • How Cold War anthropology tried (and failed) to decolonize ‘Third World’ futures

    Joanna Radin, Yale University, History of Medicine

  • Futures as global expertise

    Jenny Andersson, Paris Institute of Political Studies

Sunday 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Session 3: Anticipation and Visioning (Interdisciplinary)

  • Anticipatory process and social research: going beyond a prescriptive and policy-oriented view of anticipation

    Luciano d’Andrea

  • Distorting mirrors of the present: Future visions as socio-epistemic practices

    Dirk Hommrich and Paulina Dobroc

Sunday 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Session 4: Health and Futures Studies (STS)

  • Managing the future: Planning cancer virus research at the National Cancer Institute

    Robin Wolfe Scheffler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Science Technology and Society

  • Critical reflections on “futuring” in responsible research and innovation:
    the case of Alzheimer’s research

    Karen Dam Nielsen and Mariane Boenink, University of Twente (Netherlands), Philosophy

  • Understanding the past and rethinking the future of anticipatory bioethics

    Ari Schick, Harvard University, Edmond J. Saftra Center for Ethics