Secularism, Multiculturalism, Democracy and the Philosophy of Science: What’s the Relationship?


September 19, 2013 :: Sandra Harding
Moderated by Lisa Lambert

Recently, lively debates have emerged in the social sciences about how to think about the unexpected return of religion to the public sphere. This phenomenon has occurred not only in modernizing societies around the globe, but also in modern Western democracies.

Scientific rationality and technical expertise have always been regarded as the most powerful forces for modernization. Yet it turns out that Western secularism is in central respects deeply Christian and even Protestant, and that there are multiple secularisms--at least one for each religion. How multicultural and democratic can Western (secular) modernization be in light of such circumstances? This presentation will sort out some of the implications of these discussions for philosophies of science.

Speaker: Dr. Sandra Harding

Sandra Harding is a Professor of Education and Gender Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a philosopher. She taught for two decades at the University of Delaware before moving to UCLA in 1996. She directed the UCLA Center for the Study of Women from 1996-2000, and co-edited the journal Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society from 2000-05. She is the author or editor of fifteen books and special journal issues including: Sciences From Below: Feminisms, Postcolonialities and Modernities and The Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies Reader.

Dr. Harding has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Amsterdam, the University of Costa Rica, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and the Asian Institute of Technology. She has been a consultant to several United Nations organizations including the Pan American Health Organization, UNESCO, the U.N. Development Fund for Women, and the U.N. Commission on Science and Technology for Development. In 2007-08 she was a Phi Beta Kappa national lecturer. She has lectured at over 300 colleges, universities, and conferences on five continents.


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