College of Arts and Letters
13 Nov 2019
Morton 324 (Richardson Room)

Oxygen: What Is It?

Featuring: James E. McClellan III

On November 13, please join the College of Arts and Letters for the Humanities Forum, "Oxygen: What Is It?", presented by James E. McClellan III, professor emeritus at Stevens.


Looking at what we commonly call oxygen, Jim outlines an established train of thought that sees science as constituted of stories we tell about nature and with the key corollary that some stories are better than other stories. The novel argument in this talk is that even within an agreed upon conceptual framework the entities we posit in the world are not static and fixed but are conceptually fluid and constantly changing. An incidental conclusion is that normative analytical approaches to these issues cannot stand but must be subsumed into a historicized epistemology.

About James E. McClellan III

Now professor emeritus at Stevens, Jim McClellan is a historian of science who has specialized in European – largely French – science in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In particular, he has studied and written about contemporary scientific societies, applied science, the scientific press, and science and European overseas expansion. Having studied with Thomas Kuhn, he has had an abiding interest in epistemology and the philosophy of science as well as historiography and the philosophy of history.

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