The Whitney Humanities Center is pleased to announce the official launch of the Franke Program in Science and the Humanities on Thursday, November 1, and Friday, November 2. Its inaugural events will focus on the topic of violence, a central issue for both the life sciences and the humanities.
The inaugural lecture, “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined,” will be delivered by the renowned experimental psychologist Steven Pinker on Thursday at 5 pm in the Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium. This event will be followed by a gala reception, to which all attendees are invited.
On Friday at 2 pm a panel including Mr. Pinker, Stephen Darwall (Philosophy), Inderpal Grewal (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), Stathis Kalyvas (Political Science), and Laurie Santos (Psychology), will tackle the question “How Should We Think About Violence?” This discussion, to take place at the WHC Auditorium, will be moderated by Richard O. Prum, William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology and director of the Franke Program.
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association. He has also received seven honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, and The Blank Slate. He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and often writes for the New York Times, Time, and the New Republic. He was named Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association and has been included among Prospect magazine’s “Top 100 Public Intellectuals,” Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.”
Stephen Darwall, the Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Philosophy, studies the foundations of ethics, moral psychology, moral theory, and the history of these subjects. Professor Inderpal Grewal is a specialist in human rights; theories of civil society; law and subjectivity; and transnational feminism, a field she was instrumental in founding. Stathis Kalyvas, the Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science and director of the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence, is the author of The Logic of Violence in Civil War and The Rise of Christian Democracy in Europe, as well as the coeditor of Order, Conflict, and Violence. Professor Laurie Santos investigates the evolutionary origins of the human mind, exploring domains and expressions of knowledge through her research.
The Franke Program in Science and the Humanities is founded on the twin belief that the fundamental questions that engage humanists must be informed by basic insights of science and that meaningful scientific inquiry depends on humanistic knowledge. The Program aims to foster cross-disciplinary dialogue, creative collaboration, and research among scientists and humanists and thereby promote innovative thinking at the juncture of two interdependent systems of thought. The Franke Program in Science and the Humanities is made possible by the generosity of Richard and Barbara Franke.