OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Noted historian to speak on conflicts between public, "experts"

04/25/1997

CORVALLIS - It's happening with increasing frequency - the general public and so-called "experts" disagree on controversial issues ranging from science to politics to the environment.

The reason, according to one prominent philosopher, is that they have different and often conflicting standards for hypothesis and proof.

Larry Laudan, a noted philosopher of science, will explore the gaps between those groups during a lecture on May 1 at Oregon State University. The lecture, "Evidence for What? When Values and Rigor Clash," will begin at 7 p.m. in LaSells Stewart Center. It is free and open to the public.

A professor of philosophy at the University of Hawaii and past president of the American Philosophical Association, Laudan is regarded as one of the foremost philosophers studying science. His OSU lecture will look at ways in which different professions and practices constitute different "cultures" of evidence.

He will look at how their standards may differ and suggest possible ways of resolving controversy in science, law and regulatory activity.

Laudan has written more than 50 scholarly articles and five books, including "Progress and its Problems" and "The Book of Risks." He has taught in England and Mexico as well as Hawaii, and been a Fulbright scholar.

His OSU Horning Lecture is the seventh and final in the 1996-97
series of lectures and colloquia on the theme, "What We Know to be True: Argument and Evidence." It is sponsored by the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Endowment in the Humanities.