Lorraine Daston

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Lorraine Daston (born June 9, 1951, East Lansing, Michigan)[1] is an American historian of science. Executive director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) in Berlin, and visiting professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, she is considered an authority on Early Modern European scientific and intellectual history. In 1993, she was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Scholarly activities[edit]

Daston divides her year between a nine-month period in Berlin, and a three-month period in Chicago, where she usually teaches a seminar and assists doctoral students. Her Chicago seminars usually take a textualist approach to philosophical, literary, and historical works; In a research capacity at MPIWG she heads the "Ideals and Practices of Rationality" working group, and has concentrated recently on the late-Enlightenment philosophical conceptualization of reason, and the subsequent rise of a rationality based in algorithms and rules. [1] A frequent subject of past inquiry has been the naturalistic fallacy in philosophy and literature, or "the almost irresistible temptation to attempt to extract moral norms from the world of nature." [2]

Daston was appointed the inaugural Humanitas Professor in the History of Ideas at University of Oxford for 2013. She has also held Oxford's Isaiah Berlin Visiting Professorship in Intellectual History. In 2002, she delivered two Tanner Lectures at Harvard University, in which she traced theoretical conceptions of nature in several literary and philosophical works.[3]

A number of her scholarly articles have been published in the journal of humanistic criticism Critical Inquiry. She also holds a seat on that journal's editorial board, and a recent feature on Daston can be seen on the Critical Inquiry website.[4]

Daston was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2010. She is married to the German psychologist and social scientist Gerd Gigerenzer.

Recent publications and lectures[edit]


External links[edit]