Harvard University

Prof. Anne Harrington
History of Science Department
Email: aho@wjh.harvard.edu

In addition to her teaching duties as professor of history of sciences, Prof. Harrington has served for six years as co-director of the Harvard University Interfaculty Initiative on Mind/Brain/Behavior (MBB). The fellowship award will support development of a two-year faculty-working group based within this initiative, entitled "Brain Science, Evolutionary Theory, and Ultimate Concern." An advanced undergraduate course entitled "Evolution and the Mind," will be hosted in the Department for the History of Science, and cross-listed in Psychology.

Rather than a one-time campus conference, the initiative is a more ambitious endeavor. A working group of leading Harvard faculty will meet on a monthly basis and run over a period of two years, beginning September 2002. It will include faculty from the biological, medical, behavioral sciences and religious studies. The group will be interested less in specific faith traditions and more in the human hunger for answers to the kinds of questions that faith traditions generally provide. Monthly meetings will be taped and transcribed, with a vision of creating an archive of the process that could be used for teaching, and also for a later group-authored publication. Harvard University Press has published other MBB work.

The proposal intends that the faculty-working group will work synergistically with the course, which will be offered in the fall of 2003. With its intense mix of scientific, ethical and existential issues, the course offering expects to attract an insightful, diverse group of students. The Fellowship funds will provide for creation of evening dinner discussions with invited outside speakers, and development for a high-level class website which will serve both as an adjunct to the classroom work and - perhaps more important - as a potential vehicle for continuing the conversation on a student level after the course has ended.

From November 7-9, 2003, the MBB will host Interfaith Dialogues with Science: A Retreat,  which will engage Christianity, Buddhism, and science in a three-way dialogue.  According to the organizers, "Our deeper aim is to see whether a three-way conversation of this sort might yield novel perspectives on more fundamental questions about what it could mean to take both science and religion seriously in a modern world that in spite of current soothing metaphors has not clearly figured out how to make room for both."

More information about MBB, its mission and its program structure can be found at http://mbb.harvard.edu

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