Schulman Lectures to explore the science and history of cognition across species

A look inside “Other Minds” is the theme of the 2017 Shulman Lecture in Science and Humanities presented by the Whitney Humanities Center (WHC).

The opening lecture — titled “What Is It Like To Be A Dog?” — will be given by Alexandra Horowitz, New York Times best-selling author and Barnard College associate professor, on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Other speakers in the series are: Peter Godfrey-Smith, “Paths to the Evolution of Consciousness,” Feb. 22; Mark Moffett, “Social Identity and Complexity in Ant and Human Societies,” April 5; Anne Harrington, “Mindful Minds, Different Brains: Historical Reflections on America’s Love Affair with Meditation,” April 26.

All lectures are free, open to the public, and begin at 5 p.m. in the WHC auditorium, 53 Wall St.

Biographies of the speakers follow:

Alexandra HorowitzAlexandra Horowitz
“What Is It Like to Be a Dog?” Feb. 15

Horowitz is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know” (2009), “On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes” (2013), and “Being a Dog: Following the Dog into a World of Smell” (2016). She is an adjunct associate professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she teaches seminars in canine cognition. The Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard studies dog behavior in naturalistic conditions, and lately has been investigating dog olfaction and play behavior. 

Peter Godfrey-Smith




Peter Godfrey-Smith
“Paths to the Evolution of Consciousness,” Feb. 22

Godfrey-Smith grew up in Sydney, Australia, and taught at Stanford, Harvard, the Australian National University, and the City University of New York Graduate Center before moving to his current position as professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Sydney. His main research interests are in the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of mind, although he also works on pragmatism and various other aspects of philosophy. He has written four books, including the widely used textbook “Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science” (2003) and “Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection” (2009), which won the Lakatos Award. His most recent work is “Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness” (2016).

Mark MoffettMark Moffett
“Social Identity and Complexity in Ant and Human Societies,” Apr. 5

Biologist and explorer Moffett, called “the Indiana Jones of entomology” by National Geographic, is a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution and a visiting scholar at the Department of Human Evolution at Harvard. He has received the Explorers Club’s Lowell Thomas Award, the Distinguished Explorer Award from the Roy Chapman Andrews Society, Yale’s Poynter Fellowship for Journalism, and Harvard’s Bowdoin Prize for writing. Five of his images appear in the special National Geographic publication “100 Best Wildlife Pictures.” His many adventures include climbing the world’s tallest tree, descending into sinkholes a quarter-mile deep to find new frog species, and placing a scorpion on Conan O’Brien’s face. He is the author of “Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions” and “The High Frontier: Exploring the Tropical Rainforest Canopy.”

Anne HarringtonAnne Harrington
“Mindful Minds, Different Brains: Historical Reflections on America’s Love Affair with Meditation,” Apr. 26

Harrington is the Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. She is the author of three books: “Medicine, Mind, and the Double Brain” (1987), “Reenchanted Science” (1997), and “The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine” (2007).  She is currently completing a fourth book, “The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry: What Really Happened.” She has published many articles and produced a range of edited collections including “The Placebo Effect” (1997), “Visions of Compassion” (2000), and “The Dalai Lama at MIT” (2006). Other research interests include relations between religion and medicine, between the science and the humanities (especially the biobehavioral sciences), and first-person experiences (narratives) of brain disorder.

The Shulman Lecture Series
The Shulman Lecture Series is organized in conjunction with a Yale College seminar taught by Henry Cowles (history) and Laurie Santos (psychology). The Shulman Lectures are presented under the auspices of the Franke Program in Science and the Humanities, which is made possible by the generosity of Richard and Barbara Franke. The series is named after Robert Shulman, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and senior research scientist in diagnostic radiology, in recognition of his roles as a founding fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center and as an unwavering supporter of the integration of science and the humanities.

For more information contact the Whitney Humanities Center at 203-432-0670 or email