Esteemed philosophers Hilary Putnam and Bruno Latour will share their views on science and religion Thursday and Friday, May 9 and 10 as UC Santa Barbara's Science, Religion and the Human Experience series, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, concludes its 2002 season.

Both talks are free and open to the public.

Putnam, an emeritus professor at Harvard University, will discuss "The Depths and Shallows of Experience" at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9 in UCSB's Corwin Pavilion.

Latour, a professor at the Centre de Sociologie de Innovation at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines in Paris, will speak about "The Specific Regime of Enunciation of Religious Talk" at 7 p.m., Friday, May 10 in Corwin Pavilion.

Putnam taught at Harvard for 35 years and held previous academic posts at M.I.T., Northwestern and Princeton.

He is a past president of the American Philosophical Association's eastern division, the Philosophy of Science Association and the Association for Symbolic Logic.

He has written extensively on many areas of philosophy.

"Both in life and in philosophical reflection, experience is sometimes seen as intrinsically shallow, as mere surface, and sometimes as deep," Putnam said. "This lecture will explore ways of conceiving the relations between our themes that avoid these familiar stereotypes."

Trained as both a philosopher and an anthropologist, Latour has done research in history, philosophy, sociology and the anthropology of science.

His books include "Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society," "Aramis or the Love of Technology," "We Have Never Been Modern," and "Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts" (with Steve Woolgar).

"The argument of the lecture is that religion is not about a domain of reality, some specific entities, a certain type of morality, or a belief system, but literally a way of talking," Latour said.

The series is sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, which seeks to encourage "a fresh appreciation of the moral and spiritual dimensions of life." UCSB and Columbia were the first two universities to be selected to receive Templeton grants to stage lecture series covering science and religion.

Stanford University and Israel's Bar-Ilan University were added to the foundation's program for 2002. UCSB will also offer a Templeton-sponsored series of lectures in 2003.

In addition to their talks, Templeton lecturers meet with UCSB students and faculty during their visits. The lecture series has a web site ( that includes speaker biographies and abstracts of each talk.

Share this article