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Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics

This is an invitation to participate in an important online lecture series at the Mercantile
Library of Cincinnati later in the summer. These free lectures are called

A Pact With Reason

and are brought to you by the Library, the Centre for Public Engagement with Science
(University of Cincinnati) and a group of private sponsors. There will be ten lectures,
one a week, beginning on Thursday, July 16, at 1 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time, 6 pm
UK time). Our lecturer will be Piers Bursill-Hall of Cambridge University.

Why these lectures and why now?

Since the time of the ancient Greeks, a powerful, rationalist, scientific tradition has run
through Western thinking and Western societies. This tradition is far from perfect and has
resulted in outcomes that are both noble and tragic. But, when all is said and done, we must
acknowledge that this tradition has been the source of the dramatic dynamism and success
of Western societies.
Unfortunately, we see in our time a weakening of belief in and support for that tradition. In
our own society, we see daily evidence that many people are turning away from science and
facts from reason itself as the basis for structuring our common life. This is a very
dangerous turn of events and one that we need to combat vigorously. To do that, we need to
understand our civilization’s “Pact With Reason” how it emerged, the twists and turns it has
taken for two and a half millennia, and the place it has brought us to in 2020. Those are the
topics that we will cover in these ten lectures.
Piers Bursill-Hall, our lecturer, is a highly regarded lecturer on the history and philosophy of
science and mathematics at Cambridge University. His talks on the history of science,
mathematics, and medicine are celebrated for their breadth of knowledge, insights, clarity,
and wit. In a time when many have turned away from the very tradition that has made our
civilization great, Piers will remind us how our future survival and success depend on our
understanding of and fidelity to that tradition.
We hope you’ll join these fascinating and timely lectures.

You can register by sending email
to or, directly, at
register. For more information, go to

Further information


Jul 16th 2020
18:00 to 19:00




Piers Bursill-Hall (Cambridge)


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