Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Peacock Inaugural Lecture (next week)


Next week I am giving the advertised lecture above to officially "kick start" my 5 year term as the Sir Edward Peacock Professor of Political Theory at my home institution Queen's University.  

This lecture, and the research chair, is a great honour and I have been working on refining the lecture for the past number of months.  It will survey a host of topics and ideas I have been working on over the past number of years concerning the intellectual history of public health, advances in geroscience and insights from communication science concerning the challenges of engaging in science communication and advocacy in the modern context of limited attention spans and a media bias towards negativity.  

I start with this passage from my favorite 20th century philosopher, John Dewey:

I then unpack some of the lessons we can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of the ways imagination and idealism are invoked in the medical sciences, drawing on the details of this recent paper. 

After addressing imagination in medical science, I turn to the topic of political imagination, noting the challenges with framing science in today's polarized and hyper-distracted arena of politics.  The dominant paradigm of the medical sciences is the "War Against Disease" (Winslow 1903), so I detail the limitations of continuing down that same path for today's aging populations.  While doing so I work towards developing "frames" I hope will convince the audience that the aspiration of healthy aging is critical for today's aging population.

I finish the talk by showing the video abstract of my recent paper in Aging Cell on climate science and geroscience, as a way of illustrating how insights from political communication can be harnessed to effectively communicative the importance of healthy aging.  Should be a fun event!