Focus was problem of "cognitive liberalism" -- in both law & risk regulation, and what those who study in each of these fields can learn from the other about the significance of cultural cognition for the project of perfecting liberal principles of self-governance. Slides here.
The lecture parented the core themes and roughly tracked the structure of the paper Cognitive Bias and the Constitution of the Liberal Republic of Science. Except that I substituted the "Motivated Numeracy" and enlightened self-government study for the nanotechnology risk perceptions one. The focus on "gun control" in the former study definitely better fits the themes of the paper.
The audience was fantastic. The law school faculty at Dickinson is flush with productive, insightful scholars -- including, e.g., David Kaye, a preeminent scholar of forensic science; Jamie Colburn, an expert in environmental law; Lara Fowler, whose exertise in mediation and alternative dispute resolution is rich with insight for improving productive and informed public engagement with decision-relevant science, an aspect of her work that accounts for her central role in the Penn State Institutes on Energy and the Environment; and Adam Muchmore, one of whose specialties is food & drug regulation & who shared some informed reactions to my proposal that there be a "science communication impact" component of procedures in that agency & others. These scholars and others in the audience presented me with a host of interesting and challenging comments and observations.
Must be great to be part of the Penn State intellectual community -- as student or faculty member!