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Conferences and Workshops

Organized by the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science

From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics, 19–27 July, 2018, Taipei, Taiwan

Scientific metaphysics is based on the idea that metaphysics—the study of what the world is ultimately like—should be informed by the remarkable success of science. This project involves analyzing what kinds of practices are successful in science, and then asking what the world might ultimately be like such that these kinds of practices are successful. The inference from the form of successful practice to the general nature of the world is motivated by the idea that the practices of science have been adapted to work in the real world, that is, the world that scientists actually engage.
The 2018 Summer Institute will center on themes of the sponsored research project and the research of its four principal investigators: Alan Love, C. Kenneth Waters, Marcel Weber, and William Wimsatt.

Organizers 
Alan C Love (University of Minnesota)
C Kenneth Waters (University of Calgary)
Marcel Weber (University of Geneva)
William C Wimsatt (University of Chicago/University of Minnesota)
Ruey-Lin Chen (National Chung Cheng University) Local organizer
Participants
Janella Baxter
William Bausman
LiSheng Chen
Ananya Chattoraj 
Masaki Chiba
HyunDeuk Cheon 
Wei Fang
Maria Ferreira Ruiz
Brian Hanley
Jenny Hung
JinKwon Jun
Marie I. Kaiser
KaYoung Kim
Oliver Lean
QiaoYing Lu
YuJing Lyu
Yusaku Ohkubo
Min Ou-Yang 
Lauren Ross 
Can Sun
Vida Mia Valverde
Martin Wasmer
Barbara Wimsatt
Karen Yan
ShiJian Yang
HsiaoFan Yeh
MengWen Zhang
QiuZhi Zhang
Xin Zhang

Conceptual Legacy of "On Growth and Form," St Andrews University, Scotland, June 14–17, 2018

An interdisciplinary workshop that explores the conceptual dimensions of the legacy of D’Arcy Thompson’s landmark book, On Growth and Form (1917). Thompson was prescient in recognizing the potential significance of physical forces for shaping biological morphology and mathematically representing these dynamics to understand both development and evolution. Now, one hundred years later, there is a renaissance of these kinds of efforts in many areas of contemporary biology.

Although there are a number of activities connected to the centennial of On Growth and Form (see, e.g., https://www.ongrowthandform.org/), these tend to be either purely scientific conferences (e.g., new work on mechanical forces in biology) or attempts to canvas the broad range of influence Thompson had across art, architecture, anthropology, geography, and other disciplines. While these efforts are clearly valuable, Sahotra Sarkar, William Wimsatt, and Alan Love organized a three-day workshop devoted to the legacy of On Growth and Form in current biological investigation with an eye toward understanding its conceptual basis. A small group of scientists and philosophers of science to spent several days together exploring the forms of reasoning in both Thompson’s work and areas of contemporary biology with the aim of better comprehending the general significance of physical factors and their mathematical representation for investigating and explaining the development and evolution of morphology.

The workshop is organized by Alan C Love

Speakers
Jamie Davies (Edinburgh)
Alan C. Love (Minnesota)
Lisa Manning (Syracuse)
Celeste Nelson (Princeton)
Laura Nuño de la Rosa (Madrid)
Alan Rodrigues (Berkeley)
Sahotra Sarkar (Austin)
Amy Shyer (Berkeley)
Non-presenting Participants
Wallace Arthur (Galway)
Mark Chaplain (St Andrews)
Max Dresow (Minnesota)
Borja Esteva-Altava (Royal Veterinary College, London)
Flavia Fabris (Exeter)
Katrina Falkenberg (St Andrews)
Devin Gouvêa (Chicago)
Stephan Guttinger (LSE)
Kevin Laland (St Andrews)
Lenny Moss (Exeter)
Wilson Poon (Edinburgh)
Raphael Scholl (Cambridge)
Derek Skillings (Bordeaux)
Ulrich Stegmann (Aberdeen)
Thomas Stewart (Chicago)
Karina Vanadzina (St Andrews)
Yoshinari Yoshida (Minnesota)

Feminist Philosophy and Formal Logic Workshop, Stillwater, MN, April 19–22, 2018

Feminist philosophy has, over the past few decades, engaged with both traditional epistemology and with the history and philosophy of science in deep and significant ways, resulting in a large body of important work that addresses the ways that feminist perspectives can illuminate our accounts of how we know the everyday and scientific world, as well as the ways that epistemology and the history and philosophy of science can fruitfully be brought to bear on feminist projects. Interactions between feminist philosophy and philosophical and formal logic have been less frequent and less fruitful, however. This workshop is intended to begin rectifying this imbalance by interrogating connections and tensions between logic (both philosophical and formal) and feminist philosophy. More information.

The workshop is organized by Jessica Gordon-Roth and Roy T Cook.

Speakers
Derek Anderson (Boston University)
Melanie Bowman (Minnesota – Twin Cities)
Maureen Eckert (UMass)
Catherine Hundleby (Windsor)
Frederique Janssen-Lauret (Manchester)
Katherine Ritchie (CUNY)
Gillian Russell (UNC)
Catharine St Croix (Michigan)
Sara Uckelman (Durham)
Audrey Yap (Victoria)
Non-presenting Participants
Samara Burns (MA student, Calgary)
Tempest Henning (PhD student, Vanderbilt)
Stella Moon (PhD student, UC Irvine)
Rebecca Morris (postdoc, Stanford)
Gisele Secco (faculty, Federal University of Rio do Sul)

From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics: Practices of Individuation and Classification in Science, 18 June–1 July, 2017, Alberta, Canada

Scientific metaphysics is based on the idea that metaphysics—the study of what the world is ultimately like—should be informed by the remarkable success of science. This project involves analyzing what kinds of practices are successful in science, and then asking what the world might ultimately be like such that these kinds of practices are successful. The inference from the form of successful practice to the general nature of the world is motivated by the idea that the practices of science have been adapted to work in the real world, that is, the world that scientists actually engage.

The 2017 Summer Institute will examine practices of individuation and classification. We will begin by investigating how scientists actually individuate and classify entities and processes and considering what purposes these practices are designed to serve. Then we will ask what metaphysical conclusions might be drawn from these practices. So, for example, instead of framing our philosophical inquiry with questions such as “what is a species?” we will frame it in terms of questions such as “how do biologists classify organisms into kinds they call ‘species’ and for what purposes?” We will consider what our answers to these questions might imply about the general nature of reality. 

Organizers 
Alan C Love (University of Minnesota)
C Kenneth Waters (University of Calgary)
Marcel Weber (University of Geneva)
William C Wimsatt (University of Chicago/University of Minnesota)
Invited Speakers
Marc Ereshefsky (University of Calgary)
Kathrin Koslicki (University of Alberta)
Andrea Woody (University of Washington)
Participants
William Bausman     
Janella Baxter     
Kathleen A Creel    
Max Dresow     
Antoine Dussault     
Devin Yagel Gouvêa    
Brian Hanley     
Marie I. Kaiser    
Ka Ho Lam     
Katherine Liu     
Alison McConwell     
Daniel James Molter     
Celso Alves Neto     
Aaron Novick     
Isobel Ronai     
Lauren Ross     
María José Ferreira Ruiz     
Mariana Salcedo     
Barbara Wimsatt         
Yoshinari Yoshida     
Helen Zhao

Can Biological Practice Inform Metaphysics? Cologne, June 15–16, 2017

Philosophers of science have increasingly shifted their focus away from scientific theories to scientific practice. This workshop seeks to explore what, if anything, the explanatory and investigative strategies of the biological sciences can tell us about reality. Some philosophers draw heavily from biological practices to develop accounts of individuality, the nature of kinds, causal variables, and causal selection. We wish to investigate the relationship between biological practice and metaphysics. Does the former offer a fruitful approach to the latter? What, exactly, does it mean for a metaphysical claim to account for biological practice? Does informing metaphysics with biological practice require that we rethink common views about what counts as metaphysics, what counts as a biological practice, and what sorts of methodological approaches are appropriate? This workshop aims to make explicit methodological and conceptual commitments implicit to the work of philosophers of biology who draw from biological practices.

Speakers
Janella Baxter (University of Minnesota)
Eva Boon (Eindhoven University)
Adrian Currie (University of Cambridge)
John Dupré (University of Exeter)
Laura Franklin-Hall (New York University)
Joyce C. Havstad (Oakland University)
Andreas Hüttemann (University of Cologne)
Marie I. Kaiser (University of Bielefeld)
Catherine Kendig (Michigan State University)
Thomas Reydon (University of Hannover)
Derek Skillings (University of Bordeaux)
Organizers
Janella Baxter (University of Minnesota)
Marie I. Kaiser (University of Bielefeld)

As a cooperation between the The John Templeton Foundation project “From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics” (Grant #50191) and DFG Research Group “Causation and Explanation” (Grant #FOR 1063).
Hosted by the University of Cologne, Department of Philosophy
Funded by DFG (German Research Foundation)

Integrating Generic and Genetic Explanations of Biological Phenomena: Evolvability, 27–30 April 2017, Stillwater, Minnesota

The capacity to generate selectable phenotypic variation has been treated largely from the perspective of evolutionary genetics and molecular cell biology, both of which emphasize different types of genetic explanatory approaches. However, a growing literature has emerged surrounding generic explanations of evolvability that appeal to abstract network properties, such as robustness, sparseness, and criticality. Additionally, mathematically formulated mechanical models of developmental processes have been used to explain evolutionary patterns such as convergence.
    Some have urged that selection cannot maintain the complex organization that we find in living systems, and that traits behave according to self-organizational dynamics and must be generic to survive. Others argue that a population genetic perspective is essential and prevents facile appeals to natural selection when trying to explain complexity. Still others try to combine a ubiquitous generic robustness at multiple levels and specific genetic properties to account for evolvability.
    At least three factors act as obstacles to progress in explanatory integration: (1) a polarization of generic and genetic approaches to evolvability; (2) a tendency to concentrate on one or a small subset of genetic or generic properties as more important in understanding evolvability; and, (3) the lack of comparison between models to expose conflicting assumptions within and between genetic and generic approaches.

Invited Experts
Elena Álvarez-Buylla Ecology; Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México
Jeremy Draghi Biology; Brooklyn College (City University of New York)
David Houle Biological Sciences; Florida State University
Joanna Masel Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; University of Arizona
Core Team
Robert Batterman Philosophy; University of Pittsburgh
Doug Erwin Paleobiology; National Museum of Natural History
James Griesemer Philosophy; University of California, Davis
Alan Love Philosophy; University of Minnesota
Stuart Newman Cell Biology & Anatomy; New York Medical College
Karl Niklas Plant Biology; Cornell University
Thomas Stewart Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Yale University
Günter Wagner Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Systems Biology Institute; Yale University
William Wimsatt Philosophy; University of Minnesota/University of Chicago
Guests
Yaniv Brandvain Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; Plant and Microbial Biology; University of Minnesota
Brett Calcott History and Philosophy of Science; University of Sydney
Max Dresow Philosophy; University of Minnesota
Juan Carlos Martínez-García Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (México)
Kristin Sikkink Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior; University of Minnesota
Emilie Snell-Rood Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior; University of Minnesota
Michael Travisano Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior; Biotechnology Institute, University of Minnesota
Barbara Wimsatt

From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics: Reconceiving and Explaining the Success of Science, 1–12 August, 2016, Basel, Switzerland

Scientific metaphysics is based on the idea that metaphysics—the study of what the world is ultimately like—should be informed by the remarkable success of science. The 2016 Summer Institute will address the idea that the success of science can inform metaphysics by: (a) considering different interpretations of the success of science, (b) examining how the success of science interpreted in various ways might be explained, and (c) exploring the metaphysical implications of these explanations. We will consider the possibility of interpreting the success of science in terms of broadly conceived investigative practices as well as the theories and models that are involved in these practices. 

Organizers
Alan C Love (University of Minnesota)
C Kenneth Waters (University of Calgary)
Marcel Weber (University of Geneva)
William C Wimsatt (University of Chicago/University of Minnesota)
Invited Speakers
Nancy Nersessian (Harvard University/Georgia Institute of Technology)
Alyssa Ney (UC Davis)
Participants
William Bausman
Janella Baxter
Lorenzo Casini
Haixin Dang
Max Dresow
Steve Elliott
Flavia Fabris
Brian Hanley
Michal Hladky
Maximillian Huber
Marie Kaiser
Nina Kranke
Oliver Lean
Dijana Magđinski
Danke Radjenović
Lauren Ross
Lida Sarafrazarpatapeh
Derek Skillings
Megan Welle

Integrating Generic and Genetic Explanations of Biological Phenomena: Evolutionary Novelty 21–24 April 2016, Stillwater, Minnesota

The problem of explaining novelty involves understanding how developmental systems are transformed in order to generate new ranges of variation through evolutionary time.
    Some have advanced an argument for the physico-genetic origination of novelties that claims major morphological characteristics of metazoans originated from physical forces—diffusion, viscoelasticity, phase separation—operating on soft condensed materials early in evolution. Generic properties of cells and tissues would interact with environmental forces to yield basic morphologies with minimal developmental genetic machinery. These forms would then be stabilized via genetic assimilation, becoming more robust in each generation, as we now observe experimentally.
    This contrasts with developmental genetic explanations that appeal to the origination of new patterns of gene expression, especially the emergence of networks of expression among regulatory genes, to account for the origin of new traits in the history of life. “The evolution of new morphological features is due predominantly to modifications of spatial patterns of gene expression”; “novelty requires the evolution of a new gene regulatory network”.

Invited Experts
Vivian Irish Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Yale University
Jukka Jernvall Developmental Biology Program, Institute of Biotechnology; University of Helsinki
Artyom Kopp Ecology and Evolution; University of California, Davis
Armin Moczek Department of Biology; Indiana University
Core Team
Robert Batterman Philosophy; University of Pittsburgh
Doug Erwin Paleobiology; National Museum of Natural History
James Griesemer Philosophy; University of California, Davis
Alan Love Philosophy; University of Minnesota
Stuart Newman Cell Biology & Anatomy; New York Medical College
Karl Niklas Plant Biology; Cornell University
Thomas Stewart Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Yale University
Günter Wagner Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Systems Biology Institute; Yale University
William Wimsatt Philosophy; University of Minnesota/University of Chicago
Guests
Max Dresow Philosophy; University of Minnesota
Emilie Snell-Rood Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior; University of Minnesota
Michael Travisano Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior; Biotechnology Institute, University of Minnesota
Barbara Wimsatt

Integrating Generic and Genetic Explanations of Biological Phenomena: Development, 23–26 April 2015, Stillwater, Minnesota

There is no controversy about whether genetic and generic approaches are required to explain ontogeny: “both the physics and biochemical signaling pathways of the embryo contribute to the form of the organism” (Von Dassow et al. 2010). In this sense they are not competing causal explanations of the same phenomenon. Recent empirical work suggests that the aim is to capture how their productive interactions yield specific outcomes (e.g., neural tubes and kidneys): “an increasing number of examples point to the existence of a reciprocal interplay between expression of some developmental genes and the mechanical forces that are associated with morphogenetic movements” (Brouzés and Farge 2004).
But even in cases where the need for an integration of genetic and generic approaches is fully acknowledged—“there has been a renewed appreciation of the fact that to understand morphogenesis in three dimensions, it is necessary to combine molecular insights (genes and morphogens) with knowledge of physical processes (transport, deformation and flow) generated by growing tissues” (Savin et al. 2011)—the actual combining or integration is often absent. At least three factors act as obstacles to progress in explanatory integration: (1) a continued orientation toward exclusively genetic explanations of ontogeny; (2) incompatible experimental models for discovering the relative significance of generic versus genetic explanation; and, (3) the inherent difficulty in finding a common currency for comparing the causal factors.
This workshop addresses research questions such as: What aspects of development are explained genetically? generically? What are the best examples of each type of explanation in isolation? Are there examples of integrated explanations involving genetic and generic approaches? If so, what are their characteristics? Are they successful? What empirical, theoretical, and conceptual barriers exist to integrating genetic and generic explanations of development? What conflicting assumptions exist among different explanatory models?
Invited Experts
Lance Davidson Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh
Michael Levin Biology, Tufts University
Claudio Stern Cell & Developmental Biology, University College London
Eric Wieschaus Molecular Biology, Princeton University
Core Team
Robert Batterman Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh
Doug Erwin Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History
James Griesemer Philosophy, University of California, Davis
Alan Love Philosophy, University of Minnesota
Stuart Newman Cell Biology & Anatomy, New York Medical College
Karl Niklas Plant Biology, Cornell University
Thomas Stewart MCPS/Biology, University of Minnesota/Yale University
Günter Wagner Biology, Yale University
William Wimsatt Philosophy, University of Minnesota/University of Chicago
Guests
Robert Herman Genetics, Cell Biology, & Development, Univ. of Minnesota
Jura Newman
Aidan Peterson Genetics, Cell Biology, & Development, Univ. of Minnesota
Emilie Snell-Rood Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior, University of Minnesota
Barbara Wimsatt

Beyond the Meme: Articulating Dynamic Structures in Cultural Evolution October 16–19, 2014

Theories of cultural evolution have been oriented substantively around “dual-inheritance” theories inspired by population genetic models. However, despite this emphasis on “dual inheritance”, most theoretical elaborations and developments have concentrated on the cultural level, not on gene-culture interaction. As a consequence, we are arguably afflicted with what Ernst Mayr might have called a “beanbag theory of memetics.” At the strictly cultural level, we no longer believe in selfish memes, but most of our biologically inspired theory of cultural evolution remains woefully unstructured. This is a profound limitation and distortion. Culture is full of dynamic elements that change at different rates and exhibit heterogeneous dependencies that constrain and direct evolutionary change. Some of these elements change much more slowly than others, and thus act as structuring constraints on the evolutionary dynamics of the faster changing elements of culture, which is rarely reflected in our theories. First, developmental dependencies shape the acquisition of complex skills, and give us cumulatively increasing competencies. Second, culturally-induced population structure (induced by our organizations and institutions) affects who we interact with, and how. These two factors, developmental structure and population structure, are particularly central, and provide a kind of complementary “endogenetics” and “exogenetics” for culture. Additionally, our technology scaffolds our activities, expanding our range of possibilities, but also plays a formative element in our cognition and social interactions, such that external influences directly influence internal structure in positive and negative feedback loops, providing a kind of cultural niche construction. The focus of this workshop is to explore the varieties of structure that are integral to the transmission, elaboration, and evolution of culture, and where possible to explore how the different modes of structure interact on different size and time scales. The aim is to have a mixture of data-intensive and theory-intensive papers in the hope that the workshop leads to an increased articulation of data and models in the elaboration of more adequate theory.
Organizers
Alan Love Philosophy, University of Minnesota
William Wimsatt Winton Chair in the Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota
Participants
Colin Allen History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University
Claes Andersson Complex Systems, Chalmers University, Goteborg, Sweden
Mark Bedau  Philosophy, Reed College
Linnda Caporael Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
James Evans Sociology, University of Chicago
Marcus Feldman Biology, Stanford University
Jacob Foster Sociology, UCLA
Jim Griesemer Philosophy, UC Davis
Michel Janssen HSTM, University of Minnesota
Katherine Liu EEB, University of Minnesota (graduate student)
Alan Love Philosophy, University of Minnesota
Massimo Maiocchi The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
Joe Martin Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University
Salikoko Mufwene Linguistics, University of Chicago
Nancy Nersessian Harvard
Paul Smaldino Center for Advanced Modeling, Johns Hopkins University
Georg Theiner Philosophy, Villanova University
Mike Travisano EEB, University of Minnesota
Gil Tostevin Anthropology, University of Minnesota
William Wimsatt Winton Chair, University of Minnesota
Barbara Wimsatt MCPS Resident Fellow

The Language of Nature: Reconsidering the Mathematization of Science October 11–14, 2012

The book of reality is written in the language of mathematics … without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it. (Galileo, 1623)

This workshop will inaugurate a partnership between the Rotman Institute of Philosophy and the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, and will continue the Minnesota Center's tradition of inviting leading scholars for workshops, and then publishing the products of these workshops as volumes in Minnesota Studies in Philosophy of Science. The aim of the workshop project is to re-evaluate a prominent historiographical orientation of twentieth century research on the Scientific Revolution—the mathematization of nature (Koyré, Dijksterhius, Burtt)—in light of the proliferation of novel methodological orientations and studies in the last generation of scholars. By examining the relation between mathematical and scientific knowledge from a variety of perspectives, including philosophical, social, and rhetorical, the workshop and volume will shed new light on the complex gestation and nurture of modern science.

The workshop will take place at the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.
Participants
Roger Ariew Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of South Florida
Pamela Long Independent Scholar
Richard Arthur Professor, Department of Philosophy, McMaster University
Emily Carson Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, McGill University
Carla Rita Palmerino Universitair docent, Faculty of Philosophy and Center for Medieval and Renaissance Natural Philosophy, Radboud University
Lesley Cormack Professor and Dean, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta
Eileen Reeves Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University
Dennis Des Chene Professor, Department of Philosophy, Washington University
J. B. Shank Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Minnesota
Mary Domski Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of New Mexico
Alan Shapiro Professor, Department of Physics and Program in the History of Science, University of Minnesota
Daniel Garber Professor, Department of Philosophy, Princeton University
Edward Slowik Professor, Department of Philosophy. Winona State University
Geoffrey Gorham Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Macalester College
Chris Smeenk Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario
Benjamin Hill Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario
Justin Smith Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Concordia University
Douglas Jesseph Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of South Florida
Kurt Smith Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Bloomsburg University
Matthew Jones Associate Professor, Department of History, Columbia University
C. Kenneth Waters Professor, Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science and Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota
Organizers
Geoffrey Gorham (Philosophy, Macalester College)
Benjamin Hill (Philosophy, University of Western Ontario)
Edward Slowik (Philosophy, Winona State University)
C Kenneth Waters (Philosophy, University of Minnesota)

Philosophical Perspectives on Causal Reasoning in Biology May 5–7, 2011 and May 3–6, 2012

This workshop will consist of two meetings. The first meeting will bring together a small group of biologists, philosophers working in the general area of causation, and philosophers of biology to discuss issues involving causal concepts in biology. Participants will prepare for the meeting by reading classic philosophical works on causation. Biologists will make presentations describing causal phenomena or issues in their research areas that they believe are both important and in need of careful causal analysis. Philosophers of biology will give brief talks describing cases from biology that raise intriguing causal issues. This will stimulate all of those invited to explore these examples and problems in more detail, bringing tools and expertise from their respective backgrounds to bear on them. It should also help shape topics for further research. Project participants will then write papers on these topics to be discussed at the second meeting, which after further revision will be published in Minnesota Studies for the Philosophy of Science.

The workshop is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Organizers
Ken Waters Philosophy, University of Minnesota
Mike Travisano Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, & BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota
Jim Woodward Division of Humanities, California Institute of Technology
Participants
William Bausman Philosophy, University of Minnesota (graduate student)
John Beatty Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of British Columbia
Carl Craver Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Washington University in St Louis
David Danks Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon University
Laura Franklin-Hall Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, New York University
Patricia Adair Gowaty Distinguished Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
Ned Hall Professor, Department of Philosophy, Harvard University
Chris Hitchcock Professor, Department of Philosophy, California Institute of Technology
Stephen Hubbell Distinguished Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
Paul Humphreys Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Virginia
Benjamin Jantzen Philosophy, Virginia Tech (graduate student)
Marie Kaiser Philosophy, University of Cologne (graduate student)
Bob Krueger Hathaway Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota
Alan Love Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota
Roberta Millstein Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Davis
Marco Nathan Philosophy, Columbia University (graduate student)
Jay Odenbaugh Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Lewis & Clark College
Catherine Putonti Assistant Professor, Departments of Biology and Computer Science, Loyola University
Beckett Sterner Philosophy, University of Chicago (graduate student)
Michael Strevens Professor, Department of Philosophy, New York University
Michael Travisano Associate Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota
C Kenneth Waters Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota
Marcel Weber Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Geneva
James F Woodward Distinguished Professor, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh; Koepfli Professor Emeritus, California Institute of Technology

Integration in contemporary biology: philosophical perspectives on the dynamics of interdisciplinarity September 23–25, 2011

This workshop features several prominent scholars which will present on and discuss the nature of intellectual integration in contemporary biology. The aim is to shed light on the epistemology of interdisciplinary research, with attention to the fact that integration is a dynamic process. Different areas of biology are covered, including evolutionary biology and experimental biology.

Issues to be addressed include:
-- Is integration the merging of different approaches into a unified whole or rather intellectual coordination among different approaches (that retain their identity)?
-- To what extent is integration in contemporary biology accompanied with (the opposing tendency) of disciplinary specialization?
-- Which factors promote integration, and which inhibit integration?
-- If the philosophical focus should not just be on integration as a finished product (as reductive explanations are sometimes understood), how to capture the dynamic history of interdisciplinary research and explanatory projects? Is the study of integrative explanations inseparable from the study of scientific discovery?
-- What epistemological notions are germane to accounting for integrative research: models, mechanisms, scientific questions and explanatory aims, standards, …?
-- Is talk about 'levels' important and even coherent? Is integration inevitable a process addressing entities on different levels of organization?

This workshop is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Standard Research Grant 410-2008-0400).
Organizers
Ingo Brigandt (Philosophy, University of Alberta)
Alan C Love (Philosophy, University of Minnesota)

Psychology, Philosophy, and the Study of the Capacities of Wisdom July 29–31, 2010

The purpose of this workshop is to bring together philosophers and psychologists to explore the possibility of collaboration on the topic of wisdom and to learn from each other about the complexities of this virtue. The specific content of the workshop will depend on the participants and their research interests, but the following general description conveys some idea of what an exciting opportunity this could be.

A starting assumption is that wisdom comprises various capacities and characteristics that constitute wisdom when they function together well or excellently. In particular, wisdom seems to include (among other things) deep understanding about what matters (understanding of values), self-knowledge, sound moral judgment (autonomous judgment), and an appropriate emotional outlook (empathy, kindness). Understanding how these capacities function is mainly an empirical question that is the province of psychology. Understanding what it means for these capacities to function well, ideally, or virtuously, is mainly a philosophical question that is in the domain of philosophy. It is my hope that bringing psychologists and philosophers together to discuss these elements of wisdom will highlight the ways in which questions about functioning and questions about virtuous functioning are importantly related.

This workshop has as its goal not only the advancement of interdisciplinary understanding of wisdom, but also the creation and dissemination of a general model of interdisciplinary collaboration across academic disciplines.

The report from the workshop can be found here.

The workshop is funded by a Defining Wisdom grant from the University of Chicago and the Templeton Foundation.
Organizer
Valerie Tiberius (Philosophy, University of Minnesota)