Biological Interest Group

Meeting time: Friday mornings 10:15-11:30am
Meeting place: online via Zoom

The biological interest group (BIG) reads and discusses works of mutual interest in the history and philosophy of biology. We select readings for a variety of reasons: to keep up on the most exciting developments in the field, to help participants scrutinize literature relevant to their research projects (faculty or graduate student research), to provide feedback on works in progress being written by BIG participants (graduate students, faculty, and Center visitors), to revisit classic articles in the literature, and sometimes just to have fun discussing a topic related to biology. For more information, please contact Alan Love.

Our meetings are informal and some participants need to arrive late or leave early because of scheduling conflicts. All faculty from the University of Minnesota and area colleges and universities and graduate students are welcome to attend whenever they would like (without invitation) and without giving advanced notice. Undergraduates are included by invitation. (If you know of an undergraduate who is well-suited and possibly interested, please contact Alan Love so an invitation can be extended.)

Subscribe to our mailing list

Spring 2021

Please join our mailing list for the zoom invitation or email mcps@umn.edu

January 22: Seitza, B.M., A. Aktipisb, D.M. Buss, J. Alcock, P. Bloome, M. Gelfand, S. Harris, D. Lieberman, B.N. Horowitz, S. Pinker, D.S. Wilson, and M.G. Haselton. 2020. The pandemic exposes human nature: 10 evolutionary insights. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117:27767–27776. (pdf)

January 29: Spencer, H.G. 2020. Beyond equilibria: The neglected role of history in ecology and evolution. Quarterly Review of Biology 95:311–321. (pdf)

February 5: Ereshefsky, M. and D. Turner. 2020. Historicity and explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 80:47–55. (pdf)

February 12: Fuller, J. 2020. Epidemiological evidence: Use at your own risk? Philosophy of Science 87:1119–1129. (pdf)

February 19:

February 26:

March 5:

March 12:

March 19:

March 26:

April 2: Spring break No meeting

April 9: Spring break No meeting

April 16:

April 23:

April 30:

Fall 2020

September 11: Zuk, M. and H.G. Spencer. 2020. Killing the behavioral zombie: genes, evolution, and why behavior isn’t special. BioScience 70:515–520. 
Cesario, J., D.J. Johnson, and H.L. Eisthen. 2020. Your brain is not an onion with a tiny reptile inside. Current Directions in Psychological Science 29:255–260. 

September 18: A.K Shaw, L.A White, M. Michalska-Smith, E.T Borer, M.E. Craft, E.W. Seabloom, E. Snell-Rood, and M. Travisano. 2020. Lessons from movement ecology for the return to work: modeling contacts and the spread of COVID-19. medRxiv. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.27.20114728

September 25: K.L. Voje, E. Di Martino, and A. Porto. 2020. Revisiting a landmark study system: no evidence for a punctuated mode of evolution in Metrarabdotos. The American Naturalist 195:899–917. 

October 2: Richardson, S.S. (manuscript) Sex Contextualism

October 9: Pancaldi, G. 2019. Darwin’s technology of life. Isis 110:680-700.

October 16: Kalewold, K.H. 2020. Race and medicine in light of the new mechanistic philosophy of science. Biology & Philosophy 35:41. 

October 23: Allchin, D. and A. Werth. 2017. The naturalizing error. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 48:3–18.

October 30: Crouch, D.J.M. and W.F. Bodmer. 2020. Polygenic inheritance, GWAS, polygenic risk scores, and the search for functional variants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(32):18924–18933. 

November 6: Fields, C. and M. Levin. 2020. Scale-free biology: integrating evolutionary and developmental thinking. BioEssays 42:1900228. 

November 13: Elliott-Graves, A. 2020. What is a target system? Biology & Philosophy 35:28. 

November 20: Morens, D.M. and A.S. Fauci. 2020. Emerging pandemic diseases: how we got to COVID-19. Cell 182:1077-1092. 

November 27: No meeting - Thanksgiving

December 4: Conix, S. 2020. Enzyme classification and the entanglement of values and epistemic standards. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsa.2020.05.005

December 11: Doherty, J.-F. 2020. When fiction becomes fact: exaggerating host manipulation by parasites. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 287:20201081. 

Previous BIG topics