Biological Interest Group

Meeting time: Friday mornings (throughout the semester), 10:15–11:30 a.m. Meetings are cancelled for the remainder of the semester.
Meeting place: Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science library, 737 Heller Hall.

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.)

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Spring 2020

January 24: Otto, S.P. and A. Rosales. 2020. Theory in service of narratives in evolution and ecology. The American Naturalist. February 2020 (pdf).

January 31: Neal, J.P. 2019. When causal specificity does not matter (much): insights from HIV treatment. Philosophy of Science 86:836–846. (pdf

February 7: Burger, J.R., C. Hou and J.H. Brown. 2019. Toward a metabolic theory of life history. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116(52): 26653–26661 (pdf).

February 14: Wielgoss, S., Wolfensberger, R., Lei Sun, Fiegna, F., Velicer, G.J. 2019. Social genes are selection hotspots in kin groups of a soil microbe. Science 363, 1342–1345. (pdf). 

February 21: McLoone, B. 2019. Thumper the infinitesimal rabbit: a fictionalist perspective on some "unimaginable" model systems in biology. Philosophy of Science 86:662-671. (pdf).

February 28: Hill, W.D., Davies, N.M., Ritchie, S.J. et al. 2019. Genome-wide analysis identifies molecular systems and 149 genetic loci associated with income. Nature Communications 10(5741) doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13585-5

March 6:  No Meeting

March 13: Spring Break No Meeting

March 20: Meeting Cancelled

March 27: Meeting Cancelled

April 3: Meeting Cancelled Laplane, L., P. Mantovani, R. Adolphs, H. Chang, A. Mantovani, M. McFall-Ngai, C. Rovelli, E. Sober, and T. Pradeu. 2019. Why science needs philosophy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116(10): 3948-3952 (pdf). AND Andersen, F., R.L. Anjum, and E. Rocca. 2019. Philosophical bias is the one bias that science cannot avoid. eLife 8:e44929 (pdf).

April 10: Meeting Cancelled

April 17: Meeting Cancelled

April 24: Meeting Cancelled

May 1: Meeting Cancelled


Fall 2019

September 6: Ehlman, S. and E. Snell-Rood. Developing the genotype-to-phenotype arrow: conceptualizations of development broaden evolutionary theory (manuscript)

September 13: Bromham, L. 2016. Testing hypotheses in macroevolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 55:47-59.
​​​​​​Megan Page (Loyola University) will be visiting.

September 20: Nicholson, D.J. 2019. Is the cell really a machine? Journal of Theoretical Biology 477:108-126.

September 27: Kingma, E. 2019. Were you a part of your mother? Mind 128. doi:10.1093/mind/fzy087

October 4: Olson, M.E., A. Arroyo-Santos, and F. Vergara-Silva. 2019. A user's guide to metaphors in ecology and evolution. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 34:605-615.

October 11: Schickore, J. 2019. The structure and function of experimental control in the life sciences. Philosophy of Science 86:203-218.

October 18: Beatty, J. 2019. The Creativity of Natural Selection? Part II: The Synthesis and Since. Journal of the History of Biology.

October 25: Kelly, C.D. 2006. Replicating empirical research in behavioral ecology: how and why it should be done but rarely ever is. Quarterly Review of Biology 81(3):221-236.

November 1: Wagner, G.P., E.M. Erkenbrack, and A.C. Love. 2019. Stress‐induced evolutionary innovation: a mechanism for the origin of cell types. BioEssays 41:1800188.

November 8: Fitzgerald, D.M. and S.M. Rosenberg. 2019. What is mutation? A chapter in the series: How microbes “jeopardize” the modern synthesis. PLoS Genetics 15(4):e1007995.

November 15: Nelson, N. Draft paper. Humans as a model for animals: patterning preclinical reproducibility reform after clinical research.

November 22: Levallois, C. 2018. The development of sociobiology in relation to animal behavior studies, 1946–1975. Journal of the History of Biology 51:419–444.

December 6: Rivera‐Yoshida N, Hernández‐Terán A, Escalante AE, Benítez M. Laboratory biases hinder Eco‐Evo‐Devo integration: Hints from the microbial world. J Exp Zool (Mol Dev Evol). 2019;1–11.

Previous BIG topics