Biological Interest Group

Meeting time: Friday mornings (throughout the semester), 10:15–11:30 a.m. 
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 2019

January 25, 2019:  Rees T., T. Bosch, A.E. Douglas. 2018. How the microbiome challenges our concept of self. PLoS Biol 16(2): e2005358. Plus Response and Replies (see combined pdf)

February 1, 2019:  Payne, J.L. and A. Wagner. 2019. The causes of evolvability and their evolution. Nature Reviews Genetics 20:24–38. (pdf)

February 8, 2019: Ross, L.N. 2018. The doctrine of specific etiology. Biology & Philosophy 33:37. (pdf)

February 15, 2019: O'Malley, M.A. 2018. The experimental study of bacterial evolution and its implications for the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary biology. Journal of the History of Biology 51:319-354. (pdf)

February 22, 2019: Marais, A., B. Adams, K.R. Andrew, M. Ferretti, J.M. Gruber, R. Hendrikx, M.S.L.S. Samuel, I. Sinayskiy, P.J.K. Tjaart, F. Petruccione, and R. van Grondelle. 2018. The future of quantum biology.  Journal of The Royal Society Interface 15(148):20180640. (pdf)

March 1, 2019:

March 8, 2019:

March 15, 2019: No meeting Spring Break

March 22, 2019: No meeting Spring Break

March 29, 2019:

April 5, 2019:

April 12, 2019:

April 19, 2019:

April 26, 2019:

May 3, 2019:


Fall 2018

September 7: Masel, J. and D.E.L. Promislow. 2016. Answering evolutionary questions: A guide for mechanistic biologists. Bioessays 38:704–711. 

September 14: Frankenhuisa, W.E., K. Panchanathanb, A.G. Bartoc. 2018. Enriching behavioral ecology with reinforcement learning methods. Behavioral Processes

September 21: Queenan, B.N., T.J. Ryan, M.S. Gazzaniga, and C.R. Gallistel. 2017. On the research of time past: the hunt for the substrate of memory. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1396:108–125. 
Sarah Robins (U Kansas) will be visiting

September 28: Yoshihara, M. and M. Yoshihara. 2018. 'Necessary and sufficient' in biology is not necessarily necessary - confusions and erroneous conclusions resulting from misapplied logic in the field of biology, especially neuroscience. Journal of Neurogenetics32:53-64. open access

October 5: Peterson, E.L. 2017. Race and Evolution in Antebellum Alabama: The Polygenist Prehistory We’d Rather Ignore. In: Evolution Education in the American South, edited by C.D. Lynn. Springer, pp. 33-59.

October 12: Lewis, C.T. 2018 The domain relativity of evolutionary contingency.Biology & Philosophy 33:25.

October 19: Barron, A.B. and C. Klein. 2016. What insects can tell us about the origins of consciousness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA113:4900–4908 (and replies). 

October 26: Bausman, W.C. 2018. Modeling: Neutral, Null, and Baseline. Philosophy of Science 85:594–616. 

November 9: Plomin, R. and S. von Stumm. 2018. The new genetics of intelligence. Nature Reviews Genetics 19:148-159.

November 16: O'Malley, M.A. 2018. The experimental study of bacterial evolution and its implications for the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary biology. Journal of the History of Biology 51:319-354. 

November 30:  Lloyd, E.A. and M.J. Wade. Draft paper. Criteria for holobionts from community genetics.
Elisabeth Lloyd (Indiana U) will be visiting

December 7: Kern, A.D. and M.W. Hahn. 2018. The Neutral Theory in light of natural selection. Molecular Biology & Evolution 35(6):1366–137; Jensen, J.D., B.A. Payseur, W. Stephan, C.F. Aquadro, M. Lynch, D. Charlesworth, and B. Charlesworth. 2018. The importance of the Neutral Theory in 1968 and 50 years on: a response to Kern and Hahn 2018. Evolution (in press). 

Previous BIG topics