PSA Newsletter: Vol. 13 No. 2: September 2007

************************************************************************** PSA Newsletter: Volume 13 : Number 2: September 2007 **************************************************************************

Edited for the Philosophy of Science Association by Malcolm Forster

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. New Executive Secretary for PSA: Gary Hardcastle.
  2. PSA 2008: Call for Contributed Papers, Symposia and Workshops. Deadline: February 1, 2008. The twenty-first PSA biennial meeting will take place November 6-9, 2008, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. http://philsci.org/conferences/psa2008/
  3. Call for Papers: Tilburg-Sydney Conference on REDUCTION and the SPECIAL SCIENCES. Deadline: 15 November 2007. http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/faculties/humanities/tilps/RSS2008/
  4. Lakatos Award: Winners of the in Philosophy of Science 2006: Harvey Brown and Hasok Chang.
  5. Opportunities for Scholars: Princeton Institute for ADVANCED STUDY, 2008-2009. Deadline: 15 November, 2007.
  6. Call for Papers: Formal Epistemology Festival, Conditionals and Ranking Functions, Konstanz, July 28-30, 2008. Deadline for submissions: February 29, 2008.
  7. Call for Papers: MEPHISTOS graduate student conference: Deadline: January 1, 2008. http://studentorgs.utexas.edu/mephistos/
  8. Call for Papers: 10th Annual Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable, University of Washington, Seattle, March 7-9, 2008. Deadline: December 15, 2007. http://philosophy.ucsc.edu/Roundtable.html
  9. Call for Abstracts: Biological Explanations of Behavior: Philosophical Perspectives. Deadline: December 1, 2007.
  10. JOB: Konstanz University, Germany. Two year postdoctoral research position in Philosophy. Deadline: November 1, 2007.
  11. JOB: University of Wisconsin-Madison. Tenure-track, AOS: Philosophy of Science. Deadline: November 15, 2007. http://philosophy.wisc.edu/news/opening.html

PSA LINKS:

PSA website: http://philsci.org/
PhilSci Archives: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/
Philosophy of Science journal: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/PHILSCI/home.html

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1. New Executive Secretary for PSA: Gary Hardcastle.

Congratulations to our past Executive Secretary George Gale for a job well done! Thank you!!!

Here is a message written by Gary Hardcastle:

On December 31, 2007, George Gale will step down as the Executive Secretary of the Philosophy of Science Association, bringing to a close a twelve-year tenure of creative and stalwart service that guided the PSA through a period of tremendous growth, development, and progress. Members of the PSA new and old owe to George a debt of gratitude for his adept, tireless, and good-natured service on their behalf over the past twelve years. On January 1, 2008, Gary Hardcastle will assume the position of PSA Executive Secretary, aiming to serve the PSA with dedication and enthusiasm in its exciting future.

Selected items from George’s extraordinary collection of Hawaiian shirts will be deposited with the Archives for Scientific Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.


2. PSA 2008: Call for Contributed Papers, Symposia and Workshops. Deadline: February 1, 2008. The twenty-first PSA biennial meeting will take place November 6-9, 2008, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. http://philsci.org/conferences/psa2008/

Twentieth Biennial Meeting: November 6-9, 2008, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

The program committee for PSA 2008, chaired by Alan Richardson (University of British Columbia), is as follows:

  • Ken Aizawa (Centenary College of Louisiana)
  • Rachel Ankeny (University of Adelaide)
  • Davis Baird (University of South Carolina)
  • Paul Bartha (University of British Columbia)
  • Anjan Chakravartty (University of Toronto)
  • Hasok Chang (University College London)
  • Sharyn Clough (Oregon State University)
  • Carla Fehr (Iowa State University)
  • Peter Godfrey-Smith (Harvard University)
  • Brad Monton (University of Colorado)
  • Alan Richardson (University of British Columbia)
  • Mark Risjord (Emory University)
  • Laura Ruetsche (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Kyle Stanford (University of California, Irvine)
  • Friedrich Steinle (University of Wuppertal)
  • Peter Vranas (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

 

3. Call for Papers: Tilburg-Sydney Conference on REDUCTION and the SPECIAL SCIENCES. Deadline: 15 November 2007. http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/faculties/humanities/tilps/RSS2008/

Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science, 10-12 April 2008.

http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/faculties/humanities/tilps/RSS2008/

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: William Bechtel (UCSD), Craig Callender (UCSD), Paul Griffiths (Sydney), Kevin Hoover (Duke), Philip Pettit (Princeton)

ORGANISERS: Mark Colyvan (Sydney), Stephan Hartmann (Tilburg), Maurice Schouten (Tilburg) and Katie Steele (Sydney)

Science presents us with a variety of accounts of the world. While some of these accounts posit a deeper theoretical structure and fundamental entities, others do not. But which of these accounts is the right one? How should science conceptualize the world? And what is the relation between the various accounts? Opinions on these issues diverge wildly in philosophy of science. At one extreme are reductionists who argue that higher-level theories should, in principle, be incorporated in or eliminated by the basic level theory. Higher-level theories do not ultimately exhibit conceptual integrity or provide genuine explanations. At the other extreme are pluralists who take higher levels of description and explanation seriously and argue for their independence and indispensability. Our goal in this conference is to bring together representatives from as many viewpoints as possible in order to advance our understanding of this problem. We invite case studies from the natural, social and behavioural sciences as well as discussions of philosophical models of intertheoretic relations.

We invite submissions of papers of up to 3000 words by 15 November 2007. Decisions will be made by 15 January 2008.

GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS: A few travel bursaries for graduate students are available; if you wish to be considered please submit a short (tentative) travel budget and a CV together with your paper by 15 November 2007. Decisions will be made by 15 January 2008.

BEST GRADUATE PAPER AWARD: We offer an award of 500 Euro for the best submitted paper by a graduate student. The winner will be announced on 15 January 2008.

PUBLICATION: Revised versions of selected papers will be published in a special issue of Erkenntnis. The deadline for submission of the final version of the paper is 1 June 2008.

The conference language is English.


4. Winners of the Lakatos Award in Philosophy of Science 2006: Harvey Brown and Hasok Chang.

Harvey Brown (Professor of Philosophy of Physics, University of Oxford) for his book Physical Relativity: Space-time Structure from a Dynamical Perspective (Oxford University Press 2005)

Brown’s book develops a critical account of the way that Einstein formulated his special theory of relativity, concentrating on a tension between its kinematical and dynamical aspects. It sheds new light on central issues such as the alleged conventionality of simultaneity and the relationships between the special and the general theory of relativity.

Hasok Chang ( Reader in Philosophy of Science, University College London) for his book Inventing Temperature: Measurement and Scientific Progress (Oxford University Press 2004)

Chang’s book attacks the seemingly simple question ‘What is temperature and how can we measure it?’ He shows, however, that pursuing that question leads to new perspectives on a range of general issues about scientific reasoning and the authority of science.

For more information, go to: http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/philosophyLogicAndScientificMethod/lakatos/LakatosAwardWinner.htm


5. INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDY, School of Historical Studies, Opportunities for Scholars 2008-2009.

The Institute is an independent private institution founded in 1930 to create a community of scholars focused on intellectual inquiry, without the obligations and distractions associated with the teaching of undergraduates. Scholars from around the world come to the Institute to pursue their own research. Those chosen are offered membership for a set period and a stipend. The Institute provides access to extensive resources including offices, libraries, subsidized restaurant and housing facilities, and some secretarial services. Open to all fields of historical research, the School of Historical Studies' principal interests are the history of western, near eastern and far eastern civilizations, with particular emphasis upon Greek and Roman civilization, the history of Europe (medieval, early modern, and modern), the Islamic world, East Asian studies, the history of art, the history of science, modern international relations, and music studies. Candidates of any nationality may apply for a singe term or a full academic year. Residence in Princeton during term time is required. The only other obligation of Members is to pursue their own research. To be eligible scholars must have the Ph.D. (or equivalent) and substantial publications. Information and application forms may be found on the School's web site, www.hs.ias.edu, or contact the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Dr., Princeton, N.J. 08540 (E-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Deadline: 15 November 2007.


6. Call for Papers: Formal Epistemology Festival, Conditionals and Ranking Functions, Konstanz, July 28-30, 2008. Deadline for submissions: February 29, 2008.

This is the first of a series of small and thematically focused events in formal epistemology organized by Eric Swanson (Michigan), Jonathan Weisberg (Toronto), and Franz Huber (Caltech and Konstanz). The background for the first Formal Epistemology Festival is the 40th anniversary of Robert Stalnaker's "A Theory of Conditionals" and the 20th anniversary of Wolfgang Spohn's "Ordinal Conditional Functions. A Dynamic Theory of Epistemic States".

Invited speakers include: Alan Hájek (ANU), Hannes Leitgeb (Bristol), Hans Rott (Regensburg), Wolfgang Spohn (Konstanz), Robert Stalnaker (MIT), Timothy Williamson (Oxford).

The festivities of 2009 will take place in Ann Arbor, featuring Causal Decision Theory and Scoring Rules (this happens to be the 10th anniversary of James Joyce's The Foundations of Causal Decision Theory). The festivities of 2010 will take place in Toronto and focus on Defeater/Default Logic and Perception (this happens to be the 30th anniversary of Ray Reiter's "A Logic for Default Reasoning" and the 15th anniversary of John Pollock's Cognitive Carpentry). Further details about these events will be announced in due time.

We are now inviting submissions of papers of at least 5000 words on Conditionals and Ranking Functions. Please send a pdf prepared for blind reviewing to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Deadline for submissions: February 29, 2008
Notification of Acceptance: April 30, 2008.


7. Call for Papers: MEPHISTOS graduate student conference: Deadline: January 1, 2008. http://studentorgs.utexas.edu/mephistos/

We are pleased to announce the 26th annual MEPHISTOS graduate student conference devoted to the History, Philosophy, Sociology and Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Medicine. It will take place April 4-6, 2008, at the University of Texas at Austin.

TOPICS: The MEPHISTOS Organizing Committee welcomes proposals for individual papers from graduate students examining issues related to the History, Philosophy, Sociology, and Anthropology of Science, Technology, Medicine, and Health. Applicants should not, however, feel constrained by the above-listed disciplinary approaches. We welcome paper proposals from all disciplinary fields. Further, applicants should not feel restricted to the modern and contemporary time period as we strongly encourage paper proposals devoted to early modern, medieval and renaissance periods as well.

IDEAS: Past papers have addressed the following issues: Health and Normalcy; Measurement, Evidence, and Representation in Science and Medicine; Technology and Society; Narrative and Science; Knowledge- Making, Knowledge-Forgetting; Religion and Science; Science in the Media; Science and Gender; Science and Art; Ancient Studies of Science; Sciences for the Environment; Non-Western Science; Information Technology; Philosophy of the Mind and the Body.

The 2007 conference schedule provides a sample of topics.

HOW TO APPLY: All interested applicants please submit a CV and an Abstract (200-300 words, separate attachments preferred) by email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please include in your CV full contact information, department and university affiliation, and level in graduate program.

DEADLINE: January 1, 2008.

ACCEPTANCE: Letters of Acceptance will be emailed to applicants in February 2008. MEPHISTOS presentations are expected to be 15 minutes in length. In accordance with MEPHISTOS traditions, lodging will be provided to conference speakers, and some modest travel grants will also be available-for both international and domestic travelers.

QUESTIONS: Questions may be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


8. Call for Papers: 10th Annual Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable, University of Washington, Seattle, March 7-9, 2008. Deadline: December 15, 2007. http://philosophy.ucsc.edu/Roundtable.html

Abstracts on any topic in philosophy of the social sciences are welcome. We will assemble a two-day program of papers to be presented in workshop format so that intensive discussion can be the focus of the meeting. We choose papers with the aim of ensuring a broad mix of topics and of presenters from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, and we particularly welcome contributions from junior colleagues and colleagues new to the area.

Send a one-page abstract to any of the organizers by December 15, 2007:

Alison Wylie: Department of Philosophy, University of Washington, Box 353350, Seattle, WA 98195 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

James Bohman: Department of Philosophy, Saint Louis University, 3800 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63156-0907 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Paul Roth: Department of Philosophy, University of California - Santa Cruz 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For details, see the call for papers posted on the Roundtable, website: http://philosophy.ucsc.edu/Roundtable.html


9. Call for Abstracts: Biological Explanations of Behavior: Philosophical Perspectives. Deadline: December 1st, 2007.

Thursday, June 12th to Sunday, June 15th, 2008, Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany.

This conference will be organized around three general themes: explanations in behavioral genetics, developmental explanations of behavior, and the evolution of behavior. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following: evolutionary explanations of human and animal behavior (e.g., altruism), causal claims in behavioral genetics, behavioral traits as natural kinds, logical analyses of arguments in evolutionary psychology, and comparisons of the different ways that biologists from different disciplines explain behavior. In addition, we welcome papers that include philosophical analyses of concepts central to biological explanations of behavior, such as innateness, imprinting, and particular behavioral traits.

The conference will begin with a keynote address that is intended to set the agenda for the conference. On each of the three following days, there will be a plenary lecture in the morning in accordance with the theme for the day, which will then be followed by topical sessions of contributed papers. The conference sessions will be organized in series (rather than in parallel sessions) so that participants will have the opportunity to attend all presentations. While this means we will accept fewer papers, we believe that this will lead to a more coherent conference with more intensive participation from all attendees.

Program:

Thursday, June 12: Registration & evening keynote address.
Keynote lecture by Helen Longino

Friday, June 13: Day theme: explanations in behavioral genetics
Plenary lecture by C. Kenneth Waters & 3 sessions with 3 contributed papers each

Saturday, June 14: Day theme: developmental explanations of behavior
Plenary lecture by Colin Allen & 3 sessions with 3 contributed papers each

Sunday, June 15: Day theme: the evolution of behavior
Plenary lecture by David Sloan Wilson & 1 -- 2 sessions with 3 contributed papers each.

This conference is organized by Kathryn Plaisance and Thomas Reydon, and is jointly sponsored by the Center for Philosophy and Ethics of Science (ZEWW) at the Leibniz University of Hannover and the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science (MCPS) at the University of Minnesota.

Publication of a small selection of papers delivered at the conference is planned to appear as an edited volume of the Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, to be edited by Kathryn Plaisance, Thomas Reydon, and C. Kenneth Waters. The volume will include papers by the keynote speaker and each of the plenary speakers. In addition, there will be room for four to six contributed papers, based on quality and fit. The deadline for paper submissions will be several weeks after the conference, and decisions about publication will be made promptly.

Please submit an abstract of up to 500 words to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We prefer that you attach a Word document that includes your contact information (Name, Department, Institution, Email) followed by your abstract. The deadline for submission is December 1st, 2007. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out in February, 2008. For more information, please visit http://www.unics.uni-hannover.de/zeww/beb.conf.eng.html


10. JOB: Konstanz University, Germany. Two year postdoctoral research position in Philosophy. Deadline: November 1, 2007.

Konstanz University, Germany. The Emmy Noether junior research group, Formal Epistemology, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) from 1/1/2008 to 12/31/2012, invites applications for a two-year postdoctoral research position in Philosophy starting October 1, 2008 or on another agreed upon date. A longer or shorter appointment is possible. The salary will be approximately USD 50,000. The successful candidate will cover the project “Belief and Its Revision” described at www.uni-konstanz.de/philosophie/huber. Applications including a CV, writing sample, and at least three letters of recommendation should be submitted via E-mail to Dr. Franz Huber (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by November 1, 2007.

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ENDNOTES:

A. The purpose of this newsletter

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