PSA Newsletter: Vol. 12 No. 1: February 2006

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  1. PSA Election Results.
  2. POSTDOC in philosophy of biology, Center for Philosophy and Ethics of Science (ZEWW), University of Hannover, Germany. Application deadline: March 1, 2006. http://www.unics.uni-hannover.de/zeww/index.eng.html
  3. LAKATOS Research FELLOWSHIPS at LSE. Deadline: March 1, 2006.
  4. CALL for PAPERS: Models and Simulations Conference, Paris, 12-13 June 2006. Deadline, March 15, 2006.
  5. JOB: Department of Philosophy, the University of Duesseldorf, Germany. Deadline: Feb. 20, 2006.
  6. CALL for PAPERS: Ashgate Companion to Contemporary Philosophy of Biology. Deadline: May 15, 2006.
  7. HPSM LISTSERV: Covering the History and Philosophy of Science in the Northeast of England.
  8. 2006 SUMMER SYMPOSIUM of the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry (ISPC 10), Split, Croatia, August 6 - 10, 2006. Registration deadline: June 1, 2006.
  9. PSA: The Essay Contest deadline has been extended until 20 Feb 2006. Please check the website for further details. http://journal.philsci.org/essayPrize.php
  10. ANNOUNCEMENT: Visiting Fellows Program, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh. While the usual deadline has passed, the Center is still accepting applications for visiting fellowships for Sept. 2006 and January 2007 and encourages qualified scholars to apply. For details see: http://www.pitt.edu/~pittcntr/vfinfo

PSA 2006: http://philsci.org/PSA06/
PSA website: http://philsci.org/
Philosophy of Science journal: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/PHILSCI/home.html
PhilSci Archives: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/


*************************************************************** FURTHER DETAILS: ***************************************************************

1. PSA Election Results:

On the Governing Board, we have:

Craig Callender, Alan Hajek, Laura Ruetsche, Kenneth Schaffner (incumbant).

And on the Nominating Committee we have:

Malcolm Forster, Roberta Millstein, Miriam Solomon.

Ellery Eells, Noretta Koertge, Mary Morgan, Ken Schaffner, and Wolfgang Spohn are the returning board members. Elliott Sober is Past-president, Brian Skyrms is President, and Larry Sklar is President-to-be.


2. POSTDOC in philosophy of biology, Center for Philosophy and Ethics of Science (ZEWW), University of Hannover, Germany. Deadline: March 1, 2006.

The Center for Philosophy and Ethics of Science (ZEWW), University of Hannover, Germany, invites applications for a 1-year postdoctoral position in philosophy of biology.

The position may be filled on May 1st, 2006, or later. The salary will be at the level of a German research assistant ('wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter', BAT IIa).

The principal task of the postdoc, next to teaching on a topic of his/her own interest within the philosophy of biology, will be to formulate a research proposal that is to be submitted to a research founding organization. Continuation of the position will be dependent on this proposal. The successful applicant will have a formal education in both biology (or another natural science) and philosophy, e.g., a Bachelor's or Master's degree in one of these fields and a Ph.D. in the other. We would also consider an exceptional graduate student who is in the process of completing a doctoral dissertation.

The University of Hannover is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer.

Applications should include a CV, list of publications, one sample of written work and a short description of the planned research project (no more than 2 pages). Applications should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (with a copy to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or in written form to: Prof. Paul Hoyningen-Huene, Universität Hannover, ZEWW, Im Moore 21, D-30167 Hannover, Germany.

Deadline for applications is March 1st, 2006. For further information about the available position, please contact Dr. Thomas Reydon (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., telephone +49 511 762 19391). More information about the Center for Philosophy and Ethics of Science can be found at the center's homepage: http://www.unics.uni-hannover.de/zeww/index.eng.html.


3. LAKATOS Research Fellowships at LSE. Deadline: March 1, 2006. Lakatos Research Fellowships at CPNSS@LSE

An extensive archive of Imre Lakatos's papers and letters - some in Hungarian, most in English - is held in the Library at the London School of Economics. Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, Research Fellowships to a total amount of US$ 12,000 will be available in the calendar year 2006 for scholars wishing to pursue some research project on Lakatos and/or his contemporaries requiring consultation of the archive. The Fellowships will be held at LSE's Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/CPNSS/), which will also provide facilities for the Fellows. The awards will aim to cover the recipients' travel and a stipend of 250£/week for junior scholars (PhD students) and 500£/week for senior scholars for other expenses during his or her stay in London. The length of the stay should be between a week and two months.

To apply please send a covering letter (specifying when you plan to visit and an estimate of how long you would need to spend in London), a CV and a 500 words project description to Dr Stephan Hartmann, Director, Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, London School of Economics, London WC2A 2AE, UK. Applications by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (subject: Lakatos Research Fellowship) are also welcome. The deadline for applications is March 1, 2006. Junior scholars and young faculty are especially encouraged to apply.


4. CALL for PAPERS: Models and Simulations Conference, Paris, 12-13 June 2006.

Deadline, March 15, 2006.

MODELS AND SIMULATIONS

Two-day conference in Paris, 12-13 June 2006

http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/CPNSS/events/Conferences/Simulations/

Keynote Speakers: Robert Batterman (Western Ontario) and Paul Humphreys (University of Virginia)

Organizers: Roman Frigg (LSE), Stephan Hartmann (LSE), and Cyrille Imbert (IHPST/Paris I)

Programme Committee: Robert Batterman (Western Ontario), Jacques Dubucs (IHPST/CNRS), Roman Frigg (LSE), Stephan Hartmann (LSE), Paul Humphreys (University of Virginia), Cyrille Imbert (IHPST/Paris I), and Eric Winsberg (University of South Florida)

Publication: Revised versions of selected papers will be published in a special issue of Synthese. The deadline for submission of the final version of the paper is 1 September 2006.

The conference is generously supported by the CNRS and IHPST, Paris. The conference language is English.

Outline and Research Questions:

Computer simulations play a crucial role in many sciences, but they have not yet received the attention they deserve from philosophers of science. This conference attempts to systematically explore methodological issues in connection with computer simulations and the implications of these for traditional questions in the philosophy of science. Special emphasis is put on the relation between models and simulations as well as on the role of computers in the practice of science.

The papers presented at the conference will address, among others, the following questions:

  1. What difference does the essentially dynamic nature of simulations make to modeling, particularly in their representational abilities?
  2. Is there a difference between simulations that have an explicit model or theory behind them and those that do not?
  3. When there is no model, what form does the representational connection between the simulation and the world take?
  4. Can any sense be made of claims that the world itself is carrying out computations and simulating itself?
  5. What role does intentionality play in simulations or such apparently automatic representational processes as genetic algorithms?
  6. Are there principles that one can use to decide whether a simulation is to be interpreted realistically or only instrumentally?
  7. At what level (e.g. the machine code, the algorithmic, the scientific language) does a simulation represent a system?
  8. It is well-known hat models enter into different relationships such as isomorphism, embedding, or being a submodel of. Are there analogous relations between simulations?
  9. What would qualify as an equivalence relation between simulations?
  10. What is the relation between simulations used as an experimental tool and real experiments?
  11. How does the methodology of simulations compare with experimentation?
  12. How, if at all, do models and simulations explain?
  13. What are the implications of the growing use of simulations in science for our understanding of science?
  14. What are the implications of the repeated use of the same models and simulations within different fields of science?
  15. How reliable are the results of simulations, and how is the reliability of a simulation determined?
  16. What role does mathematics play in simulations?
  17. Is there a difference between the use of simulations across different fields such as physics, biology, and the social sciences?
  18. Is there a difference between the use of simulations in fundamental science and in applied science?

SUBMISSION OF PAPERS:

Please send extended abstracts of 1000 words to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 15 March 2006. Decisions will be made by 1 April. 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. There will also be a Best Graduate Paper Award of 500 EUROS. For details, visit the conference website.

Although the conference has a philosophical orientation, contributions by historians and sociologists of science are welcome too. We particularly encourage working scientists to submit papers.


5. JOB: Department of Philosophy at the University of Duesseldorf, Germany. Deadline: Feb. 20, 2006.

Half-time assistant position at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Duesseldorf, Germany beginning April 2006 or later. The position is limited to two years, but has the possibility of extension to further years and to full time later on. The candidate should be in a dissertation state or in a post-doc state, should be specialized in philosophy of science and should be competent in logic (programming skills are also desired). German language competence is required; a non-German speaker has to learn German within his or her first year.

Applications (including a CV, publication list and certificates) should be sent to:

  • Professor Dr. Gerhard Schurz, Chair of Theoretical Philosophy,
  • Department of Philosophy,
  • University of Duesseldorf,
  • Universitaetsstrasse 1, Gebaeude 23.21,
  • D-40225 Duesseldorf. Germany.

For more information contact:

  • Phone: +49 - 211) 811-5763
  • Homepage: www.phil-fak.uni-duesseldorf.de/thphil

Messages to the list are archived at http://listserv.liv.ac.uk/archives/philos-l.html. Prolonged discussions should be moved to chora: enrol via http://listserv.liv.ac.uk/archives/chora.html. Other philosophical resources on the Web can be found at http://www.liv.ac.uk/pal.


6. CALL FOR PAPERS: Ashgate Companion to Contemporary Philosophy of Biology.

Deadline: May 15, 2006.

Editors:

George Terzis, Department of Philosophy, Saint Louis University, 3800 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108. (314) 977-3163. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Robert Arp, Department of Philosophy, Southwest Minnesota State University, 1501 State Street, Marshall, MN 56258. (507) 532-7281. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Call for Papers. We have been asked by Ashgate Publishing to edit their Ashgate Companion to Contemporary Philosophy of Biology. Our approach to this project will emphasize the importance of information-theoretic considerations as well as more familiar philosophical and scientific ones. Our rationale for this approach is that, although central to the biological sciences, the idea of information has received little attention from philosophers of biology. To address this omission, we seek papers on topics that employ this approach to advance understanding of topic-related philosophical problems and controversies. Although we have included a broad list of possible topics (see below), we are willing to consider others provided that they also reflect the collection¹s overall approach. Interested authors should include an abstract of the paper they propose for the collection (not to exceed 500 words), together with a copy of their cv. Abstracts should be submitted by May 15, 2006, and authors whose contributions are accepted will be informed by June 15, 2006. The deadline for accepted papers is February 1, 2007. Submit relevant materials to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Objectives of the Companion. Information pervades biological processes at all levels of organization. Familiar examples of these processes include how organisms utilize free energy, how DNA codes for protein synthesis, how genes regulate morphological development, and even how ensembles of nerve cells coordinate their activity in a way that enables some organisms to be aware of their environment. But although pervasive, the contribution that information-related ideas make to our understanding of these processes is not yet well understood. Indeed, only recently have researchers begun to explore their deeper theoretical significance. Of course, an understanding of these processes also depends on a variety of more traditional biological and non-biological scientific considerations. But the combining of these considerations with information-related ones will almost certainly add greater accuracy and depth to our grasp of such processes.

A similar point may be made about our understanding of the traditional philosophical issues and controversies associated with the previously noted biological processes. For example, since organisms use information to construct, maintain, and replicate themselves, it would also seem natural to include information-related ideas in our attempt to understand the general nature of living systems, the causality by means of which they operate, their capacity to generate prolific bio-diversity, whether or not they could exist and evolve in non-biological matter, and how in some species they give rise to cognition and emotion. But, again, philosophers of biology have only begun to include information-related ideas in the repertoire of methodological considerations they use to discuss these philosophical issues.

Our approach to this volume thus seeks to correct what we believe is a long-standing neglect of those informational considerations relevant to an understanding of both the scientific and philosophical significance of a variety of basic biological processes. To be sure, the inclusion of these considerations can only add to the controversies that already existed in their absence. For example, how closely or remotely related to one another are the informational ideas that are employed at different levels of biological organization? Second, although the presence of informational ideas at these levels is undeniable, their philosophical significance is another matter. Is that significance a literal one, or is it more metaphorical and heuristic? Finally, in order to defend a specific philosophical interpretation of these ideas, we require a more general information-theoretic perspective. But is there one such perspective, or are there different, competing ones? Although difficult questions, we feel that any aversion toward answering them is overridden by the fact, now nearly undeniable, that information is integral to our understanding of biological phenomena. For this reason, these questions are as much in need of further philosophical examination as are the more familiar ones.

Audience. The collection of papers represents a broad range of disciplines, including anthropology, biology, chemistry, computer science, information theory, paleontology, philosophy, physics, psychology, and systems theory. The papers will be written to meet the needs of advanced undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, and theoretical biology courses. The papers are also intended to enable interested researchers to learn about the contribution that information makes to both the biological sciences and philosophy of biology.

Organization of the Text. Section 1, which introduces readers to the nature and methodology of philosophy of biology, incorporates not only traditional scientific and philosophical considerations, but also information-theoretic ones. Sections 2-7 then discuss a variety of increasingly complex biological topics to which this methodology can be applied. For example, Section 2 begins with the general idea of organisms as hierarchically organized systems that use information to construct, maintain, and replicate themselves, while Sections 3 and 4 expand this idea to take into account the evolutionary character of organisms in both natural and artificial environments. Next, Sections 5 and 6 show that this idea can also be applied to psychological concepts in humans and higher primates. Finally, a conclusion summarizes the broader philosophical significance of the information-enhanced approach to the biological topics presented in this text.

Table of Contents

Section Titles:
Editors¹ Introduction
1. Philosophy of Biology: Its Nature and Methodology
2. Organisms as Living Systems
3. Evolutionary Theory
4. Natural Versus Artificial Life
5. Cognition
6. Individual and Society
7. Conclusion

Editors¹ Introduction
George Terzis and Robert Arp

1. Philosophy of Biology: Its Nature and Methodology
1.1. Traditional Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives
1.2. Origin and Biological Relevance of
		Information-Theoretic Perspectives

2. Organisms as Living Systems
2.1. Living Versus Non-Living Systems
2.2. Energy Coupling
2.3. Genetic Programming
2.4. Cell Signaling
2.5. Biological Causality as Information Transfer

3. Evolutionary Theory
3.1. Evolution of the Prokaryotic Cell
3.2. Speciation
3.3. Genetic Switches
3.4. Camouflage, Mimicry, and Aggressive Forms of Communication

4. Natural Versus Artificial Life
4.1. The Definition of Life
4.2. Self-Organizing Systems
4.3. Cellular Automata and Virtual Environments
4.4. Does Biology Matter?

5. Cognition
5.1. The Nature of Bottom-Up and Top-Down Mental Causation
5.2. Disambiguating Visual Information
5.3. Perceptual Versus Abstract Visual Information

6. Individual and Society
6.1. The Biological Basis of Personality
6.2. Imitative Learning
6.3. Linguistic Communication

7. Conclusion
7.1. Unity and Diversity of Information-Related Ideas
7.2. Information and Hierarchical Organization
7.3. Future Research

7. HPSM LISTSERV: Covering the History and Philosophy of Science in the Northeast of England.

The History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine (HPSM) Network was founded by Durham University's Department of Philosophy in 1999. The purpose of the HPSM listserv is to create a network for researchers with links to the north of England who are interested in topics broadly relevant to the history and philosophy of science and medicine (including bioarchaeology and palaeopathology). This is accomplished by posting messages that advertise HPSM events (lecture series, departmental seminars, individual papers, conferences, museum displays, etc.), research (new lectureships, research projects, funding proposals, etc.) and collections (material, archival, cyber, etc.). At present, the list has over one hundred academic subscribers, as well students reading for an MA or PhD in HPSM related subjects. The list includes staff members from the Centre for Life (Newcastle) and the universities of Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland, Teesside, York, Leeds, Manchester, Lancaster, Leicester and Warwick. However, there are several independent scholars too. The listserv is moderated, but it is open to anyone with a genuine interest in HPSM studies. To join, simply send an email to Dr Matthew D Eddy (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


8. 2006 Summer Symposium of the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry (ISPC 10), Split, Croatia, August 6 - 10, 2006. Registration deadline: June 1, 2006.

Organizers: Hrvoj Vancik, Professor of Chemistry (Zagreb), Ante Graovac, Professor of Chemistry (Split).

  • Department of Chemistry
  • Faculty of Science
  • University of Zagreb
  • Horvatovac 102 A
  • 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
  • Phone +385 1 4819 280
  • Fax +385 1 4819 288

The Departments of Chemistry at University of Zagreb, and University of Split invite you kindly to participate the ISPC 10 Symposium that will be organized in Split, Croatia, from 6 till 10 August 2006.

Tentative schedule:

  • Sunday afternoon: Registration and opening reception.
  • Monday: Opening plenary session, contributed papers.
  • Tuesday: Plenary session, contributed papers.
  • Wednesday: Plenary session, contributed papers, conference Banquet.
  • Thursday: Closing session, executive committee meeting. Departure.

Sightseeing and social events include tours of the museums and galleries (Archeology museum, Museum of old Croatian monuments, etc.) in Split, visits to the old Roman center as well as boat excursion on the Adriatic.

Facilities: Symposium sessions will be held in the Student Center - Spinut - of the University of Split. On the same place are also dormitories. Photographs of this place are attached to this Invitation. Lecturing hall contains auditorium with seating capacity ranging from 100 to 150. All the conventional audiovisual equipment including computer projection is available. There is also coffee bar and restaurant for refreshments.

Housing will be arranged in the University dormitories at Spinut campus (street Sinjska 6) and at local hotels, which are within walking distance of campus. Campus prices for single room is 150 Kn per person, double room 1s 130 Kn per person (Note that 1 USD = 6 Kn, or 1EURO = 7.35 Kn). Inexpensive meals are available in on-campus dining facilities. There is also a broad range of restaurants within walking distance because Campus is very close to the center of Split.

Location and Transportation: After Zagreb, Split is the largest city in Croatia. It is located in the most attractive region of Croatia, in central Dalmatia on the Adriatic coast. Transportation to Split is simple because there is international airport. There are also many fast inter-city train connections with Zagreb, and people coming by car can use the highway A-1, E-71 (nearly 400 km from Zagreb). Croatia Airlines flights daily on the line Zagreb - Split. Another possibility is to use Dubrovnik international airport, which is 200 kilometers away from Split.

Registration fee: Following the tradition of the ISPC symposia, on the Conference is only the voluntary registration fee of $20.

Publication of Symposium Papers: Several recent symposia have resulted in published volumes. Every effort will be made to provide an appropriate venue for publication of the papers presented at this symposium. A special issue of Foundations of Chemistry is an excellent option, but others may appear as the time approaches.

Registration: The completed registration form (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and abstract (one typewritten page) should be received by the organizer (Prof. H. Vancik) until June 1, 2006. An abstract should be sent either in the form of MS Word Document as an E-mail attachment or as a hard copy. The margins of 2.5 cm and Times New Roman font (1.5 line spacing; size 12) are recommended.

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ENDNOTES:

A. The purpose of this newsletter

The PSA Newsletter is published electronically on an "as needed" basis by the Philosophy of Science Association to disseminate information. The newsletter is moderated and is restricted to information pertinent to members of the Association (e.g., official business of the Association, information about upcoming meetings or other information likely to be of interest to a broad range of membership).

B. INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBMISSIONS

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