PSA Newsletter: Vol. 12 No. 2: August 2006

********************************************************************* PSA Newsletter: Volume 12 : Number 2: August 2006 *********************************************************************

Edited for the Philosophy of Science Association by Malcolm Forster

IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. CALL for Applicants: PSA Executive Secretary
  2. IN MEMORIAM: Ellery Eells (1953 - 2006).
  3. CALL for Abstracts: Confirmation, Induction and Science. Three-day conference at the London School of Economics, 8-10 March 2007. Deadline: October 1, 2006.
  4. CALL for Abstracts: 13th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Beijing, August, 2007. http://www.clmps2007.org Deadline: March 10, 2007.
  5. CALL for Abstracts: Second Perspectives on Mathematical Practices conference, March 26 - 28, 2007, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, Belgium. http://www.vub.ac.be/CLWF/PMP2007 Deadline: Nov. 15, 2006.
  6. CALL for Papers: Ninth Annual Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable, University of South Florida, Tampa, March 23-25, 2007. http://philosophy.ucsc.edu/Roundtable.html Deadline: December 15, 2006.
  7. JOB: Tenure Track Position in Political Theory and Science/Technology Policy, James Madison College, Michigan State University. Deadline: October 15, 2006.
  8. FELLOWSHIP: Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ, School of Historical Studies Memberships 2007-2008. http://www.hs.ias.edu Deadline: November 15, 2006.
  9. LAKATOS AWARD: The 2005 award went to James Woodward (California Institute of Technology) for his book Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation (Oxford University Press, 2003).
  10. CONFERENCE: Concepts Objectivity: Knowledge, Science, Values. University of Pittsburgh, September 22-24, 2006. http://www.pitt.edu/~hpsdept/news/news/ConceptsObjConf2006.pdf
  11. Nancy J. Nersessian has been elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

PSA LINKS:

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/

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1. CALL for Applicants, PSA Executive Secretary

The Philosophy of Science Association seeks applications for the post of Executive Secretary, service to begin in June 2008. Qualified applicants are requested to send c.v. to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The PSA reserves the right to hold the search open until a satisfactory candidate has been found. Successful candidates will be energetic, knowledgeable in the field, and possess some management and/or business experience.

The Philosophy of Science Association is an international organization which promotes research, teaching, and free discussion of issues in the philosophy of science from diverse standpoints. To this end, the PSA engages in activities such as: the publishing of periodicals, essays and monographs; sponsoring conventions and meetings; and awarding prizes for distinguished work in the field. There are approximately 2000 members in PSA, distributed among 30-some countries. PSA is a non-profit U.S. corporation, directed by a Governing Board that has eight elected Board members, the President, President-elect, and the Past-president

The Executive Secretary is the chief managing/executive officer of the PSA; included among the duties of the Executive Secretary are:

  • Executing the decisions of the Governing Board;
  • Managing the fiscal and financial affairs of the Association;
  • Directing annual elections;
  • Coordinating the activities involved in producing the biennial meetings;
  • Overseeing the PSA-side of actions of the joint PSA-HSS Business Office.

Executive Secretary terms run for four years, although the Executive Secretary serves at the pleasure of the board. The office of Executive Secretary is unpaid, although it may be possible to negotiate funding for a course release.


2. IN MEMORIAM: Ellery Eells (1953 - 2006). Dearly missed by those who knew him well.

Ellery Eells gained major recognition from his book, Rational Decision and Causality (Cambridge University Press) in 1982, after graduating with a PhD in philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1980. The book was published at the height of the uproar about Newcomb-style counterexamples to Bayesian decision theory. In it, he developed the novel position that Bayesian decision theory can produce the same answers as the new causal decision theory if deliberation is viewed as a dynamical process. Besides spear-heading this new line of research in decision theory, his work rekindled interest in old questions about the relationship between causality and probability. In 1991, he published a major work on Probabilistic Causality, which won the American Philosophical Association's Franklin J. Matchette Prize in 1995. In the meantime he was publishing papers in a third area, confirmation theory. His best known paper in this area is "Problems of Old Evidence", which was originally published in the Pacific Philosophical Quarterly in 1985. It has been reprinted twice since then.

After holding a one year visiting position at North Carolina State University, Ellery moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981, where he received tenure in 1985, and was promoted to full Professor in 1990. He never left Madison.

This year he was a returning member of the Governing Board of the PSA. He has always been tireless in his service to the philosophy of science community, especially behind the scenes. For example, he normally wrote more than ten reviews and referee reports per year.

To those who knew him personally, Ellery was a kind and gentle person with a quiet, but cheerful, demeanor. Academically, had an unparalleled patience for details, which shows up very clearly in his published work. (He once told me that he had never had a paper rejected for publication!) His patience made him popular amongst the graduate students and colleagues who sought his expertise, and equally amongst those who were novices in his field. Ellery was the person with whom you'd want to share committee work as well; he was hard-working and reliable, and would always have copious notes. When serving on the admissions committee, for instance, Ellery was always able to summarize the best points of every candidate. He was always looking for the good in people.

Ellery fell into a coma during the night of August 4, 2006, after being hospitalized the day before, and died five days later. He is survived by his wife, Joanne Tillinghast, son Justin and daughter Erica. Anyone interested in sending a sympathy card can write to Joanne Tillinghast, 13 Backbay Circle, Madison, WI 53717. There will be a memorial session for Ellery Eells at the Pacific APA meetings, San Francisco, April 2007.

Malcolm Forster, University of Wisconsin-Madison.


3. CALL for Abstracts: Confirmation, Induction and Science. Three-day conference at the London School of Economics, 8-10 March 2007. Deadline for submissions: October 1, 2006.

The conference is a joint conference of the Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, and LSE's Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS).

Conference website: http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/CPNSS/events/Conferences/ConfirmationInductionandScience/Confirmation2007.htm

Deadline for submissions: 1 October 2006

A few travel bursaries for graduate students are available. We also offer an award of US$ 500 for the best submitted paper by a graduate student.

Keynote speakers: Philip Dawid (University College London) and Malcolm Forster (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Organisers: Stephan Hartmann (LSE) and John Norton (University of Pittsburgh)

Programme committee: Nancy Cartwright (LSE), Philip Dawid (University College London), Branden Fitelson, (University of California, Berkeley), Malcolm Forster (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Allan Franklin (University of Colorado, Boulder), Stephan Hartmann (LSE), John Norton (University of Pittsburgh), Jon Williamson (University of Kent), and John Worrall (LSE)

What distinguishes science from all other human endeavours is that the accounts of the world that our best, mature sciences deliver are strongly supported by evidence and this evidence gives us the strongest reason to believe them. While this is the distinctive mark of science, unanimity has still to emerge among philosophers of science about the logic of confirmation and induction used to relate evidence to science. The state of these logics stands in stark contrast to that of deductive logic, where there is essentially no dispute over which are the good systems of deductive logic. Opinions on confirmation and induction diverge wildly in philosophy of science. At one extreme are those such as the Bayesians or learning theorists, who believe that the true system of inductive logic has been found and all that needs to be resolved are the details. At the other are skeptics, such as some supporters of the underdetermination thesis, who hold that no logic can vindicate the level of support scientists claim for their best, mature theories, for, they urge, the real inductive import of evidence cannot be that decisive. Between these extreme are many intermediate positions, including the view that the very nature of inductive inference remains poorly understood.

Our goal in this conference is to bring together representatives from as many of these viewpoints as possible in order to advance our understanding of this problem. The conference will encourage contributions from philosophers of science with both systematic and critical perspectives as well as papers that develop revealing case studies in science.

The conference is generously supported by the Centre for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, LSE's Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS), the British Society for the Philosophy of Science, and the Mind Association.


4. CALL for Abstracts: 13th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Beijing, August, 2007. http://www.clmps2007.org Deadline: March 10, 2007.

The 13th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science will take place on August 9-15, 2007, at Tsinghua University (Beijing, China). The conference website it http://www.clmps2007.org.

The International Congress of Logic Methodology and Philosophy of Science is the main international conference organized by the Division of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (DLMPS) of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS). It is held every four years. The 13th Congress will be hosted in August 9-15, 2007 by Tsinghua University (Beijing, China). This is the first time for the Congress will be hosted in a developing country and in East Asia.

The work of the Congress is divided into several sections which represent different areas of logic, methodology and philosophy of science. The 13th Congress will comprise the following sections:

  • A LOGIC
  • A1 Mathematical logic (Proof theory, recursion theory, model theory, set theory.)
  • A2 Philosophical and applied logics (Non-classical logics, logic and language, philosophical foundations of logic, logic as a modeling tool.)
  • A3 Logic and computation
  • A3.1 Formal languages and computation (Semantics of programs and of formal languages, dynamic and temporal logics, knowledge representation and AI, verification, computational linguistics.)
  • A3.2 Logic and complexity (Interactive and zero-knowledge proofs, complexity of proof systems, complexity theory and model theory, probabilistically checkable proofs.)
  •  
  • B GENERAL PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
  • B1 General problems of methodology and scientific reasoning
  • B2 Formal approaches to methodology
  • B3 Historical and sociological aspects in the philosophy of science
  •  
  • C PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES OF PARTICULAR SCIENCES
  • C1 Philosophy of mathematics and logic
  • C2 Philosophy of physics
  • C3 Philosophy of biology
  • C4 Philosophy of cognitive science, psychology and linguistics
  • C5 Philosophy of economics, theories of rationality, decision theory, game theory
  • C6 Philosophy of social sciences
  • C7 Philosophy of medicine
  •  
  • D SCIENCE AND SOCIETY
  • D1 Ethical issues in scientific practice and technology
  • D2 Bioethics
  • D3 Science and education

The programme of the Congress contains two kinds of papers, (1) invited lectures, and (2) contributed papers. Contributed papers should be short research reports, and the presentation of such a paper should not take more than 20 minutes, with 5-10 minutes reserved for comments and discussion. (Detailed programme to be announced)

The Congress invites all interested researchers, experts in logic, methodology and philosophy of science, and friends to participate. Detailed and updated information on the Congress procedures and precise directions for the submission of contributions are on the website of the 13th Congress: http://www.clmps2007.org. Further circulars will be provided.

For instructions regarding Chinese visa applications, please contact the Embassy of P.R. China or the nearest Consulate of China (e.g. the website of the Embassy of China in USA is http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/ and in UK http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng/).

Queries should be directed to LOC of the 13th Congress, Institute of Science, Technology and Society, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084 China.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Fax: +86 10 6278 7568


5. CALL for Abstracts: Second Perspectives on Mathematical Practices conference, March 26 - 28, 2007, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, Belgium. http://www.vub.ac.be/CLWF/PMP2007. Deadline: Nov. 15, 2006.

The general philosophical theme of this meeting will be that of why and how philosophers and historians of mathematics need each other. This takes for granted the thesis, ventilated by Lakatos, that they do so. One is here referring, of course, to his famous paraphrase of Kantian dictum: "The history of mathematics, lacking the guidance of philosophy, has become blind, while the philosophy of mathematics, turning its back on the most intriguing phenomena in the history of mathematics, has become empty".

Any serious attempt of remedying this, and thus approaching the history and philosophy of mathematics, will either "bring to" philosophy the historian's expertise of conducting meticulous diachronical case-studies, or else "bring to" history the philosopher's concern with epistemological depth; preferably both. Moreover, a focus on the historical dimension of mathematical practices is not to the exclusion of contemporary themes. To the contrary: Lakatos's point pertains to the historicity or growth of mathematical knowledge, past and present.

Invited speakers: David Corfield (Tübingen, Germany) - José Ferreirós (Seville, Spain) - Jens Høyrup (Roskilde, Denmark) - Brendan Larvor (Hertfordshire, UK) - Paolo Mancosu (Berkeley CA, US) - Gianluigi Oliveri (Palermo, Italy) - Yehuda Rav (Paris, France).

Deadline for abstracts: 15 November 2006.

For more and detailed information, visit http://www.vub.ac.be/CLWF/PMP2007


6. CALL for Papers: Ninth Annual Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable, University of South Florida, Tampa, March 23-25, 2007.

http://philosophy.ucsc.edu/Roundtable.html Deadline: December 15, 2006.

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, 2006:

Stephen Turner: Department of Philosophy, University of South Florida Tampa, FL 33620 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. 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.

For details, see the Roundtable website: http://philosophy.ucsc.edu/Roundtable.html


7. JOB: Tenure Track Position in Political Theory and Science/Technology Policy, James Madison College, Michigan State University. Deadline: October 15, 2006.

James Madison College of Michigan State University seeks candidates for a tenure-stream position in political theory and science and technology policy. The appointment is at the Assistant Professor level and begins August 2007. Candidates should be broadly trained in political philosophy and their scholarly work should focus on the nature, origins, development, and future of science and technology as well as its ability to inform current ethical, political, or institutional dimensions of science and technology policy. Specific subjects of interest could include but are in no way limited to: biomedicine, public health, sustainable development or sustainability science, information technology, evolutionary ethics, comparative national styles of science, and gender and science. The successful candidate will contribute to a established major in political theory as well as a new program in science, technology and public policy.

James Madison College provides a liberal education in public affairs, combining the ethos of a small liberal arts college with the advantages of a large, diverse research university. The faculty's primary mission is excellence in undergraduate teaching and the College is noted for its rigorous academic standards and attention to the analytical, writing and speaking skills of its students. The College is home to three multi-disciplinary majors: International Relations, Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy, and Social Relations, as well as specializations in Muslim Studies; Western European Studies; Political Economy; and Science, Technology, Environment and Public Policy [STEPPS].

Applicants should supply a statement, addressing how their research and teaching interests would contribute to the College's resources in political theory and to the Science, Technology, Environment, and Public Policy Specialization as well as to a college curriculum focused on public affairs. Supporting materials should include a vita, transcript, three confidential letters of recommendation that speak to teaching expertise and scholarly promise, and a sample of scholarship such as a dissertation chapter, article, or conference paper. Minority and women candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. All materials should be sent to Political Theory and Science/Technology Policy Search, James Madison College, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48825-1205. The deadline for receipt of applications is October 15, 2006. For more information on the College, visit our website at www.jmc.msu.edu.

MSU is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution. Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation.


8. FELLOWSHIP: Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ, School of Historical Studies Memberships 2007-2008. http://www.hs.ias.edu Deadline: November 15, 2006.

INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDY, Princeton, New Jersey, School of Historical Studies Memberships 2007-2008: A community of scholars where intellectual inquiry, research and writing is carried out in the best of circumstances, the Institute offers Members offices, access to libraries, subsidized restaurant and housing facilities, stipends and other services. Open to all fields of historical research, the School of Historical Studies= principal interests are history of western, near eastern and far eastern civilizations, Greek and Roman civilization, history of Europe (medieval, early modern, and modern), the Islamic world, East Asian studies, history of art, modern international relations and music studies. Candidates of any nationality may apply for one or two terms. Residence in Princeton during term time is required. The only other obligation of Members is to pursue their own research. The Ph.D. (or equivalent) and substantial publications are required. Information and application forms for this and other programs 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 2006.

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ENDNOTES:

A. The purpose of this newsletter

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