PSA Newsletter: Vol. 5 No. 1: May 1999

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Edited for the Philosophy of Science Association by:

William Bechtel
Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program
Department of Philosophy
Washington University in St. Louis

Send submissions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CONTENTS:

  1. EDITOR'S NOTE
  2. SEARCH FOR NEW EDITOR
  3. ELECTION RESULTS
  4. PSA 2000
  5. MCDONNELL CENTENNIAL AWARDS GOES TO KATHLEEN AKINS
  6. DEBORAH MAYO WINS LAKATOS PRIZE
  7. NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION SOCIETAL DIMENSIONS PROGRAM
  8. INTEGRATING ETHICS INTO TECHNICAL EDUCATION
  9. ETHICS AND GENETICS COURSE
  10. MEMBERSHIPS IN THE SCHOOL OF HISTORICAL STUDIES
  11. SCIENCE & EDUCATION

1. EDITOR'S NOTE:

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 of the Association, and information about other meetings likely to be of interest to a broad range of the membership. It is NOT intended for ongoing discussions of intellectual topics within philosophy of science. If you have information that you would like to submit for possible inclusion in a future issue of the newsletter, please send it to the editor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Directions for subscribing and unsubscribing: Send an email message with NO subject to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. To subscribe, include the following as the ONLY line: SUBSCRIBE PSA <your name> To unsubscribe, include the following as the ONLY line: UNSUBSCRIBE PSA


2. SEARCH FOR NEW NEWSLETTER EDITOR

As soon as a new editor for this newsletter is identified, I will resign as editor. I simply am not able continue this job. Thus, a search for a new editor of this newsletter is open immediately. If you are interested in the position, please contact Professor George Gale, Secretary-Treasurer of the PSA. The purpose of the newsletter is to publish information relevant to PSA members. Issues appear as needed, but generally not more than once per month.


3. ELECTION RESULTS

The PSA Election results are now official:

John Earman is President-elect, Allan Franklin and Paul Humphreys were re-elected to the Governing Board, and Robert Brandon and Margaret Morrison are newly-elected members of the Board.

The change in the by-laws regarding editorial searches passed.

PSA is extremely fortunate to have had such an exemplary set of candidates willing to risk running for election. The officers and I want to thank everyone for their willingness to put themselves forward as a candidate. No matter who won or lost, the Association itself would be a winner.


4. PSA 2000

The next biennial meeting is meeting in Vancouver, B.C. on 4-7 November 2000. The program Committee for PSA 2000 is as follows: Jeffrey A. Barrett (UC Irvine), Steven M. Downes (University of Utah), Alan Hajek (Cal Tech), Nancy J. Nersessian (Georgia Tech), John D. Norton (University of Pittsburgh), C. Kenneth Waters (University of Minnesota), Alison Wylie (Washington University St. Louis).

Below are calls for SYMPOSIA PROPOSALS and CONTRIBUTED PAPERS:

CALL FOR SYMPOSIA PROPOSALS

Members of the PSA are invited to submit proposals for symposia to be presented at the PSA 2000. Proposals must include sufficient supporting material to permit the program committee to evaluate the quality and interest of the symposium. The proposal should include:

  1. The title of the proposed symposium
  2. A description of the topic and a justification of its current importance to the discipline (about one or two pages)
  3. Titles and abstracts of papers
  4. A list of participants and either an abbreviated curriculum vitae or a short biographical information file for each
  5. Addresses of each participant, with the institutional affiliation, postal and email addresses, and telephone numbers

Please indicate clearly the name of the organizer or contact person for the purposes of communication with the Program Committee.

In addition to inviting proposals in traditional areas of the philosophy of science, the Program Committee wants also to encourage the submission of proposals in areas where the philosophy of science engages social issues in science or issues in science policy.

A selection of symposium papers will be published after the meeting as a supplementary issue of Philosophy of Science. Organizers should make it clear to symposium participants that, normally, by accepting the invitation to participate in a symposium they agree to present a paper at the meeting and to deliver a final manuscript of the paper by 15 January 2001. Symposium organizers who wish to invite someone who would not submit a manuscript for publication should make that status clear in the symposium proposal.

Symposium proposals should reach the chair of the Program Committee no later than 1 November 1999.

All submissions should be directed to:

  • Jeff Barrett, Chair
  • PSA 2000 Program Committee
  • Logic and Philosophy of Science
  • University of California, Irvine
  • Irvine, California 92697-4130

SUBMITTED PAPERS

Members of the PSA are invited to submit papers to be presented at the PSA 2000 meeting in Vancouver, B.C. on 4-7 November 2000. Contributed papers may be on any topic in the philosophy of science, but in addition to inviting papers in traditional areas of the philosophy of science, the Program Committee wants also to encourage the submission of proposals in areas where the philosophy of science engages social issues in science or issues in science policy. The deadline for submissions is 1 March 2000. Some papers will be accepted for both presentation at the PSA 2000 meeting and publication in a supplementary issue of Philosophy of Science, other papers will be accepted just for presentation. In each case, the Program Committee expects to make its decisions by 1 June 2000. Final versions of all papers accepted for publication must be submitted by 15 January 2001.

Continuing with the tradition established for the sixteenth-biennial meeting, contributed papers accepted for presentation at the meeting will not be published before the meeting. Papers whose authors so wish will be made available prior to the meeting on the PSA 2000 web site (http://scistud.umkc.edu/psa2k). In order for a paper to be put on the web site before the meeting, it must be submitted in Portable Document Format (pdf), Postscript (ps), or plain text (ASCII). Abstracts of all papers accepted for presentation will be published on the web site and in an expanded meeting program.

The maximum recommended manuscript length is 5,000 words, including footnotes and references. If the text includes tables or figures, an appropriate number of words should be subtracted from the limit. Submissions must include a 100-word abstract and a word count. Format and citation style should match those of the journal, Philosophy of Science (see a recent issue for details). Since papers will be blind refereed, the author's name, institutional affiliation, surface and email addresses, and telephone number(s) should appear only on a separate cover letter or cover sheet. Submissions will be accepted in one of the two following forms:

  1. Send a copy of the abstract to psa2k@uci. edu. Send three (3) copies of the paper, formatted as above, to:
    • Jeff Barrett, Chair
    • PSA 2000 Program Committee
    • Logic and Philosophy of Science
    • University of California, Irvine
    • Irvine, California 92697-4130
  2. Send one copy of the paper, formatted as above, in either Portable Document Format (pdf), Postscript (ps), or plain text (ASCII) to psa2k@uci. edu as an email attachment. In the body of the email include your name, institutional affiliation, address, telephone number, and a copy of the abstract.

Authors of accepted papers are expected to present abbreviated versions of their papers, with a time limit of approximately twenty minutes (plus discussion).


5. McDonnell Centennial Awards goes to Kathleen Akins

Kathleen Akins, a philosopher of science at Simon Fraser University, is one of 10 recipients of the $1,000,000 James S. McDonnell Centennial Fellowships. Her project is entitled More than Mere Colouring: A Dialogue Between Philosophy and Neuroscience on the Nature of Spectral Vision. The official announcement of her award lauded her research on questions that have been central to human inquiry for millennia and are poised to be reconceived as a result of our increasing ability to understand the workings of animal and human brains. The citation cited her previous work, which demonstrates that she is able to bring neuroscientific findings to bear on important philosophical problems in an original and thought-provoking way and that she should have a serious impact on everyday and scientific thinking about human minds and human behavior by clearing away outdated presuppositions and models and offering us new ways of conceiving ourselves. Dr. Akins will use part of the award to involve a group of very promising younger philosophers.


6. Deborah Mayo wins Lakatos Prize

Deborah Mayo, a Virginia Tech philosophy professor, recently was awarded the world's premiere academic prize for the study of the philosophy of science. She is the co-recipient of the 1998 Lakatos Prize for her provocative 1996 book, "Error and the Growth of Experimental Knowledge."

Mayo, 45, is the first woman chosen for the honor, named 25 years ago for a London School of Economics philosopher, Imre Lakatos. She will earn a half share of 10,000 British pounds (about $8,250) and the chance to give an honorary lecture at the London School in March.

Mayo's book, in the works for the better part of two decades, is no beach blanket page turner, but it has been hailed as an important new contribution to philosophy. It describes a new theory of how scientists can determine the truth of hypotheses through experiment.


7. NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION SOCIETAL DIMENSIONS PROGRAM

The next target date for proposals to the Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science, and Technology (SDEST) program is August 1, 1999. The Societal Dimensions program includes Ethics and Values Studies (EVS) and Research on Science and Technology (RST). It focuses on improving knowledge of ethical and value dimensions in science, engineering, and technology, and on improving approaches and information for decision making about investment in science, engineering, and technology. The newly revised announcement (NSF99-82) can be accessed at http://www.nsf.gov:80/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf9982; more program information is available at http://www.nsf.gov:80/sbe/sber/sdest/start.htm.

SDEST considers proposals that examine the full range of questions that arise in the interactions of science, technology and society. To discuss research ideas, contact program manager Rachelle Hollander at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The program is particularly interested in encouraging analysis of ethical questions surrounding new developments in biotechnology and information technology. It is also interested in proposals that identify and evaluate the implications of different strategies for support of scientific and engineering research and innovation on quality of life.

Biotechnologies and information technologies are transforming social and physical landscapes. The SDEST program is interested in considering research proposals to identify and examine the ethical and value dimensions that are part of these developments. Questions in need of analysis range from issues of informed consent (to purchase of products from genetically modified organisms or to on-line research observation, for instance) to issues of social and environmental change (e.g., from the socio-environmental patterns of food production and distribution to the interactions of communication and information technologies with educational systems).

These technologies and their embedding in social/environmental systems illustrate social returns from scientific and technological innovation: how the social institutions in which innovations are developed and managed influence their structures, processes, outputs, outcomes, and impacts. The SDEST program is interested in supporting research projects to develop and test methods and models by which these economic, environmental, and social returns can be identified, quantified, or analysed. Such studies can illuminate questions concerning how to set priorities for public support for science and technology.

Support is available through regular grants for research and education projects such as:

  1. Scholars Awards enable individuals to undertake full time research during part or all of an academic year or summer. Awards can include postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate student research assistance. Up to $18,000 in summer support and $60,000 for semester support is allowed; the maximum award is $120,000, expected to extend over 24 months
  2. Grants for collaborative research, infrastructure or education projects. Often, investigators require only part time support to undertake research; a multi-disciplinary research team may be needed. Such projects may also require research assistants, travel, supplies, etc. Infrastructure projects may involve a variety of activities to stimulate new research areas, outreach efforts, and development and dissemination of appropriate data bases, text retrieval systems, and graphic resources for research, educational or public use. Ethics education projects can be directed to pre-college, undergraduate or graduate studies. Education proposals should indicate how their efforts will have impacts beyond improvements at a single institution. EVS also considers proposals for conference support, when a national organization or professional society is sponsoring the meeting.
  3. Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants provide funds for research expenses not normally available through the student's university. The dissertation advisor is the principal investigator on these applications; the doctoral student is listed as co-principal investigator. No indirect costs are allowed, and the usual limit on an award is $8,000 for research in North America and $12,000 for work abroad.
  4. Post-Doctoral and Professional Development Fellowships, undertaken with the direction of one or more host specialists, provide cross-disciplinary training opportunities for scientists or engineers, or humanities scholars, allowing them to improve their research in EVS areas. Awards provide a stipend from $35,000 to $60,000, and $4,000 each for travel and the host institution allowance.
  5. Small Grants for Training and Research are awards to senior investigators that provide sustained research opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows on SDEST issues. These proposals should identify a specific theme and organize training around it. Support for up to three graduate students and a post-doctoral fellow for each of three years is allowed; the maximum award is $100,000 yearly.
  6. Foundation-wide Programs: SDEST also participates in such NSF programs as CAREER and POWRE. For further information on these programs, see Cross-Cutting Programs on the NSF home page: http://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/start.htm.

8. INTEGRATING ETHICS INTO TECHNICAL EDUCATION

June Conference: Integrating Ethics into Technical Education

You can expect stimulating, thought-provoking dialogue and cross-disciplinary debate at the National Conference on "Integrating Ethics into Technical Education," Thursday and Friday, June 3 and 4, 1999, at Raritan Valley Community College in Somerville, New Jersey. The Conference presents topics that enhance and integrate the teaching of ethics in the technical disciplines as we prepare students for the evolving role of technical and scientific professionals.

Over twenty sessions are being presented, including: "Getting Results with Maximum Interactivity: Designing a Student-Centered Web Course," "Virtues in Virtual Reality: Ethics in Cyberspace and Its Impact on Technical Education," and "Ethics for Computer Professionals: Responsibility, Service and Citizenship."

The conference is a must attend event for computer professionals, classroom teachers, other educators, business leaders, researchers, and others with an interest in ethics and technology.

Don't miss the "Integrating Ethics into Technical Education" Conference. Visit the College's website at: http://www.raritanval.edu/integratingethics.html


9. ETHICS AND GENETICS COURSE

Ethics and Genetics: Advanced European Bioethics Course. 18-20 November 1999, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Specialists from various countries will discuss ethical aspects of genetics. Subjects: ethics and the Human Genome Project; genetic counselling; genetic screening; human gene therapy; geneticization. Lecturers: H. Brunner (Netherlands), A. Clarke (United Kingdom), D. Gracia (Spain), A. Lippman (Canada), P. Schotsmans (Belgium). All lectures and plenary sessions will be held in English. Course fee: Dfl. 575. For more information: B. Gordijn, Ph.D., Catholic University Nijmegen, 232 Dept. Ethics, Philosophy and History of Medicine, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, Netherlands. Tel: 0031-24-3615320. Fax: 0031-24-3540254. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Internet site: http://www.kun.nl/fmw/onderwys/ukgene.htm


10. MEMBERSHIPS IN THE SCHOOL OF HISTORICAL STUDIES

THE INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDY was founded in 1930 as a community of scholars in which intellectual inquiry can be carried out in the most favorable circumstances. It provides Members with libraries, offices, seminar and lecture rooms, subsidized restaurant and housing facilities and some secretarial and word-processing services.

THE SCHOOL OF HISTORICAL STUDIES supports scholarship in all fields of historical research, but is concerned principally with the history of western and near eastern civilization, with particular emphasis upon Greek and Roman civilization, the history of Europe, Islamic culture, the history of modern international relations, and the history of art. In addition to these fields, in the academic year 2000-2001 the School will support three Members in the comparative history and culture of traditional China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Qualified candidates of any nationality are invited to apply for memberships. Apart from residence in Princeton during term time, the only obligation of Members is to pursue their own research. If they wish, however, Members may participate in seminars and meetings both within the Institute and at nearby universities, and there are ample opportunities for contacts with other scholars.

Approximately forty Members are appointed for either one or two terms each year. The Ph.D. (or equivalent) and substantial publications are required of all candidates at the time of application. Member awards are funded by the Institute for Advanced Study or by other sources, including among others the National Endowment for the Humanities whose support will enable three U.S. citizens to take up full-year memberships, and the Thyssen Foundation which will support two German citizens.

APPLICATION may be made for one or two terms (September to December, January to April). Further information and application materials may be obtained from the Administrative Officer, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey 08540 (electronic mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Completed applications must be returned to the Administrative Officer by 15 November 1999.

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES

MELLON FELLOWSHIPS FOR ASSISTANT PROFESSORS are also offered each year to two qualified Assistant Professors. These full year memberships are designed specifically for assistant professors at universities and colleges in the United States and Canada to support promising young scholars who have embarked on professional careers. Applicants must have served at least two, and not more than four years as assistant professors in institutions of higher learning in the United States or Canada, and must have approval to return to their institution following the period of membership. Stipends will match the combined salary and benefits at the Member's home institution, and all the privileges of membership at the Institute for Advanced Study will apply. Qualified applicants may apply for one type of membership only. No dual applications will be accepted. For additional information and application forms contact the Administrative Officer at the address above.


11. SCIENCE & EDUCATION

The second issue of the journal 91Science & Education92 for 1999 (vol.8 no.2) will shortly be published. It is a special issue devoted to the topic of Galileo and Science Education. Historians, philosophers and science educators have contributed to the issue.

Contents, Contributors and Order Form follow this note. Please feel free to circulate this note to lists that you think might be interested in knowing of the issue.

The issue can be overprinted, and made available (USD20) to non-subscribers through the International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group. To facilitate this arrangement, orders need to be placed prior to printing

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