PSA Newsletter: Vol. 2 No. 3: July 1996

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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. PSA96 Reminder
  3. Special Roundtable at PSA96 on Teaching Philosophy of Science
  4. Isis Conference in Melbourne, Australia
  5. Risk Assessment and Policy Association
  6. Postdoctoral HPS Fellowship at Northwestern
  7. Conference on the Need for a New Economics of Science
  8. Pittsburgh/Konstanz Colloquium on Limits of Science

Subject: 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 ungoing 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.. PLEASE KEEP SUBMISSIONS SHORT--1-2 COMPUTER SCREENS MAXIMUM.

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. PSA96 Reminder

PSA96 is coming up soon. Information on the meetings, including the Preliminary Program may be viewed by going to the following Web site and clicking on the PSA96 button. Please note the date of the version you view, because minor items are still changing.

http://www.inform.umd.edu:8080/EdRes/Colleges/ARHU/Depts/chps


3. Special Roundtable at PSA96 on Teaching Philosophy of Science

Announcement from Michael Ruse:

Having talked to a number of my fellow philosophers of science, I realize that I am not alone in worrying increasingly about the content and quality of my teaching, and not simply because we are now being pressured by our university authorities in this area as well as in our research. I realize also that we philosophers of science face special challenges, located as we are between the humanities and the sciences. On the one hand, we have a subject which, even at the most elementary levels, requires at least some acquaintance or background with both philosophy and an empirical subject. On the other hand, if an institution like Guelph is at all typical, we have students who tend to be less than enthusiastic, frequently from the arts satisfying a science credit or conversely.

I am therefore organizing an informal roundtable at the upcoming PSA 96, on the subject of the teaching of the philosophy of science. I myself have no particular axe to grind and no personal agenda, hidden or otherwise. I invite people who are interested in participating or just attending to contact me, with suggestions for contributions, offers of participation, or anything else which they think relevant, and on the basis of responses I will draw up a brief programme. I particularly urge people who think that they have found new or exciting directions -- the use of film, drawing on the internet, team teaching, student research projects, or whatever -- to contact me, and I very much hope that those people who may never usually participate formally in a PSA but who pride themselves on their teaching will come forward.

There will be no publications from this session, but I hope that it will be the beginning of an ongoing process in the PSA. Hence, I do hope that people will come along with ideas about ways in which we might develop and disseminate our thinking and experiences. I hope also that people who are more comfortable than I with this new era of electronic information will be willing to offer their services. But, until PSA 96, I ask that people contact me by email, and I will do my best to organize things and to pass on information. Since there will be no formal refereeing or the like, I will assume (unless told otherwise) that everything is entirely open and non-confidential.


4. Isis Conference in Melbourne, Australia

ISIS CONFERENCE: INFORMATION, STATISTICS AND INDUCTION IN SCIENCE
Melbourne, Australia
20-23 August 1996

INVITED SPEAKERS:

  • Henry Kyburg, Jr. – Bayesian Inference & Inductive Inference
  • Marvin Minsky – Discovering Theories of Discovering
  • J. Ross Quinlan – First-Order Induction
  • Jorma J. Rissanen – A Universal Regression Model
  • Ray Solomonoff – Does Algorithmic Probability Solve the Problem of Induction?

TUTORIALS:

  • Peter Spirtes – Automated Learning of Bayesian Networks
  • Michael Pazzani – Machine Learning and Intelligent Info Access
  • Jan Zytkow – Automation of Scientific Discovery
  • Paul Vitanyi – Kolmogorov Complexity & Applications

See: http://www.cs.monash.edu.au/~jono/ISIS.ISIS.shtml (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


5. Risk Assessment and Policy Association

CALL FOR PAPERS, RISK ASSESSMENT AND POLICY ASSOCIATION (RAPA) MEETING, March 6-7, 1997, Washington, DC.

TOPICS INCLUDE: Comparative Risk Assessment, Congressional Initiatives in Risk Assessment, Decisionmaking Paradigms, Engineering Risk Assessment, Environmental Risk Assessment, Public Health & Risk Assessment, Reform of Risk Assessment, Risk Communication, Risk & Public Participation, Risk Perception & Psychometrics, Risk Regulation

RAPA OFFICERS ARE: President, Dalton G. Paxman, U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services; President-Elect, Kristin S. Shrader-Frechette, University of South Florida; Secretary-Treasurer, Thomas G. Field, Jr., Franklin Pierce Law Center.

DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF ABSTRACTS: September 15, 1996; for a sample abstract (format), author information form, and related requirements, contact Carol Ruh, Franklin Pierce Law Center, 2 White Street, Concord, NH 03301; (603) 228-1541; Fax (603) 224-3342; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More information and forms also online: www.fplc.edu/tfield/RAPAmtg.htm


6. Postdoctoral HPS Fellowship at Northwestern

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, Evanston, IL. Postdoctoral fellowships in history or philosophy of science, definite, one year only, beginning fall semester, 1997. Indicate interest in either history or philosophy of science. $25,000. EO/AAE. Send: complete dossier, including statement of proposed research to: David L. Hull, Dept. of Philosophy, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208-1315. Deadline for application December 15, 1996.


7. Conference on the Need for a New Economics of Science

Conference on the Need for a New Economics of Science
Conference Announcement and Call for Papers
University of Notre Dame
March 13-16, 1997

Final deadline: September 30, 1996

Sponsored by: National Science Foundation, John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, and Office of Graduate Research

Many recent works in science studies have adopted economic or quasi-economic metaphors for understanding science. Inspired by trends toward the actual practice and culture of science, many sociologists of scientific knowledge have come up with stories about interests, action, and exchange that look like the product of economic analysis. However, these metaphors are generally not fully elaborated. Motivated by movements toward economic perspectives on traditionally non-economic issues, many economists have started applying the tools of economic analysis to the behavior of scientists. However, these studies are largely silent about the influence of these analyses on the content of science. In response to tendencies toward anti-foundationalism and naturalism, many philosophers of science have argued that scientific knowledge is constructed out of an economic process. However, these explanations typically sidestep problems associated with welfare economics and the assumption of instrumental rationality in economics. Concomitantly, historians have noted a recent shift in social support for scientific research and science policy experts have analyzed issues such as the recent changes in financial support of science.

The purpose of this conference is to bring together science studies scholars, economists, philosophers of science, historians, science policy experts, and scientists in order to start a constructive dialogue about the promises and problems of alternative economic theories of the behavior of scientists and comparisons of science to a market. Particular topics that will be covered are: the intellectual history of theories of an economics of science, evolving formats of university/government and university/industry relations, labor economics perspectives on scientific careers, feminist economics views on science, the economics of the dissemination and validation of findings, the conception that science is a public good, the economics of fraud in science, the causes and consequences of the division of labor in science, and the economics of intellectual property rights.

Proposals for papers, accompanied by an abstract of roughly 500 words, or requests for further information, should be directed to either Philip Mirowski or Esther-Mirjam Sent, Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame, IN 46556, U.S.A. The final deadline for proposals is September 30, 1996. The conference has an e-mail address (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and a Web-site (http://www.nd.edu:80/~econsci).


8. Pittsburgh/Konstanz Colloquium on Limits of Science

The Center for Philosophy of Science of the University of Pittsburgh and the Zentrum Philosophie und Wissenschaftstheorie of the Universitaet of Konstanz (Germany) are planning a conference on THE LIMITS OF SCIENCE to be held as the 4th Biennial Metting of the Pittsburgh-Konstanz Colloquium. The Colloquium will take place at the University of Pittsburgh on October 3-6, 1997. Submissions of contributed papers of 3,000-3,500 words in English are invited and should be sent by 31 December 1996 to the Pittsburgh-Konstanz Colloquium, c/o Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 or c/o Zentrum Philosophie und Wissenschaftstheorie, Universitaet Konstanz, Postfach 5560-D15, D78434 Konstanz, Germany. The range of topics will include (but not necessarily be confined to) such issues as epistemic limitations of science, moral limits to scientific research, limits to science's effectiveness as a guide in human affairs, and limits imposed on scientific understanding by chance, chaos, and complexity.

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