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Workshops

Thursday, October 11 –Sunday, October 14, 2012
The Language of Nature: Reconsidering the Mathematization of Science

The book of reality is written in the language of mathematics … without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it. (Galileo, 1623)

This workshop will inaugurate a partnership between the Rotman Institute of Philosophy and the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, and will continue the Minnesota Center's tradition of inviting leading scholars for workshops, and then publishing the products of these workshops as volumes in Minnesota Studies in Philosophy of Science. The aim of the workshop project is to re-evaluate a prominent historiographical orientation of twentieth century research on the Scientific Revolution—the mathematization of nature (Koyré, Dijksterhius, Burtt)—in light of the proliferation of novel methodological orientations and studies in the last generation of scholars. By examining the relation between mathematical and scientific knowledge from a variety of perspectives, including philosophical, social, and rhetorical, the workshop and volume will shed new light on the complex gestation and nurture of modern science.

The workshop will take place at the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

Participants

Roger Ariew, Professor,
Department of Philosophy,
University of South Florida.

Pamela Long, Independent Scholar.

Richard Arthur, Professor, Department of Philosophy, McMaster University

Emily Carson
, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, McGill University

Carla Rita Palmerino, Universitair docent, Faculty of Philosophy and Center for Medieval and Renaissance Natural Philosophy, Radboud University.

Lesley Cormack, Professor and Dean, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta.

Eileen Reeves, Professor,
Department of Comparative Literature, Princeton University.

Dennis Des Chene, Professor,
Department of Philosophy,
Washington University.

J. B. Shank, Associate Professor,
Department of History,
University of Minnesota.

Mary Domski, Associate Professor,
Department of Philosophy,
University of New Mexico.

Alan Shapiro, Professor,
Department of Physics and Program in the History of Science,
University of Minnesota.

Daniel Garber, Professor,
Department of Philosophy,
Princeton University.

Edward Slowik, Professor,
Department of Philosophy.
Winona State University.

Geoffrey Gorham, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Macalester College.

Chris Smeenk, Associate Professor,
Department of Philosophy,
University of Western Ontario

Benjamin Hill, Associate Professor,
Department of Philosophy,
University of Western Ontario.

Justin Smith, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Concordia University

Douglas Jesseph, Professor,
Department of Philosophy,
University of South Florida.

Kurt Smith, Associate Professor,
Department of Philosophy,
Bloomsburg University.

Matthew Jones, Associate Professor, Department of History, Columbia University.

C. Kenneth Waters, Professor,
Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science and Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota.

Organizers

(in alphabetical order)
Geoffrey Gorham
(Philosophy, Macalester College)
Benjamin Hill (Philosophy, University of Western Ontario)
Edward Slowik (Philosophy, Winona State University)
C Kenneth Waters (Philosophy, University of Minnesota)


Thursday, May 5–Saturday, May 7, 2011 and Thursday, May 3–Sunday, May 6, 2012
Philosophical Perspectives on Causal Reasoning in Biology

Link to follow-up activities and 2012 Workshop informationPassword Required

This workshop will consist of two meetings. The first meeting will bring together a small group of biologists, philosophers working in the general area of causation, and philosophers of biology to discuss issues involving causal concepts in biology. Participants will prepare for the meeting by reading classic philosophical works on causation. Biologists will make presentations describing causal phenomena or issues in their research areas that they believe are both important and in need of careful causal analysis. Philosophers of biology will give brief talks describing cases from biology that raise intriguing causal issues. This will stimulate all of those invited to explore these examples and problems in more detail, bringing tools and expertise from their respective backgrounds to bear on them. It should also help shape topics for further research. Project participants will then write papers on these topics to be discussed at the second meeting, which after further revision will be published in Minnesota Studies for the Philosophy of Science.

The workshop is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Organizers

Participants

This workshop is part of a project organized by Ken Waters, Jim Woodward, and Mike Travisano. The first meeting will bring together a small group of biologists, philosophers working in the general area of causation, and philosophers of biology to discuss issues involving causal concepts in biology. Participants will prepare for the first meeting by reading classic philosophical works on causation. Biologists will make presentations describing causal phenomena or issues in their research areas that they believe are both important and in need of careful causal analysis. Philosophers of biology will give brief talks describing cases from biology that raise intriguing causal issues. This will stimulate those invited to explore these examples and problems in more detail, bringing tools and expertise from their respective backgrounds to bear on them. It should also help shape topics for further research. Project participants will then write papers on these topics to be discussed at the second meeting, which after further revision will be published in Minnesota Studies for the Philosophy of Science.

The workshop is by invitation only. Graduate students and recent PhDs interested in participating should send a CV and a letter explaining their interest, and arrange for a letter of recommendation to be sent directly to the Center at mcps@umn.edu. All application materials should be received by March 22, 2011 for full considerations, but later applications may be considered.


Friday, September 23–Sunday, September 25, 2011
Integration in contemporary biology: philosophical perspectives on the dynamics of interdisciplinarity

This workshop features several prominent scholars which will present on and discuss the nature of intellectual integration in contemporary biology. The aim is to shed light on the epistemology of interdisciplinary research, with attention to the fact that integration is a dynamic process. Different areas of biology are covered, including evolutionary biology and experimental biology.

Issues to be addressed include:
-- Is integration the merging of different approaches into a unified whole or rather intellectual coordination among different approaches (that retain their identity)?
-- To what extent is integration in contemporary biology accompanied with (the opposing tendency) of disciplinary specialization?
-- Which factors promote integration, and which inhibit integration?
-- If the philosophical focus should not just be on integration as a finished product (as reductive explanations are sometimes understood), how to capture the dynamic history of interdisciplinary research and explanatory projects? Is the study of integrative explanations inseparable from the study of scientific discovery?
-- What epistemological notions are germane to accounting for integrative research: models, mechanisms, scientific questions and explanatory aims, standards, …?
-- Is talk about 'levels' important and even coherent? Is integration inevitable a process addressing entities on different levels of organization?

This workshop is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Standard Research Grant 410-2008-0400).

Organizers:
Ingo Brigandt (Philosophy, University of Alberta)
Alan C Love (Philosophy, University of Minnesota)

 


July 29–31, 2010

Psychology, Philosophy, and the Study of the Capacities of Wisdom

The purpose of this workshop is to bring together philosophers and psychologists to explore the possibility of collaboration on the topic of wisdom and to learn from each other about the complexities of this virtue. The specific content of the workshop will depend on the participants and their research interests, but the following general description conveys some idea of what an exciting opportunity this could be.

A starting assumption is that wisdom comprises various capacities and characteristics that constitute wisdom when they function together well or excellently. In particular, wisdom seems to include (among other things) deep understanding about what matters (understanding of values), self-knowledge, sound moral judgment (autonomous judgment), and an appropriate emotional outlook (empathy, kindness). Understanding how these capacities function is mainly an empirical question that is the province of psychology. Understanding what it means for these capacities to function well, ideally, or virtuously, is mainly a philosophical question that is in the domain of philosophy. It is my hope that bringing psychologists and philosophers together to discuss these elements of wisdom will highlight the ways in which questions about functioning and questions about virtuous functioning are importantly related.

This workshop has as its goal not only the advancement of interdisciplinary understanding of wisdom, but also the creation and dissemination of a general model of interdisciplinary collaboration across academic disciplines.

The report from the workshop can be found here.

The workshop is funded by a Defining Wisdom grant from the University of Chicago and the Templeton Foundation.

Organizer:
Valerie Tiberius (Philosophy, University of Minnesota)

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