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Biological Interest Group

Meeting time: Friday mornings throughout the semester at 10:15–11:30 am.
Meeting place: Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science library,
737 Heller Hall.

The biological interest group (BIG) reads and discusses works of mutual interest in the history and philosophy of biology. We select readings for a variety of reasons: to keep up on the most exciting developments in the field, to help participants scrutinize literature relevant to their research projects (faculty or graduate student research), to provide feedback on works in progress being written by BIG participants (graduate students, faculty, and Center visitors), to revisit classic articles in the literature, and sometimes just to have fun discussing a topic related to biology.

Our meetings are informal and some participants need to arrive late or leave early because of scheduling conflicts. All faculty from the University of Minnesota and area colleges and universities and graduate students are welcome to attend whenever they would like (without invitation) and without giving advanced notice. Undergraduates are included by invitation. (If you know of an undergraduate who is well-suited and possibly interested, please contact Alan Love so an invitation can be extended.)

The Biological Interest Group–Works in Gestation (BIG-WIG) has been organized by Maria Rebolleda-Gomez.

Spring 2015

January 23: Alcock, J., C.C. Maley, and C.A. Aktipis. 2014. Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms. BioEssays 36:940–949. (pdf)

January 30: Ha, N.Q. 2011. The Riddle of Sex: Biological Theories of Sexual Difference in the Early Twentieth-Century. Journal of the History of Biology 44:505–546. (pdf)

February 6: Steiner, K. "Copepods as epistemic objects: plankton research in Naples around 1890" (work in progress). (pdf)

February 13: Hassel, C.A. 2014. Reconsidering nutrition science: critical reflection with a cultural lens. Nutrition Journal 13:42. Craig Hassel wil be visiting. content/13/1/42

February 20: Santana, C. 2014. Save the planet: eliminate biodiversity. Biology & Philosophy 29:761–780 (pdf)

February 27: Haufe, C. 2015. Gould's laws. Philosophy of Science 82:1-20 (pdf)

March 6: Moore, P.B. 2012. How should we think about the ribosome? Annual Review of Biophysics 41:1-19 DOI: 10.1146/annurev-biophys-050511-102314(pdf)
Andrea Woody
(University of Washington) will be visiting.

March 13: No meeting

March 20: No meeting Spring Break

March 27: Marquet, Pablo A., Andrew P. Allen, James H. Brown, Jennifer A. Dunne, Brian J. Enquist, James F. Gillooly, Patricia A. Gowaty et al. 2014. On Theory in Ecology. BioScience 64:701–710. (pdf)

April 3: Jaeger J, Irons D, Monk N. 2012. The inheritance of process: a dynamical systems approach. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 318B:591–612. (pdf)

April 10: Mazviita Chirimuuta (University of Pittsburgh) will be visiting
Chirimuuta, M. (forthcoming) Active Color in Outside Color: Perceptual Science and the Puzzle of Color in Philosophy. Chapter 6, pp 131–152. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press) (pdf) Optional background reading: entries/color/

April 17: Iacono, W.G., U. Vaidyanathan, S.I. Vrieze, and S.M. Malone. 2014. Knowns and unknowns for psychophysiological endophenotypes: Integration and response to commentaries. Psychophysiology 51 (12):1339-1347 (pdf)

April 24: No meeting

May 1: Rainey, P.B., N. Desprat, W. W. Driscoll, and X.-X. Zhang. 2014. Microbes are not bound by sociobiology: Response to Kümmerli and Ross-Gillespie (2013). Evolution 68(11):3344–3355. (pdf)

May 8: Servedio M.R., Brandvain Y., Dhole S., Fitzpatrick CL., Goldberg E.E., et al. 2014. Not Just a Theory—The Utility of Mathematical Models in Evolutionary Biology. PLoS Biol. 12: e1002017 (journal link)

Fall 2014

September 5, 2014: Ah-King, M., A.B. Barron, and M.E. Herberstein. 2014. Genital Evolution: Why Are Females Still Understudied? PLoS Biology 12 (5):e1001851.

September 12, 2014: de Visser, J.A.G.M., and J. Krug. 2014. Empirical fitness landscapes and the predictability of evolution. Nature Reviews Genetics 15 (7):480-490. (pdf)

September 19, 2014: Booth, A. 2014. Symbiosis, selection, and individuality. Biology & Philosophy 29:657–673. (pdf)

September 26, 2014: Alistair Sponsel (Vanderbilt University) will be visiting.
Sponsel, A. (draft paper) " An Amphibious Being How Darwin’s theories depended upon the practical work of maritime surveying" (pdf)

October 3, 2014: Schlosser, Markus E. 2014. The neuroscientific study of free will: A diagnosis of the controversy. Synthese 191:245–262. (pdf)

October 10, 2014: Farge, Emmanuel. 2013. Mechano-sensing in Embryonic Biochemical and Morphologic Patterning: Evolutionary Perspectives in the Emergence of Primary Organisms. Biological Theory 8(3):232-244. (pdf)

October 17, 2014: No meeting

October 24, 2014: Raerinne, J. 2013. Robustness and sensitivity of biological models. Philosophical Studies 166:285–303. (pdf)

October 31, 2014: Parke, E.C. 2014. Experiments, simulations, and epistemic privilege. Philosophy of Science 81:516–536. Emily Parke (Department of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania) will be visiting. (pdf)

November 7, 2014: No meeting (HSS/PSA)

November 14, 2014: Gunawardena, J. 2014. Models in biology: ‘accurate descriptions of our pathetic thinking’. BMC Biology 12:29.

November 21, 2014: Tarja Knuuttila (Department of Philosophy, University of South Carolina) will be visiting. Knuuttila, T. (preprint) "Varieties of Noise: Analogical Reasoning in Synthetic Biology"

November 28, 2014: No meeting Thanksgiving

December 5, 2014: Hammerschmidt, Katrin, Caroline J. Rose, Benjamin Kerr, and Paul B. Rainey. 2014. Life cycles, fitness decoupling and the evolution of multicellularity. Nature 515:75–79. (pdf)

Previous BIG discussion topics

For more information: contact Janet McKernan or Alan Love

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