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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.)

Spring 2018

January 19: Gawne, R., K.Z. McKenna, and H.F. Nijhout. 2017. Unmodern synthesis: Developmental hierarchies and the origin of phenotypes. Bioessays 1600265. (pdf)

January 26: Ludwig, D. 2017. The objectivity of knowledge. Lessons from ethnobiology. Synthese 194: 4705-4720. (pdf)

February 2: Marc Swackhamer (Architecture, University of Minnesota) will be visiting

February 9:

February 16:

February 23:

March 2: Alisa Bokulich (Boston University) will be visiting

March 9: No meeting

March 16: No meeting Spring Break

March 23:

March 30:

April 6: Stuart Glennan (Bulter University) will be visiting

April 13:

April 20:

April 27: Richard Samuels (The Ohio State University) will be visiting

May 4:

Fall 2017

September 8: Marshall, C.R. 2017. Five palaeobiological laws needed to understand the evolution of the living biota. Nature Ecology & Evolution 1:0165.

September 15: Caniglia, G. 2017. How complex and even perverse the real world can be. W.D. Hamilton’s early work on social wasps (1964–1968). Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 64:41–52.

September 22: Gopnik, Alison, Shaun O’Grady, Christopher G. Lucas, Thomas L. Griffiths, Adrienne Wente, Sophie Bridgers, Rosie Aboody, Hoki Fung, and Ronald E. Dahl. 2017. Changes in cognitive flexibility and hypothesis search across human life history from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 114 (30):7892-7899.

September 29: Mitchel, S.D. and A.M. Gronenborn. 2017. After Fifty Years, Why Are Protein X-ray Crystallographers Still in Business? British Journal for Philosophy of Science 68:703–723.

October 6: Foster, K.R., J.Schluter, K.Z. Coyte, and S. Rakoff-Nahoum. 2017. The evolution of the host microbiome as an ecosystem on a leash. Nature 548:43-51.

October 13: Goward, T. 2010. Twelve Readings on the Lichen Thallus IX. Paralichens. Evansia 27(2):40–46; Pennisi, E. 2016. A lichen ménage à trois. Science 353:337. Reinaldo Vargas (Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación, Santiago, Chile) and Peter Nelson (University of Maine) will be visiting.

October 20: Mogensen, A.L. 2016. Do evolutionary debunking arguments rest on a mistake about evolutionary explanations? Philosophical Studies 173:1799–1817

October 27: Clarke, E. forthcoming. Is evolution fundamental when it comes to defining biological ontology? Yes. In: Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science, edited by S. Dasgupta and B. Weslake (Routledge);
O'Malley, M. forthcoming. Is evolution fundamental when it comes to defining biological ontology? No. In: Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science, edited by S. Dasgupta and B. Weslake (Routledge).

November 3: Krakauer, J.W., Ghazanfa, A.A., Gomez-Marin, A.,. MacIver, M.A., and Poeppel, D. 2017. "Neuroscience Needs Behavior: Correcting a Reductionist Bias" Neuron 93

November 10: Ronai, I. forthcoming. "How the techniques of molecular biology are developed from natural systems". Isobel Ronai will be visiting.

November 17: Schiffman, Joshua D., Richard M. White, Trevor A. Graham, Qihong Huang, and Athena Aktipis. 2016. "The Darwinian Dynamics of Motility and Metastasis." In Frontiers in Cancer Research: Evolutionary Foundations, Revolutionary Directions, edited by Carlo C. Maley and Mel Greaves, pp 135-176. New York, NY: Springer New York.

November 24: No Meeting

December 1: Roberts, D. 2012. Re-defining Race in Genetic Terms. Chapter 3 of Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century. New York: The New Press. Nora Berenstain will be visiting.

December 8: Levin, Samuel R., Thomas W. Scott, Helen S. Cooper, and Stuart A. West. 2017. "Darwin's aliens." International Journal of Astrobiology, 1-9.
doi: 10.1017/S1473550417000362.

Previous BIG discussion topics

For more information: contact Janet McKernan or Alan Love

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