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Biological Interest Group

Meeting time: Friday mornings throughout the semester at 10:15–11:30 am.
***Please note the earlier start time beginning after speing break***
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 Ken Waters so an invitation can be extended.)

Spring 2014

January 24: Muraille, Eric. 2013. "Redefining the Immune System as a Social Interface for Cooperative Processes" PLoS Pathog 9 (3):e1003203.

January 31: "The Metabolism of Philosophy, in Three Parts," pp. 193–-224 in " Dialectic and Paradox: Configurations of the Third in Modernity", B. Malkmus and I. Cooper, eds., Bern: Peter Lang, 2013. (pdf) Hannah Landecker will be visiting.

February 7: Sepkoski, D. (forthcoming)" Extinction, Diversity, and Endangerment" in Catastrophic Thinking: Extinction and the Value of Diversity. D. Sepkoski will be visiting. (pdf)

February 14: Sterner, B. (forthcoming) "Material Overlap, Scaffolding, And the Diversity of Individuality" Beckett Sterner (Field Museum, Chicago) will be visiting. (pdf)

February 21: Harms, M.J., and J.W. Thornton. 2013. Evolutionary biochemistry: revealing the historical and physical causes of protein properties. Nature Reviews Genetics 14(8): 559–571. (pdf)

February 28: Lynch, M. 2012. Evolutionary layering and the limits to cellular perfection. PNAS 109 (46):18851-18856. (pdf)

March 7: Stoltzfus, A. 2012. "Constructive neutral evolution: exploring evolutionary theory's curious disconnect." Biology Direct 7(1): 35.

March 14: Spring Break No meeting

March 21: Spring Break No meeting

BIG now starts at 10:15 am 10:15 am start time

March 28: Mitman, G. (2013) "Ecological Imperialism Revisited: Entanglements of Disease, Commerce, and Knowledge in a Global World" Globalizing Histories of Science,Technology,and Medicine conference, May 19–21,2013, NYU, Abu Dhabi (pdf)
Gregg Mitman
(University of Wisconsin, Madison) will be visiting.

April 4: Fehr, C. 2012. "Feminist Engagement with Evolutionary Psychology", Hypatia Volume 27Issue 1pages  50–72Carla Fehr (University of Waterloo, Canada) will be visiting. (pdf)

April 11: Lange, M. 2013. Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift. Philosophy of Science 80: 169–188 (pdf)

April 18: May, G. and Nelson, P. 2013."Defensive mutualisms: do microbial interactions within hosts drive the evolution of defensive traits?" Functional Ecology
doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12166 (pdf)

April 25: Waters, C. Kenneth. 1994. Genes made molecular. Philosophy of Science 61: 163–185. (pdf)

May 2: Waters, C. Kenneth. 2004. What was classical genetics? Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 35: 783–809. (pdf)

May 9: Waters, C. Kenneth. Forthcoming. Shifting Attention From Theory to Practice in Philosophy of Biology. (pdf)

Fall 2013

September 6, 2013 W. F. Doolittle "Is Junk DNA bunk? A critiquie of ENCODE " PNAS (pdf)

September 13, 2013 Kültz, D. et al. 2013. New Frontiers for Organismal Biology. BioScience 63(6): 464-471 (pdf)

September 20, 2013 Leonelli, S. 2013. Classificatory Theory in Biology. Biological Theory 7: 338–345 (pdf)

September 27, 2013 Desjardins, E. 2012 "Path Dependence, Ecology and Restoration" PSA (pdf)

October 4, 2013 Guerrini, A. 2013. Experiments, Causation, and the Uses of Vivisection in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century. Journal of the History of Biology 46: 227–254. DOI 10.1007/s10739-012-9319-7 (pdf)

October 11, 2013 Marshall Abrams (University of Alabama at Birmingham) will be visiting.
Steiner, U.K. and Tuljaiurka, S.R. 2012 "Neutral theory for life histories and individual variability in fitness components" PNAS 109(12) 4684–4689 (pdf)

October 18, 2013 Fridolin Gross (European School of Molecular Medicine (SEMM) in Milan) will be visiting.
Gross. F. (preprint) "The Sum of the Parts: Mycoplasma genitalium and the Future of Systems Biology" (pdf)
Optional background reading. The following article includes information about the case study discussed in Gross' paper. Participants may find it helpful as background, but it will not be presupposed in our discussion.
Karr, J. R., Sanghvi, J. C., Macklin, D. N., Gutschow, M. V,. Jacobs, J. M., Bolival Jr., B., Assad-Garcia, N., Glass, J. I. and Covert, M. W. 2012. "A Whole-Cell Computational Model Predicts Phenotype from Genotype" Cell 150: 389–401 (pdf)

October 25, 2013 Weisberg, M. (draft) "Remeasuring Man" (pdf)

November 1, 2013 Millstein, R.L. (manuscript) "Populations in Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Environments" (pdf)

November 8, 2013 Theme: Model Organisms versus Model Taxa or Model Systems
Griesemer, J.R. (forthcoming)."What Salamander Biologists Have Taught Us About Evo-devo. In Conceptual Change in Biology: Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives on Evolution and Development" ed. A.C. Love. Berlin: Springer (pdf)
Lanyon, S. and T. Gamble (work in progress) "An Evolutionary Perspective on the Value of Model Systems" (pdf)

November 15, 2013 Mehmet Elgin (Mugla University, Turkey) will be visiting.
Sella, G. and Hirsh, A.E. 2005. "The application of statistical physics to evolutionary biology" PNAS 102(27): 9541–9546. www.pnas.orgcgidoi10.1073pnas.0501865102 (pdf)

November 22, 2013 Luke Premo (Washington State University) will be visiting.
Premo, L. S., 2012.  "Local extinctions, connectedness, and cultural evolution in structured populations" Advances in Complex Systems 15:1150002:1–18. (pdf)

November 29, 2013 No meeting Thanksgiving

December 6, 2013 Shaw, R.G. and Etterson, J.R. 2012. "Rapid climate change and the rate of adaptation: insight from experimental quantitative genetics" Tansley Review New Phytologist 195: 752–765. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04230.x (pdf)

Previous BIG discussion topics

For more information: contact Janet McKernan or Ken Waters

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