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Center Discussion Group

Meeting time: Friday afternoons (about every other week). 1:30–3:00 pm
Meeting place: Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science library, 737 Heller Hall

The Center discussion group (CtrDG) reads and discusses works of mutual interest in the philosophy of science, broadly construed. We have a tradition of reading works of important authors and then having them visit to discuss their work with the discussion group. Recent CtrDG visitors have included William C Wimsatt, John Dupré, Jim Woodward, Nancy Cartwright, and Bas van Fraassen each of whose work we read during a semester preceding their separate visits.

Colleagues from area schools and fields outside philosophy regularly participate in our discussions. We continue to seek new participants. All faculty from the University of Minnesota and area colleges and universities are welcome to attend whenever they would like (and without invitation). Postdoctoral fellows and advanced PhD students (those who have completed all but their dissertations) are also welcome to attend. Other graduate students are included under special circumstances.

For further information contact Alan Love ( or Janet McKernan, Center Administrator (746 Heller Hall, 612-625-6635,

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Spring 2018

January 26: Lykken, D.T. 1991. What's wrong with psychology anyway? In: Thinking Clearly about Psychology. Volume 1: Matters of Public Interest. (Essays in Honor of Paul E. Meehl), edited by D. Cicchetti and W.M. Grove. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 3–39. (pdf)

February 9: Meehl, P.E. 1990. Appraising and amending theories: the strategy of Lakatosian defense and two principles that warrant it. Psychological Inquiry 1(2):108-141. (pdf) Also, commentaries and author reply. (pdf)

February 16: ***CHANGE of PLACE*** 731 Heller Hall
Open Science Collaboration. 2015. Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science 349:aac4716 (pdf). Also, comment and response (pdf).

Simmons, J.P., L.D. Nelson, and U. Simonsohn. 2011. False-positive psychology: undisclosed flexibility in data collection and analysis allows presenting anything as significant. Psychological Science 22(11):1359–1366 (pdf).

John, L.K., G. Loewenstein, and D. Prelec. 2012. Measuring the prevalence of questionable research practices with incentives for truth telling. Psychological Science 23(5):524–532 (pdf).

March 9: No meeting

March 16: No meeting Spring Break

March 30: Patil, P., R.D. Peng, J.T. Leek. 2016. What should researchers expect when they replicate studies? A statistical view of replicability in psychological science. Perspectives on Psychological Science 11:539-544 (pdf);
Johnson, V.E., R.D. Payne, T. Wang, A. Asher, and S. Mandal. 2017. On the reproducibility of psychological science. Journal of the American Statistical Association 112:1-10 (pdf);
Szucs D., and J.P.A. Ioannidis. 2017. Empirical assessment of published effect sizes and power in the recent cognitive neuroscience and psychology literature. PLoS Biology 15(3):e2000797 (pdf).

April 20: Wasserstein, R.L. and N.A. Lazar. 2016. The ASA's statement on p-values: context, process, and purpose. The American Statistician 70:129-133 (pdf);
Benjamin, D.J., J.O. Berger, et al. 2018. Redefine statistical significance. Nature Human Behaviour 2:6–10 (pdf);
Ioannidis, J.P.A. 2018. The proposal to lower p value thresholds to .005. JAMA 319(14):1429-1430 (pdf)

April 27: Zwaan, R.A. A. Etz, R.E. Lucas, & M.B. Donnellan. forthcoming. Making replication mainstream. Behavioral and Brain Sciences (pdf);
Nelson, L.D., J. Simmons, and U. Simonsohn. 2018. Psychology’s renaissance. Annual Review of Psychology 69:511–34 (pdf);
Fanelli, D. 2018. Opinion: Is science really facing a reproducibility crisis, and do we need it to? PNAS 115(11):2628-2631 (pdf)

Fall 2017

The Center Discussion Group will be reading Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West (2017). The book is inexpensive ($20 hardcover; other types cheaper) so please secure a copy in advance of our first meeting .

September 15: Chapter 1 (pp. 1–33).

September 29: Chapter 2 (pp. 35–78) and Chapter 3 (pp. 79–145) . The focus of discussion will be Chapter 3.

October 13: Chapter 4 (pp.147–207).

October 27: Chapters 5, 6 and 7, pp 209–324.

November 3: Chapter 8, pp 325-378.

December 1: Chapter 9, Afterword, pp 379–448.


Previous Center Discussion Group topics

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