Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Journal: Ergo

The first issue of Ergo is out and can be accessed here: http://www.ergophiljournal.org/

The following are four blog posts discussing each of the papers appearing in the first issue:

Julia Jorati (OSU) on a paper in early modern by Paul Lodge (Oxford):

Anna Mahtani (LSE) on a paper by Michael Caie (Pittsburgh):

Ellen Clark (Oxford) on a paper in philosophy of biology by
Christopher Hitchcock (Caltech) and Joel Velasco (Texas Tech):

Thomas Nadelhoffer (Charleston) on a paper in experimental philosophy
by John Turri (Waterloo):

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

CFP: Inductive Logic and Confirmation in Science II

(24-25 October 2014Department of Philosophy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA)
  • Submission deadline: *** Friday, May 30, 2014 ***
  • Notification by: June 30, 2014
  • Submission requirement: Extended abstract (1,000 words or less)
  • Submit extended abstracts via email to jonah.n.schupbach@utah.edu.
  • Accommodations: Expenses for travel, hotel, and meals will be covered in full for any graduate students presenting at the conference. Hotel and meals will be provided for all other presenters.
  • Publication: Selected papers from ILCS1 and this workshop may be published in an edited volume or journal special issue. When submitting, please note whether you would like your paper to be considered for inclusion in a proceedings volume.
  • Website: http://jonahschupbach.com/ILCS/
Keynote Speakers:
  • Tania Lombrozo (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Elliott Sober (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  • Katie Steele (London School of Economics)
Conference Organizers:
This is the 2nd workshop on Inductive Logic and Confirmation in Science.  ILCS1, organized by Juergen Landes and Jon Williamson, was held in Paris in October 2013.  This series of workshops is addressed to all researchers (early and not so early career) in all disciplines who have an interest in inductive logic and confirmation theory as they relate to science and the philosophy of science.  PhD students are particularly encouraged to participate.  The workshop is free and open to anyone.  If you plan to attend (and are not on the list of presenters), please register by simply dropping an email to the organizers with your name and affiliation.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Post Doc: Notre Dame

Postdoctoral Fellowship in History and Philosophy of Science
The History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame seeks to appoint a Postdoctoral Fellow beginning August 2014 for one year, renewable for a second year. Applicants must have completed all requirements for the doctoral degree by June 30, 2014.

Applications are welcome from scholars in any area of history and philosophy of science. In addition to pursuing his or her research and participating actively in the intellectual life of the program, the HPS Postdoctoral Fellow will teach two graduate courses per year, one of which may be in the candidate’s area of specialization. We are especially, but not exclusively, interested in candidates able to teach our graduate philosophy of science survey course (interest in teaching one of our graduate history of science survey courses may also be an asset), and encourage you to explain how your research and teaching experience is well suited to our interdisciplinary program.

The annual stipend is $48,000. The fellowship package also includes health insurance and $3000 per year towards research expenses and conference travel. A summary of benefits can be found at: http://hr.nd.edu/assets/121245/p1_benefit_summary_2014.pdf.

Applicants should send the following materials in electronic form only, in PDF format by email attachment, to reilly@nd.edu, including “HPS post-doc” and your last name in the subject line. The deadline for receipt of application materials is March 30th.
1. Cover letter giving a brief summary of your primary field of expertise and qualifications for the fellowship.
2. Summary of your dissertation (two page maximum).
3. Plan of research to be undertaken during a two-year fellowship period (two page maximum).
4. Writing sample (30 page maximum).
5. Where applicable, a proposal for a graduate philosophy of science survey course, bearing in mind that our courses are taken by history-, philosophy-, and theology and science-track students (one page maximum).
6. Proposal for a graduate seminar in your area of specialization (one page maximum).
7. Full curriculum vitae.
8. Names and affiliations of three referees whom you have asked to write to us directly.
Please note: applications that are printed and received via mail or courier will not be accepted and processed.                 
The three letters of reference should be sent separately, either electronically (reilly@nd.edu) or by mail (Reilly Center, 453 Geddes Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556), to arrive by the application deadline. Candidates are responsible for ensuring that their letters of reference arrive by the deadline.

The HPS graduate program is housed in the Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values, and draws faculty from a variety of departments including History, Philosophy, the Program of Liberal Studies, Theology, and English. For further information about the Reilly Center and the HPS program, please visit http://reilly.nd.edu/. The HPS Postdoctoral Fellowship is funded by the College of Arts and Letters.

Inquiries may be directed to Anjan Chakravartty (Director, History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program): chakravartty.1@nd.edu.

The University of Notre Dame is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer with strong institutional and academic commitments to racial, cultural, and gender diversity. Women, minorities, and those attracted to a university with a Catholic identity are encouraged to apply. Information about Notre Dame, including our mission statement, is available athttp://www.nd.edu.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Lakatos Award 2013

Condratulations to Laura Ruetsche and David Wallace. Very well-deserved!
The London School of Economics and Political Science announces that the Lakatos Award for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, has been won jointly by Laura Ruetsche of the University of Michigan for her book Interpreting Quantum Theories (Oxford University Press, 2011) and by David Wallace of Oxford University for his book The Emergent Multiverse (Oxford University Press, 2012). Each will win a prize of £7500.
The Lakatos Award is given for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, widely interpreted, in the form of a book published in English during the previous five years. It was made possible by a generous endowment from the Latsis Foundation. The Award is in memory of the former LSE professor, Imre Lakatos, and is administered by an international Management Committee organised from the LSE, but entirely independent of LSE’s Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method.
The Committee, chaired by John Worrall, decides the outcome of the Award competition on the advice of an international, independent and anonymous panel of Selectors who produce detailed reports on the nominated books. ________________________________________________________________________
Nominations can now be made for the 2014 Lakatos Award, and must be received by Monday 21st April 2014. The 2014 Award will be for a book published in English with an imprint from 2009-2014 inclusive. A book may, with the permission of its author/s, be nominated by any person of recognised standing within philosophy of science or an allied profession. (The Management Committee is not empowered to nominate books itself but only to respond to outside nominations.)
Please address any nominations, or any requests for further information about the 2014 Award to the Award Administrator, Tom Hinrichsen, att.a.hinrichsen@lse.ac.uk.
Imre Lakatos, who died in 1974 aged 51, had been Professor of Logic with special reference to the Philosophy of Mathematics at LSE since 1969. He joined the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method in 1960. Born in Hungary in 1922, he graduated (in Physics, Mathematics and Philosophy) from Debrecen University in 1944. He then joined the underground resistance. (His mother and grandmother perished in Auschwitz.) After the War, he was active in the Communist Party and had an influential position in the Ministry of Education. In 1950 he was arrested and spent the next three years as a political prisoner. After his release, he was given refuge in the Hungarian Academy of Science where he translated western works in science and mathematics into Hungarian. After the suppression of the Hungarian uprising he escaped to Vienna and from there, with the aid of a Rockefeller fellowship, on to Cambridge, England. He there wrote his (second) doctoral thesis out of which grew !his famous Proofs and Refutations (CUP, 1976, edited by John Worrall and Elie Zahar). Two volumes of Philosophical Papers, edited by John Worrall and Gregory Currie, appeared in 1978, also from CUP.www2.lse.ac.uk/philosophy/lakatos/Home.aspx________________________________________

Monday, January 13, 2014

Society For Exact Philosophy, 42nd Annual Meeting

SEP 2014
42nd annual meeting of the Society for Exact Philosophy

June 22-24, 2014
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA

The 2014 meeting of the Society for Exact Philosophy will be held 22-24 June 2014 at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA.This year's meeting is being held in conjunction with the Formal Epistemology Workshop (FEW) which runs June 20-22nd at the University of Southern California. June 22nd will be a special day devoted to joint activities in Pasadena. It is hoped that interested participants will take advantage of the spatiotemporal proximity of these sister events.

Keynote Speakers

Susan Haack, University of Miami
Scott Soames, University of Southern California
Bas van Fraassen, San Francisco State University

Call for Papers and Abstracts

"The SEP is dedicated to providing sustained discussion among researchers who believe that rigorous methods have a place in philosophical investigations."

SEP 2014 invites submissions of papers and abstracts in all areas of analytic philosophy.

For more information, including instructions for submissions, visit the conference web site at:  http://www.phil.ufl.edu/SEP/meeting/2014

Information on the Society and its previous meetings is on the web at http://www.phil.ufl.edu/SEP

Join us in Pasadena!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

SILFS 2014 – Triennial International Conference of the Italian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Sciences

Webpage: http://www.silfs.net/#442-2

On June 18-20 2014 SILFS, the Italian Society of Logic and Philosophy of Science (www.silfs.net) will hold its triennial conference at the University of Rome “Roma TRE”.

Invited speakers

Tarja Knuuttila (University of Helsinki)

Hannes Leitgeb (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

John Norton (University of Pittsburgh)


We invite submissions in all areas of logic and philosophy of science, with special attention to inter-disciplinary approaches to logical and epistemological issues and topics in the foundations of special sciences (both natural, social and human).

Every contributed speaker will have 30 minutes, including discussion. The official language of the conference is English.

Potential contributors will have to submit a title and an abstract (max 6000 characters) prepared for blind refereeing. The abstract should be submitted electronically using the EasyChair submission page at: https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=silfs2014.

The deadline for submission is December 15, 2013.

Notification of acceptance: March 2014.

Scientific Committee

Roberto Arpaia (University of Bergamo)

Giovanni Boniolo (University of Milan and IFOM) Chair of the Program Committee

Giovanna Corsi (University of Bologna) Chair of the Program Committee

Massimiliano Carrara (University of Padua)

Mauro Ceruti (University of Bergamo)

Mauro Dorato (University of Rome 3) – SILFS President

Vincenzo Fano (University of Urbino)

Laura Felline (Université Catholique de Louvain)

Roberto Giuntini (University of Cagliari)

Federico Laudisa (University of Milan-Bicocca)

Sabina Leonelli ( University of Exeter)

Massimo Marraffa (University of Rome 3)

Pierluigi Minari (University of Florence)

Matteo Morganti (University of Rome 3)

Francesco Paoli (University of Cagliari)

Federica Russo (University of Ferrara)

For further information, please contact the SILFS secretary, Matteo Morganti: matteo.morganti[at]uniroma3.it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Revisiting Kuhn

I am teaching a course on scientific revolutions this term, and so I've been rereading Structure. I've also been blogging a bit about it. I previously wrote about my annoyance that the new edition has different page numbers and some reflections on recent writing about Kuhn. This post is about a thread that runs through Kuhn's discussion which, I think, gets something importantly right.

[cross-posted at Footnotes on Epicycles]

On Wednesday, we talked about Kuhn's claim that different paradigms are incommensurable, and today we talked about the considerations which might convince scientists to shift from the old paradigm to a new one. Kuhn characterizes the shift as a conversion experience, but not one that is totally unmotivated by reasons. Kuhn reviews a whole range of possible reasons, including puzzle-solving power, precision, novel prediction, and simplicity.

He insists that none of these reasons are necessarily decisive, however. He writes that
paradigm debates are not really about relative problem-solving ability.... Instead, the issue is which paradigm should in the future guide research on problems many of which neither competitor can yet claim to resolve completely. A decision between alternate ways of practicing science is called for, and in the circumstances that decision must be based less on past achievement than on future promise. (p. 156)
Because a paradigm serves to guide normal science, accepting a paradigm means committing to do normal science in that way. So the choice is forward-looking, while all of the reasons are backward-looking. So, one might say, the choice of paradigm is strategic rather than simply evidential.

While discussing this passage, I realized that the conclusion does not rely on incommensurability at all. Rather, it just relies on the problem of induction: Past performance of a paradigm provides no guarantee of future results. So proceeding with one paradigm rather than the other is a kind of gamble. Reasonable people with different hunches or different tolerance for risk might disagree about which way to go.

This allows for a philosophically conservative reading of Kuhn which accepts that revolution is different than normal science, because different paradigms would guide scientific practice in substantially different ways. The conservative reading also accepts that the choice between paradigms cannot be determined by the relevant reasons, especially during the period of crisis.

The conservative reading isn't adequate as a reading of Kuhn, because it accepts those things without any appeal to incommensurability. The change between paradigms might be like a conversion experience, as Kuhn would have it, because some strategic choices are; consider choosing a career, choosing to get married, or choosing whether or not to have children. But it might instead be a self-conscious choice, like choosing between mutual funds for your retirement account.

I think that this recommends the conservative reading as a philosophical position, even if it disqualifies it as a reading of Kuhn. The description of normal science and crisis is the really insightful part of Structure, while the stuff about incommensurability is the most problematic.

It occurs to me that what I've called here the conservative reading of Kuhn, in which underdetermination comes from the problem of induction rather than incommensurability, looks a lot like Lakatos' Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes. We're doing Lakatos next week in class, so I'll see if that idea holds up.