President's Corner

A large part of this Newsletter is devoted to preparations for the São Paulo meeting. I want to thank Maria Elice de Brzezinski Prestes, Jessica Bolker, Charbel El-Hani, and all the members of the Local Organization Committee and of the Program Committee for the excellent work that they have already done. I recommend looking closely at the information given below, and on the meeting website. They will help you to decide if and how to plan your trip to Brazil.

I am optimistic, and convinced that all the conditions are met for the next meeting to be a success, scientifically and extra-scientifically. Particularly, it will allow us to establish or to strengthen relations between research communities that so far have not interacted sufficiently. However, it is each member’s personal decision whether or not to come to São Paulo. To help each of you in your decision, most necessary information has been put on the website.

As most of you already know, and as described in the Program Committee’s contribution to this Newsletter, the call for individual papers and organized sessions has already been made. I would like to emphasize that the preparation of the sessions is a crucially important time in the life of our Society. I warmly recommend that you organize sessions, instead of preparing individual contributions. It is clear to all of us who have already participated in an ISHPSSB meeting that organized sessions tend to have larger attendances. It is an excellent opportunity to make your research known not only to other scholars in your field, but also to scholars of different disciplines, since these organized sessions are often transdisciplinary.

Organized sessions represent more. They exemplify the spirit of our Society, the will to articulate, whenever possible, different points of view on the same issue. The preparation of these organized sessions, the contacts that are established to build them, and the discussions that take place to finalize them, are probably as important as the sessions themselves. This work is the best way to defend and to develop what constitutes the core of our Society, and permits it to find its place in the landscape of other Societies. We cannot compete with many of them in terms of the number of members, nor the place they have in academic institutions. What we can uniquely offer are our efforts to explore new territories and new frontiers, by eventually attracting new members from other disciplines and other countries. To do that, we must create conditions favourable to encounters between new members and old ones, members known to other members of the Society, and those who are not. Some simple rules have in the past been adopted by our Society to favour these objectives, and must not be abandoned: to give equal time for talks to all members of the Society; and not to remunerate the different tasks ISHPSSB members or officers may accomplish for it. Trying to mimic bigger Societies would lead nowhere.

A last call for our future meetings. I fully support Marsha Richmond’s appeal (see below) for hosts of the 2019 and 2021 meetings. To organize future meetings or to build their programs is a huge task. But these efforts are rewarding both personally, because it is an extraordinary opportunity to encounter and get to know plenty of interesting scholars, and frequently also professionally—although we must admit that these efforts are sometimes inadequately acknowledged.

Michel Morange
President

Werner Callebaut Prize 2017: Call for Manuscripts

The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology seeks submissions for the 2017 Werner Callebaut Prize. This prize is intended to advance the careers of younger scholars working at the intersection of the fields represented by the ISHPSSB, and will be awarded to the best manuscript utilizing an interdisciplinary approach based on a presentation at one of the two previous ISHPSSB meetings (Montpellier or Montréal) by someone who was, at the time of presentation, a graduate student. The prize is named in honor of Werner Callebaut, whose untimely death in 2014 inflicted a serious blow to the Philosophy of Biology community worldwide.

Werner’s mentorship and guidance has benefitted the intellectual and personal development of countless philosophers and scientists over the last twenty years, and contributed greatly to making sure that philosophical and scientific work evolve in constructive dialogue and reciprocal respect. His work reached creatively across fields of relevance to the philosophical understanding of Biology (comprising areas as far removed as Economics, Evolutionary Biology, History, Sociology and Cognitive Science), as well as across national cultures, languages and traditions (most notably the ‘continental-analytic’ divide among philosophers of science), hence making a prize focused on interdisciplinarity most appropriate, especially for the ISHPSSB which explicitly encourages interdisciplinary approaches.

The award will consist of a certificate and an award of $500, as well as a permanent record of the award on a plaque which circulates every two years to the current winner(s). Submissions may be simultaneously considered for the Grene and the Callebaut prizes, but a paper may not be awarded both prizes. Submissions should be in the form of a paper prepared for submission to a professional journal, with an indication of the journal in question, along with a brief statement detailing the interdisciplinarity represented in the manuscript.

An electronic copy (in Microsoft Word or PDF format), together with the required cover sheet (available at this link), should be emailed as one document to the Chair of the Callebaut Prize Committee, Rachel A. Ankeny, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., no later than 15 February 2017. The winning paper will be announced at the 2017 meeting in São Paulo. The committee reserves the right not to make an award, or to split the award. With thanks to the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) for financial support for the Callebaut Prize.

Additional information about the Callebaut Prize is available at this link.

Marjorie Grene & Werner Callebaut Prize Committee

Marjorie Grene Prize 2017: Call for Manuscripts

The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology seeks submissions for the 2017 Marjorie Grene Prize. This prize is intended to advance the careers of younger scholars, and will be awarded to the best manuscript based on a presentation at one of the two previous ISHPSSB meetings (Montréal or Montpellier) by someone who was, at the time of presentation, a graduate student. It is very appropriate for the ISHPSSB to name this prize in Marjorie Grene’s honor. Not only does her work in the History and Philosophy of Biology exemplify the strong spirit of interdisciplinary work fundamental to the ISHPSSB, but she played a central role in bringing together diverse scholars of Biology even before the formation of the Society. She has been a valued mentor to many members of the Society and a long-standing inspiration to all. The award will consist of a certificate and an award of $500, as well as a permanent record of the award on a plaque which circulates every two years to the current winner(s). Submissions may be simultaneously considered for the Grene and the Callebaut prizes, but a paper may not be awarded both prizes.

Submissions should be in the form of a paper prepared for submission to a professional journal, with an indication of the journal in question. An electronic copy (in Microsoft Word or PDF format), together with the required cover sheet (available at this link), should be emailed as one document to the Chair of the Grene Prize Committee, Rachel A. Ankeny, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., no later than 15 February 2017. The winning paper will be announced at the 2017 meeting in São Paulo. The committee reserves the right not to make an award, or to split the award.

Additional information about the Grene Prize is available at this link.

Marjorie Grene & Werner Callebaut Prize Committee

David L. Hull Prize 2017: Call for Nominations

The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology seeks nominations for the 2017 David L. Hull Prize for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology. The David L. Hull Prize is a biennial prize established in 2011 by the ISHPSSB to honor the life and legacy of David L. Hull (1935-2010). The David L. Hull Prize honors an extraordinary contribution to scholarship and service that promotes interdisciplinary connections between History, Philosophy, Social Studies, and Biology.

A complete nomination package will consist of two letters of nomination each signed by at least one member of the ISHPSSB and a current curriculum vitae of the candidate. Those who made previous nominations are encouraged to resubmit the nominees, if still appropriate. Deadline: 15 January 2017

More details and nomination procedures: http://www.ishpssb.org/prizes/david-l-hull-prize

David Hull Prize Committee

ISHPSSB 2017

The Local Organizing Committee will be happy to welcome you to São Paulo for the next 2017 ISHPSSB meeting, which will be held alongside the 2017 meeting of the Brazilian Association for Philosophy and History of Biology (ABFHiB). The meeting will take place at the Institute of Biosciences, University of São Paulo from July 16 to July 21 and it is jointly organized by the following organizations: ISHPSSB, ABFHiB, University of São Paulo, and Butantan Institute.

We are confident that this meeting will bring together scholars from diverse latitudes, longitudes and disciplines, including the life sciences as well as History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science. ISHPSSB conferences are known for their innovative and transdisciplinary sessions, as well as for fostering informal, cooperative exchanges and ongoing collaborations.

Recent previous meetings were held in Guelph (2005), Exeter (2007), Brisbane (2009), Salt Lake City (2011), Montpellier (2013), and Montréal (2015), and have attracted up to six hundred participants from all regions of the world. For this 2017 meeting we hope to continue this tradition to bring an informal, collegial approach. We especially seek sessions that embody innovative cross-disciplinary content, format, or both.

Welcome to São Paulo, a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, for the ISHPSSB meeting. We welcome your contributions.

Maria Elice Brzezinski Prestes & Charbel El-Hani
on behalf of the Local Arrangements & Program Committees

ATTENTION

If you are planning to attend to the 2017 ISHPSSB Meeting, please remember to check the Plan Your Trip and Visa information on the meeting website.

Call for Abstracts

The ISHPSSB meetings are known for bringing together scholars in the humanities interacting with the life sciences, notably historians, philosophers, and social scientists, as well as scientists themselves and biological education researchers. The submission of organized sessions and individual papers on any topic within the society’s scope is welcome. We also encourage the submission of posters.

Proposals for open or closed organized sessions and individual papers (talks or posters) should be submitted through the 2017 meeting’s website, at “Submission of Papers” from October 1st, 2016 to January 15th, 2017. Before submitting your proposal, have a look at the open sessions listed at the Conference Board.

We especially encourage organized session submissions and offer rolling acceptances for organized session submissions. This will benefit those of you who would like to plan your ISHPSSB travel early, and will ensure the timely completion of the overall program for the conference. While all session types may be submitted from October 1st, 2016, only organized sessions will benefit from the rolling acceptance policy. The earlier you submit an organized session, the earlier you will hear from us about acceptance, and the more choice you will have as to the scheduling of your session.

Please use the ISHPSSB Conference Board to post ideas for organized sessions and to coordinate with others looking to do so. The purpose of the Conference Board is to provide a forum for pre-conference (or during-conference) discussions for ISHPSSB 2017 in São Paulo, Brazil. You must be an ISHPSSB member to use the Conference Board. Note that you need to sign in and be up-to-date on your membership dues to post or reply.

All submission formats can be checked at “Submission of Papers”.

Remember: Submissions close at 15th January, 2017

As with past meetings, ISHPSSB 2017 aims at facilitating the exchange of research ideas and results across a range of fields, while fostering informal, cooperative exchanges and ongoing collaborations among a variety of international scholars. It is our goal to develop a program that will allow maximal interactions, while also giving people the chance to present their ideas to their colleagues. For this reason, we have a Participation Rule: the simple rule of two. Any individual can appear at most twice on the program (as speaker, commentator, roundtable participant, or poster author) in addition to serving as a session chair.

Overarching Rationales: The submission structure for the ISHPSSB 2017 meeting is aimed at (i) encouraging participants to submit Organized Sessions, and (ii) doing so relatively early on; it also should (iii) facilitate other ISHPSSB desiderata for sessions, such as interdisciplinarity, inter-regionality, and diversity of career stages among the participants. The ISHPSSB has been a great place for interdisciplinary and transnational work, as well as graduate student and junior faculty mentoring. Thus, we encourage session organizers to especially attend to considerations of interdisciplinarity and diversity, both of which are valued by the ISHPSSB community. We particularly encourage geographic, institutional and gender diversity.

Other submission requirements: All submissions will require the completion of a checklist featuring themes and topics that will assist the program chairs in evaluating and scheduling the submission. Please direct any inquiries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Guidelines to Submit Proposals

l  All submitted sessions will be 90 minutes in length. Please see the submission formats at the paper submission web page for further information about the types of organized sessions, rules governing number of participations in the program, and the rolling acceptance policy for organized sessions.

l  Abstracts must be submitted exclusively via the paper submission web page. Abstracts submitted via email or any other means will not be accepted. Submissions must be written in English. All sessions will be held in English. If you are submitting more than one abstract, please use the same email address and password for each abstract. The email you provide us will be used to notify you of the acceptance and to send you updated information. An organized session is created by the lead organizer for, and the chair of, that session. The lead organizer is responsible for completing all session details, and submitting that session once it is completed. Abstracts are limited to 300 words. A lead organizer/chair can add co-organizers to the session, and 3 (standard) or 2 - 8 (diverse formats) participants in the session. The lead organizer/chair can be, but need not be, a participant in the organized session. When adding participants in the session, the lead organizer/chair must make sure to use a valid email address for each participant. Once saved, this email address cannot be changed by the lead organizer, nor can the personal information of each participant. This personal information can only be changed by the participants themselves, who must also log in with the same email address (and retrieve a password, if they have not chosen any so far, by using the "retrieve password" function).

l  Acknowledgment of your submission will be sent to the email address provided by the first author (individual presentation) or lead organizer (special session). Please make sure that you receive an email confirmation after making your submission. Upon receiving a submitted, confirmed organized session, the program co-chairs will review the session and if it is accepted, schedule the session in the program and inform the lead organizer for the session. A participating paper or presentation in an organized session can have a single or multiple authors.

l  Lead organizers/chairs can be participants in the session, but need not be, and will be given a choice here in entering their information. If an organizer is the lead organizer/chair on multiple sessions, she can be a participant in at most two of these. She can, however, be a co-organizer on further sessions: just not a participant.

l  Please use the ISHPSSB Conference Board to post ideas for organized sessions and to coordinate with others looking to do so. In particular, if you are planning on submitting an individual paper you are encouraged to post ideas, as this provides a good way to find others who are interested in presenting on similar topics. To submit individual papers, follow the instructions on the submission page; if accepted, your paper will be grouped and scheduled by the program committee.

l  If you must withdraw an abstract, please contact the Conference Program Committee via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please note that withdrawals need to be requested by the first author (individual presentation) or the lead organizer (special session) who originally submitted the abstract, who is responsible for ensuring that all other authors are informed of the withdrawal.

l  If the presenting author (individual presentation) or lead organizer (special session) of an accepted abstract does not register by April 30th, 2017, the abstract will be automatically withdrawn from the final program.

Please check the general guidelines and recommendations for the preparation of posters and oral presentations in the ISHPSSB 2017 meeting website.

Further Tips: Do not open a session in two browsers at the same time. If you have problems during a session, try saving and logging back in. It may be that switching browsers will make for easier session entry.

Charbel El-Hani & Jessica Bolker
Co-Chairs of the Program Committee

Please contact us at:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for

      submission- and program-related inquiries

ishpssbThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for

      registration- and payment-related inquiries

      sponsorship inquiries

      invitation letters

      all other inquiries

Site Selection Committee Report: ISHPSSB 2019 & ISHPSSB 2021

The Site Selection Committee has received an expression of interest to host the 2019 meeting. While we are optimistic that a formal proposal will be forthcoming, we nonetheless welcome additional expressions of interest. We are also seeking a site to host the 2021 ISHPSSB meeting. Given the recent geographic balance of our meetings, we would especially encourage solicitations from the United States, but all proposals are welcomed. The committee is always happy to assist in thinking about how to approach organizing a meeting and the process of putting together a proposal.

For further information, contact the chair, Marsha Richmond (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Site Selection Committee

Report on Off-Year ISHPSSB 2016 Workshops

Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology

A very successful ISHPSSB off year workshop was held at Clemson University in September 24-25 (see the workshop’s web page) to explore the social and conceptual issues surrounding the search for life on other planets (Astrobiology). The workshop mixed younger scholars and graduate students with established scholars from a wide variety of disciplines including History, Philosophy, Communications, Biology, Astronomy, Engineering, Theology, Medicine, Chemistry, Geology, and Education. The quality of presentations was excellent and many will appear in a forthcoming conference volume.

This field is sure to attract increasing attention with the explosion of exoplanet discoveries and NASA’s prediction that we will likely find evidence of life beyond Earth within the next 20 years. The organizers plan to leverage the success of the meeting with a second meeting at the University of Nevada, Reno in the Spring of 2018. Our ultimate goal is to found a new society dedicated to scholarship and outreach on these exciting issues and thus we invite anyone interested in learning more to contact Kelly Smith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kelly Smith (Local Organizer)

Function and Malfunction in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences and Social Sciences

The 4th European Advanced Seminar in the Philosophy of the Life Sciences (EASPLS) was devoted to the topic of function and malfunction in Biology, Biomedicine and the Social Sciences and was organized by Jean Gayon, Alvaro Moreno, and Isabella Sarto-Jackson. It took place at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) in Klosterneuburg, Austria, at the beginning of September 2016, and gathered together a numerous and very diverse group of early and advanced researchers (from 13 different countries and 3 distinct continents).

The forty participants had the chance to discuss and interact for five days in the tranquil and inspiring atmosphere of the host institute that is perched between the river Danube and the foothills of the Vienna Woods. The format of this workshop included individual presentations, contributions of senior scholars and commentaries of junior researchers, moderated roundtable discussions, and a general discussion session, in which all participants were involved. It was a wonderful opportunity for all participants to get a good perspective on the different problems and views that are being currently discussed regarding the concepts of function and malfunction in the contemporary philosophy of the life sciences. In addition, it allowed young researchers to get acquainted with timely developments in neighboring fields and to network at an early stage of their career.

A report of the workshop is to be written by a small group of participants to be submitted to the journal Biological Theory. Also, a selection of the papers presented in the workshop will get published in a thematic section of the same journal.

We thank ISHPSSB and other organizations that provided support for this meeting and look forward to the 5th EASPLS, which will take place in September 2018 at the KLI and will be directed by Thomas Reydon and Sabina Leonelli.

David Suárez Pascal (Participant) and Isabella Sarto-Jackson (Local Organizer)

Credits

This newsletter was edited by David Suarez Pascal. I thank Maria Kronfeldner, Michel Morange and Sean Valles for all their help, as well as to the ISHPSSB members who contributed with their texts to this newsletter.