First, my apologies for the fact that no Spring newsletter was issued this year. This combined Spring/Fall newsletter contains the information that would usually appear in both issues. Despite this unwonted silence, there has been plenty of activity in 2012. Those who have visited the website recently will have seen that the content has been placed in a new, more up-to-date design. Thanks are due to our webmaster, Carlos Mariscal. The Publications Committee are actively exploring a new logo for the society. Some suggestions are reproduced below, and we invite feedback to the chair of the Publications Committee.
A successful off-year workshop was organized by a group of students from the Center for Biology and Society at Arizona State University and the Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, WA. You can read about the event below.
Preparations for the 2013 meeting have also gone forward, with a lot of work behind the scenes by the local organizing committee and program committee. The call for papers can be seen on the conference website, whose URL in the conference update below.
This month sees the HSS/PSA meetings in San Diego, at which Michael Ruse will launch his Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought and celebrate the ongoing publication of the Cambridge Introductions to the Philosophy of Biology. Michael and CUP have made an extraordinary contribution to publishing work of interest to members of our society over the past seventeen years. The sixty-nine volumes of Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology have maintained a consistently high standard, and made a very considerable contribution to our community: well worth celebrating.
Update: 2013 ISHPSSB Biennial Meeting, Montpellier
Planning is well advanced for the 2013 meeting. The meeting venue has been relocated from the Centre Saint-Charles to the Supagro school, which is a modern campus with all facilities for conferences, and includes a student residence with 200 rooms, providing rooms at a 22€/night cost, so that the expected minimal cost per day of accommodation & food will be around 50€. Montpellier being a city of Universities, two other equivalent student residencies are available around, able to host all our attendees. Nice hotels with a wide range of prices are to be found in the city center (with negotiated discounts), which is situated 20 minutes walk from the campus.
A conference website has been created at http://www.ishpssb2013.org/ and is steadily being populated with information. The updated venue information will appear on the site very soon.
The call for papers can be viewed at: http://ishpssb2013.sciencesconf.org/. The deadline for submissions is 28th February 2013.
- Jean Gayon (IHPST/Paris I). Chair.
- Philippe Huneman (IHPST, Paris). Co-chair.
- Paul Luu (Agropolis International)
- Pascal Nouvel (Université Montpellier III).
- Brigitte Cabantous (Agropolis International)
- Bernard Hubert (Agropolis International)
- Finn Kjellberg (Cefe, Montpellier)
- Annick Lesne (IHES, Orsay)
- Virginie Maris (Cefe, Montpellier)
- Francesca Merlin (IHPST, Paris)
- Michel Morange (ENS/IHPST, Paris)
- François Munoz (UM2, Cirad, Montpelier)
- Antonine Nicoglou (IHPST, Paris)
- Thomas Pradeu (Paris Sorbonne/IHPST)
- Vincent de Victor (Isem UM2, Montpellier)
Call for papers ISHPSSB 2013
July 7-12, Montpellier, France
The meeting will take place from Sunday July 7th, 4pm to Friday July 12th, 12:30am.
As Montpellier has a rich history – it was one of the earliest medical universities in Europe – and has developed a very active research in ecology and biodiversity, we have included in the scientific program the three following plenary lectures:
- Sunday 7th, 5pm: Maaike van der Lugt (University of Paris Denis Diderot) will describe the role of universities such as Montpellier in the development of sciences in the Middle Ages.
- Tuesday 9th, 4:30-6:30 pm: Isabelle Olivieri (University of Montpellier) and Michel Loreau (CNRS, Moulis) will talk about biodiversity and its management.
- Submission deadline: February 28th, 2013
- Notification from the Program Committee: March 31st, 2013
Six possible types of submissions
Please read carefully the following lines before deciding to choose one or the other option. Four of them existed in previous ISH meetings, and two (options 2 and 6) are new.
Option 1: Traditional session:
Each participant in a thematic session must submit her/his own abstract.
In addition, the organizer of the session (usually one of the participants in the session) must fill in the “Traditional session” form online.
Maximum length for each abstract: 250 words.
Total duration of a traditional session: 90 minutes.
Option 2: Interdisciplinary session:
We encourage the constitution of interdisciplinary sessions. The procedure for submission is the same as for Option 1. These sessions must correspond to a true interdisciplinary content, which will be underlined by the presence of two chairpersons, coming from different disciplines, and distinct from the lecturers, and the selection of two different themes in the list below.
Each participant in an interdisciplinary session must submit her/his own abstract.
In addition, the organizer of the session (usually one of the participants in the session) must fill in the “Interdisciplinary session” form online.
Maximum length for each abstract: 250 words.
Total duration of an interdisciplinary session: 90 minutes.
Option 3: Poster:
You submit an individual abstract for a poster session that will take place on Monday 8, from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. The ISHPSSB recommends this option that permits rich discussions.
Maximum length for a poster abstract: 250 words.
Option 4: Individual paper:
You submit an individual abstract for an oral presentation. The program committee will put individual papers together in order to constitute sessions of three or four participants, after consulting them. There will be a clear distinction between the self-organized sessions, and these “externally-organized” sessions. The spirit of ISH tells us that the result of self-organization is always superior to the result of an organizational process constrained from outside.
The total duration for each session will be 90 minutes.
Maximum length for paper abstract: 250 words.
In the "Comments" section online, you will have to indicate one theme for your paper, chosen in the list below. This will help us to gather individual papers into sessions.
Option 5: Round Table:
You can also submit a proposal for a round table. The submission is made by the organizer (and not by each participant). The organizer of the round table must provide the title of the round table and an abstract. In addition, she or he must fill in the “Round Table” form online.
Maximum length for the abstract of a round table: 250 words.
Total duration of a round table: 90 minutes.
We have already preselected a certain number of issues and speakers for round tables, on themes that seemed to us to particularly deserve a discussion (see below). But we expect from you other, new and unexpected propositions!
Option 6: Dialogue:
Finally, we have decided to create a new type of sessions, named “Dialogue.” Two speakers, having previously written or lectured on the same issue, but having reached different conclusions, will each be assigned 25 minutes to present their ideas. They will debate for 10 minutes, and discuss with the audience for 30 minutes (for a total duration of 90 minutes). We encourage the participants in a Dialogue to choose a “strong” moderator as a chairperson.
A Dialogue should be submitted by the organizer (who may but need not be one of the participants, and cannot be the moderator/chairperson). The organizer must give a title and an abstract. In addition, she or he must fill in the “Dialogue” form online.
Maximum length for the abstract of a dialogue: 250 words.
Total duration of a dialogue: 90 minutes.
We have already contacted some people for these Dialogues, to provide some examples of what we expect (see below). All additional propositions are welcome. An order of magnitude for the total number of these dialogues would be about 10, though this number is obviously flexible.
We have fixed quite rigid rules to avoid that some people participate in too many sessions. Thus, each participant has two tokens:
- One allows her or him to give a talk in a session, or to participate in a Dialogue, or to present a poster.
- The second token allows her or him to participate in a Round Table, or to be a chairperson, or to be a respondent or a commentator or to be the moderator of a Dialogue.
- No additional tokens will be provided!
(Thus, for example, a same person can give a talk in a session and participate in a Round Table, but cannot in addition chair a session.)
Please go to the ISHPSSB2013 website:
http://www.ishpssb2013.org and follow the instructions. As you will see, it is necessary to create an account before submitting.
Looking forward to seeing you all in Montpellier,The Program Committee.
List of themes
- Cellular and Molecular Biology: Historical and Philosophical Approaches
- Development and Evo-devo
- Ethical and bioethical issues
- Evolutionary Biology: Origin, and early developments
- Evolutionary Biology: The Modern Synthesis
- Evolutionary Biology: The recent challenges
- Evolutionary Biology: Theoretical and conceptual issues (e.g. definition of Darwinian processes, levels of selection, etc.)
- Evolutionary Biology: Cooperation, altruism, evolution and economy
- Evolutionary Psychology
- Functions and Mechanisms
- Gender Studies
- Historical, philosophical and sociological perspectives on:
- Origins of life, minimal life
- History of Genetics
- Neurosciences and cognitive sciences: scientific, social, and philosophical issues
- The “organism” problem
- Public Health issues, and their social dimensions
- Reductionism, antireductionism, emergence
- The “species” problem
- Systematics and classification
- Systems Biology, Synthetic Biology and Genomics
- Teaching Biology
Dialogues: early propositions with provisional titles:
- William Bechtel & Carl Craver: On the explanatory role of mathematical models in biology
- Garland Allen & Bruno Strasser: Experimentalism and natural history in 20th century biology
Round Tables: early propositions with provisional titles:
- Organizer: Sabina Leonelli (University of Exeter)Title: Plant science: its place in biology
- Organizer: Edna Suarez (University of Mexico)Title: New sources in the historiography of science: post-colonial and cultural studies
- Organizer: Elliott SoberTitle: About his recent book, Did Darwin write the Origin backwards? (2011)
- Organizer: Manfred Laubichler (Arizona State University)Title: American and European perspectives on the relations between History and Philosophy of science
ISHPSSB 2012 Off-Year Workshop: What’s New about Systems Biology?
On August 16 - 17, an international group of scientists and historians and philosophers of science gathered at the Institute for Systems Biology, in Seattle, Washington, for the 2012 off-year workshop of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, titled, “What’s New about Systems Biology?” The workshop, organized by a joint committee of graduate students and post-docs from Arizona State University’s Center for Biology and Society and the Institute for Systems Biology, addressed important but highly contested historical and philosophical issues surrounding the field of systems biology.
Over the course of the two-day workshop, four sessions covered issues ranging from the methodological foundations of systems biology to its historical roots and precursors. Presentations from both scientists and HPS scholars brought to light the diversity of opinions surrounding the origins of the field, and what it means to practice systems biology. For example, in the opening session, titled, “What’s New about Systems Biology?”, three presentations covered topics as diverse as the latest work on post-translational regulation, the differences between the systems and molecular approaches to cell division, and finally the anticipation of current systems thinking in the work of late-19th century biologist, Theodor Boveri. The compelling, yet diverse views of these participants generated spirited discussions among the audience about the nature of current systems biology and its “newness.” Everyone, however, agreed that investigating these themes through the alternative perspectives represented at the workshop was beneficial to all.
The first session set an exploratory tone that was maintained throughout the workshop. As participants got to know each other in discussion sections, coffee breaks, lunches, and a tour of the Institute for Systems Biology in which some witnessed for the first time the machinery driving the science of systems biology, disciplinary boundaries quickly faded into a general excitement about the possibilities that approaching science from so many different perspectives could generate. As one participant noted, “It was great to be in a room with people that thought critically about the science they are doing and how it is changing (or the same) and how we can apply technology, tools, etc. in a more informative way. It was nice to think about science differently instead of having to just meet deadlines or get a result.”
With a participant list numbering over 60, including a substantial number from Seattle-area systems biology and biomedical research groups, this ISHPSSB Off-Year Workshop was a great reminder that when scientists, philosophers, historians, and social studies scholars of science get together, everyone benefits. Or, as one participant reflected, “One conversation I remember distinctly, reminded me that even in my own area of expertise there is still much I do not know. Sometimes it is good to be reminded of this.”
Kate MacCord and Lijing Jiang
Call for proposals to host the 2015 and 2017 meetings
While our French colleagues are working hard to ensure a successful meeting in Montpellier in July 2013, the Site Selection Committee cordially invites ISHPSSB members elsewhere to propose potential sites for the July 2015 and — why not? — July 2017 Society meetings.
It is, of course, impossible at this time to anticipate the repercussions the current economic crisis in Europe and elsewhere will have on members’ mobility in the years to come, but we will certainly take this issue into account when preparing our proposal for 2015 to the Members’ Meeting in Montpellier. Independently of this, we encourage proposals to host the 2017 meeting from all over the world but especially from South America, where very exciting things are going on in HPSSB right now.
Another issue we would like to call your attention to is overlap with other meetings (if you are aware of such, please let me know) and, on the positive side, the possibility of having our meeting precede or follow another major event attended by a significant number of ISH members. We are somewhat flexible as far as dates are concerned.
As a former host, I can assure potential candidates that hosting a meeting the size of ISH is not only a lot of work, but also a uniquely rewarding experience for the hosting team!
Werner Callebaut (on behalf of the Site Selection Committee)
Call for submissions for 2013 Marjorie Grene Prize
ISHPSSB seeks submissions for the 2013 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 (Brisbane 2009 or Salt Lake City 2011) by someone who was, at the time of presentation, a graduate student.
It is very appropriate for ISHPSSB to name this prize in Marjorie Grene's honor. Not only did her work in the history and philosophy of biology exemplify the strong spirit of interdisciplinary work fundamental to ISHPSSB, but she also played a central role in bringing together diverse scholars of biology even before the formation of the Society. She was 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.
Submissions should be in the form of a paper prepared for submission to a professional journal, with an indication of the journal in question and whether the paper is already in review. Submissions can be in the form of papers already accepted for publication. Electronic submissions, in Microsoft Word or PDF format, are preferred and must be emailed no later than March 1, 2013. Hardcopy submissions must include three complete copies of the paper and be mailed no later than March 1, 2013.
The winning entry will be announced by May 1, 2013.
Please submit papers to
School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT
Suggested new ISHPSSB logo designs
- Paul Griffiths, President
University of Sydney
- Anya Plutynski, Secretary
University of Utah
- Lisa Gannett, Treasurer
- Werner Callebaut, President Elect
Konrad Lorenz Institute
- Michel Morange, Program Co-Chair
- Thomas Pradeu, Program Co-Chair
- Ana Rosa Barahona Echeverria, Past-President
- Jean Gayon, Local Organisation Co-Chair
- Philippe Huneman, Local Organisation Co-Chair
- Emily Parke, Student Representative
University of Pennsylvania
- Jessica Bolker, Council Member
University of New Hampshire
- Giuseppe Testa, Council Member
- Emily Schulz, Council Member
Cloud State University
- Gregory Radick, Council Member
University of Leeds
- Manfred Laubichler, Council Member
- Akihisa Setoguchi, Council Member
Osaka City University
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This newsletter was edited by Anya Plutynski, Paul Griffiths and David Suárez.