Fall 1998 Eighteenth Issue (Volume 10, No. 2)
Notes on the 1999 Meeting
Call for Papers: 1999 Meeting
Proposed Sessions To-Date for the 1999 Meeting
Marjorie Grene Prize
Committee on Education Report
Nominations for Spring 1999 Elections
ISHPSSB Website and Listserv
Special Offers for Members
Publications of Interest
Web Sites/e-mail Lists of Interest
Membership and Renewal Information
Fall 1998 Newsletter
by Lisa Lloyd
Our meetings are set for Wednesday, July 6, through Sunday, July 11, in the beautiful town of Oaxaca, Mexico; now we need your papers and talks! There are several options for participation, including panels, roundtables, workshops, or simple contributed papers.
Symposia topics are posted at our program bulletin board, http://server.phil.vt.edu/ishpssb/submissions/board.html
Anyone interested in participating in a symposium should contact the organizer of the symposium directly (i.e., the person who proposed the session). Commentators for papers, roundtables, etc. are also needed; let Program Chair Michael Dietrich know what you would be available to do. (We do have a limit of one major contribution and one comment per conference participant.) We do encourage everyone to submit their contributions electronically to the Program Chair.
We have some travel funds for graduate students and independent scholars, and applications are pending for further travel grants. The information for making hotel reservations will be posted on the website after the new year. We look forward to seeing you all in Oaxaca. •
NOTES ON THE 1999 MEETING
The dates for the meeting are set! Registration will begin on Tuesday, July 6, 1999. Meeting sessions will begin on Wednesday, July 7 and continue through Saturday, July 10. A field trip to the archeological site at Monte Alban has been planned for Sunday, July 11, and all members are encouraged to attend.
Hotel arrangements are being planned through a local travel agency. Details on the cost of meals, hotel, and the field trip will be available in the Spring Newsletter, and probably even sooner on the Society web page.
Oaxaca is the capital of the Mexican state with the same name and is about 340 miles southeast of Mexico City. It is a unique, colorful and interesting place that is located in a valley surrounded by the Sierra Madre del Sur. The city has a superb climate and a Spanish flavor with its ornate buildings, churches, elegant archways, balconies, decorative grill work and charming plazas. Oaxaca’s historic center and the nearby archeological zone of Monte Alban have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Every night you’ll find music of one kind or another and especially popular are the marimba bands that play several nights a week. For more information, visit the ISHPSSB website and follow the link to Oaxaca! •
CALL FOR PAPERS: ISHPSSB 1999
International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, 1999 Meeting
When: Wednesday through Sunday, July 7-11, 1999
Where: Oaxaca, Mexico
The ISHPSSB program committee welcomes proposals for individual papers and sessions on topics related to all facets of the history, philosophy, and social studies of biology.
Forms for submitting proposals are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.phil.vt.edu/ishpssb/submissions/program.html
Forms are also included in this Newsletter and are available from Michael Dietrich at the address below.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: JANUARY 15, 1999
While participants are strongly encouraged to submit proposals for Panels, Roundtables, Discussion Sessions, or innovative and experimental sessions, individual papers are welcome as well. All Proposals must include an organizer and his or her address, including an e-mail address (if they have one).
The International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) brings together scholars from diverse disciplines, including the life sciences as well as history, philosophy, and social studies of science. ISHPSSB summer meetings are known for innovative, transdisciplinary sessions, and for fostering informal, co-operative exchanges and on-going collaborations.
For further information consult the ISHPSSB webpages at http://www.phil.vt.edu/ishpssb/
PROPOSED SESSIONS TO-DATE FOR THE 1999 MEETING
There is still time to propose sessions. Visit the Society website to submit proposals, and e-mail your ideas to the Society listserv to seek out participants.
Organizer: Peter Taylor
Title/Topic: Teaching HPSSB & Biology pre-conference Workshop (Tuesday, July 6)
For a day starting on the morning before the ISHPSSB meeting proper there is planned a workshop, consisting of 45, 60 or 90 minute "experiential" sessions on teaching HPSSB and biology. That is, instead of the session leaders telling us what they have thought or found out, they lead us to experience the issues and directions they are exploring. This format comes from the International Society for Exploring Teaching Alternatives (ISETA – http://www.asu.edu/upfd/www/iseta). One example of an ISETA session proposal can be viewed at http://omega.cc.umb.edu/~ptaylor/iseta98.html, but quite different approaches would be expected according to the subject material.
Send proposals or simply express your interest by December 20th.
Organizer: Andre Ariew
Analyses of innateness have been re-emerging lately within both philosophy circles (witness W. Wimsatt’s latest articles and F. Cowie’s forthcoming book What’s Within) and cognitive science circles (Elman, et al. Rethinking Innateness). First, there is a question about meaning: what is an innate trait? Second, there is a methodological question, what can the analysis of innateness tell us about how cognitive scientists and biologists should determine whether and what traits are innate? Third, there is a crossover question, what does the research by biologists and cognitive scientist reveal to philosophers (if anything) about classical questions about innate ideas? This is the rough idea, I welcome suggestions.
Organizer: Michael Dietrich
Title/Topic: Molecules and Evolution
Anyone interested in participating in a session on the impact of molecular biology or biochemistry on the study of evolution please contact me.
Organizers: Mathias Gutmann, Eva M. Neumann-Held, and Christoph Rehmann-Sutter
Title/Topic: Organisms – a Prejudice?
Description: In recent years the concept of the organism became a theme again in biology. There are many ways to speculate about the reasons for this conceptual revival after "the organism" seemed to be "dead" in Neo-Darwinism. One way to approach this conceptual development could be by historical reconstructions or sociological analysis. In our session, however, we would like to discuss why we might want to think about "the organism" at all. What could be the constitutive role of a concept "organism" for biological theory and what would be its explanatory power? What are or would be the differences between an organism-centered biology and a biology that seems to get along without any reference to an organism concept?
In our session we plan to approach these questions coming from a biological, a methodological, or an ethical direction. We like to invite comments to our idea, and papers to our session.
Organizers: Susanne Lijmbach and Richard Burkhardt
Title/Topic: Animal Issues
Description: Many of the history, philosophy and social studies of biology papers given at ISHPSSB meetings have focused on matters of theory, organisms in general, ecosystems only made up of plants. As we did two years ago, we intend to organize one or more sessions where "animal issues" (rather than biological theories per se) are our central theme. Last time our themes included zoological gardens, cultural views of animals, animal ethics, historical and contemporary views on animal sciences, and the question of the animal mind. For the upcoming meeting we again want to bring together scientists, philosophers, and historians interested in this general area. We are eager to hear from individuals who are interested in giving papers or organizing collections of papers within this general framework.
Organizer: Dawn Ogden
Title/Topic: Science Evolving
Whether the evolution of science is mere metaphor or historiography on the one hand, or part of the causal explanation of science on the other, has been the subject of much debate in recent years. A landmark work in this area is David Hull’s 1988 Science as a Process, which bases the evolution of science in a more general selection theory, and provides a detailed case study in an attempt to demonstrate this mechanism in action. It is possible to disagree with this view either on its conceptual basis, or by attempting to show that the history of science does not bear it out.
The purpose of this session is to survey a cross-section of the continuing debate and in particular, the debate as shaped by the view that science evolves in accordance with a general account of selection.
I encourage papers in any of the following areas: 1) evolutionary models as useful heuristics or historiographies for understanding the advancement of science; 2) criticisms or defenses of existing accounts of the evolution of science; 3) case studies of episodes in the history of science demonstrating or disproving scientific evolution; and 4) memetics – theoretical or case studies, as applied to transmission of theory or methodology in science.
Confirmed participants so far: David Hull (Northwestern), Clifford Hooker or W.D. Christensen (Newcastle), Sigrid Glenn (North Texas), and Michelle Little (Northwestern).
Please send your abstracts to me by December 31 at the e-mail address below. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words.
Session web page URL (available soon): http://www.arts.ubc.ca/~ogden/ishpssb.htm
Organizers: Robert Olby and Larry Stern
Title/Topic: Perspectives on the Study of Memory by Animal Experimentation
This session is given to an analysis of selected attempts to explore the nature of memory by animal experimentation in the 1960s, and to contrast these with the recent work using knock-out gene technology. The papers will: (1) focus on the process whereby the early studies, now considered largely invalid, were initially accommodated and subsequently rejected, (2) discuss the criteria by which such episodes should be analyzed, (3) using the knock-out gene memory work, reflect on the relation of recent work to the studies of the 1960s. Should the historian of the sixties make use of the knowledge of the 90s in her/his analysis?
Contributors: Robert Olby, "Hyden’s Biochemistry of Memory – Respectable Science?" Mark Rilling, "How the Media Treated McConnell’s Memory Transfer Experiments and the Promise of the Memory Pill, plus some Echoes in Contemporary Neuroscience," Larry Stern, "The Reception of Extraordinary Scientific Claims: Georges Ungar, Scotophobin, and the Molecular Code for Memory," and Sylvia Culp, "Genes for Memory? Surely not a Replay of the 60s?"
Organizer: Rivers Singleton
Title/Topic: Teaching the ‘Proper Conduct of Science’
Description: Several years ago, the NIH mandated that students trained under NIH sponsorship must receive course work in "the proper conduct of science." One approach to meeting this requirement is a simple "case study" approach in which students simply explore hypothetical or actual examples of improper science conduct. Alternatively, I have developed a course that integrates some background in science history (Harvey and Darwin) and philosophy (Hull’s Science as a Process) as a context to understand both hypothetical and actual examples of improper science conduct. Such a session should ideally involve several approaches to dealing with this topic, so I am interested in hearing from individuals who may be teaching or doing research in this area.
Organizer: Rivers Singleton
Title/Topic: 20th Century Disciplinary Development of Biochemistry, especially Intermediary Metabolism
Description: While the historical roots of biochemistry emerge from 19th century questions about physiology, many of the discipline’s central "consensus practices" emerged during the middle decades of this century, as biologists attempted to describe the metabolic properties of a variety of organisms. With the exception of Holmes’ study of Hans Krebs, however the area of "intermediary metabolism" is often ignored in discussing biochemistry’s disciplinary evolution. Often an intellectual leap is made from protein chemistry and enzyme theory to molecular biology of the gene, and the complex web of pathways that enzymes catalyze and genes control is ignored. I am currently studying the work of Harland Wood, who made a number of significant contributions to intermediary metabolism. I am interested in joining together with other individuals who may be studying the work to similar individuals to organize a program to explores both the nature of the complex metabolic web as well as the experimental programs that lead to its understanding.
Organizer: C. U. M. Smith
Title/Topic: Coalescence: Analogies between Technological and Biological Evolution
Can we perhaps work in the opposite direction to the conventional? Can we use observations on technological evolution to extract a principle (‘coalescence’) which is also applicable to biological evolution? The episodes in technological evolution which I’m thinking of, and others no doubt will think of others, are features of the informatics revolution of the mid-twentieth century, the steam-based ‘first’ industrial revolution, the emergence of telescopes in the seventeenth-century (so basic to the success of Galilean science). In all these cases the elements of the ‘revolution’ seem to have lain unused and unrecognized for (sometimes) centuries before the ‘time was ripe’. Can something of the same phenomenon be discerned in major episodes of biological evolution? Can we extract some general principles from these episodes in technological ‘evolution’ and apply them to biological evolution? Could we use them to illuminate. for example, the ending of the two-billion year ‘quiet’ period of prokaryotic evolution in the proterozoic? The emergence of a eukaryotic biota? The emergence of a metazoan fauna? Other ‘coalescences’ and other technological and biological episodes could be described. There is (I think) no reason to doubt that the biological coalescences lie fully within the Darwinian paradigm; but they may be responsible for some of the major punctuations in the smooth Darwinian process. Nevertheless there may be some underlying thermodynamic drive.
This proposal could bring together those interested in macroevolution (biological); history of technology; evolutionary epistemology; thermodynamics of evolution; new paradigms of the evolutionary process.
Organizer: Kelly Smith
Title/Topic: Building Careers
Description: WANTED: Anyone interested in helping organize or participate in a session designed to aid young scholars in building their early careers: putting together an application, interviewing, publishing, schmoozing, etc.
Organizer: Kelly Smith
Title/Topic: Complex systems in Development
Description: If the current model of hierarchical control of development is inappropriate, then an alternative framework will have to be elaborated. Areas to be covered might include field theory, developmental systems theory, Kauffmanism, vitalism, organicism, etc.
Organizer: Peter Taylor
Title/Topic: Genes, Gestation, and Life Experiences: Perspectives on the Social Environment in the Age of DNA
What meanings are given to the term "environment," and how have these changed over time and in response to criticism? What is measured and what is explained? What methodologies are employed for collecting data and making inferences? What is the status of the different sciences and social sciences involved? How are these colored by past and present associations with political currents? With these questions in mind, this session aims to enrich scientific and popular discussion about the contribution of the environment to the development of behavioral and medical conditions over any individual’s lifetime.
Some paper proposals have been submitted for this session, but more are needed before the session’s shape is clear. Proposals that don’t fit the session as it emerges will be forwarded to the program organizer for inclusion in other sessions. Send paper proposals by December 20th.
Organizers: Denis Thieffry and Richard M. Burian
Title/Topic: History of Developmental Biology: From Experimental Embryology to Developmental Biology
The purpose of this session is to examine the recent extension of the molecular paradigm to the problems of embryonic development and pattern formation. We will address material, social, and cultural as well as conceptual aspects of the development of developmental biology. Individual contributions might, for example, focus on specific experimental settings, the use of model organisms, scientific networks, or propaganda strategies as well as conceptual and experimental developments or theoretical models.
We will pay special attention to discipline formation (i.e., the shaping of the new Developmental Biology) and interdisciplinary relationships (e.g., between Embryology, Genetics, and Molecular Biology). We will also focus on the delineation of important controversies and on the scientific, philosophical, and sociological factors that played a role in the ‘selection’ of competing models, theories, or visions of life.
We hope to carry these issues forward to the present by including some work on the difficulties of integrating molecular and morphological findings in a number of current controversies.
Organizer: Chris Young
Title/Topic: Field Science and Changing Technology
Description: In studying the history of ecology and wildlife biology, I have become intrigued by changing technologies used by scientists as they attempt to follow and quantify their research subjects. I have noticed parallel developments in other field sciences, including primatology, behavioral ecology, archaeology, and anthropology, to name a few. This session would combine historical, philosophical, and sociological studies of field sciences in an attempt to understand the interaction between technological change in methodology and conceptual change in science. The session would include an interdisciplinary approach to understanding changes in several disciplines. I welcome comments on this idea.
MARJORIE GRENE PRIZE
ISHPSSB is pleased to announce the establishment of The 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 paper presented at one of the previous two ISHPSSB meetings 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. Her work in history and philosophy of biology has provided models for many ISHPSSB members, and exemplifies the spirit of pursuing interactions among the fields within ISHPSSB; she played a central role in bringing together the scholars in the meetings that became the pre-history of ISHPSSB; and she has been a mentor to many of the leading members of the Society.
The award will consist of a certificate and up to $200 towards expenses incurred in attending the following meeting of the Society and not reimbursed from another source. If the manuscript is not already under review by a journal, the prize committee will promote the winning entry to one of the leading journals.
ISHPSSB encourages, but does not require, all entrants to be members of the Society. •
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION REPORT
Educational Resources Website
Website contents: Background to this site; teaching materials, websites, and educationally related publications of ISHPSSB members; sites of interest to ISHPSSB members developing their teaching and contributing to wider developments in education about the life sciences; conferences and other events; and bibliography. •
NOMINATIONS FOR SPRING 1999 ELECTIONS
The nominating process for elected ISHPSSB positions is getting going. Council members are expected to serve on 1-3 committees and volunteer for jobs such as newsletter editor. Please send nominations committee members your suggestions, including self-nominations. Nominees will be asked to compose a statement to be published in the Spring Newsletter. Ballots will also be distributed at that time to paid up members.
The committee also welcomes people letting us know of their interest in helping with future program organizing and local arrangements, in addition to the elected Society offices.
ISHPSSB WEBSITE AND LISTSERV
The official ISHPSSB Website is located at:
As a member of ISHPSSB, you are not automatically subscribed to the society’s listserv. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with plans for the 1999 ISHPSSB meeting!
The moderated listserv for the society is sponsored in part by the University of Minnesota Program in History of Science and Technology. Any member interested in receiving mailings on this listserv should "subscribe" to the list by sending the following message:
SUBSCRIBE ISHPSB-L yourfirstname yourlastname
To send a message to all the people currently subscribed to the list, send to:
The newsletter will also go out to the listserv. Every ISHPSSB member is encouraged to subscribe to the e-mail list to enjoy more frequent and rapid correspondence with other members. If you know members who have not subscribed, please encourage them to do so.
SPECIAL OFFERS FOR MEMBERS
Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciencesis a new journal whose first issue will be published at the beginning of 1998. The journal will be devoted to historical, sociological, philosophical and ethical aspects of the life and environmental sciences, of the sciences of mind and behavior, and of the medical and biomedical sciences and technologies.
The editorial policy will be in line with the policy of the parent journal, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science – contributions will be drawn from a wide range of countries and cultural traditions; we shall encourage both specialist articles, and articles combining historical, philosophical, and sociological approaches; and we shall favor works of interest to scientists and medics as well as to specialists in the history, philosophy and sociology of the sciences. The table of contents of Studies in History and Philosophy of Science is available at the Elsevier Science Ltd website at the following addresses: http://www.elsevier.com:80/inca/publications/store/3/0/5/8/6/; http://www.elsevier.nl/inca/publications/store/3/0/5/6/6/; and http://www.elsevier.nl/inca/publications/store/6/0/0/6/5/8/
The editors are seeking original English language articles in the field of the new journal. For these the word limit is c. 10,000. They would also welcome proposals for 3-4000 word essay-reviews.
Prospective authors should submit copies of papers in duplicate, typed and double-spaced (including quotations and footnotes) on quarto or A4 paper. They should retain a copy for the purpose of checking proofs. Illustrations are encouraged; authors should be prepared, if their paper is accepted, to supply good quality copies of any illustration and any necessary permissions for reproduction of copyright material. All articles and volunteered essay-reviews will be blind refereed.
Editorial Panel: Nicholas Jardine (Editor), Marina Frasca-Spada (Associate Editor), and advisory editors Soraya de Chadarevian, Nicholas Hopwood, and Harmke Kamminga. Consultant editors are Andrew A. Brennan, Alice Domurat Dreger, John P. Forrester, Ilana Lswy, Onora O’Neill, Hans-Jsrg Rheinberger, Kenneth F. Schaffner. •
Blackwell Publishers are pleased to announce a special reduced rate for Metascience for ISHPSSB members!
is a review journal which publishes high quality, comprehensive reviews of books in history and philosophy of science, science and technology studies and related fields. Metascience, edited by John Forge, specializes in innovative styles of reviewing including standard, essay, CD-ROM, non-anglophone, and discipline survey reviews and "round-table" or review symposia in which up to four reviewers provide independent essay reviews of one book. Metascience is non-specialist as all reviews are accessible to a wide cross-section of the HPS/STS community.
Special Reduced Personal Rate: $40.00 (North America), £25.00 (Europe and Rest of World); Institutional Rate: $123.00 (North America), £75.00 (Europe and Rest of World)
Journals Marketing, Blackwell Publishers, 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
is offering a special introductory subscription rate to ISHPSSB members. Perspectives is an international and interdisciplinary journal published by the University of Chicago Press. The journal publishes essays that place biological and medical topics in a broader historical, philosophical, or cultural context. Future issues of Perspectives will contain a number of articles by ISHPSSB members. Regularly $39.00 for a one-year subscription, the special rate for new subscribers is only $33.15. (For subscriptions mailed outside USA, please add $4.00 for postage.)
Members are invited to request a copy of the ISHPSSB Directory by sending a request to David Magnus, the Society secretary. The first copy is free. Members who would like a second copy of the directory are asked to forward a check for $3.00 payable to the Society to cover copying and mailing costs. The directory is updated at the beginning of each year; members submitting requests after February 1 will receive a copy of the latest directory. •
Everett Mendelsohn began the Journal of the History of Biology in 1968 and has remained as editor since then, joined by Shirley Roe as assistant and then co-editor. Their combined efforts have provided an impressive 31 volumes of this important outlet that has helped to shape the history of the biological sciences. Beginning with volume 32, Garland Allen (Washington University) and Jane Maienschein (Arizona State University) will serve as co-editors. Starting immediately, correspondence should be sent to the editorial offices at:
Also, beginning with volume 32, a special reduced individual subscription rate of $50 will be available to members of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology when paid through the organization. •
Critical and Creative Thinking
at the University of Massachusetts, Boston
Through their teaching, writing, and public presentations, many ISHPSSBers are addressing the challenge of promoting the constructively critical analysis of science among students, practicing scientists, other science studies scholars, and the wider public. In this spirit I invite you to bring to the attention of students with history, philosophy, social studies and biology interests the program I have recently joined at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) is a unique interdisciplinary graduate program which continues to grow and contribute to the wider national and international discourse on critical and creative thinking. Staffed by faculty from education, philosophy, psychology and other life sciences, it offers a master of arts degree, a graduate certificate and other non-degree options. Graduate students from many states and several countries join those from Massachusetts in pursuing these options. Some are teachers and college professors, teacher educators, curriculum specialists, and school administrators. Others are museum educators, artists, musicians, and policy makers in government and corporate settings. The CCT Program has recently moved from the University’s College of Arts and Sciences to the Graduate College of Education, but it continues to welcome students from a variety of fields.
The CCT Program provides students with an understanding of the processes of critical thinking and creativity, and with ways of helping others develop these processes in a variety of formal and informal educational settings. Traditionally, CCT courses and workshops have covered psychological studies of the scope, limits, and techniques of critical and creative thought, information processing, and conceptual learning in children and young adults; philosophical studies of techniques in reasoning, argument, logical thinking, valuing, and judging; and work with cognitive structures and metacognitive techniques for stimulating creativity and critical thought. At the same time, social justice concerns motivate the work of many CCT students and faculty. This is reflected, among other places, in an emergent program focus on examining science-in-society in order to foster critical and creative thinking in science.
One primary goal of the CCT Program is to help practicing educators and other professionals translate what they learn in CCT into strategies, materials and interventions for use in their own settings. CCT students develop skills that better equip them for on-going learning, fulfilling the needs of their schools, workplaces, and communities, adapting to social changes, and collaborating with others to these ends. Specialty content areas, within which students can become particularly expert at applying critical and creative thinking skills in a specific field, are available. The program offers five such areas and provides for several other individualized choices, through cooperation with other UMass Boston graduate programs, in such fields as business, developmental psychology, instructional design and media, language development, special education, and dispute resolution.
The specialty areas offered by the CCT Program itself are: Moral Issues and Moral Education, Criticism and Creativity in Literature and the Arts, Critical and Creative Thinking in Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Critical and Creative Thinking in Environmental Studies [in development], Critical and Creative Thinking in the Work Place.
Models in the Sciences, Technology and Medicine: Displaying the Third Dimension
When: November 13-14, 1998
Where: London, England
On Human Nature: Biological Approaches and Philosophical Reflections
When: March 15—18, 1999
Where: Dorint Hotel and Congress Center, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany
Deadline for Registration: February 1, 1999
The conference is organized by the European Academy for the Study of Consequences of Scientific and Technological Advance Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler GmbH, in cooperation with the Research Project: "Genome and Organism"( from Christoph Rehmann-Sutter and Eva M. Neumann-Held), supported by the Foundation "Mensch-Gesellschaft-Umwelt" of the University Basel.
The Symposium will have five sections on: Perspectives on Anthropology; Human Genetics; Genes, Evolution and Human Nature; Perception, Cognition and Mind; Technicalization of Man: Cultural Impacts and Ethical Problems.
Contributors will include: Ad Aertzen (Freiburg, Germany), Olaf Breidbach (Jena, Germany), Thomas Cremer (München, Germany), Hans-Rainer Duncker (Giessen, Germany), Scott F. Gilbert (Swarthmore, PA, USA), Brian Goodwin (London, UK), Paul Griffiths (Sydney, Australia), Mathias Gutmann (Bad-Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany), Henk ten Have (Nijmegen, The Netherlands), Ludger Honnefelder (Bonn, Germany), Peter Janich (Marburg, Germany), Helga Kuhse (Clayton, Victoria, Australia), Rolf Loether (Berlin, Germany), Alexandre Mauron (Geneve, Switzerland), Renato Mazzolini (Trento, Italy), Eva M. Neumann-Held (Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany), Geoff Parker (Liverpool, UK), Susan Oyama (New York, NY, USA), Oswald Schwemmer (Berlin, Germany), Christoph Rehmann-Sutter (Basel, Switzerland), Michael Weingarten (Marburg, Germany), Ulrich Wolf (Freiburg, Germany).
Conference Fee: DM 200,-; (students: DM 100,-), all other costs excluded.
John Ray and His Successors: The Clergyman as Biologist
When: March 18-21, 1999
Where: Braintree, Essex, UK
Organized by the John Ray Trust, the Institute of Biology’s History Committee, and the Society for the History of Natural History. Keynote speakers: John Brooke "Wise men nowadays think otherwise," Michael Reiss "On being a biologist and a cleric," plus others including professors Paul Foster, Chris Smith, Sandy Baker, David Knight, Mark Seaward, Edward Larson, and Peter Bowler.
Registration before January 1, 1999, is £90 (f/t students £30), accommodation etc. extra. Bookings and details from Janet Turner, John Ray Trust, Town Hall Centre, BRAINTREE, Essex, CM7 3YG. Tel (+44) 1376-557776; Fax -344345. •
Genes and Development: Interacting Processes or Hierarchical Organization? New Theoretical Approaches to Developmental Biology and their Ethical Implications
When: March 19—20, 1999
Where: University of Basel, Switzerland
The conference is organized by the Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine, University of Basel, in connection with the Research Project: "Genome and Organism" (Christoph Rehmann-Sutter and Eva M. Neumann-Held), supported by the Foundation "Mensch-Gesellschaft-Umwelt", and in collaboration with the "Schweizerische Gesellschaft für biomedizinische Ethik SGBE-SSEB" and the "European Academy for the Study of Consequences of Scientific and Technological Advance" Bad-Neuenahr-Ahrweiler GmbH.
Current results in molecular and developmental biology challenge traditional concepts of genes, genomes and organisms. The picture emerging from experimental results in the developmental branch of molecular genetics is more and more at odds with a hierarchical, DNA-centered interpretation resulting from the classical hereditary approach. Traditional metaphors like that of the "genetic program" for the development of an organism, have been objects of ideological controversy in bio-philosophy for quite a while. Now it seems, however, that they have to undergo some thorough revision for scientific reasons. Developmental genetics might call for a more organismic and more integrated approach and for a reassessment of nothing less than the role of DNA. There are reasons for looking for a new conceptualization of the relationships between chromosomes, developmental information and the developing organisms. This interdisciplinary symposium aims at an evaluation of new theoretical approaches in this field, approaches that are directed toward an integration of genetics and developmental biology.
The questions to be discussed arise from theoretical, philosophical and ethical issues. They include: What is an organism in relation to its genes? What are genes in relation to life? What is life in relation to DNA-protein-interactions in developing cellular systems? What is the theoretical and the ontological status of the "organism"? Which impacts has a transformed scientific description of life?
Speakers will include: Markus Affolter (Basel), Brian Goodwin (London), James Griesemer (Davis), Paul Griffiths (Sydney), Mathias Gutmann (Bad-Neuenahr-Ahrweiler), Evelyn Fox Keller (Boston), Gerd Mueller (Wien), Eva M. Neumann-Held (Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler), Susan Oyama (New York), Jackie Leach Scully (Basel), Christoph Rehmann-Sutter (Basel).
Registration before Feb. 15, 1999
Fee: sfr. 160 or $US 110 (students sfr. 80 or $US 55) includes coffee/tee and cookies; meals and accomodation extra. •
Environmental History across Boundaries: American Society for Environmental History Biennial Meeting
When: April 14-18, 1999
Where: Tucson, Arizona
For more information contact ASEH 1999, c/o Dr. Douglas R. Weiner, Department of History, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 USA, or visit the website: http://w3.arizona.edu/~aseh99/ •
Nature and Belief in American Communal Societies: Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment
When: June 2-5, 1998
Where: Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
In The Death of Nature, Carolyn Merchant points to seventeenth- century English sects such as the Diggers and the Ranters that sought to establish "egalitarian communal societies like those attempted by the medieval millenarian utopists." They challenged not only the socio-economic hierarchy of their time, but the emerging mechanistic world-view on which it was based, according to Merchant. While the lessons of science taught the general populace that the material world could be subjected to human control, these sects drew from the thought of Paracelcus to envision a nature filled with God, of which they were a part.
Communal societies guided by religious precepts, such as those mentioned by Merchant, have sprouted across the American landscape throughout its history. Few studies of such communities have taken any sustained look at questions concerning the relationship between man and nature raised by current environmentalist thought. This panel will examine the philosophies that underlie the practices of various American communal societies, from their earliest appearances to the present day. Pertinent issues to address include: How do religious precepts of the group define nature and the relation between man and nature? Is the religious philosophy of the group based on an interpretation of some biblical text, or any other text? Has the community generated its own written texts articulating the beliefs of the group? To what extent is the place of nature within the practical structure of the community mediated by written texts? Is there any relationship between the place of women in the community, and the philosophy of nature implied or directly stated within the belief system of the community? Historically, certain communities have experienced a weakening in their spiritual practices and convictions as their material fortunes improved. Does the community’s attitude toward nature play any role in the changes in its fortunes? What is the connection between the group’s millenialist philosophy (presuming it has one) and its relation to nature? What implications does this have for us, as we simultaneously confront the exhaustion of natural resources, possibilities of economic collapse, and a rash of apocalyptic visions occasioned by the coming millenial year?
What to Make of a Diminished Thing: The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE)
When: June 2-5, 1999
Where: Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Deadline: January 15, 1999
Featured speakers include: John Elder, Stephanie Mills, and Scott Russell Sanders.
ASLE welcomes proposals for plenary sessions, panels, and papers on topics related to literature and environment, such as: environmental restoration, urban nature, environment and community, ruined landscapes, environmental justice, stewardship, ecology and religion.
Web site: http://www.people.virginia.edu/~djp2n/asle.html •
The Recent History of Botanical Science: A General Symposium for the 16th International Botanical Congress
When: August 1-7, 1999
Where: St. Louis, Missouri,USA
This symposium is designed to examine the recent history of botany from a number of different directions in order to gain an appreciation of general trends in twentieth century botanical research. It will include contributions from botanists and historians who will examine the role of individuals, institutions, organisms, and choice of research problems in various subdisciplines and fields of the botanical sciences.
Contact: Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, Dept. History, 4131 Turlington Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 USA; or Josef Daniel Ackerman, Environmental Studies Program, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia, V2N 4Z9 Canada; Phone: (352) 392-0271; Fax: (352) 392-6927
Speakers: Ronald Stuckey, "Botanical History of North America: Important Contributions Chronicled for the Twentieth Century;" Nancy Slack, "Life After Clements: Do Plant Communities Still Exist?" Kim Kleinman, "Edgar Anderson, Introgressive Hybridization, and Evolutionary Theory in the 1940s;" Mark Lesney, "Plants in Peril: Plant Protection and the Rise of Biotechnology;" Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, "Botany at Harvard, 1918-1950;" James Pringle, "Milestones in the History of North American Botany;" Doug Holland, "A Short History of Botany in the United States – Thirty Years Longer." •
‘Nature’s Nation’ Reconsidered: American Concepts of Nature from Wonder to Ecological Crisis: European Association for American Studies Conference 2000
When: April 14-17, 2000
Where: Graz, Austria
Today’s advanced understanding of nature calls for a drastic re-conceptualization of traditional ideas about our relation to the natural environment. At the beginning of a new millennium an adequate understanding of ‘nature’ will be of utmost importance, and an investigation into the dominant ideas and attitudes of a nation and culture powerful enough to change that environment on a global scale would seem highly appropriate. A host of historical, socio-political and economical as well as cultural, literary, and psychological approaches can be applied to the theme in an attempt to understand the place and function of nature in American history (and the history of American self-definition) as well as the current manifestations of a new interest in nature in various areas of American culture and society. Lectures and workshops could thus inquire into the powerful impact the idea of nature had on American society and culture in the past, but also into the creative ("utopian") potential it still has in contemporary conceptualizations of alternative or different lives (and life styles). They could explore the multitude of myths and concepts relating to ‘nature’ and ‘America’ (European and American projections, Jeffersonian ideals and agrarian myths from the early republic to the New Deal, from pastoral self-confinement to the dynamics of westward expansion), conservation movements (the establishment of national parks and natural museums), nature writing, the representation of nature in literature, the arts, photography and film. They could also deal with Native American natural religion and its echoes in contemporary mainstream and (ethnic) counter-culture(s), with ecological movements in politics and the arts, with eco-feminism; or with the various manifestations of ‘artificial’ nature in plastic or in cyberspace.
Proposals for parallel/dialogue lectures should be submitted to the EAAS delegate of your national/regional American Studies Association, with copies to the EAAS President, Heinz Ickstadt, by January 31, 1999.
Proposals for workshop topics (and organizers) should be submitted to the EAAS delegate of your national/regional American Studies Association, with copies to the EAAS Secretary, Walter Hölbling, by January 31, 1999.
This Call for Papers and more recent information on the conference will be available on the web site of the EAAS at: http://www.let.uu.nl/eaas/eaas2000.htm
PUBLICATIONS OF INTEREST
Seventy-five Years of Mammalogy (1919-1994)
Edited by Elmer C. Birney and Jerry R. Choate, 1994, 433 pages, hardbound, $50.00.
Twenty-one chapters prepared by 41 contributors review the history of the world’s largest and oldest scientific society devoted to the study of mammals (the American Society of Mammalogists), as well as the development of the major subdisciplines of mammalogy. This volume serves not only as an interesting history of the development of an important scientific society, but as a timely review of major research in the field of mammalogy.
To order, please send your name, address, and check or money order, payable to *American Society of Mammalogists* in U.S. currency, to: Dr. H. Duane Smith, Secretary-Treasurer, c/o Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602 USA. If you wish to charge your order to Mastercard or VISA, a $2.00 handling fee will be added. Please supply your account number and card expiration date. All orders must be prepaid. Postage will be paid by ASM. •
Uroboros, or Biology Between Mythology And Philosophy
Edited by Wlodzimierz Lugowski (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences) and Koichiro Matsuno (Dept. of BioEngineering, Nagaoka University of Technology), 1998 Arboretum, ISBN 83-86308-27-3, 320 pages, paperback, $20.00.
The scope of the volume are the ontological and methodological problems of contemporary life sciences viewed from the non-positivist perspective, with special attention to the philosophical foundations of contemporary theories of prebiological and biological evolution.
Among the authors are philosophers and eminent scientists from several continents.
This book can be ordered directly from the publishers. •
The Biology and Psychology of Moral Agency
William A. Rottschaefer, 1998, Cambridge University Press.
This important book brings recent findings and theories in biology and psychology to bear on the fundamental question in ethics of what it means to behave morally. It explains how we acquire and put to work our capacities to act morally, and how these capacities are reliable means to achieving true moral beliefs, proper moral motivations, and successful moral actions.
By presenting a complete model of moral agency based on contemporary evolutionary theory, developmental biology and psychology, and social cognitive theory, the book offers a unique perspective. It will be read with profit by a broad swathe of philosophers, as well as psychologists and biologists.
It is well written, groundbreaking in its integration of three fields of enquiry (biology, psychology, and philosophy), and superbly organized. This book will be an important contribution to the important and exciting research into the nature and grounding of morality. – Paul Thompson (Professor of Biology and Philosophy, University of Toronto)
Contents: I. Moral agency and scientific naturalism, II. The biological bases of moral agency, III. The psychological bases of moral agency, IV. A scientific naturalistic account of moral agency, V. Integrating a personalistic and naturalistic view of moral agency. •
WEB SITES/E-MAIL LISTS OF INTEREST
A new WWW archive has been established for Darwin and Darwinism
The resource currently contains books, debates on evolutionary theory, evolution on the www, and creationism and evolution. Also included are the following complete works: Charles R. Darwin – On the Origin of Species, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, The Voyage of the Beagle, The Descent of Man; Alfred Russel Wallace – On the Law that has Regulated the Introduction of New Species (1855), On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely From the Original Type (1858); Thomas Henry Huxley – Autobiography and Selected Essays; Andrew Dickson White – History of the Warfare of Science With Theology in Christendom; and William James – The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature.
Our host site, Human-Nature.Com, also contains several hundred papers, articles, electronic journals, book reviews, interviews, and more than a dozen other complete books, together with unique search facilities and a collection of over four thousand hyperlinks.
Contributions on any relevant topic are welcome. It is anticipated that the site will have a particular emphasis on evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, evolutionary epistemology, and evolutionary ethics.
Darwin and Darwinism: http://www.human-nature.com/darwin/index.html
Human-Nature.Com: http://www.human-nature.com •
MEMBERSHIP AND RENEWAL INFORMATION
To join ISHPSSB or renew your membership contact Society Treasurer David Magnus or fill out the form on the Society’s Website:
Existing members need to renew if the mailing label on the most recent newsletter has 1997 or earlier on the top line. If you think the information in the membership files is out of date (e-mail addresses seem especially volatile), please provide the new information to the society treasurer/membership secretary.
Graduate students qualify for a reduced membership fee – only US $ 10 for two years. Emeritus members pay no fee. Otherwise a regular membership is US $ 35 for two years.
All checks must be in US $; payment by Visa/Mastercard is welcome. Credit card payments can be sent electronically. (As far as we understand this is relatively safe – as safe as the postal service, maybe safer – since everything is automatically encrypted.) Receipts for payment will be sent out, but to reduce administrative costs, this will be done only if requested. If paying by credit card, your monthly credit card statement should serve as your receipt. •
SPRING 1999 NEWSLETTER
ISHPSSB President 1997-99
6350 Arlington Boulevard
Richmond CA 94805 USA
Phone: (510) 642-4597; Fax: (510) 642-4164
Peter Taylor, Chair
Department of Biology
Swarthmore, PA 19081
Department of Philosophy
Blacksburg, VA 24061-0126
Phone: (540) 231-6760; Fax: (540) 231-6367
Program Chair, 1999 Meetings
History and Philosophy of Science Program
University of California at Davis
Davis, CA 95616-8673
Zapate # 6 - 9
Col. Miguel Hidalgo
Treasurer and Membership Secretary
University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics
3401 Market Street, Room 320
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 898-7136
3900 Glengarry Drive
Austin, TX 78731
Student Representative History of Science and Technology
435 Walter Library
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Chris Young, Newsletter Editor
History of Science/Natural Philosophy
Mt. Angel Seminary
St. Benedict, OR 97373
Phone: (503) 845-3557; Fax: (503) 845-3126
ISHPSSB WWW Site
Last updated: 1 March 1999.