President’s Corner

Season’s greetings everyone! I write bearing the gift of good news about ISH’s 2021 biennial conference.

By now you’ll have heard, or have guessed, that the planned meeting in Milwaukee will not be going ahead. When Council circulated a questionnaire on the meeting back in September, prospects were already dim. Around November it became clear that they were effectively nil. Fortunately, however, another possibility had already emerged: the hosting of the 2021 conference as a virtual conference by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). In response to our questionnaire, ISH member Jan Witkowski, who is based at CSHL, and whose work on its history — including eugenic entanglements — will be well known to many of you, put Council in touch with the team responsible for transferring CSHL’s busy 2020 in-house conference program online. From the start we were impressed with what they had to offer, and they have been a dream to work with. I am pleased now to announce that the ISH 2021 biennial conference will take place as a virtual conference hosted by CSHL.

cold spring harborFurther details will come in the New Year, as our Program Committee (chaired by Luis Campos and Roberta Millstein), a new Virtual Arrangements Committee (chaired by Matt Haber, who recently put the Philosophy of Biology at the Mountains conference online), Council, and the CSHL team work together to finalize arrangements. But here are the main headlines:

  • The conference will take place in mid-July 2021. The Milwaukee meeting was scheduled for 11–16 July, and these are still the core dates to reserve in your diaries. But the desirability of guarding against “Zoom fatigue” might mean that we go with a less compressed meeting schedule than the standard ISH 5-days-of-wall-to-wall conferencing, in which case the dates may extend to 21 July.
  • The main platforms will be Zoom and Slack, with each Zoom session provided with its own Slack channel so that participants can share thoughts in real time. (For those unfamiliar with Slack, it’s like a private version of Twitter. Slack access will be free with registration and provided by CSHL.) Before the conference, there will be a practice day for presenters, so that everyone can get used to the technology and session protocol.

To state the obvious: we aim, in the great ISH tradition, to give you a mind-bendingly, life-affirmingly awesome conference! Of course, virtual conferences raise distinctive challenges, but they also present distinctive opportunities. We intend to make the most of those, as creatively and inclusively as we can. And though, as with all conferences, there will be costs to cover, we will do our best to keep registration fees as low as possible, especially for our student members.

Please keep an eye out in January for more information about the conference, and start thinking about a session you would like to organize or a paper to present.

In the interim, we hope you enjoy this end-of-2020 newsletter. Below you’ll find, among other things, a digest from Chris Young and Nigel Rothfels, organizers of the Milwaukee meeting that might have been, of members’ responses to the September questionnaire; reports on the doings of several of our committees, including calls for submissions for the 2021 Hull, Grene, and Callebaut Prizes, nominations for the 2021 ISH election, and the launching of a new meet-the-author interview series from the Education Committee; a reflection by Sophie Veigl on ISH’s ever-growing profile on Twitter; and an obituary by Phil Sloan of his Notre Dame colleague, the historian Ed Manier, whose scholarly contributions and role in the founding of ISH get a fitting tribute.

Speaking of the history of ISH, let me close by drawing your attention to the capsule version of it now available in ISH’s new Wikipedia entry. The entry is the work of ISH member Lynn Chiu, who has asked me to ask you to contact her if you see anything that could do with correcting, adding, etc. Her email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

With many thanks as ever for your support of ISH — and here’s hoping that we’ll bump into each other at the virtual bar next July!

Greg Radick

ISHPSSB Gathering in Milwaukee Sign-Off

Hello from Milwaukee. We report here the results of the recent survey of ISHPSSB members regarding attitudes toward a possible in-person meeting in summer 2021. As you have probably read by now, the in-person meeting will not go forward. Pandemic conditions around the world and notably in the U.S. continue to cause concern. Milwaukee has unfortunately been something of a hot spot for case numbers, and businesses, schools, colleges, and universities have responded by keeping most operations online. While we hope that by July, there will be many factors that could favor reopening of these institutions and the wider social infrastructure of our community (and yours!), we remain cautious. Under these circumstances, it would be impossible to proceed with planning that involves substantial commitments from institutions and partners that are not currently in an operational mode. As an extension of the situation, we are not in a position to offer Milwaukee as a destination in the following year or for the 2023 meeting.

As we looked toward this decision, we were pleased to have responses to the survey from 81 individuals. The largest share of the responses came from members aged 50-59 and identifying themselves as tenured faculty. With this in mind, we hasten to note that the responses from graduate students included comments emphasizing the need for ISHPSSB to provide opportunities to network with one another and with the membership as a whole.

Among responses, those who were “less likely” to attend outnumber those who were “likely” to attend by more than two-to-one. Among the comments, reasons not to attend varied but were generally aligned with financial reasons related to funding for travel that are locked in for the coming year.

There was a fairly even split between those who prefer the option of a virtual meeting and those who would prefer no meeting. Approximately 15 percent indicated no preference between those options.

A large majority of respondents indicated a willingness to pay a full or half registration fee for a virtual meeting.

If the meeting goes virtual, the largest cohort gave the highest or high preference for a five-day meeting with a limited number of concurrent sessions. This would be the closest thing to our traditional model for ISHPSSB biennial meetings. In addition, those responding indicated a preference for synchronous presentations and discussion, followed by the alternative of asynchronous recorded presentations to accompany synchronous discussion.

We leave it to the hard-working members of the Council to determine next steps for the Society and its potential to meet in summer 2021. As erstwhile local arrangements planners, we acknowledge the large number of challenges yet to overcome. We look forward to the possibility of meeting with you from Milwaukee, if not in Milwaukee.

Chris Young and Nigel Rothfels
Co-Chairs of the Local Arrangements Committee

ISHPSSB Off-Year Workshops Committee Report

Three off-year workshops were approved in 2020: “Symposium on the History, Philosophy & Sociology of School Biology” (Dublin City University), “Dealing With Complexity in the Life Sciences” (Konrad Lorenz Institute), and “Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Sciences X” (Autonomous University of Madrid). Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, each of these was disrupted by the ongoing COVID pandemic. Happily, our organizers are adapting, and finding creative ways of moving forward. The Symposium on History, Philosophy & Sociology of School Biology was moved to early December 2020, with a mix of face-to-face and online sessions. The KLI has postponed their workshop on complexity in the life sciences to 2022, but held an online summer school in 2020 (details below). The workshop on Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Sciences has been postponed to May 2021 and a new call for participants has been issued (details below).

Heading into 2021, the Off-Year Workshop Committee is looking forward to continuing to look for creative and innovative ways to support ISHPSSSB activity. We are particularly keen on brainstorming ways that off-year workshops might help ISHPSSB meet its goals around inclusivity and equity. We look forward to continuing this discussion at our 2021 meeting, in whatever form that might take.

Matt Haber
Chair of the Off-Year Workshop Committee

Symposium on the History, Philosophy & Sociology of School Biology

The off-year workshop on History, Philosophy & Sociology of School Biology took place online because of the current pandemic on December 11 and 12, 2020. It was organised by Thomas McCloughlin from the DCU Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Dublin. Approximately 25 people attended the whole symposium, which included 4 keynotes and 4 paper sessions. The 4 keynotes were given by Michael Reiss, UCL, William F. McComas, University of Arkansas, Charbel El-Hani, Federal University of Bahia, and myself. The 4 paper sessions included presentations from 13 other scholars from various countries.

Overall, the symposium was a huge success, providing many opportunities for reflection and discussion. The online format did not pose any problems; the host supported and facilitated the interaction among participants. One of the means through which ideas were shared was the chat function of Zoom, which allowed the sharing of ideas and reflections among all participants. It should be noted that some participants attended Saturday’s presentations as early as 5am their local time, and all of us living in Europe thanked them for this. The organiser is now intending to have a book published, including papers presented in the symposium, as well as organising similar sessions in large international conferences such as ESERA. There was a broad agreement among the participants to continue interacting and find opportunities for collaborations.

Kostas Kampourakis

Dealing With Complexity in the Life Sciences

The 6th European Advanced School in Philosophy of the Life Sciences (EASPLS 2020) — Dealing With Complexity in the Life Sciences — has been postponed to 2022. In place of this past summer’s activity, the EASPLS offered a week of mentoring sessions to all accepted participants. Each of the instructors originally scheduled to participate in the summer school offered 2 hours of online mentoring across three days. Instructors included Philippe Huneman (University of Paris 1), Federica Russo (University of Amsterdam), Mael Lemoine (University of Bordeaux), Thomas Pradeu (University of Bordeaux), Marcel Weber (University of Geneva), Thomas Reydon (University of Hannover), Guido Caniglia (Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research), Giovanni Boniolo (University of Ferrara), Sabina Leonelli (University of Exeter), Jon Umerez (University of Basque Country), Isabella Sarto-Jackson (Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research), John Dupré (University of Exeter), and Sara Green (University of Copenhagen).

Marcel Weber

Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Sciences X

The tenth edition of the Research Workshop on Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Science (PBCS) was supposed to take place the 21st and 22nd of May 2020. Due to the pandemic, we decided to postpone the workshop and find some better dates. We are happy to announce that the chosen dates for the event are the 3rd and 4th of May 2021 at the Autonomous University of Madrid. This time, we are committed to its celebration whether online or (hopefully) face-to-face.

The Research Workshop on Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Science (PBCS) is an annual encounter of young scholars that aims at bringing together researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds: philosophers, cognitive scientists, and biologists working on issues of common interest. In this workshop, young researchers can present their ideas and participate in the discussions, as well as attend the conferences of keynote speakers. Its main purposes are to serve as a tool for enhancing research through discussion and to promote the interdisciplinarity of the presented ideas.

Keynote Speakers
  • Marta Jorba (UPV/EHU)
  • Javier González de Prado (UNED)
Contributed Talks
  • Aaron Álvarez (Universitat de Barcelona)
  • Charles Beasley (London School of Economics)
  • Francesca Bellazzi (University of Bristol)
  • Mark-Oliver Casper & Guiseppe Flavio Artese (University of Kassel)
  • David Cortés
  • Anne-Marie Gagné-Julien (Université du Québec à Montréal)
  • Juan Gefaell (Universidade de Vigo)
  • Auguste Nahas (University of Cambridge)
  • David Ricote & Ignacio Maeso (CABD-CSIC)
  • Tiina Rosenqvist (University of Pennsylvania)
Call for Participants

Although we accepted some contributed talks in the previous CFP, there are still some free slots. Therefore, a CFP is open for new contributions. We also understand that there could be people now interested in the topic that were not able to present their paper in the last CFP. The call is addressed to post-undergraduate, Master's and Ph.D. students, as well as postdocs who finished their dissertations during the last three years, working in the areas of Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Science. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Consciousness and cognitive phenomenology
  • Enactive approaches to biology and cognition
  • Philosophy of functions
  • Biological and cognitive implications of transhumanism
  • Cognition and adaptation
  • Natural kinds in philosophy of biology and cognitive sciences
  • Minimal requirements for either life or cognition
  • Cognition and evolutionary theory
How to Apply?

We invite abstracts between 500 and 750 words. Applicants must send a detailed summary of the contribution to the email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 1st of January 2021. Summaries can be sent in .doc, or .pdf format. The contributions are expected to indicate the title of the talk and highlight the relevance of the topic for the event and a sketch of the main arguments. They can be written in English or Spanish. Applicants must send two copies of the summary: one will contain the name(s) of the author(s), affiliation(s) and email contact. The second one will not include names, affiliations, email contact or any kind of information that could reveal the authorship of the document.

Each talk will last no more than 20–30 minutes followed by a 10–15 minutes discussion.

José Manuel Viejo García

Membership Development Committee Report

One of the most valuable aspects of the biennial ISHPSSB meetings has been to bring scholars together from all over the world. Now that ISHPSSB 2021 will have to occur remotely, some of those beneficial interactions may be difficult to have or highly constrained. How can we simulate or innovate the advantages of open Q&A after a talk or informal conversations at coffee-breaks when participants will be spread across a multitude of time zones? The Membership Development Committee has started to gather suggestions for how to best utilize the new remote format in order to make the ISHPSSB 2021 meeting welcoming and engaging for its diverse membership, including global participation and the involvement of scholars at all career stages, including those pursuing a non-standard career trajectory.

Please let us know about your concerns for effective participation at ISHPSSB 2021 and your suggestions about what remote activities can yield beneficial interactive dynamics during the meeting, including the functioning of sessions, symposia, and other activities that involve people from different global regions. You can email either or both of us: Ingo Brigandt (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Alan Love (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). We will convey your input to the Program Committee and other Council members to ensure we have a global and diverse perspective on how to proceed. You also are welcome to join our Membership Development Committee and contribute to ongoing efforts to enhance the diversity of our ISHPSSB meetings and other activities in terms of academic discipline, global region, career stage, and other demographic factors.

Ingo Brigandt and Alan Love
Co-Chairs of the Membership Development Committee

ISHPSSB David L. Hull Prize: Call for Nominations

Hull medalThe International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology seeks nominations for the 2021 D avid L. Hull Prize for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology. This biennial prize honors extraordinary scholarship and service promoting connections among the communities represented by our Society. It was established in 2011 to commemorate the life and legacy of David Hull, who exemplified both a high standard of interdisciplinary scholarship and exemplary service that helped to build bridges among our disciplines. The next David L. Hull Prize is scheduled to be awarded at the 2021 ISHPSSB conference. The Prize consists of a Medal recognizing the recipient’s contributions to scholarship and service, and — if/when physical conferences return, — a US$1000 travel subsidy.

A complete nomination package consists of two letters of nomination, each signed by at least one member of ISHPSSB (thus there must be at least two nominators) and a current Curriculum vitae of the candidate. We would like to highlight that nominees may be at any career stage, and strongly suggest that members take into account diversity when considering nominations. The deadline for nominations is 1 February 2021. Nominations should be sent by email to the Chair of the David L. Hull Prize Committee, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More details, a list of previous recipients, and nomination procedures can be found at

Paul Griffiths
Chair of the David L. Hull Prize Committee

Grene and Callebaut Prizes: Calls for Submissions

2021 Marjorie Grene Prize

The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) seeks submissions for the 2021 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 (São Paulo or Oslo) 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 does her work in the history and philosophy of biology exemplify the strong spirit of interdisciplinary work fundamental to ISHPSSB, but she 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 US$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, should be emailed as one document to the Chair of the Grene Prize Committee, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., no later than 1 February 2021. The winning paper will be announced at the 2021 ISHPSSB conference. The committee reserves the right not to make an award, or to split the award.

2021 Werner Callebaut Prize

The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) seeks submissions for the 2021 Werner Callebaut Prize.

This prize is intended to advance the careers of younger scholars working at the intersection of the fields represented by ISH, and will be awarded to the best manuscript utilizing an interdisciplinary approach based on a presentation at one of the two previous ISHPSSB meetings (São Paulo or Oslo) 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 benefited 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 ISHSSPB which explicitly encourages interdisciplinary approaches.

The award will consist of a certificate and an award of US$500, as well as a permanent record of the award on a plaque which circulates every two years to the current winners. 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, should be emailed as one document to the Chair of the Callebaut Prize Committee, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., no later than 1 February 2021. The winning paper will be announced at the 2021 ISHPSSB conference. 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.

Sabina Leonelli
Chair of the Marjorie Grene and Werner Callebaut Prize Committee

News from the Nominations Committee

The Nominations Committee calls for nominations for the following positions on the Board of Directors of the Society:

President Elect (2021–2023)

The successful candidate for this position will become the Society's President at the end of the 2023 General Business meeting, serving until 2025, and then as Past President and Chair of the Nominating Committee, 2025–2027.

Secretary (2021–2023)
Treasurer (2021–2023)
Program Officer for the 2023 meeting (2021–2023)
Three positions for At-Large Directors (Council Members, 2021–2025)

Further information about the roles of these officers can be found in Article III of the ISHPSSB Bylaws and Operations Manual.

Candidates for each office may be nominated by the Nominations Committee or by any two Members of the Society. Members wishing to nominate a candidate directly should seek that candidate’s permission and then write to the Chair of the Nominations Committee, Marsha Richmond (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), sending the name of the candidate, the office for which they are being nominated, a brief (100 word) biography, the nominee's statement that she or he is willing to stand for election, and the names of the two nominating members. Self-nominations are permitted. The targeted deadline for nominations is 1 February 2021, with the election to be held in the Spring.

Marsha Richmond
Chair of the Nominations Committee

From the Communications Committee: Find ISH on Twitter!

For over a year, the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology has been active on Twitter. After tweeting throughout the ISHPSSB 2019 conference in Oslo, aiming for various formats and content types to represent all the amazing historians, philosophers, sociologists and biologists of ISHPSSB along with their research, the Education Committee decided to provide Twitter coverage throughout the years between the meetings. Since December 2019, the ISHPSSB has had a permanent Twitter account. (Check it out at!) Throughout the year, our community has grown to almost 500 followers. The account provides and shares information on recent activities of the ISHPSSB along with calls, and announcements. Of course, we will also soon share information regarding the next biennial meeting.

In general, we share information on various topics, such as the publication of ISHPSSB-related special issues, talks and conferences within the “ISHPSSB spectrum,” publications and other announcements. In essence, we try to amplify all sorts of content with regards to the history, philosophy, and social studies of biology. The core aim of the account is to promote and sustain the works and careers of ISHPSSB folks. In this spirit, we’d like to encourage everyone, with or without a Twitter account, to use the ISHPSSB Twitter account to share and disseminate their work. If you want a paper of yours, a special issue, or a conference call shared from the ISHPSSB account, contact us via a mention (@ISHPSSB), write us a direct message, or if you do not have a Twitter account, contact one of the account operators (at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Also, if you have suggestions with regards to new types of content, or formats you’d like to see represented on the ISHPSSB Twitter account, let us know!

With that said, the end of the year, and the 1st-year anniversary of the active ISHPSSB Twitter account, also provides the opportunity to reflect on room for improvement with regards to the account. What the account has been missing so far is interactive formats, to actively engage with the ISHPSSB community on Twitter. We will aim for more of such format types, such as questions, polls and the like to engage with the ISHPSSB community more actively on Twitter. Particularly in times of world wide pandemics, it is important to foster and strengthen the types of interactions we as an international community can maintain, while being physically distanced to each other.

Sophie Veigl

News from the Education Committee

Beginning in early 2021, Riana Betzler and Brian McLoone, members of the ISH Education Committee, will be running an interview series with authors of recent books in the history, philosophy, and social studies of biology. These interviews will be posted to the ISH website and distributed in the ISH mailing list. The first interviews will be with the biologist Andreas Wagner, who has written a new book, Life Finds a Way: What Evolution Teaches Us About Creativity, and with the philosophers Cailin O’Connor and James Weatherall, whose new book is The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread.

Many more interviews will follow!

Riana Betzler and Brian McLoone

In Memoriam: Edward Manier (April 7, 1931 – November 26, 2020)

Edward Manier (1931–2020)

The passing of Ed Manier on November 26 was a loss to the ISH community as well as to his friends and colleagues at Notre Dame. His general biographical details can readily be accessed through his detailed obituary, I am adding these remarks to recognize his professional interests and contributions to the history and philosophy of life science.

Ed was originally trained in biology and chemistry, graduating magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1953, and began the study of medicine that year. He then decided on a risky career change to the study of philosophy, with a dissertation (1961) on Leibniz’s philosophy of nature, completed under the direction of James Collins at St. Louis University. This was the basis for his two earliest publications before his turn to the history and philosophy of biology with a paper “The Theory of Evolution as Personal Knowledge,” in Philosophy of Science in 1965.

Ed’s best known work, his book on the young Darwin, developed from an NEH fellowship that allowed him and his family to spend 1971–72 working in the Darwin archives at Cambridge. This was a period when many new Darwin materials were becoming available to scholars that eventually gave rise to the wave of critical editions of Darwin’s notebooks and correspondence, initiating a new era of Darwin studies. These all moved our understanding of Darwin’s formation considerably beyond the “Tradition of the Autobiography” that had defined so much of the understanding of the early Darwin. Ed was one of the first to explore this material in depth. The book that eventually resulted from this work, The Young Darwin and his Cultural Circle, appeared in 1978 and received highly favorable reviews, with the most decisive one for me being the comment by the “Dean of Darwin studies” at Cambridge, the irascible Sydney Smith, who had spent his life presiding over the Darwin manuscripts and memorabilia at Cambridge. His comment to me was simply that it was “the best book on Darwin.” In this book Ed had worked on two levels. One was the situating of Darwin’s intellectual formation within a wider social circle of intercommunicating naturalists and philosophers of his time. This concern with a “correspondence network” moved Darwin out of the familiar circle of British natural history and into a wider discussion of Scottish and British intellectuals. It also developed some of Darwin’s extended relation to the medical world of the period. While much of this picture has subsequently become common knowledge, Ed was an early pioneer in developing this new picture of the founder of modern evolutionary theory. In this book he also carried out important studies of the Darwin notebooks, and especially the “metaphysical” notebooks that explored mind-body relations and the issue of mental powers. These were indications of directions his later scholarship was to pursue.

Ed had attended the first informal gathering of philosophers, biologists and historians of life science. In the summer of 1983 at Dickson College*, and generally at his instigation, he, Thomas Parisi of the department of Psychology at St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, and myself, with the great assistance of then HPS graduate student Rosemary Sargeant, organized the second of these gatherings from June 25–29 1985. This was a comprehensive meeting that included psychologists, philosophers, biologists, a book display, a banquet and presentations by foreign scholars such as Jean Gayon. At that meeting there was a proposal by Michael Ruse for a new journal, Biology and Philosophy. In many respects the St. Mary’s conference was the effective founding meeting of ISHPSSB. A list of attendees includes the name of many leaders today in the history and philosophy of life science.

Ed’s work on Darwin, and his concern with the relation of mind and body in Darwin’s notebooks, seems to explain the genesis of Ed’s deep interest in modern neuroscience—an interest that otherwise may seem disconnected from his earlier work. There are themes in his Darwin book that suggest some of these directions, but only when preparing this writeup did I discover a paper by Ed from 1983, “Darwin, sociobiologie, et l’étude du cerveau,” presented at the French international conference on the centenary of the death of Darwin in 1982, that connects these dots. Ed spent 1984–85 as a Visiting Scholar interacting with the work of the Eric Kandell laboratory at the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University, and he presented some of these findings in a plenary session “Animal Behavior and Neuroscience,” that he organized for the 1985 ISH meeting. This was followed by his summer course in 1989 at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on the History of Neurobiology and Behavior. Ed then organized a major John J. Reilly Center Conference at Notre Dame in March of 1992, “Neurobiology and Narrative: Explanation in Neurobiology, Psychiatry and Psychology,” that brought together leading philosophers and scientists concerned with the interaction of new molecular biological approaches to consciousness with philosophy and psychiatry. Ed was also co-organizer with me in putting together the 1995 Reilly Conference on the Human Genome Project, one of the early conferences that brought together scientists, ethicists, philosophers, theologians and historians to look at the coming developments in the world of human genetics (Controlling our Destinies, Notre Dame, 2000). His technical background and his concern with the inner workings of contemporary science enabled Ed to be active in the scientific community as well. He was Secretary for Section L of the American Association for the Advancement of Science from 1989–96.

Upon his retirement, Ed worked tirelessly to assist formerly incarcerated individuals find a way back into society. I know personally how his care and concern for the disadvantaged had an important effect on the lives of several people with whom he worked as they tried to make the difficult transition back into society. But even in retirement, his professional expertise was recognized by his invitation by the University of Unisinos in São Leopoldo, Brazil in 2009 to deliver a major lecture on Darwin for the sesquicentennial conference celebrating Darwin’s birth in 1809 and the centenary of the publication of the Origin of Species. Due to health reasons, Ed could not attend in person, but the video of this impressive lecture can be seen at This shows Ed still at the “top of his game,” delivering a comprehensive overview of Darwin’s formation, and detailing his work on the origin of species, his views on the relation of mind and body, and the implications of his work for such topics as evolutionary ethics.

I learned much from my many years of friendship and close association with Ed. As these comments should indicate, ISHPSSB is also indebted to his vision and his efforts to create a broad interdisciplinary interaction of various disciplines within the life sciences.

* According to Jane Maienschein, the first ISH meeting took place at Denison University rather than at Dickson College.

Phil Sloan
Professor (Emeritus), Notre Dame Program in History and Philosophy of Science


This newsletter was edited by David Suárez Pascal (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) employing LibreOffice and Scribus (both open source and freely available). I thank Greg Radick and all the ISH members who kindly contributed to this issue with their texts in spite of the tight schedule.

Submissions for the newsletter should be addressed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory" by Like_the_Grand_Canyon is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.