President's Semi-Annual Report
Fall 2004

Gearing Up For Guelph
Our next meeting will be July 13-17, 2005 at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Since my last report, the Call for Papers has begun to generate ideas and proposals for sessions. It is time to decide what you'll be presenting at our 2005 meeting. A bulletin board for session ideas has been posted at There are already posted ideas for sessions concerning Botany and Plant Sciences and Feminist Philosophy of Biology. In addition to sessions being planned by the Program Committee on social activism, applied biology, and elite and popular biology, I've heard from several groups planning sessions on a range of topics. If you have a paper and are looking for related papers to make up a session, or if you have an idea for a session or a topic that you would like to hear more about, please take advantage of the bulletin board. Forms for submitting session and paper proposals are available at Please feel free to contact me or Lynn Nyhart if you have any questions about presenting at the 2005 meeting. The deadline for paper and session proposals is February 15, 2005.

Our local arrangements chairperson, David Castle, is negotiating final arrangements for the meeting now. Like past meetings an opening reception on Wednesday night is planned as well as a Saturday evening banquet. There will be plenty of time to met with old friends, hear great presentations, and sample the local microbreweries. A range of on campus accommodations will be available as well as blocks of rooms reserved at local hotels. Details on registration, accommodations, meals, and travel will be posted on the Society's website this winter and will also appear in the Spring newsletter.

Our ever resourceful webmaster, Roberta Millstein, has investigated different conference software packages and adapted Open Conference Systems software for our website. This software package will allow us to manage electronic submissions of proposals more reliably. Hopefully, you will find the OCS format easy to understand and use. If you have questions about submitting paper or panel proposals, please let us know.

Our first and very successful off-year workshop was held this September in San Francisco. Matt Haber, Grant Yamashita, Andrew Hamilton, Patrick Forber, Melinda Fagan, and Vivette Garcia Deister are all to be commended and congratulated for their organizational efforts. Several attendees have remarked on value of this meeting for faculty and graduate students alike. Hopefully this will be the first of many successful and rewarding off-year meetings. Please see the article in this issue for a full report on the FDISH meeting.

Call for Sites for 2009 Meeting
Garland Allen and the Site Selection Committee are currently soliciting inquiries and proposals for sites for the 2009 meeting. Our 2007 meeting is set for Exeter, England. Ideally we would like the 2009 meeting to be held somewhere in North America, but we are open to any proposal. Guidelines and information about hosting an ISHPSSB meeting are available at

Call for Submissions for the Grene Prize
The Marjorie Green Prize Committee is currently soliciting submissions. If you gave a paper as a graduate student in Quinnipiac or Vienna, please consider submitting your paper. For more information, see the Call for Submissions in this newsletter.

Call for Nominations
Lindley Darden and the Nominations Committee are seeking nominations for ISHPSSB officers and council members. As a voluntary organization, ISHPSSB relies on the effort and good will of its membership to keep things running. Please send your suggestions and nominations to the Nominations Committee. See the announcement in this newsletter for more information.

Your comments are always welcome. Contact information for Council Members is posted on the ISHPSSB website and printed on the back page of this newsletter. I can be reached at Michael R. Dietrich, Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (603) 646-1389. I look forward to hearing from you!

Guelph, Ontario, Canada to Welcome ISHPSSB Members

The city of Guelph is a charming, walkable city where one can enjoy rivers and parks, historic sites, museums and art galleries, as well as a diverse collection of restaurants and pubs. Summer in and around Guelph offers arts festivals, garden tours, farmers' and antique markets.

The University of Guelph is a quiet and relaxing campus, with tree-lined redbrick walkways linking dorms, meeting areas and dining facilities. Conference participants will be interested in visiting the University's Arboretum, the Insect Collection in the Department of Environmental Biology (the oldest in Canada), the Axelrod Institute of Ichthyology and the Hagan Aqualab.

Within an hour's drive of Guelph is Toronto, the most multiculturally diverse city in the world. Visitors may also want to make a short trip to the nearby towns of St. Jacob's and Elmira, to browse the shops and observe the traditional Mennonite population; to Stratford for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival; and to the Niagara Region for a tour of Ontario's wine region and Niagara Falls.

Successful Organizers Report on First Off-Year Workshop

The first ISHPSSB Off-Year Workshop, Future Directions in ISH (FDISH), was held on September 23–26 at the University of San Francisco. The event was co-hosted by USF and UC Davis, and was conceived and run by graduate student members of ISHPSSB. FDISH focused on graduate training in philosophy of biology, aiming to create opportunities for graduate students and faculty to exchange ideas, build professional and personal relationships, and further their research projects in an inclusive and collaborative atmosphere.

FDISH was attended by seventy-nine participants (twenty-five faculty, fifty-four graduate students) who converged on the University of San Francisco, near Golden Gate Park and Haight-Ashbury. Of these, eighteen were invited faculty; other participants included faculty, post-docs, and graduate students from forty-four institutions in the US, Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK. The number and diversity of graduate student participants were greatly enhanced by travel grants from ISHPSSB for student members, and by some additional travel grants from other sponsors. FDISH was able in addition to provide two off-site events for all participants—an informal pizza dinner on the first night and a more formal closing banquet on the last. In addition to ISHPSSB, the sponsors who made these events possible are: the National Science Foundation, UC Davis Division of Graduate Studies, UC Davis Division of Social Sciences, UC Davis Division of Biological Sciences, University of San Francisco, Indiana University HPS Department, UC Davis Department of Philosophy, Arizona State University Center for Biology and Society, Stanford University Office of the Provost, and Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences.

The generous support of these sponsors allowed for a full program schedule, including lectures, round-table discussions, and faculty office hours. These informal office hours, dubbed “Happy Office Hours” (HOHs), were an important feature of FDISH, and along with the dinners, helped set the workshop’s inclusive tone. Hybridizing office hours and happy hour, HOHs took place in local bars and coffee shops near USF each day after the last scheduled session, when participating faculty met with small groups of students for informal discussions. Having prearranged “office hours” in these informal settings made faculty more accessible to students, and facilitated many productive discussions.

Summary of sessions
Each invited speaker gave two lectures: Jay Odenbaugh (Department of Philosophy and Environmental Studies Program, Lewis and Clark College) spoke on mathematical models in ecology, and on method in philosophy of biology, arguing that structural similarities between different special sciences can illuminate debates in philosophy of biology. Jason Robert (School of Life Sciences and Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University) spoke on the cultural and ethical significance of chimeras and stem cell research, and on developmental evolutionary psychobiology. Kim Sterelny (Philosophy Program, Australian National University and Victoria University in Wellington) spoke on human cognitive evolution, integrating cultural and biological evolution and emphasizing non-modular evolutionary responses, and on the significance of niche construction as an evolutionary mechanism. Edna Suárez Díaz (History and Philosophy of Science and the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) spoke on conducting interdisciplinary research at the intersection of history, philosophy, and biology, and on the roles of experimental techniques in different approaches to molecular evolution. James Griesemer (Department of Philosophy and Center for Population Biology, UC Davis) gave the keynote address, on collaboration and multidisciplinary research.

There were also seven roundtable discussions: Rob Skipper (Philosophy, University of Cincinnati), with panel members Steve Downes (Philosophy, University of Utah), Kelly Smith (Philosophy, Clemson University), and Anya Plutynski (Philosophy, University of Utah), gave practical advice on “How to market oneself as a philosopher,” from writing a CV to surviving the on-campus interview. Bill Bechtel (Philosophy and Science Studies, UC San Diego) and Lindley Darden (Philosophy, University of Maryland) presented mechanistic accounts of explanation grounded in molecular, cellular, and neurobiology. Elihu Gerson (Tremont Research Institute) led a roundtable on the tensions and challenges of pursuing interdisciplinary research, with panel members James Griesemer, Michael Ghiselin (Invertebrate Zoology and Geology, California Academy of Sciences), Edna Suárez Díaz, and Richard Creath (Philosophy, ASU). Jay Odenbaugh, with panel members Lindley Darden, Rob Skipper, Roberta Millstein (Philosophy, California State University at Hayward), and Steve Downes, explored the diversity of models used in biology. Jane Maienschein (Center for Biology and Society, ASU) and Kim Sterelny gave practical advice for students on writing, submitting, and revising journal articles, drawing on their experience as editors of The Journal of the History of Biology and of Biology and Philosophy, respectively. David Magnus (Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics), with panel members Kelly Smith, Jason Robert, Jane Maienschein, and Tom Cavanaugh (Philosophy, USF), discussed future directions in bioethics, and the opportunities and challenges of this field. Finally, FDISH organizers Melinda Fagan (HPS, Indiana University), Patrick Forber (Philosophy, Stanford), Vivette García Deister (Philosophy, UNAM), Matt Haber (Philosophy, UC Davis), Andrew Hamilton (Philosophy and Science Studies, UCSD and Philosophy, USF), and Grant Yamashita (Population Biology, UC Davis) led the closing roundtable, assessing the aims and content of FDISH.

The organizers would like to thank to everyone who participated. The level of interest and enthusiasm for FDISH in the ISHPSSB community was terrific, and should encourage future off-year workshops. Thanks also to everyone who gave us feedback, via our questionnaire or email.

For additional information, visit the FDISH website (, designed and maintained by Grant Yamashita and Roberta Millstein.

Marjorie Grene Prize
ISHPSSB seeks submissions for the 2005 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 (Vienna or Quinnipiac) 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 has been a valued mentor to many members of the Society and a long-standing inspiration to all.

The award will consist of a certificate and an award of $500.

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. Electronic submissions, in Microsoft Word or PDF format, are preferred and must be emailed no later than March 1, 2005. Hardcopy submissions must include three complete copies of the paper and be mailed no later than March 1, 2005. The winning entry will be announced by May 1, 2005.

Submit papers to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Kathy Cooke, Grene Prize Committee, CL-AC3, 275 Mt. Carmel Avenue, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT 06518

Position in Science and Technology Studies
University of California at Davis

The University of California at Davis seeks to appoint a Director of the Science and Technology Studies Program, with a joint appointment in Anthropology, Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology or Psychology. Tenured associate or full professor, beginning Fall 2005. Duties include directing the interdisciplinary program in Science and Technology Studies, including program development and guiding the transition from an existing program in History and Philosophy of Science to an STS program with undergraduate major. Other duties include research, teaching, and service in STS Program and department. Teaching is based on a standard faculty load of four one-quarter courses per year, which will be reduced for administrative service as STS Director. The appointee must have Ph.D. and have a record of strong scholarly and teaching accomplishments in some field of social, historical or philosophical studies of the natural or social sciences, medicine, technology, or engineering

The STS Program at the University of California at Davis has involved participation by members of the Philosophy, History, Sociology, Anthropology, and other departments in the social sciences and humanities, as well as faculty and students in the natural sciences.

Minority and women candidates are especially encouraged to apply. EO/AAE.

In order to receive full consideration, send a letter expressing interest and current CV by December 1, 2004 to Professor Joan Cadden, Search Committee Chair, Science and Technology Studies Program, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-8673, USA. TEL: 530/752-2224, FAX: 530/752-3156, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The position will remain open until filled. Address informal, confidential inquiries to the Search Committee Chair. Address administrative questions to Lesley Byrns (Office Manager): 530/752-1291; FAX: 530/752-3156; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Call for Proposals for ISHPSSB Meeting Site in 2009

It may seem a long time away, but now is the time to start planning for the 2009 ISHPSSB meeting. The first step is to decide on a location. I invite all interested individuals who would be interested in having their institution host the meeting, to present a proposal to us within the next two months (by January 15). Proposals should include a general description of the institutional site, availability of housing (dorms, hotels, etc) and meeting rooms (large lecture halls for plenary sessions and enough smaller classrooms for individual sessions), availability of transportation (both internationally and locally), and other features (local activities, scenery etc) that would make the location attractive. Please send suggestions directly to me via e-mail at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or regular mail at Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130

Call for Nominations
The Society must elect a President-elect to serve that function 2005-2007 (while Garland Allen is President) and then become President, 2007-2009. Nominees are also needed for three members of the council to serve 2005-2009, for Program Officer for ISH07, as well as for Secretary and Treasurer. The latter two officers are eligible to succeed themselves. We encourage suggestions to the nominations committee. To ensure that suggestions are taken into account, they should be sent by December 15, 2004, to the chair of the Nominations Committee, Lindley Darden, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or to the Department of Philosophy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.

Propose Sessions Now for Guelph 2005

NOW is the time to start thinking about papers and sessions for Guelph! If you have an idea for a session and want to see if anyone else is interested, it is easier than ever before to find out. Just go to the ISHPSSB home page, and look under "What’s New." Clicking on "Suggest a session" will take you directly to the list of suggested sessions, where you can post a message describing your idea.

You may also submit a freestanding paper proposal; we will fit all acceptable papers into appropriate sessions.

When you submit a paper proposal, which includes a title and abstract, you will receive a reply stating that your proposal has been received. Decisions on paper acceptance will be made after the submission deadline of February 15.

Please keep in mind the ISHPSSB policy on multiple participation: no one may present in more than one session; exceptions are made for those who organize another session, comment in another session, or give a short plenary address. Individuals may serve more than one function in a given session, e.g., chair and presenter.

If you have questions about your session or paper idea, or about procedures, please contact the Program Officer, Lynn Nyhart: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Lynn K. Nyhart
Associate Professor
Department of the History of Science
University of Wisconsin--Madison
Madison, WI 53706-1393 USA

ISHPSSB would like to encourage sessions that:

a) combine more than one disciplinary perspective
b) include participants from more than one institution and/or nation
c) promote the interaction of junior and senior scholars, including students

(1) The program officer, in consultation with the program committee, and consistent with site constraints, will organize a rich, diverse, and high quality program.
While it is the intention of the Society to be as inclusive as possible, the program officer has the discretion to reject papers or sessions that are truly inappropriate for these meetings or that do not meet basic standards of communication. The program committee is available to assist the program officer in judging borderline cases.
(2) No one may present in more than one session. An exception is made for those who organize another session, comment in another session, or give a short plenary address. Individuals may serve more than one function in a given session, e.g. chair and presenter.
(3) Each regular session must have a minimum of three presenters.
(4) Topics that extend over two sessions are acceptable, but they cannot extend over more than two sessions.
(5) All accepted participants must pre-register for the conference in order to be included in the program.

MBL-Dibner Seminar in the History of Biology
Co-Sponsored by the NASA History Office

2005 Topic: Cosmic Evolution and Astrobiology
May 15-22, 2005
Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

This is an intensive, one-week seminar with annually varying topics. It is designed for advanced graduate students, younger scholars, and also more established researchers in biology and the history and philosophy of biology.

The course is limited to approximately 20 participants, including discussion leaders.

The topic for 2005 is “Cosmic Evolution and Astrobiology.” In the 1960s, fueled by the Space Age and NASA patronage, the new discipline of exobiology began to emerge. It was created from a combination of at least four very different areas of scientific research: planetary science, planetary systems science, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and origins and evolution of life. The new discipline was driven especially by the search for life on Mars, culminating with the Viking missions in 1976. In the post-Viking era, funding for exobiology supported far-reaching research, including Margulis’s work on cell symbiosis, Woese’s work on the third domain of organisms now known as Archaea, Barghoorn and Schopf’s work on Earth’s earliest fossils, Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis, and Alvarez, Raup and Sepkoski’s work on mass extinctions. In the mid-1990s, exobiology was revived under the name astrobiology, fed by the intense excitement surrounding the discovery of planetary systems, the controversy over the Martian meteorite, the possibility of an ocean on Europa, research on life in extreme environments, developments in molecular evolutionary biology and molecular phylogenetics, and progress in origins of life research, along with other developments, like the biotech revolution culminating in the Human Genome Project. This led to the formation of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, a virtual institute consisting of 16 "teams"—including the MBL's Astrobiology Program—engaged in a wide variety of work on “the living universe."

The course will take an historical approach to exploring how the interdisciplinary field of astrobiology emerged, how astrobiology has affected origins of life research, and how astrobiology fits into the larger conceptual scheme of cosmic evolution. How does the emergence of astrobiology compare to the emergence of other subdisciplines in biology? Are there historical lessons astrobiologists can learn in their quest for a universal biology? Discussions will be led by invited biologists, historians and philosophers. Readings and questions-to-ponder will be circulated in advance.

The MBL-Dibner Seminar in the History of Biology has been supported since 1989 by the Dibner Fund and the Dibner Institute. Additional funding has been provided for this year's topic by NASA.

For more information about the seminar in general, past topics, updates concerning this year's topic, and the application form, please visit the course website at:

For further inquiries, contact Rita Dempsey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 617-253-8721.

Course Directors
John Beatty, University of British Columbia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
James Collins, Arizona State University, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jane Maienschein, Arizona State University, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Organizers for 2005
Steven Dick, NASA
James Strick, Franklin and Marshall College.