Call for abstracts: “Individuals Across Sciences: A Revisionary Metaphysics?”
Paris, Paris-Sorbonne University, May 18-19, 2012
Organized by Alexandre Guay & Thomas Pradeu, with the support of Paris-Sorbonne University, the Institut d’histoire et de philosophie des sciences et des techniques (IHPST) and the Institut universitaire de France (IUF)
This conference will gather metaphysicians, philosophers of biology and philosophers of physics to offer a reflection on criteria of individuality in different sciences and to try to develop a unified account on the notion of what an individual is.
The conference will welcome nine invited speakers, and a selection of submitted papers.
The language of the conference is English.
Information, submission of abstracts: http://individuals2012.sciencesconf.org/
Deadline for the submission of abstracts: December 15, 2011
Please submit a short (maximum 200 words) and a long (maximum 1000 words) abstract.
The question of knowing what individuals are and how they can be identified has been recurring throughout the history of philosophy. It was, for example, pointedly studied by Aristotle and Leibniz. Most contemporary philosophers consider the problem from a general, metaphysical, point of view, as is the case for Peter Strawson in his landmark book Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics (Strawson 1959). On the other hand, in philosophy of science, the preferred approach aims to define the ontological status of this or that individual, or this or that class of individuals, typically in the fields of physics (French & Krause 2006, Ladyman & Ross 2007, Morganti 2009) and biology (Hull 1978, Hull 1992, Dupré & O'Malley 2009, Godfrey- Smith 2009). Today, many consider that the approach used in philosophy of science has obviously been more precise and globally more fruitful than the purely metaphysical approach, often thought as excessively general (for example, see Ladyman & Ross 2007). The project of this conference stemmed from two observations. First, the recent developments on the notion of individual in physics or in biology are most certainly fascinating, but are still “regional”, by which we mean that practically no transversal reflection, comparing different scientific criteria of individuation and conceptions of individuality, has been done. Thus, we believe that a dialogue between philosophers of physics and philosophers of biology on this question is of crucial importance. Second, since it isolates a relatively small field of study, regionalism undoubtedly has the advantage of precision. However, it too often lacks ambition compared to the metaphysical approach, which tries to find the general conditions to individuate an object.
We are convinced that philosophers of science must interact with metaphysicians, in order to determine in which way the focused ontological questioning of the former can contribute to the latter legitimate project of renewing general metaphysics. In bringing together specialists on metaphysics and on physical and biological ontologies, we hope to further define the difficulties that hold back the construction of a general conception of the individual that would be adequate for both physics and biology, and perhaps even beyond.
John Dupré (University of Exeter & Egenis, UK)
Steven French (University of Leeds, UK)
Peter Godfrey-Smith (City University of New York, USA)
Alexandre Guay (University of Burgundy, France, researcher at IHPST in 2011-2012, and associated researcher at the CIRST, Canada)
James Ladyman (Bristol University, UK)
Jonathan E. Lowe (Durham University, UK)
Matteo Morganti (Roma 3 University, Italie)
Thomas Pradeu (Paris-Sorbonne University, IHPST & IUF, France)
Simon Saunders (University of Oxford, UK)
Daniel Andler (Paris-Sorbonne University & IUF, France)
Alexander Bird (Bristol University, UK)
Mauro Dorato (Roma 3 University, Italy)
Jean Gayon (Panthéon-Sorbonne University, France) (head of committee)
Max Kistler (Panthéon-Sorbonne University, France)
Tim Lewens (University of Cambridge, UK)
Jean-Baptiste Rauzy (Paris-Sorbonne University, France)
Claudine Tiercelin (Collège de France, France)
The PC will review the abstracts and select the most promising ones.
Alexandra Arapinis (IHPST, France)
Isabelle Drouet (Paris-Sorbonne University, France)
Alexandre Guay (University of Burgundy, France, researcher at IHPST in 2011-2012, and
associated researcher at the CIRST, Canada)
Pascal Ludwig (Paris-Sorbonne University, France)
Thomas Pradeu (Paris-Sorbonne University, IHPST & IUF, France) (head of committee)
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com