Monday, September 24, 2012

Ontology and Methodology (Virginia Tech)

Ontology and Methodology

Dates: May 4-5, 2013

Special invited speakers:
David Danks (CMU), Peter Godfrey-Smith (CUNY), Kevin Hoover (Duke),
Laura Ruetsche (U. Mich.), James Woodward (Pitt)

Virginia Tech speakers:
Benjamin Jantzen, Deborah Mayo, Lydia Patton, Aris Spanos

o   How do scientists’ initial conjectures about the entities and processes under their scrutiny influence the choice of variables, the structure of mature scientific theories, and methods of interpretation of those theories? 

o   How do methods of data generation, statistical modeling, and analysis influence the construction and appraisal of theories at multiple levels?

o   How does historical analysis of the development of scientific theories illuminate the interplay between scientific methodology, theory building, and the interpretation of scientific theories?

This conference brings together prominent philosophers of biology, computational cognitive science, causation, economics, and physics engaged in research into these interconnected methodological and ontological questions.

We invite contributed papers that illuminate these issues as they arise in general philosophy of science, in causal explanation and modeling, in the philosophy of experiment and statistics, and in the history and philosophy of science. We anticipate covering accommodation costs for accepted contributed papers.

Deadline for submissions: January 15, 2013

For further information on submitting a paper or extended abstract, please visit the conference website:

Organizers:    Benjamin Jantzen, Deborah Mayo, Lydia Patton

Sponsors:       The Virginia Tech Department of Philosophy and the Fund for Experimental Reasoning, Reliability, and the Objectivity and Rationality of Science (E.R.R.O.R.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

ECitS 2012
Centre for Reasoning, University of Kent, 5-7 September 2012
Organisers: Phyllis Illari and Federica Russo

Causality is a vibrant and thriving topic in philosophy of science. It is closely related to many other challenging scientific concepts, such as probability and mechanisms, which arise in many different scientific contexts, in different fields.  For example, they are relevant to both causal inference (finding out what causes what) and causal explanation (explaining how a cause produces its effect).  They are also of interest to fields as diverse as astrophysics, biochemistry, biomedical and social sciences. There has also been an explosion of interest in evidence, most obviously in biomedical contexts with the rise of ‘evidence-based medicine’, but also elsewhere, such as in social science.  What is evidence?  How do we decide what our best sources of evidence are?

This conference will examine the relation between causality and evidence. This involves questions about the foundations of the sciences, e.g. what is evidence and how does it contribute to causal knowledge?  But it also involves questions about specific applications, e.g. how should we best deal with the many problems of evidence given by expert witnesses in court; and questions about policy-making, e.g. what constitutes evidence of causation that is relevant to the design of socio-economic and public health policies?

These questions are all of immense current concern.  Pressure on health systems from ageing populations, the obesity epidemic, coupled with severe financial constraints on public policy, means governments are demanding answers with increasing urgency.

**Confirmed Speakers**
Iain Chalmers
Mathias Frisch
Sandra Mitchell
David Lagnado

**EXTENDED DEADLINE** 26 MAY 2012: deadline for submission of titles and abstracts of papers for presentation at the conference
Please submit only once: EITHER a long abstract (1000 words max) for presentation, OR a short abstract (300 words max) for a poster presentation.
Send your abstract in doc, dock, txt, rft or pdf format.
To be emailed to Phyllis Illari ( or Federica Russo (

Dr Federica Russo
Center Leo Apostel, VUB (BE) &
Centre for Reasoning, Kent (UK)
email: or

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Workshop: Objects, Kinds and Mechanisms in Biology (Leeds, April 2012)

Objects, Kinds and Mechanisms in Biology: A One Day Workshop

School of Humanities
University of Leeds,
Leeds UK

Friday April 13th 2012

The purpose of the workshop is to encourage discussion of the natures and roles of objects, structure and mechanisms in biology with a view to achieving clarity on a number of issues, including:

How can the heterogeneity of biological objects be appropriately accommodated?

Is a metaphysics of mechanisms as entities and activities sustainable in biology?

What would be an appropriate metaphysics for biological kinds?


10.30-10.55 Coffee
10.55-11.00 Welcome
11.00-12.15 Phyllis Illari (Hertfordshire) The Indispensability of Objects in Biology
12.15-13.30 Ellen Clarke (All Souls) The Organism as a Problem in Biological Ontology

13.30-14.15 Lunch (provided)
14.15-15.30 Marcel Weber (Geneva) Individual, Cell Lineage, and Functional Integration

15.30-15.45 Tea
15.45-17.00 Emma Tobin (UCL) Biomolecular Classification
17.00-18.15 Angelo Cei (Leeds) TBA
18.15-18.30 wrap up

A limited number of student bursaries will be available.

Registration is free but please indicate your interest in attending.

For further details contact:
Steven French<>

Financial support for this workshop has been provided by the British Society for the Philosophy of Science.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CFP: Reality Making: Exploring Fundamentals in Metaphysics

University of Nottingham, 10-12 July 2012

***Conference description***

The conference will focus on recent debates in metaphysics surrounding questions of grounding, fundamentality, essentialism and the monism vs pluralism debate. Confirmed invited speakers: Elizabeth Barnes (Leeds), Terry Horgan (Arizona), Laurie Paul (Chapel Hill), Sònia Roca Royes (Stirling) and Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers/ANU).

Registration details will follow shortly. Some Analysis grants will be available for graduate student participation. Please contact Mark Jago ( for more information.

***Call for papers***

We are accepting submissions for contributed papers on the topics listed above and related topics. We are also interested in papers which relate any of these topics to the philosophy of science. Please send an abstract of 1,000 words to The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2012.

***Call for respondents***

Each of our invited talks will be followed by a short reply, given by an early-career researcher (at PhD, postdoc or equivalent stage). If you are interested in giving one of these replies, and are familiar with some of the topics of the conference (grounding, fundamentality, monism vs pluralism, essential properties) or with the work of one of our keynote speakers (Laurie Paul, Jonathan Schaffer, Elizabeth Barnes, Terry Horgan, or Sònia Roca Royes) on the conference topics, please send (i) a 2-page CV and (ii) a short writing sample to Deadline: 1 April 2012.

For more information on the conference, please contact one of the organisers, Mark Jago ( or Stephen Barker ( The conference is generously funded by a Mind Major Conference Grant and an Analysis Grant.