Archives: 2008–2009

Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science
49th Annual Program

Download the 49th Annual Program


The Robert S. Cohen Forum: Contemporary Issues in Science Studies

Freud, the Reluctant Philosopher

Monday, September 15, 2008
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Boston University, The Castle
225 Bay State Road

Moderator: Murray Cohen Boston University

Freud, Lacan, and the Philosopher’s Desire

William Egginton Johns Hopkins

Contagion, Suggestibility and Identification in Freud’s Group Psychology

Jennifer Radden University of Massachusetts Boston

The Mysterious “Nature of the Subject”: Philosophy at the Interface of Psychoanalysis

Jurgen Reeder Stockholms Universitet

Brentano, Kant, and Freud

Alfred Tauber Boston University

Natural Laws and Scientific Reduction

Friday, September 26, 2008
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Photonics Center, Colloquium Room, 9th floor
8 St. Mary’s Street

Moderator: John Tietze Boston University

Causal Foundationalism

Doug Kutach Brown University

The Better Best System Theory of Laws of Nature

Craig Callender University of California, San Diego

Reduction vs. the Occurrent/Nomic Distinction

Peter Bokulich Boston University

The Rule of Law — and of Meta-Law

Marc Lange University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Past, Present, and Future of Set Theory

Thursday, October 23, 2008
4 p.m.
Boston University, The Castle
225 Bay State Road

Moderator: Alessandro Torza Boston University

Jaakko Hintikka Boston University

Commentator: Judson Webb Boston University

The Philosophy of Infinity

Monday, November 3, 2008
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Boston University, The Castle
225 Bay State Road

Moderator: Peter Bokulich Boston University

The Many Types of Infinity in Ancient Philosophy and in Late Antiquity

Emilie Kutash St. Joseph’s College

The Formal Quantification of Infinity and the Advent of Transfinite Arithmetic in the 1870’s: The Age of Cantor, Set Theory and Modern Mathematics

Jean Nicolas Pestieau State University of New York, Suffolk

Infinity and Modern Philosophy

Judson Webb Boston University

Life without Infinity: Varieties of Finitism

Mihai Ganea Boston University

The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell’s Secret

Monday, November 17, 2008
4 p.m.
Boston University, The Castle
225 Bay State Rd.

Moderator: Conevery Bolton Valencius Harvard University

Seth Shulman

Descartes’ Life and Science

Monday, December 1, 2008
4 p.m.
Boston University, The Castle
225 Bay State Rd.

Moderator: Aaron Garret Boston University

Amir Aczel Boston University

2009 Darwin Celebration

Throughout the calendar year of 2009 the Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science will devote its entire program to examining and celebrating the life, work, and influence of Charles Darwin (1809-1882). This year marks the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication of The Origin of Species. Not only did Darwin stimulate the transformation of a largely descriptive “natural history” tradition into the scientific field we now call biology, but his theory has also deeply influenced all the humans sciences. Further, Darwinism affects the way Western societies conceive themselves and their citizens. In short, Darwinian evolution is more than a science; it has become integral to our metaphysics.

Evolution before Darwin

Monday, January 26, 2009
2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The Castle
225 Bay State Road

Moderator: Gal Kober Boston University

Evolution before Evolution: Some Philosophical Perspectives

Daniel Dahlstrom Boston University

Progress – Evolution’s Evil Doppelganger?

Michael Ruse Florida State University

Romantic Biology and the Origin of “Origins”

Robert Richards University of Chicago

Provost’s Colloquium: The Impact of Darwinism on the Human Sciences

A Boston University Symposium

Thursday, February 12, 2009
The Metcalf Trustee Center, 9th floor
One Silber Way

Introduction by Provost David K. Campbell

Moderator: Alfred I. Tauber Department of Philosophy

Morning Session: 9 a.m. – Noon

  • 150 Years without Darwin Is Enough! The Belated Impact of Darwinian Theory on the Study of Human Evolution

    Matt Cartmill Department of Anthropology

  • How Evolution Helps Us Think about Mental Disorders

    Michael Lyons Department of Psychology

  • Survival of the Fittest in Games, Decisions, and Markets

    Bart Lipman Department of Economics

Afternoon Session: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Evolution in World Politics

    Neta Crawford Department of Political Science

  • Some Reflections on the Impact of “The Descent of Man” on the Trajectory of the Behavioral Sciences

    Jeff Coulter Department of Sociology

  • Darwin among the Historians

    James Johnson Department of History

The Karbank Symposium

The Karbank Symposium, an annual lecture series, offers a forum for discussing issues in environmental philosophy broadly construed. Topics range from biodiversity, transgenic respeciation and global warming to nature aesthetics. The colloquia are designed to provide a forum for distinguished philosophers of various backgrounds to address their work to a broad audience. The Symposium is named in honor of Steven Karbank, a generous benefactor of the Boston University Department of Philosophy and major sponsor of the series.

The Karbank Symposium in Environmental Philosophy

Systems Biology Framed by Ecology: Historical and Contemporary Conceptual Perspectives

Monday, March 23, 2009
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Boston University, The Castle
225 Bay State Rd.

Moderator: Daniel Star Boston University

The Ecosystem Concept: Adapting an Atomic Age Idea to the Modern World

Sharon Kingsland Johns Hopkins University

The Biosphere as System: Toward a Critical Analysis

Eileen Crist Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

From the Milieu Interior to the Functioning Ecosystem: Concepts of Stability and Equilibrium

Sahotra Sarkar University of Texas at Austin

The Dynamics of Developing Systems in Rre-Darwinian German Biology, from Johann Friedrich Kielmeyer to Heinrich Georg Bronn

Sander Gliboff University of Indiana

The Reception of Darwinism: Trans-cultural Differences

Friday and Saturday, April 3 – 4, 2009
The Photonics Center, Colloquium Room 9th floor
8 St. Mary’s Street

Friday, April 3: The Periphery

Moderator: Eve-Marie Engels University of Tübingen

2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Opening presentation

    Thomas F. Glick Boston University

  • Translating Darwin: Reception in 19th-Century Hungary

    Katalin Straner Central European University, Budapest; fellow, Harvard Univeristy

  • The reception of Darwinism in Estonia

    Ken Kalling University of Tartu

  • The Reception of Darwinism by the Brazilian Intelligentsia

    Thomas F. Glick Boston University

Saturday, April 4: Europe

Moderator: Thomas F. Glick Boston University

Morning Session: 10 a.m. – Noon

  • Reception of Darwin and Development of Darwinism in France

    Jean Gayon University of Paris, Sorbonne

  • Inspiration in the Harness of Daily Labor: Darwin, Orchids and the Triumph of Evolution, 1858-1872

    Richard D. Bellon Michigan State University – England

Afternoon Session: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Darwinism and Marxism: Cultural Resources of Soviet Biology

    Nikolai Krementsov University of Toronto

  • Before and After Darwin: the Italian Case

    Pietro Corsi University of Oxford

  • The Reception and Construction of Charles Darwin in 19th Century Germany

    Eve-Marie Engels University of Tübingen

Darwinism’s Impact in the United States

Friday, April 24, 2009
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The Castle
225 Bay State Road

Moderator: Wesley Wildman Boston University

Darwin’s Challenge to Religion

Jon Roberts Boston University

Darwin and Race

Paul Farber Oregon State University

Post-Darwinian Natural Theologies in Britain and the United States: Asa Gray and Charles Kingsley

Piers Hale University of Oklahoma

Science, Religion and Race in Antebellum American: The Origin of the Human Species and Pro-Slavery Thought

Paul Finkelman Albany Law School

Charles Darwin in Biography: The Lives behind the Origin of Species

Friday, May 1, 2009
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
The Photonics Center, Colloquium Room 9th floor
8 Saint Mary’s Street

Moderator: Rebecca Kinraide Boston University

Morning Session: 10 a.m. – Noon

  • Is your Darwin, My Darwin?

    Janet Browne Harvard University

  • Industrious and Persevering Traveler: Alfred Russel Wallace’s Journey

    Andrew Berry Harvard University

Afternoon Session: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

    • Darwin, the Unknown

      Richard Milner American Museum of Natural History

    • Charles Darwin: to the Greenhouse Born

      David Kohn American Museum of Natural History

    • Putting Darwin and Wallace Onstage: Creating ‘Trumpery’

      Peter Parnell

Panel discussion, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Trumpery, by Peter Parnell

Peter Parnell’s play, Trumpery, about Darwin’s relationship with Alfred Russel Wallace, will be playing at Boston University’s Huntington Theatre, Thursday April 30th, Friday May 1st, and Saturday, May 2nd. For further information, consult the CD09 webpage.

Neuphi 2008-2009:

Neuphi, the Philosophy of Neuroscience Group at Boston University, is organized by graduate students in the Department of Philosophy to seek a common integrative framework for the study of the mind. The meetings, supported by the Department of Philosophy and the Center for Philosophy and History of Science, are designed to enrich the interplay between empirical and conceptual investigations through a critical examination of the explanatory strategies, major models, and logic employed in neuroscience. To this end, leaders in philosophy of mind and the cognitive sciences present their work in an interdisciplinary setting. For 2008-2009, the tentative schedule of speakers includes Peter Cariani (September), Hakwan Lau (October), Patricia Churchland (November), Christof Koch (November), Susanna Siegel (December), Steven Grossberg (January), Alex Byrne (March), David Chalmers (April), and Alva Noe (April). For further information and schedule of events, email (to be included on the mailing list) or consult