Archives: 2009–2010

Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science
50th Annual Program

Download the 50th Annual Program

2009 Darwin Celebration

Throughout calendar year 2009, the Boston Colloquium’s entire program is devoted 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 human sciences. Further, Darwinism affects the way Western societies conceive of themselves and their citizens. In short, Darwinian evolution is more than a science; it has become integral to our metaphysics.


Darwin and Metaphysics

Monday, October 19, 2009
The Castle
225 Bay State Road

Moderator: David Liebesman Boston University

Nietzsche and Darwin

Babette Babich Fordham University

Evolution, Human Agency, and the Late Victorians

Roger Smith Lancaster Univeristy

Freud, Darwin, and Diachronic Scientific Explanation

Patricia Kitcher Columbia University

Theories of Evolution Today and Tomorrow

Friday, November 6, 2009
The Castle
225 Bay State Road

Moderator: Alfred Tauber Boston University

Morning Session: 10 a.m.–Noon

  • The Arrival of the Fittest: Developmental Sources of Variation Evolutionary Theory in the Molecular Age

    Scott Gilbert Swarthmore College

  • Soft Inheritance in the 21st Century

    Eva Jablonka Tel Aviv University

Afternoon Session: 2–5 p.m.

  • Evolution Under Stress: Mechanisms of Adaptive Mutation in Escherichia Coli

    Patricia Foster Indiana University

  • The Future of Darwinism

    David Depew The University of Iowa

  • What, If Anything, Is “Random” About the Evolutionary History of Life?

    Lynn Margulis University of Massachusetts

Evolutionary Concepts in Medicine and Public Health

Friday, November 20, 2009, 1–5 p.m.
The Castle
225 Bay State Road

Moderator: Robert Cohen Boston University

Why Are Old Evolutionary Concepts Still New in Medicine?

Randolph Nesse University of Michigan

Darwin and Public Health: Convergence or Conflict?

Gerald Keusch Boston University

Prader-Willi Syndrome and the Evolution of Human Childhood

David Haig Harvard University

Aging and Immunosenescence in a Darwinian Perspective

Claudio Franceschi University of Bologna

Darwinism Today: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives

Monday, December 7, 2009
1–5 p.m.
The Castle
225 Bay State Road

Moderator: Alisa Bokulich Boston University

Developmental Biology and Stem Cells in the Context of Evolution

Jane Maienschien Arizona State University

Clonal Selection Theory and the Neo-Darwinian Transformation of Immunology

Scott Podolsky Harvard University

What Is Selecting What? Reviewing Darwinism at the Molecular-Ground Level

Lenny Moss University of Exeter

Naturalizing Epistemology: How Brains Get a Grip on Unfolding Structures in Time

Paul Churchland University of California, San Diego

The Boston Colloquium Jubilee


The Boston University Center for Philosophy & History of Science, which sponsors the Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science, was established in 1960 by Professors Marx Wartofsky and Robert S. Cohen. They conceived a forum of scholarly exchange in the broadest interdisciplinary framework to characterize the natural and human sciences in their cultural and historical contexts. The Colloquium, which began as a Boston-based, informal inter-university collaboration, has become a premier stage for national and international dialogue on all aspects of the philosophy and history of science, mathematics, and logic. 2010 marks the Jubilee celebration of the Colloquium’s founding and the final year of Professor Alfred Tauber’s seventeen-year directorship of the Center.

Philosophy and History of Science: Then and Now

Thursday–Saturday, April 15–17, 2010
The Castle
225 Bay State Road

Day 1: Perspectives, Thursday, April 15

Morning Session: 9a.m.–Noon

  • Moderator: Daniel Dahlstrom Boston University
  • Commentator: Jeff Coulter Boston University
  • The Checkered Career of Symmetry in Recent Social Studies of Science

    Michael Lynch Cornell University

  • The Trouble with Metaphysics

    Don Howard University of Notre Dame

  • Marx’s Critique of Naturalism and Cognitive Science

    John Stachel Boston University

Afternoon Session: 2–4 p.m.

  • On Not Writing Off Scientific Realism

    Hilary Putnam Harvard University

    Commentator: Peter Bokulich Boston University

  • After Morgenbesser: The Continuing Messiness of the Social Sciences and Some Related Incoherences

    Alasdair Macintyre University of Notre Dame

    Commentator: Lee McIntyre Boston University – Paper

Day 2: Physics and Epistemology, Friday, April 16

Morning Session: 10 a.m.–Noon

    • Moderator: Alisa Bokulich Boston University
    • Mixing in the Metaphysics: How Humble Should the Realist Be?

      Steven French University of Leeds

    • Cosmic Confusions: Not Supporting versus Supporting Not-

      John Norton University of Pittsburgh

Afternoon Session: 2–5 p.m.

  • Induction, Then and Now

    Jaako Hintikka Boston University

  • Changing Trends in the Epistemology of Science: Theory Meets Practice

    Margaret Morrison University of Toronto

Day 3: Saturday, April 17

Morning Session: Biology, 9 a.m.–Noon

  • Moderator: Alfred Tauber Boston University
  • Invariants, Arms Races, and Natural Selection in Human Affairs

    Alex Rosenberg Duke University

  • After Biodiversity?

    Sahotra Sarkar University of Texas

  • TBA

    Lynn Margulis

Afternoon Session: Summing Up, 1:30–4:00 p.m.

  • Reflections on the Past

    Robert Cohen Boston University

  • Reflections on the Future

    Alfred Tauber Boston University

  • Round Table Discussion