Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science

60th Annual Program

  • October 25th, 2019 | Social Institutions: From Ontology to Practice
  • November 15th, 2019 | Identity, Individuality, & Kinds in Biology
  • December 6th, 2019 | Managing Misinformation about Science
  • February 21st, 2020 | Ontological Inference and Equivalence in Physics
  • March 22nd-23rd, 2020 | Bias in AI: Towards Algorithmic Transparency, Justice, & Ethics
  • April 24th, 2020 | Explaining Biological Events in Deep Time

Social Institutions: From Ontology to Practice

Co-sponsored by Department of Sociology

Friday, October 25th, 2019
Kilachand Center, Room 106C, 610 Commonwealth Ave
10:00am – 1:00pm

What Are Institutions, and How Do We Change Them?
          Brian Epstein
, Philosophy, Tufts University

Social Logics and Market Institutions: What it Means to Study Loan Pools as Little Moral Worlds
          Sarah Quinn,
Sociology, University of Washington/IAS

Agency, Explanation, and Social Practices
          Sally Haslanger, Linguistics and Philosophy, M.I.T.

Identity, Individuality, & Kinds in Biology

Friday, November 15th, 2019
Terrace Lounge, George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Kinding Kinds and Individuating Individuals
          Catherine Kendig, Philosophy, Michigan State University

How to Count? Distinguishing Individual Fungi (and Lichens) in Nature
          Anne Pringle,
Botany, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Can Host-Microbiome Systems be Healthy? Shaping Ecosystems vs. Curing Diseases
          Derek Skillings
, Philosophy, UNC Greensboro

On Immunity and the Question of Individuality
          Alfred I. Tauber
, Philosophy, Boston University

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Managing Misinformation about Science

Co-sponsored by BU College of Arts and Sciences


Friday, December 6th, 2019
Kilachand Center Room 101, 610 Commonwealth Ave

1:00pm – 6:00pm

Disinformation as Strategic Bullshit
         Quassim Cassam,
Philosophy, University of Warwick, U.K.

The Subtleties of Industrial Propaganda
          Cailin O’Connor,
Logic & Philosophy of Science, University of California-Irvine

Defending Science from Denial and Pseudoscience 
          Lee McIntyre
, CPHS, Boston University

Managing Misinformation in the Arena of Ideas: Market, Garden or Landscape?
          Erin Nash
, Philosophy, U. of New South Wales, Australia

Public Acceptance of Science in a ‘Post-Truth’ World
          Stephan Lewandowsky,
 Cognitive Psychology, University of Bristol, UK

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Ontological Inference and Equivalence in Physics

Friday, February 21st, 2020
Kilachand Center Room 101, 610 Commonwealth Avenye

2:00pm – 5:00pm

What is The Wave Function?
          Peter J. Lewis,
Philosophy, Dartmouth College

Metaphysics and Equivalence
          Jill North,
Philosophy, Rutgers University

Do Virtual Particles Exist? Implications of the Yukawa Model of Nuclear Force
          Gregg Jaeger
, Quantum Communication & Measurement Lab, Boston University

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Bias in AI: Towards Algorithmic Transparency, Justice, and Ethics

Co-sponsored by BU Hariri Institute for Computing, Responsible Conduct of Research Program, & Office of the Provost

Sunday, March 22nd – Monday, March 23rd, 2020
Kilachand Center Room 101, 610 Commonwealth Ave.

March 22nd, 9:45am – 12:15pm

Welcome Remarks        

The Ethical Algorithm
          Michael Kearns,
Computer & Information Science, U of Pennsylvania

A Topography of Bias
         Deborah Hellman,
School of Law, University of Virginia

Lessons from Archives: Strategies for Collecting Sociocultural Data in Machine Learning
         Timnit Gebru
, Ethical AI Team, Google Brain

1:30pm – 5:30pm

Soft Ethics: From AI’s Ethical Principles to Practices
          Luciano Floridi
, Philosophy and Digital Ethics Lab, Oxford University

Taming the Machine: How do we Recognize and Address Bias in Medical AI
          Ravi B. Parikh,
Perelman School of Medicine, U of Penn

AI in Medicine: Uncertainty, Association and Intervention
          Alex John London, 
Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon

“Fairness and Machine Learning: Limitations and Opportunities”
          Moritz Hardt,
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, UC Berkeley

Technology’s Unpaid Debt: AI and the Promise of a More Humane Future
         Shannon Vallor,
Philosophy, Edinburgh Futures Institute

March 23rd, 9:15-12:15

Workshop 1


Discrimination Biases in AI

Workshop 2 (Discussant Panel)
10am – 12pm

AI and the Future of Medicine: Opportunities and Pitfalls

Explaining Biological Events in Deep Time

Friday, April 24th, 2020
STH B23-24, 745 Commonwealth Ave

9:00am – 12:00pm

Warm Little Ponds: Analogue Models of the Origin of Life
           Emily Parke,
Philosophy, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Climatic Extremes and the Dawn of Animal Life
          Kristin Bergmann, 
Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Science, M.I.T.

The Interdisciplinary Interplay of Characterization and Explanation in Understanding the Cambrian Explosion
          Alan C. Love,
Philosophy, University of Minnesota

2:00pm – 5:00pm

Phylogenetics and Our Knowledge of the Past
          Joel Velasco,
Philosophy, Texas Tech University

Hominin Paleogenetics and Epistemic Accessibility
          Joyce C. Havstad, 
Philosophy, Oakland University

Discontinuities and Decoupling in Deep Time
          Doug Erwin,
Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History