2006-07 annual review
Director's Annual Review
John D. Norton
Workshop: Bayesianism Fundamentally
Special Lecture and Associates' Reception
PSA Reunion Dinner
Workshop: Causality, Mechanisms, and Psychology
Confirmation, Induction and Science
Evidence and Evolution: Workshop on Elliott Sober's book manuscript
Papers of Richard C. Jeffrey
An Academic Genealogy
Renewal of Associate Membership of the Center
August marks the end of our academic year. This review gives us the opportunity to report to the extended Center family on the activities and achievements of the past year. Here you can read what everyone has been up to, how the events of the past year unfolded and only the choicest gossip. Those of you who follow this review will know that last year we initiated a new, online review that replaces the old and familiar printed review of years past. (No need to fret if you miss them. They can be found as pdfs on our website via links in the right-hand column on our news page.)
We are always pleased to hear news from you. In addition to using this Review to report news items of special interest that you send us, we have set up personalized pages for all present and past Visiting Fellows who want them. There you can see even more news of Visiting Fellows, present and past. These pages are indexed by year, by country, and alphabetically, so that you can quickly find just the page you want.
Of course there's no need to wait for this annual review to peek into the latest goings on at the Center. Our rich website offers many glimpses. If you have a spare moment, do click on "Who Took the Last Donut?" to find out who the culprit was; or click on our Photo album to see the guilty party caught in the act.
Officers and Staff
More complete news from the Center Officers can be found on their websites at
Adolf Grünbaum, Nicholas Rescher, Peter Machamer, Thomas Ricketts, Kenneth F. Schaffner, and John D. Norton. Items of special note are included here:
Founder and Chair of the Center, Adolf maintains an agenda so rich that it would be worthy of a committee of scholars. We are proud to report that Adolf was elected to the Presidency for 2006/2007 of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science. He delivered his Presidential Address at the August 9 -15 World Congress in Beijing, China. This address is the highlight of an extensive calendar of international travels and important addresses, including a plenary paper at a mid-September 2007 Conference in Prague, Czech Republic on the topic “Rethinking Karl Popper.” Although the originals of Adolf's correspondence and papers are ultimately destined to go to our Archives of Scientific Philosophy at the Hillman Library, Adolf has agreed to let copies go to the Adolf Grünbaum Archives at the Institute Vienna Circle in Vienna, Austria; the plan for whose creation was recently announced. Finally, Adolf reports that his publication list for the past year includes six items, including journal articles, Companion chapters and foreign language translations.
Nick was the recipient of several honors this year. Cleveland State University awarded him an honorary degree. It is the eighth such degree awarded to him for contributions to philosophy. The Royal Society of Canada elected him as a Foreign Fellow. His book, Scholastic Meditations, was awarded the Cardinal Mercier Prize. Nicholas J. Moutafakis has published Rescher on Rationality, Values, and Social Responsibility (Frankfurt: Ontos, 2007). It is the tenth book devoted to the study of Nick's work. Finally, Nick's book, Conditionals has finally been sent to MIT Press, and he is now writing a book on free will.
John D. Norton
In his few free moments when he is not directing the Center, John has been thinking about inductive inference. He doesn't believe that there is a universal logic of induction. Rather he thinks that each domain has its own logic specified by facts that obtain there ("Material Theory of Induction") and he has been hunting down examples where the probability calculus is not that logic. See "Disbelief as the Dual of Belief," "Ignorance and Indifference" on his website. Over the last year, he's given talks in London, Boston, Vancouver, Los Angeles, London again, Baltimore, Toronto, Bern, and Berlin, mostly on induction, but also on that odd dome that conjures up true indeterminism in Newtonian physics with nothing more than a mass sliding down a dome.
Karen's big news over the past year is that she has managed the awkward juggle of selling one house and buying another. She'll miss her cabin and the nearby creek. But she won't miss its thermal problems in the winter and the longer commute. She's now living much closer to her parents and siblings.
Everyone who visits the Center knows of Joyce's dedication to the Center. As a student in the College of General Studies, that same dedication led her to become President of the College of General Studies Student Government. And her big heart leads her to many volunteer services outside the university as well. We were delighted when, this year, Joyce was honored with a Chancellor's Award for Staff Excellence. It was a proud moment for us all at the Center when she accepted her award from the Chancellor in a ceremony attended by her husband and family as well. For more see her donuts page and the Pitt Times article.
This last summer, Carol experienced two great moments for a parent with two daughters. They are now both married and both ceremonies happened in the same summer! We all participated indirectly as Carol counted down the days and then reported the happiness of each event.
[At the time of writing this review, Carol has just ventured off to the second wedding in Ohio and we opened our morning paper to read of heavy rains and flooding in Ohio. Update: Carol has now returned and answered the obvious query. "Oh," she deadpanned, "tornado warnings going off during the outdoor ceremony; everyone being shepherded into corridors afterwards; and the string quartet playing through the whole thing--rather like the Titanic."]
Graduate Student Assistants
Brian Hepburn and Jim Tabery
Brian was for many years our behind the scenes miracle worker. He has now successfully defended his dissertation, "Equilibrium and Explanation in 18th Century Mechanics" as of July 26, 2007. He was very pleased to land a position that allows him to return to his home country, Canada. He is now a Teaching Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Philosophy Department at the University of British Columbia.
Jim came after Brian and, for the past year, proved as adept at the working of behind-the-scenes miracles. He too passed that great milestone of a scholar's life when he successfully defended his dissertation, "Causation in the Nature-Nurture Debate: The Case of Genotype-Environment Interaction," on July 17, 2007. He has already left for an Assistant Professorship in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Utah.
Brian and Jim--we will miss you!
Peter will take on the duties performed by Brian and Jim. He is also an HPS Graduate Student and will be familiar to many of you who were here last year, since he liked to slip down from the chaos of the HPS Graduate Student Offices on the 9th Floor of the Cathedral to sit and read in the peace of the Center's lounge on the 8th floor. We never noticed what he was reading. Presumably it was in his area of research interest, which is evolutionary theory, including the units of selection controversy, the nature of drift, and the nature of causation in evolutionary theory. We are looking forward to working with you, Peter!
Life in the Center Offices
The electronic transformation of the Center's office that was begun last year continues. The most visible part has been the transformation of the Center's website. Most of the credit goes to Carol and Justin Sytsma, our web guru. But everyone has helped keep the content up to date and given their two cents' worth on just how the site can function best.
What is less obvious is the continuing development of the Center's database. That is how we keep track of who has done what where, and who should receive the benefit of the email bulletins that Joyce formats to perfection and then sets loose into the internet. The database is fancy--a full blown relational database in SQL, accessible in every office over our LAN from a central server, in case that means anything to you. Such a database does not come cheaply, and Carol, Joyce, Karen and (sometimes) I have spent a lot of time in meetings with our local database expert, Joan Gielas, talk earnestly of things as tables, fields, pull-down menus, and good database practices.
What is very obvious from outside is that the exterior of the Cathedral has been given a massive cleaning to remove the soot and dirt that have accumulated over decades. The result is a delight. The Cathedral now sparkles brightly in its original light sandstone hues. The cleaning process itself was less delightful. Contractors spent months dangling from ropes on platforms at all levels. They directed powerful wet, sandy blasts at every square inch of the Cathedral's surface. We discovered that the Cathedral is far from waterproof. Each day we wondered what little disaster we'd face. One day I found myself rushing to grab paper towels as a murky figure dangled outside my window, making a frightening, roaring noise, while sludgy water squirted through the many gaps around my windows. Each office had its story and we got used to a fine layer of sand on every surface. In one office we delighted in the formation of a quite pretty sand dune on the window sill. We wondered if it should be preserved as a Zen sand garden until our custodian Terri's vacuum cleaner got the better of it.
The Center Community
Our website provides links to keep you up to date on the activities of past and present Fellows. We are pleased to note the following news communicated to us for this review and congratulate our fellowship on its many, continuing successes.
Alexander's paper “Optico-mechanical analogy: an axiomatic approach” has been published in the International Journal of Theoretical Physics, http://www.springerlink.com/content/101594/?k=afriat. He is continuing his work on Weyl’s theory of gravitation and electricity (see http:www.uniurb.it/Filosofia/afriat/EinsteinWeyl.pdf). He has also given talks about this work in London, Utrecht, Bologna, Bergamo, Padua, Lecce, Bari, Cesena, Potenza and Urbino.
We congratulate Anjan on his first book, A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable, which has just been published by Cambridge University Press in 2007.
Brigitte published her book, Particle Metaphysics. A Critical Account of Subatomic Reality, with Springer in 2007. She organised both the Symposium, "Knowledge of the Early Universe, " at the annual meeting of the German Physical Society, Heidelberg, 5 March 2007, as well as "Quantum Theory and Causality," the annual workshop of the Philosophy Working Group (AK Phil) of the German Physical Society Dortmund, 9-10 November 2007.
Carla Fehr has only just left the Center, but she has already published two papers, has given lectures in San Francisco (twice) and Arizona and is the co-PI on a $3,200,000 [sic] National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Award, designed to increase the retention and advancement of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. Here is the web page the ISU ADVANCE Program http://www.advance.iastate.edu/. She also bought a house and has succeeded in growing tomato plants that are taller than she is. (May we say that, amazed as we all were to hear about the tomatoes, they don't have the "wow" of the $3,200,000 grant. Wow!)
Rolf was honored with the title "Distinguished Professor Emeritus" at his university's Spring Convocation. This year Paul Rusnock and he published Bolzano's Selected Writings on Ethics and Politics (New York: Editions Rodopi BV).
Wenceslao is now working on his new project, "Bounded Rationality and the Sciences of Design: The Role of Prediction and Prescription," which has three years of funding from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science.
Vana reports several new papers and successful graduate teaching on her webpage.
During the past academic year 2006/2007 Lilia took part in several local conferences and presented a paper, “A Plea for a Moderate Anti-Justificationism,” at the Center's conference, “Confirmation, Induction, and Science” (LSE, 8-10 March 2007).
Alan's main project this year is the finishing of his book manuscript, Arrows and Haloes: Probabilities, Conditionals, Desires, Beliefs, which will be published by Oxford University Press.
Stephan has a new appointment this year as Chair in Epistemology and Philosophy of Science in the Department of Philosophy at Tilburg University and Director of the Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science.
Reiner has now published his book, Von der Physik zur Metaphysik - Physikalische Vereinheitlichung und Stringansatz [From Physics to Metaphysics - Unification and String Theory] with Ontos Verlag in 2007.
Christopher's contribution to a symposium on Alvin Goldman's Simulating Minds at the Pacific APA in April, 2007, is entitled, "Goldman on Introspection," and was written while Chris was a Visiting Fellow at the Center.
Paul reports four papers and thirteen talks in the UK, USA, Sweden and Germany.
Peter is enjoying a well-earned retirement but would like his academic friends to know that he can be reached at his private address, which he has passed on to the Center.
Starting in 2006, Aharon has become a member of the editorial board of Katharsis: a Critical Review in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Brian is pleased to report that the book collection on which he worked while he was visiting the Center is now available: Paul Churchland, edited by Brian L. Keeley is published by Cambridge University Press.
Peter Lang has published Marion's new book, Common Sense: its History, Method, and Applicability, in 2007.
Nick reports a lengthy list of papers and contributions to books and the following, best communicated in his own words, since no one could say it better: "I am about to publish a second edition of From Knowledge to Wisdom (Pentire Press, 2007). This book was first published in 1984. It has been revised throughout for the 2nd edition, and has three new chapters. I have just finished a long article called "The Disastrous War on Terrorism: Violence versus Enlightenment", which is to be published in a book on terrorism. I have been hard at work on two forthcoming books, Cutting God in Half, and Putting the Pieces Together Again, and Einstein, Quantum Theory, and the Great Betrayal. I have been co-editing an issue of London Review of Education on "Wisdom in the University", due to come out in July 2007, to which I have contributed the leading article. A book devoted to my work is underway; it will be edited by Leemon McHenry, and will be called Knowledge to Wisdom: Studies in the Thought of Nicholas Maxwell. Friends of Wisdom, an emailing and campaigning group I initiated, continues to flourish: website www.knowledgetowisdom.org. My website is: www.nick-maxwell.demon.co.uk."
Ernan reports six items on his website and we are pleased that he has agreed to be our "Sage" speaker in October's &HPS1 conference.
Nikolay reports that he was inspired by the paper Nick Rescher presented at the Lunchtime Colloquium on 9 September 2005, "The Berlin School and Its Transatlantic Fate," to write a project on the history of the Berlin School for Scientific Philosophy. That project just won the generous support of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation in Germany and Nikolay received a three-year full-time research position that starts on 1 September 2007.
Juergen reports several new articles; that he continues working on the second edition of the Enzyklopädie Philosophieund Wissenschaftstheorie, whose first two volumes came out in 2005; and that he is President of both the Academia Europaea (London) since 2002 and the Austrian Science Council since 2005.
Dan reports four new works on his webpage.
Alessandro has been very busy and has sent us a long list of publications which you can review on his webpage.
Carlo thanks Jiri Benovsly that the 34th ESAP NEWSLETTER (June-July 2007) is online. It provides information on events in Basque Country, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland and more. See it at http://www.dif.unige.it/esap/new.htm, or directly by dowloading the pdf file: http://www.dif.unige.it/esap/let/34.pdf.
Warren reports three new publications on his webpage.
Soshichi has retired from Kyoto University, March 2006, and is now Professor Emeritus.
António has updated his many activities on his webpage. He was co-organizer with Prof. Stephen Laurence (Sheffield University – United Kingdom) and participant of the workshop, Folk-Psychology & Folk-Epistemics, in which he also participated. This workshop was part of the AHRC research project, Culture & the Mind, and took place in Portugal at the Caparide Centre of the Ministry of Education. About 35 participants from different universities in the UK, USA, Italy, France, Hungary and Portugal, took part.
We report the passing of two dear friends of the Center.
We are sad to note here belatedly that Ruth Manor, who was a Visiting Fellow in 1990-91, succumbed to auto-immune disease in November 2005.
The following is excerpted from Ruth’s obituary, which appeared in the October 2006 newsletter of the Department of Philosophy at San José State University: “Ruth had gained her Ph.D. in 1971 at the University of Pittsburgh when 27, having studied under Nicholas Rescher and Nuel Belnap. Her thesis was “Conditional Forms: Assertion, Necessity, Obligation, and Commands.” An article she wrote with Rescher gave rise to the Rescher-Manor Mechanism in logic, still used today.” A departmental colleague there, Rita Manning wrote that “Ruth was the soul of the department –she was smart, funny, incredibly generous and eternally optimistic.”
Ruth touched everyone who knew her with her compassion and good sense, as Karen Kovalchick recalls:
"I met Ruth during the summer I was hired. Joyce had elected not to work during July and August (needing a much deserved respite), and Jerry was spending many of the slower days at home. Those were anything but slow days for me, as I struggled to learn the myriad routines of the Center. There were often days when the only folks in the Center were Ruth, Wenceslao Gonzalez, and me. I was so worried about making mistakes, and agonized privately to Ruth about my fears. Whenever I fretted to her, “But, Ruth, what if I do this wrong?” she would calmly ask The Universal Question: “So?” She gave me a perspective that I desperately needed in those early days. Her tranquil presence was a constant reminder that most mistakes don’t lead to disaster, and that there are very few mistakes that cannot be corrected. Although Ruth was experiencing some turmoil in her own life at that time, she never failed to embody the words “grace under pressure.” Ruth was my first experience with a Visiting Fellow and a better ambassador could not have been chosen."
In November 2006 we heard the sad news that Daniela had lost her long battle with cancer. Daniela had been a frequent visitor at the Center and, although her illness had disrupted earlier plans, was a Visiting Fellow in 2002-2003. We will never forget her happiness and good cheer in the face of an illness with a slow and cruel course. It consumed and finally broke her body; but it never touched her spirit. We mourn with her husband Coryn and son Ezra.
The University of Bonn reported the sad news as follows: "The Philosophical Seminar mourns Daniela Bailer-Jones, who died in the night of 13 November. She was a Privatdozent in our Seminar and led our Emmy Noether New Generation Research Group. We have lost an outstanding researcher, a kind colleague and an engaged teacher."
In addition to the lunchtime talks and Annual Lecture Series, we have had some notable events this year.
Workshop: Bayesianism Fundamentally (October 2006)
This workshop took the opportunity of James Joyce's speaking in our Annual Lecture Series to make a weekend of Bayesian issues. The unifying theme of the Saturday workshop that followed was prior probabilities and the differing approaches to them in subjective and objective Bayesian traditions. The event was noteworthy in that we managed to weave together presentations by prominent statisticians with those of well-known philosophers of science. See the program and donuts page for more details.
Special Lecture and Associates' Reception (December 2006)
Adolf Grünbaum, Flawed Foundations: A Critique of Freudian Psychoanalysis
A pleasant Friday afternoon in December hosted a two-part event. First, Adolf Grünbaum gave a memorable lecture on his critique of psychoanalysis. It was then followed by a reception for Center Associates at the Schenley Park Visitor Center (photos), one intended as a token of appreciation to Center Associates for their support and commitment to the Center.
PSA Reunion Dinner (November 2006)
The Center began a lovely tradition at the 2004 Austin PSA, where Fred Kronz organized a reunion dinner for past and present Visiting Fellows attending the conference. That event was so popular that we ran another reunion dinner for past and present Visiting Fellows at the 2006 PSA conference in Vancouver last November. George Gale did a terrific job of scouting out the better eateries. One evening, about 30 of us descended onto the Imperial Chinese Seafood Restaurant, which is, we are assured, arguably the best Chinese restaurant in Vancouver. Certainly George, whose experience and judgment of Chinese restaurants is incontrovertible, found it to be comparable to the best one might find in Hong Kong. We enjoyed eating late into the night and enjoyed even more renewing connections with old friends in our extended Center family.
Workshop: Causality, Mechanisms, and Psychology (February 2007)
This workshop gave us a chance to think about the energetic growth of work in philosophy of psychology and neuroscience. The work is proceeding in close connection with recent discoveries by neuroscientists, so the first talk of the day came from Philip Wolff, a professor of psychology, and the second from a philosopher, J. D. Trout. Our in-house label for the event was the "Craverfest," since we had timed it to coincide with the welcome visit of Carl Craver as the HPS Alumni speaker. Carl, who himself has qualifications in both HPS and Neuroscience, gave formal responses to each talk.
Confirmation, Induction and Science (March 2007)
This conference was organized jointly with the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics and was held in London. Our two invited speakers--Malcolm Forster and Philip Dawid--presented different views of the dominant Bayesian approach to confirmation theory, with Malcolm (a recent Visiting Fellow) elaborating his ingenious counterexamples to the likelihood principle. The bulk of the papers came from responses to an open call. We received so many proposals that the committee needed to be quite severe in reducing the invitations to a manageable number. As it was, we had three very full days of talks proceeding at a quite rapid clip. For details, see the program and photos.
Evidence and Evolution: Workshop on Elliott Sober's book manuscript (March 2007)
The format of this workshop was an experiment. Rather than selecting some theme in philosophy of science as its focus, we selected a text, the manuscript of Elliott Sober's new book, Evidence and Evolution. The plan was to assemble as many people as we could who might have interesting things to say about it, throw them into one room, lock the door and not let them out until a day or two later. Well, we didn't quite lock the doors and conditions were not so Spartan. We made sure that attendees were well fed with breakfasts and the high octane fuel of academia, endless coffee. We also had a lovely reception at the Schenley Park Visitor Center on the Saturday night. There were four chapters, so we had four commentators, with Elliot responding to each. There is little question that this experiment was a resounding success! For more details, see the program and photos.
Masseyfest (April, 2007)
Jerry Massey's association with the Center and the University of Pittsburgh has been long, happy and very fruitful for all of us. Most notably, he was Director of the Center during a period of real growth, 1988 to 1997. All good things come to an end. This year Jerry retired from the University. We took the opportunity to hold a small conference in his honor. At the reception afterwards, we were reminded of the many important services Jerry had performed for the University in speeches and warm remembrances offered by a roster of University luminaries that began with the Chancellor and Provost. Jerry's family attended and it was a delight for many of us to meet them for the first time; there is no mistaking the fact that Jerry's brother is a twin.
Papers of Richard C. Jeffrey
Richard C. Jeffrey was a distinguished philosopher specializing in Bayesian epistemology and decision theory. He was a member of the faculty of Princeton University from 1974 and a dear friend of Pitt faculty. After he died in 2002, the University of Pittsburgh's Archive for Scientific Philosophy acquired his papers. They are now open to research, and there is a finding aid at http://www.library.pitt.edu/libraries/archives/finding.html. Enter the keyword ‘Jeffrey’ and select the parameter ‘Collection Title’.
Anil Gupta, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, professor of history and philosophy of science, and Resident Fellow of the Center for Philosphy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh was elected a a 2006 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Jeffrey Schwartz, President Elect of the World Academy of Art and Science
We are pleased to report that Jeff, a Resident Fellow of the Center, as well as University of Pittsburgh professor of anthropology and history and philosophy of science, has been elected president of the World Academy of Art and Science. This is the first time that the president has been selected by an election; formerly, trustees of the World Academy were appointed the president.
In 2006, Center Resident Fellow and Professor of Philosophy Mark Wilson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as part of their 2007 Class.
We congratulate Anil, Jeff, and Mark on these honors!
An Academic Genealogy
One finds very quickly that the single most important bond in academia is the teacher-pupil relationship. Tracing its genealogy can be as interesting as tracing our biological ancestry. Nick Rescher has now traced an academic genealogy of many Central scholars in Pittsburgh back to G. W. E. F. Hegel.
Renewal of Associate Membership of the Center
May we take this opportunity to remind Center Associates that their appointments are for three years. Re-appointment is not automatic. If your three-year Associate's appointment is expiring or has expired and you would like to renew it, please let us know through email to the Assistant Director, Karen Kovalchick, firstname.lastname@example.org. Your appointment will then be renewed for a further three years. If you choose not to renew your appointment, your name will remain on our mailing list, so you will continue to hear news of the Center's activities, unless you request otherwise. Associates receive no compensation and have no regular duties. However, the Center views acceptance of an appointment as an Associate as a commitment to attend a few of the Center’s many activities each year. Annually, these activities include, but are not limited to, the Annual Lecture Series (7 or 8 lectures), special lectures, the Lunchtime Colloquium (usually meets twice a week), conferences and workshops (2 or 3), occasional social functions and occasional study groups.
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This review would be incomplete without thanks to the many people who make the Center possible. Our thanks go the Center Officers, who take time from their busy academic schedules to serve the Center; to the Office of the Provost of the University of Pittsburgh, whose support is both visionary and unflagging; to the Visiting Fellows who populate the Center each year with new energies and new ideas; and to the many who come to give talks, to hear talks, to enliven discussion, and to keep an eye on the donuts.
As Director, my personal thanks go to the staff--Karen, Joyce, Carol and departing Jim--without whom nothing would happen at the Center. I am grateful every day for their commitment to the flourishing of the Center, for their tolerance of a wild director who thinks every idea no matter how crazy is worth a try, and for my good fortune in finding a staff who really seem to believe that each crazy idea is worth a try!
John D. Norton