Director's 2007-08 Annual Review
John D. Norton
Renewal of Associate Membership of the Center
Request for Feedback
August is here again. As we try to hold on to the last warm days of summer vacation before the new academic year, we can reflect with pleasure on the year now passed and share news among the extended family that is the Center for Philosophy of Science.
It is a growing family. The year started with the promise of new Fellows who would come to visit. They were first just names on pieces of paper; then they became names on doors; and finally real people who are now the newest members of our family. This group is as international as ever. Five come from the US and five from overseas: Austria, France x 2, Switzerland and Turkey. This will be the year that I will always remember as the one in which I heard more French spoken in our halls than ever before, with Swiss and Austrian German somewhere behind it. It was also the year of causation as one Fellow after another turned their thoughts to the topic. The accidental catalyst was Jim Woodward, whose writings lead the world of philosophy of causation. He had decided to stay on a little longer into the Spring term. Knowing that one could just step into his office for the wisest and kindest advice was just too tempting.
The major family event was our Visiting Fellows Reunion Conference held just last July in Athens, Ohio.
Our Founder and Chair continues to sustain a prodigious calendar of activities. This past year's activities were launched by his delivery of the Presidential Address in August 2007 to the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS) at the 13th World Congress of its Division of Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science (DLMPS) in Beijing, China. His address is a sequel to his well-known 2004 article “The Poverty of Theistic Cosmology.” It is, he is pleased to report, "a complete deflation of the inveterate PEQ [Primordial Existential Question] as an ill-conceived, abortive pseudo-question, generated by a baseless presupposition that has haunted occidental philosophy since the second century." The talk has been "rewardingly proliferated" in printed form in four venues of publication.
There is too little space here for me to do justice to Adolf's five-page, closely printed list of achievements and recognitions. One item that will surely interest the Center community is a 2008 volume currently in press entitled Philosophy of Religion, Physics, and Psychology: Essays in Honor of Adolf Grünbaum (Prometheus Press, Amherst, NY, 2008) edited by A. Jokic. It contains Adolf's long anticipated “Autobiographical-Philosophical Narrative” of nearly 150 printed pages.
This year Nick celebrated two milestones: his eightieth birthday and sixty years since he began his career as a professional philosopher. We all congratulate him on the award of the Aquinas Medal in November 2007. It is awarded by the American Catholic Philosophical Association in recognition of lifetime contributions to philosophy. Nick also reports the publication of two new books, Dialectics: A Classical Approach to Inquiry (Frankfurt: ONTOS, 2007) and Conditionals (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2007). He has also published eight articles and has been recognized by a book devoted to his work: Michele Marsonet, Practice and Reason: The Philosophy of Nicholas Rescher. (Frankfurt: ONTOS Verlag, 2008). It is the twelfth published book devoted to the study of Nick’s work.
John D. Norton
This is my third year as Director of the Center. It is a job that I originally undertook through a sense of obligation to the Center for the support it had long afforded me. What I did not expect is how much I would enjoy the job. The principal reason is the extraordinary caliber of the people I deal with, both the staff of the Center and the many scholars who pass through as Visiting Fellows or speakers. I look forward each year to the time I will spend talking with them and hearing their ideas. In amongst all this, I did manage to write a few papers and, to travel a little too much to conferences and to give talks. The details are on my website.
The remaining three Officers of the Center are Associate Directors Peter Machamer, Ken Schaffner and Thomas Ricketts. Tom is now completing his second year as an Associate Director. This term, however, he also commences his tenure as Chair of the Department of Philosophy. Tom's dedication was such that he had intended to continue as an Associate Director of the Center. However his burdens as Chair are proving great and he has felt compelled to resign. Associate Directors are asked to work hard behind the scenes, assisting in selecting Visiting Fellows, organizing the Annual Lecture Series and more. All of us at the Center take this opportunity to thank Tom for his hard work.
Karen Kovalchick, Joyce McDonald, and Carol Weber
Karen and Joyce managed to come for a day and night to the Quadrennial Fellows Conference in Athens, Ohio. This for me was one of the hidden benefits of holding the conference so close to Pitt. Over the years, Karen and Joyce have built many fond friendships with the Visiting Fellows in their care at the Center. Here was a chance for them to reconnect with this group wholesale and this added special warmth to the closing day and banquet.
Carol 's big news is that she has moved house. She loves her new house, but the old adage "a change is as good as a holiday" is not quite apt here. Carol has been performing a delicate juggle with her schedule, which every now and again must bend in order that she can commune with various important personages known by their professional names, "the electrician," "the plumber," "the carpenter," and many others.
Such is Peter's dedication to their well-being, Center Fellows could be forgiven for not knowing that Peter has had other things on his mind over the last year. Peter Gildenhuys goes on the philosophy job market this year, having finished a rough draft of his dissertation, “A Causal Interpretation of Selection Theory.” He also had an article accepted for publication at the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science entitled “An Explication of the Causal Dimension of Drift.”
Some of you may know Justin as the graduate student from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science who quietly helps out behind the scenes. He helped us a lot in setting up our new website a few years ago and he is the first line of contact at philsci-archive. If you have needed any special assistance with the archive, most likely it came from Justin.
Justin's big news is that he was awarded the Williams James Prize at the annual meeting of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology for his article "Two Conceptions of Subjective Experience."
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 is working on philosophy and history of general relativity and his paper on Weyl’s theory of gravitation and electricity has just been accepted by Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
Peter reports on several papers and conference activities on his website.
Nuel has been honored by election in 2008 as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). Read more here.
Andreas reports five publications and four talks. For more, see website.
Thomas' new monograph, Underdetermination: An Essay on Evidence and the Limits of Natural Knowledge, has been published by Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science (Vol. 261).
Mark has now completed his move to the University of Sydney, where he is a Professorial Research Fellow and directs the new Sydney Center for the Foundations of Science. He reports several publications. See website.
Phil co-chaired this year's Quadrennial Fellows Conference at his home institution of Ohio University. He continues to work on non-Archimedean mathematics and won a National Science Foundation Scholars Award in its support. For more, see web.
Starting June 1, 2007, John has a new position, as Professor for knowledge management and competence management, School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE) Herrenberg, Steinbeis-Hochschule Berlin. He reports several books and articles published. See website.
Michael reports a new article, "Disciplinary Authority and Accountability in Scientific Practice and Learning." See his website.
John is now an honorary associate in HPS at Sydney University. He continues to work on the moral dimensions of science and his monograph, The Responsible Scientist: A Philosophical Analysis, is to be published by Pittsburgh University Press in October.
Allan's multi-authored volume on Mendel is now published by our university press: Franklin, A., A. W. F. Edwards, D. J. Fairbanks, et al. (2008). Ending the Mendel-Fisher Controversy. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. For more, including several journal articles, see website.
Maria Carla Galavotti
Maria Carla reports several new publications and continues work on her volume, Bruno de Finetti: Radical Probabilist (London: College Publications, 2009). She is Chair of the European Science Foundation Research Networking Programme "Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective." For more, see website.
Alan reports several publications. See website.
Alan reports eleven articles as forthcoming, two keynote addresses and a manuscript in the works. See website.
Giora and Bernie Goldstein have now published their joint book on symmetry: From Summetria to Symmetry: The Making of a Revolutionary Scientific Concept. Archimedes: New Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, vol. 20. Dordrecht: Springer.
Gurol was a visiting professor at the Duke University philosophy department during the Spring 2007 and co-organized with Elliott Sober the workshop “A Philosopher of Science in Istanbul: Hans Reichenbach” 8-9 May 2008, Bogazici University, Istanbul. For more, see website.
Allen published an essay review of Max Jammer's "Concepts of Simultaneity," in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
Marion reports five articles, three reviews and five presentations. See website.
Edouard has four papers published over the last year and his book, Doing Without Concepts, is now in press. He was an organizer of two Center events, the Workshop on Moral Psychology and the conference, Adaptations in Psychology and Biology, in conjunction with IHPST. His work has been written up in the New York Times Magazine (12/09/2007).
Patrick reports several papers and talks and that he is working on a book, Philosophy of Probability. See website.
Diego has published a short book in Italian on truth and relativism. For more, see website.
Michele continues to carry a heavy administrative burden, completing a six-year term as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Genoa, in October 2008. He will then become chairman of the Philosophy Department, University of Genoa, starting in November 2008. Over the past year, he has published several articles and two books, including the one mentioned above on the philosophy of Nicholas Rescher. For more, see website.
In Nick's busy year, the main event was the publication of the second edition of his book, From Knowledge to Wisdom: A Revolution for Science and the Humanities (Pentire Press, London, November 2007). The second edition has been revised throughout. It has a new introduction and three new chapters. For more, see website.
Sandy's most significant news this year is the publication of her book Komplexitäten - Warum wir erst anfangen, die Welt zu verstehen, published by Suhrkamp Verlag in their series Edition Unseld in May 2008. An essay synopsis of the book was published in Der Spiegel online. An English version of the book will be published in 2009 by University of Chicago Press.
Among her achievements of the last year, Nancy was promoted to Regents' Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology. She also gave a keynote address at EuroCogsci '07 in Delphi, Greece. Her book, Creating Scientific Concepts, is in press at MIT.
Paolo reports publication of his book, Reenacting Galileo's Experiments: Rediscovering the Techniques of Seventeenth-Century Science. The Mellen Press, 2008.
Paolo received a grant of €29.900 for 2005-2007 from MURST (Ministero dell'Università e della ricerca scientifica - PRIN) for the reasearch program "Invarianza, oggettività, verità. Ontologia e teoria della conoscenza." He continues his work on the Italian tradition of 'scientific philosophy' from Vailati and Enriques to de Finetti and Preti, and on the problems of truth, epistemic justification and conventionalism.
Thanos reports ten new articles published with publication dates in 2006-2008. His book, Cognitive Penetrability of Perception: How the Cognitive Sciences Inform Philosophy, is now in press at MIT/Bradford. For more.
John's book, The Law-Governed Universe, is due out in November from Oxford University Press.
Howard spent three weeks in January and February 2008 in India as a Visiting Professor in Philosophy at the University of Hyderabad. He gave lectures on incommensurability, scientific realism, relativism and other issues. For more, see website.
Jeff had published numerous papers, written many book reviews and given many invited talks over the last year. He has been elected and installed as President of World Academy of Art and Science. For more, see his website.
Ed is pleased to report that he has won a Sabbatical Award from the American Philosophical Society.
Daniel has completed Across the Boundaries: Extrapolation in Biology and Social Science, which was published by Oxford University Press in November 2007.
Derek in busy writing and reports a book chapter and article. See website.
Among Tom's publications from last year is a near-total rewrite of his earlier analysis of the protocol sentence debate, with new materials and widened focus: Empiricism at the Crossroads. The Vienna Circle's Protocol Sentence Debate, Open Court, Chicago, 2007. For more, see website.
Soshichi is now the First Vice President of Division of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and gave an invited lecture, DLMPS-IUHPS (Beijing Congress), “An Informational Interpretation of Monadology” in August 2007. For more see website.
Jean Paul Van Bendegem
Jean is still Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters at his home university. Yet he has managed to co-edit two books and publish two articles. See website.
Our calendar last year was filled with the usual roster of lunchtime talks and lectures in the Annual Lecture Series. For a recounting of some of these events and other happenings, read here and look here.
We held two major conferences:
&HPS: Integrated History and Philosophy of Science
Thursday, 11 October - Saturday, 13 October 2007
This conference, now remembered forever as "&HPS1," is the first of a new series of conferences dedicated to work that integrates history of science and philosophy of science. We were unprepared for the enthusiasm generated by the event. We received over 100 strong proposals for talks and we do not think it was just the attractions of a weird name "&HPS." For more.
Sixth Quadrennial International Fellows Conference
20-24 July 2008
(held at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio)
This conference continues our tradition of assembling past Visiting Fellows every four years in a reunion conference. It enables Fellows from past years to join together, renew old friendships and start new ones. You can read more here. The special family event was the celebration of Nick Rescher's 80th birthday.
The Center also hosted several smaller workshops.
Moral Psychology Workshop
Saturday, 17 November - Sunday, 18 November 2007
Saturday, 26 January 2008
Stringtime in Pittsburgh
Friday, 11 April 2008
Galileo Colloquium 2008
Saturday, 19 April 2008
We continue a tradition of collaboration with institutions elsewhere. We cosponsored one conference in Paris in collaboration with IHPST.
Adaptations in Psychology and in Biology
4-5 June 2008
Held at Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques (IHPST)
13 rue du Four, 75006 Paris
Further events sponsored or co-sponsored by the Center this year were:
Grünbaum special lectures: first lecture, second lecture
Annual Philosophy Graduate Student Pitt/CMU Conference
HPS Alumni Talk by Christopher Smeenk, March 28, 2008
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 (6 to 8 lectures per year), special lectures, the Lunchtime Colloquium (usually meets twice a week), conferences and workshops (2 or 3), occasional social functions and occasional study groups.
Request for Feedback
Dear Reader who has had the fortitude to read through to the end of this review:
We would appreciate very much some indication of whether you found this review interesting or helpful in any way--or otherwise. Drop us a short email with any remarks you care to make.
This review would be incomplete without thanks to the many people who make the Center possible. Our thanks go to 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 Peter--without whom nothing would happen at the Center. I am grateful every day for their commitment to the flourishing of the Center, for their permanent willingness to do a little extra to make things even better, and for my good fortune in finding staff who really seem to believe that each crazy idea that passes through the director’s head is worth a try! What other group would permit a director to use the cover of this review?
John D. Norton