Tuesday, August 17, 2010

CFP: Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science


Presented by the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto
and the Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine, University of Chicago

13-15 May 2011
University of Toronto

The philosophy of science has an illustrious history of attraction and antipathy towards metaphysics. The latter was famously exemplified in the Logical Positivist contention that metaphysical questions are meaningless, but in the wake of the demise of Positivism, metaphysics has found its way back into the philosophy of science. Increasingly, questions about the nature of natural laws, kinds, dispositions, and so on have taken a metaphysical cast. The metaphysics of science commands significant attention in contemporary philosophy.

While many philosophers embrace the increased contact between metaphysics and the philosophy of science, others are wary. Should science (and its philosophical study) lead us into doing metaphysics? If so, which metaphysical issues are genuine and which are illusory, and how might we tell? Such questions dovetail with similar soul-searching in metaphysics proper (sometimes under the banner of "meta-metaphysics", sometimes simply as methodology).

This conference will examine ground-level debates about metaphysics within the philosophy of physics and the philosophy of biology as well as broader methodological questions about the role of metaphysics in the philosophy of science. Participation is open and welcome from all parties to these questions: from those who hold that metaphysics must have a place within the philosophy of science, to those who hold it should not.

Craig Callender (University of California, San Diego)
Anjan Chakravartty (University of Toronto)
Katherine Hawley (University of St. Andrews)
Jenann Ismael (University of Arizona)
James Ladyman (University of Bristol)
Kyle Stanford (University of California, Irvine)
Michael Strevens (New York University)
Robert Wilson (University of Alberta)
C. Kenneth Waters (Minnesota)


Essays of 4,000-5,000 words (30 minutes allotted for presentations) concerning any aspect of metaphysics and the natural or social sciences will be accepted for review until January 10, 2011. Please include a short abstract (200 words or so), a few keywords, prepare your essayfor blind review (do not include your name or other identifying references in the document), and submit it in PDF format here.


Evelyn Brister said...

Terrible timing with regard to my academic year, but conferences in Toronto are so easy for us in western New York to attend. I'll keep this on my wishlist--even though I spent my year's travel money within the first week of the fiscal year!

Sharon Crasnow said...

I am thinking that this is just the conference to target for my causality paper. This is the paper where I discuss why it is that I cannot understand what anyone else says about causality. But maybe that is too ambitious? At any rate, I am quite sure my problem has something to do with the idea that causes are something specific and real (which I dispute).