Monday, October 30, 2006

CFP: Philosophy of Biology

The International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) is meeting July 25-29, 2007 in Exeter, England. Proposals are due February 15:

Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB)

Exeter (Great Britain), July 25-29, 2007

Since its inception, the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) has brought together scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to discuss historical, conceptual, epistemological, political, institutional, and ethical issues of the life sciences in an open and informal setting. Over the past twenty-odd years, attendance has increased from about 60 participants to about 350 in Guelph, 2005. In 2007, we hope to continue our tradition of an inclusive and experimental approach, while meeting the challenge of increased attendance.

Scholars wishing to attend the meeting are now invited to submit session and paper proposals on the ISHPSSB website (visit Deadline for submissions is February 15, 2007, and abstracts should not exceed 500 words.

While individual paper submissions are welcome, we strongly encourage submission of session and panel discussion proposals. For the 2007 meeting, we especially seek sessions that

  • are innovative and cross-disciplinary in content and/or format;
  • strengthen the lines of communication among historians, philosophers, social scientists, and biologists;
  • open conversations that lead to new ways of thinking about the life sciences and the disciplines that study it;
  • bring together people of different disciplinary and national backgrounds.

The Society is open to proposals on any topic connected with the history, philosophy and social studies of the life sciences. For the 2007 meeting, we would especially welcome sessions in the following areas:

  • Interdisciplinarity.
  • Anthropology of the Life Sciences.
  • Biology and Politics.
  • Systems Biology.
  • Biology beyond the Evolutionary Synthesis.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Upcoming conferences: PSA, 4S, HSS

In Vancouver this week, from Nov. 1 - 5, there are three concurrent science studies conferences:
the Philosophy of Science Association, the Society for the Social Studies of Science, and the History of Science Society.

The PSA, I am disappointed to say, seems to be featuring no talks explicitly on the topic of feminist approaches to philosophy of science, though a session on Friday afternoon may be smuggling them in. It is titled "Towards a more political philosophy of science." Some of us on this blog would rather not find feminist approaches always categorized as political, since the label seems to imply a particular bias. It is the exclusion of women and of feminist thought from science and philosophy of science that is biased, not the exploration of diverse points of view.

The 4S conference has feminist inquiry scheduled throughout, too many sessions to catalog here. But we will point out those sessions of particular interest to philosophers of science:
1. Our own, of course, scheduled for Thursday morning:
"How central are values in scientific reasoning?"
2. On Friday morning, a panel of papers on Miriam Solomon's social empiricism
3. A session of author meets critics on John Zammito's A Nice Derangement of Epistemes: Post-positivism in the Study of Science from Quine to Latour on Friday afternoon

Book announcements: Women & Technology

Two new books have recently appeared on women and technology:

Women, Gender, and Technology
Mary Frank Fox, Deborah G. Johnson, and Sue V. Rosser, eds. (University of Illinois Press, 2006).

This is an interdisciplinary investigation of the complex relationship between gender and technology. Each of the ten chapters explores a different aspect of how gender and technology work--and are at work--in particular domains, including film narratives, reproductive technologies, information technology, and the profession of engineering. The volume's contributors include representatives of over half a dozen different disciplines, and each provides a novel perspective on the foundational idea that gender and technology co-create one another.

Unfortunately, the table of contents is not yet available for viewing either at Amazon or at the University of Illinios website, so it is impossible to know who has contributed to the volume and on what topics without buying the book. Deborah Johnson is an ethicist who has written a textbook on computer ethics, so we can expect that there will be some contributions of interest to feminist theorists.

The other book is
Women and Information Technology: Research on Underrepresentation
Joanne McGrath Cohoon and William Aspray, eds. (MIT Press, 2006).

Computing remains a heavily male-dominated field even after twenty-five years of extensive efforts to promote female participation. The contributors to Women and Information Technology look at reasons for the persistent gender imbalance in computing and explore some strategies intended to reverse the downward trend. The studies included are rigorous social science investigations; they rely on empirical evidence--not rhetoric, hunches, folk wisdom, or off-the-cuff speculation about supposed innate differences between men and women.

This volume is focused on sociology rather than theory, but it will be interesting to examine the various types of explanations that are given for the continuing disparity in IT as well as evaluations of the remedies that have been implemented in educational settings.