Catelijne Coopmans & Brian Rappert at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 8th February, 2-3pm, Byrne House

February 3, 2016 Leave a comment

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 8th of February. The meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 2-3pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Catelijne Coopmans and Brian Rappert, respectively from the National University of Singapore and the University of Exeter. We will be discussing the attached chapter “Accords on the Mind”. The authors kindly provided us with some information about the paper, and how we might help:

“This is a draft of a chapter (incl. a short preamble) for the book we are writing together. The book is on ‘revelation’ as a social performance of knowledge and knowing. It seeks to relate to ‘revelatory gestures’ by attending to their situated enactment and the paradoxes entailed therein. This chapter, on the neuroscientific study of Buddhist meditation, is envisaged as chapter 5. In preceding chapters we focus on the WikiLeaks releases (ch1), art forgery and ways of detecting it (ch2), and data visualization (ch3), and we synthesize the understandings gained from these cases in a sort of framework (ch4). The chapter after this one, ch6, will deal with claims that the Apollo moon landings never happened. Overall, and unlike some other work in STS, we aim to develop an approach that neither fetishizes revelation nor dismisses it as mere rhetoric or misleading epistemology.

We’re very excited about the chance to discuss this piece with the Biological Interest Group, and keen on hearing any comments, suggestions and feedback you might have! More particularly, it would be great to hear what people think of the two central threads in the chapter: do they make sense? Is it clear how they relate and also differ from one another? Do you have ideas for how we could improve the text in that regard? Another aspect on which we’d love to get feedback is the experience of reading. What came up for you, which parts were able to hold your interest and which parts were not? Where did you get stuck/lost? Did you feel there were too many aspects/dimensions introduced, or too few, etc.?”

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.

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Stephan Guttinger at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 25th January, 1:30-2:30pm, Byrne House

January 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Dear all,

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 25th of January. Please note that, exceptionally, this meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1:30-2:30pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Stephan Guttinger, from the University of Exeter. We will be discussing the attached paper ‘Towards a process ontology for macromolecular biology ‘. The author kindly provided us with some information about the paper, and how we might help:

“The text is a draft of what should (hopefully) become a chapter in the book on process philosophy that Dan and John are editing. The paper explores how the macromolecular level in biology, with its focus on distinct and well-defined objects such as proteins or DNA molecules, relates to the project of developing a general process ontology for biology. Is the macromolecular level a stumbling block for the process philosopher and if so how could it be dealt with? My aim is to show that process philosophers don’t have an ‘enemy’ in macromolecules but a friend. The paper also touches on methodology, i.e. on the question of how to use examples from the biological sciences when thinking about ontology.

I do not have specific aspects on which I would like feedback, I am just generally interested in hearing about how the paper could be improved. If I had to point out two issues it would probably be A) Is my reading/interpretation/use of the different case studies convincing? And B) How could the conclusion (which I think is one of the weakest parts of the paper) be strengthened?”

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.

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Gail Davies at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 11th January, 1-2pm, Byrne House

January 4, 2016 Leave a comment

Dear all,

Happy New Year 2016 !

You are invited to the first meeting of the Biological Interest Group of this year. It will take place this coming Monday 11th of January. Please note that, exceptionally for this term, this meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1-2pm (the new time slot for this term being 2-3pm). Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Gail Davies, from the University of Exeter. We will be discussing the attached paper ‘”Increasing in size and diverging in character”: Licensing practices and the global politics of laboratory animal research’. The author kindly provided us with some information about the paper, and how we might help:

“This paper originated in a keynote talk commissioned by the World Congress on Animal Alternatives, on the Globalisation of the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, refinement) in laboratory animal research. The audience there included policy-makers, scientists, regulators and NGOs. The aim of the paper was to try and intervene in arguments between European and American stakeholders about whose approach was best, which seemed to be overtaking other debates, and indicate something of what a social scientist might contribute. The talk seemed to go down well on the day, and stimulated some great follow up conversations.

I’ve decided to write it up now, in part, due to my involvement in development of policy-making in this area in the UK, including advising on the revision of the project licensing process, and in part as I am putting together a special issue on the history and future of the 3Rs for Science, Technology and Human Values. It has been submitted; given the journal, I will expect reviewer’s comments much later. I would really appreciated your input in the meantime. It has been a tricky paper to write. As it has moved audience, I have found it hard to step back from my engagement with the policy process and gauge the level of detail on regulations required, build further theoretical connections and engage readers less committed to this ‘insider issue’.

I would welcome any/all thoughts or comments, but have a few questions too.
– Have I missed a (more interesting) set of literatures on licensing in science? Are there other areas of science which these sort of argument might engage?
– I’ve chosen not to frame this through questions of care, as I, and many others, have written about these issues elsewhere, but I am aware this leaves a very legal/technical view of animal care. I am wondering the extent to which this a problem?
– It is already over length – I am wondering what details can be cut whilst still allowing people to follow the argument.

I look forward to any thoughts from anyone up for reading about the legal complexities of licensing in science as a new year task!”

 

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.

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William Goodwin at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 7th December, 1-2pm, Byrne House

December 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Dear all,

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 7th of December. It will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1-2pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of William Goodwin, visiting from University of South Florida, USA. We will be discussing the attached paper ‘Volatile Spirits: Scientists and Society in Gulliver’s Third Voyage’.

As the title of the paper indicates, it concerns the relation between scientists and society in Gulliver’s Third Voyage (available online here), from Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. This work is going to be published in a book on Jonathan Swift and Philosophy.

One idea William would like to, perhaps, develop further in this paper is the distinction between ‘common sense’ and scientific reasoning, and the extent to which a person can be really good at the one, but not so good at the other.  As it suggested in the paper, there are versions of this idea in other philosophers of science as well (such as Kuhn), but more typically science is presented as an ‘extension of common sense’ rather than something that might be in tension with it.

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.for any other information.

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Jessey Wright at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 16th November, 1-2pm, Byrne House

November 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Dear all,

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 16th of November. It will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1-2pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Jessey Wright, visiting from University of Western Ontario, Canada. We will be discussing the attached paper ‘On the meta-analysis of Neuroimaging Data’. Jessey kindly provided us with an abstract of his paper, and with more information on the context of the paper.

Abstract: Philosophers and neuroscientists have claimed that the use of meta-analysis, enabled by the pooling of massive amounts of disparate data, may be able to resolve a wide range epistemic problems endemic to the practice of cognitive neuroscience. While meta-analyses have the potential to revolutionize neuroscience, they bring with them their own epistemic challenges. I discuss how data manipulations used to collect, organize and combine data in preparation for a meta-analysis place constraints on interpretations of meta-analysis results. Building on this discussion, I argue for tempered enthusiasm with respect to the prospects of these tools in cognitive neuroscience.

Situation: The attached paper is aimed at providing a philosophical analysis of use to cognitive scientists. The conceptual framework that the paper relies on is derived from my thesis work. I’m interested in discussing if the conceptual discussion in Section 3 helps the paper and how it can be improved. Of course, I’m also keen to talk about the overall aims, if it succeeds, if there is more I could say, if I’ve overlooked anything, and if it’s clear and accessible.

If you need a ‘shorter’ version you could skip Section 2 (you should read the first two paragraphs and the last), and likewise for Section 5 (although that’s the fun case study, because the database used is, I think, interesting).”

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.for any other information.

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Miguel López Paleta at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 9th November, 1-2pm, Byrne House

November 4, 2015 Leave a comment

Dear all,

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 9th of November. It will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1-2pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Miguel López Paleta, visiting from Mexico City, Mexico. We will be discussing the attached paper ‘Gallus Gallus genome’. Miguel kindly provided us with an abstract of his paper, and with more information on how we can help.

Abstract: “This text is part of my on-going project on Gallus gallus (chicken) standardisation, in which I am discussing the HPS literature on model organisms and the STS literature on standards through the case study of the use of chicken in biology. My thesis is divided in three overlapping “moments” in the standardisation of this bird: (1) the standardisation of chicken fancy and commercial breeds at the beginning of the 20th century, (2) the creation of specific-pathogen-free birds during the 1950-1960s, and (3) the chicken genome sequencing project. These moments gave rise to different materially standardised birds, that are nonetheless related, as the traits of the previously developed ones are important to create new standards of Gallus gallus. In addition, a distinctive trait of chicken standardisation is that it has been conducted by a two-fold (and internally diverse) community involving agricultural researchers and “basic” science ones. This is contrasting with other model organisms’ cases. The text I am attaching is a draft of my thesis’ third chapter, which is focused on the chicken genome sequencing. Up to this point, I am particularly interested on the varieties of Gallus gallus used to obtain genetic tools important for developing the draft sequence and this sequence itself. The core of the text is mostly historical, but I have already included some ideas I want to discuss further at the beginning and in the last sections of the paper.”

Help: “Any advice on how to improve the chapter, or suggestions and critiques about the ideas presented in it are more than welcome; as well as any comment about how to develop the historical/philosophical/STS discussions suggested in my overall project.”

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.for any other information.

Categories: Uncategorized

Sara Weaver at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 2nd November, 1-2pm, Byrne House

October 27, 2015 Leave a comment

Dear all,

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 2nd of November. It will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1-2pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.
Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Sara Weaver, visiting from Waterloo, Canada. We will be discussing the attached paper ‘Bringing Feminism and Evolutionary Science Together: Two Approaches’. Sara kindly provided us with an abstract of her paper, and with more information on how we can help.

Abstract: “While discussions about bringing feminism and evolutionary science together are old, talk of this has gained recent popularity in some quite unexpected circles. Most intriguingly, talk of incorporating feminism with evolutionary research has taken quite a firm hold in evolutionary psychology, a discipline that is in fact quite infamous for conducting prejudicial research. This paper will address the nature and potential for success of these discussions, with a particular interest in what’s being talked about in evolutionary psychology. In the first part of this paper I tease out what I take to be the two dominant approaches to the incorporation of feminism with evolutionary research: (1) the amalgamationist approach and (2) the integrationist approach. The amalgamationist approach, I suggest, is an approach taken by those who propose that the best way to incorporate feminism with evolutionary theory is for “feminist” (i.e., those feminist theories from areas more classically affiliated with feminism such as feminist philosophy and feminist psychology) and evolutionary theories to be combined to create a kind of super theory about feminist-relevant human behaviour. The integrationist approach, on the other hand, is characteristic of those who bring feminism and evolutionary research together in an indirect manner. For example, evolutionary scientists who integrate feminism with their research apply feminist theories, methods, and values where they see fit. In the second part of this paper I argue that the amalgamationist approach as it is laid out by the almalgamationists will inevitably fail. I then discuss why the integrationist approach is the most promising out of the two approaches, and why evolutionary psychologists, in particular, are better off to adopt this approach in their incorporation of feminism with evolutionary science.”

Help: “I would really appreciate suggestions on the following. (1) I’m not altogether sure where I should submit this paper; (2) I’m wondering if the paper needs more of a positive project; (3) the paper is quite short, so suggestions on where I could add to it would be great; (4) as always, what can I do to make this paper tighter, more convincing or sophisticated?”

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.for any other information.
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