PSA Newsletter: Vol. 10 No. 4: December 2004

*************************************************************** PSA Newsletter: Volume 10 : Number 4: December 2004 ***************************************************************

Edited for the Philosophy of Science Association by Malcolm Forster,


  1. Summary Report on the Work of the 2004 PSA Program Committee by Miriam Solomon.
  2. JOB: Philosophy, King's College London. DEADLINE: 5pm, December 10, 2004. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. immediately.
  3. Professor Honored for Work in Philosophy, Computer Science.
  4. JOB: Research Fellow, Dept. of Science and Technology Studies, University College London. Link: DEADLINE: 15 January 2005.
  5. CONFERENCE: University of Pittsburgh, Saturday February 12 2005: On Saturday February 12 2005, the University of Pittsburgh will host a small conference commemorating the centenary of Einstein's annus mirabilis of 1905. Four speakers will discuss Einstein's celebrated work of 1905: his discovery of special relativity and E=mc2, his establishment of the size and reality of atoms and his proposal of the light quantum. For more information see

    John Norton


PSA 2004 Biennial Meeting:
PSA website:
Philosophy of Science journal:
PhilSci Archives:

*************************************************************** MORE DETAILS: ***************************************************************

1. Summary Report on the Work of the 2004 PSA Program Committee by Miriam Solomon.

The PSA 2004 Program Committee was overworked! This is good news-it speaks to the health of the organization that 176 papers were submitted (up from 147 in 2002). But it also means that acceptance rates were down (to 33% for papers), and that program committee members could give each paper less attention (reading 44 papers in 6 weeks during the semester is a challenge). Symposia and workshop proposals were also up (from 33 in 2002 to 45 in 2004). The acceptance rate for symposia and workshops was 42%.

The entire review process for papers-from assignment of two reviewers through to acceptance or rejection-was completed before the identities of authors, or any demographic facts about them, were known. After the program was complete, I ran a Chi-square test on known group identities, and discovered that there was no statistically significant difference in the acceptance rate of papers from men vs. women, graduate students vs. post-PhDs or USA residents vs. non-USA residents.

The Program Committee used OpenConf software, which permitted them to view each other's comments and ratings after they had entered their own. Decisions were made after repeated negotiations. We accepted the highly rated symposia, workshops and papers without regard to area, and accepted more borderline submissions based on the need for balance in the program.

The Program Committee made a number of suggestions for the PSA Executive Office and future Program Committees. The work of the Program Committee would be made much more efficient with the help of a central office that permanently set up the required conference software and provided the necessary secretarial support; the HSS office (which is supposed to have taken over our executive needs) does not provide this. Secondly, the reviewing workload is too great (44 papers in 6 weeks!); several suggestions were made to handle this, the most obvious of which is to enlarge the reviewing pool to include the journal's Editorial Board.

The full Report to the Governing Board is available as a link to the PSA2004 webpage In response to the report, the President and Governing Board have appointed a committee to recommend changes to the PSA Executive Office. Input is welcome; the chair of the committee is our outgoing President Elliott Sober.

My sincere thanks to the PSA for the privilege of working together with an excellent committee: Christina Bicchieri, David Hilbert, Carl Hoefer, Harold Kincaid, Fred Kronz, Roberta Millstein, Alan Richardson, and Andrea Woody, to put together PSA 2004.

Miriam Solomon

2. JOB: Philosophy, King's College London. DEADLINE: 5pm, December 10, 2004..

Applications are invited for a Readership and a Lectureship in the Department of Philosophy at King's College London, starting in September 2005.

The appointees will be expected to contribute to teaching and examining in one or more of the following areas: formal logic, philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind/psychology, aesthetics, ethics, politics, history of ancient or modern philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, continental philosophy, Indian philosophy

For information about syllabi please visit the Department's website on The successful candidates will have a Ph.D and a demonstrable ability to teach at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The Readership will be on £37,558 - £42,573 per annum plus £2,323 London Allowance per annum.

The Lectureship will be on £23,643 - £27,116 per annum plus £2,323 London Allowance per annum

Further particulars and application forms may be obtained from the Personnel Department, King's College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax: (020) 7848 1352 quoting reference A4/AAN/126/04.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on 10 December 2004.

Equality of opportunity is college policy.

3. Professor Honored for Work in Philosophy, Computer Science.

MEDIA CONTACT: Randall Curren (595) 275-4105 or Helene Snihur (585) 275-7800

September 28, 2004

Professor Honored for Work in Philosophy, Computer Science

A University of Rochester professor renowned and respected as a leading authority on philosophical problems in the study of science and mathematics will be honored with a symposium celebrating his nearly 50-year career.

Former and current students and professional colleagues will meet on River Campus Saturday, Oct. 9, and Sunday, Oct. 10, to discuss the work of Henry E. Kyburg, Jr., who is Burbank Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy and holds appointments in both the philosophy and computer science departments.

Kyburg has published numerous articles and books on topics such as inductive logic, statistical reasoning, probability, and epistemology, which is the study of the nature of knowledge. His current research focuses on uncertain or probabilistic inference--the process by which humans reach most conclusions, and the process that will be central to artificial intelligence--and data mining, the process by which computers search for information in data and draw conclusions from it.

"Henry's at the forefront of work in uncertain inference, probability, and machine cognition, charting the frontiers of philosophy and computer science," said Randall Curren, chair of the Department of Philosophy. "He continues to produce extraordinary, cutting-edge work that is very important to the field."

In addition to teaching at the University, Kyburg holds an appointment as senior research scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, located in Pensacola at the University of West Florida. The institute conducts interdisciplinary research in artificial intelligence, knowledge representation, and computers in education for private and government organizations.

"Henry's impact in the field of artificial intelligence has been as significant as in philosophy, making him one of the rare individuals to gain prominence in both fields," said Lenhart Schubert, professor of computer science. "As a member of our computer science department, he has inspired, guided, and carried out much novel and important work on evidence-based reasoning, and also has served as a statistics-probability-logic guru to many of us."

Kyburg is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. His most recent books are Uncertain Inference, co-written with Choh Man Teng, who received her doctorate in computer science in 1998 from the University of Rochester, and Probability is the Very Guide of Life: The Philosophical Uses of Chance, co-edited with Mariam Thalos.

During the symposium, Kyburg will participate in a panel discussion on "Probability as a Guide to Life," examining probability theory as it applies to practical matters of evidence, choice, and explanation. The panel also includes Isaac Levi, Emeritus Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University; Teddy Seidenfeld, the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Philosophy and Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University; Ronald Loui, associate professor of computer science at Washington University in St. Louis; and Thalos, who is professor of philosophy at the University of Utah.

Levi and Kyburg were fellow graduate students in philosophy at Columbia University. In the 1970s and 1980s, they engaged in a series of debates that led to the publication by D. Reidel Publishing Company of The Netherlands of a collection of papers comparing their work, "Profiles: Henry E. Kyburg, Jr., and Isaac Levi," by R. Bogdan. Levi was the presenter when Kyburg received the Nicholas Murray Butler Medal in Silver for Philosophy from Columbia University in 1982.

Seidenfeld received his bachelor's degree in mathematics and philosophy from the University of Rochester in 1969; Kyburg was his principal undergraduate advisor in philosophy. Kyburg also advised Loui, who received his interdisciplinary doctorate in computer science and philosophy from the University in 1988. Thalos was a graduate student at Rochester before going on to earn her doctorate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The guest panelists also will give individual presentations.

Kyburg joined the Department of Philosophy of the University of Rochester as a professor in 1965 and served as chair of the department for 13 straight years beginning in 1969. In 1986, he was appointed professor of computer science. Before coming to Rochester, Kyburg taught at Wesleyan, Rockefeller, and Wayne State Universities and at the University of Denver.

In addition to his research and teaching, Kyburg is a member of numerous organizations, such as the American Philosophical Association, the Philosophy of Science Association, and the American Mathematical Society, and has served on many program committees and editorial boards.

"Probability and Inference: A Symposium in Honor of Professor Henry E. Kyburg, Jr." is sponsored by the Departments of Philosophy and of Computer Science at the University and by the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. The symposium coincides with Meliora Weekend, the celebration of homecoming, alumni reunions, and family weekend events. For more information, contact the Department of Philosophy, (585) 275-4105.

4. JOB: Research Fellow, STS Department, University College London.


Applications are invited for the post of Research Fellow in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London, to contribute to the research project "Evidence in the Natural Sciences". This project forms part of a multidisciplinary research programme "Evidence, Inference and Enquiry", funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the ESRC. The research fellow will be expected to work in close collaboration with Dr Hasok Chang, and also to participate in the overall research programme.

The appointment is for two years, and can start as early as 1 April 2005, but the start date may be delayed up to 1 September 2005 if necessary. Salary will be on point 6 of the RA1A scale (currently £21,640, plus London allowance of £2,330).

The successful applicant must hold a PhD by the start of appointment. The appropriate subject of the PhD is not narrowly specified, but PhD-level training in the philosophy of science is essential. The ideal candidate would be a philosopher of science with a strong interest in the history of the natural sciences. There is some flexibility in the remit of the research fellow's work, but a central part of it will be to survey and develop non-formal philosophical frameworks for conceptualising evidence.

For further information, please see and further links there. Any questions should be directed to Hasok Chang by e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (+44-(0)20-7679-1324).

Applicants must submit a UCL application form (available from the above website), including the names and contact details of two referees; the first two pages of the application form may be substituted by a full CV. Short-listed candidates will be invited to submit samples of work and have referees contacted; interviews will be arranged where possible. All application materials should be submitted by post to Dr Hasok Chang, Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom. The deadline for the receipt of applications is 15 January 2005.

*************************************************************** END OF PSA NEWSLETTER ***************************************************************


A. The purpose of this newsletter

The PSA Newsletter is published electronically on an "as needed" basis by the Philosophy of Science Association to disseminate information. The newsletter is moderated and is restricted to information pertinent to members of the Association (e.g., official business of the Association, information about upcoming meetings or other information likely to be of interest to a broad range of membership).


Send information for possible inclusion in a future issue of the newsletter to the editor (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). It is best to send the information directly to the editor as early as possible because publication dates are unpredictable. Please include PSA somewhere in the subject line (so that the message is automatically filed).


Send an email message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your command as the ONLY body text (leave the subject line blank). To subscribe, type as the only body text: subscribe psa To unsubscribe, type as the only body text: signoff psa