PSA Newsletter: Vol. 2 No. 5: December 1996

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Edited for the Philosophy of Science Association by:

William Bechtel
Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program
Department of Philosophy
Washington University in St. Louis

Send submissions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  2. Philosophy of Science Syllabus Sampler
  3. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in History of Science
  4. Mellon Fellowships for Assistant Professors
  5. Dubrovnik Philosophy of Science Conference
  6. Conference on Naturalism, Theism and the Scientific Enterprise
  7. Computing and Philosophy Conference
  8. Medicine and Health Care Conference
  9. Conference on Unscientific Psychology
  10. New Ph.D. Programme in Philosophy and Economics

Subject: 1. EDITOR'S NOTE:

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 of the Association, and information about other meetings likely to be of interest to a broad range of the membership. It is NOT intended for ungoing discussions of intellectual topics within philosophy of science. If you have information that you would like to submit for possible inclusion in a future issue of the newsletter, please send it to the editor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Directions for subscribing and unsubscribing: Send an email message with NO subject to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. To subscribe, include the following as the ONLY line: SUBSCRIBE PSA <your name> To unsubscribe, include the following as the ONLY line: UNSUBSCRIBE PSA

2. Philosophy of Science Syllabus Sampler

Call for Syllabi:


This assemblage of selected syllabi in philosophy of science will serve as a guide for novice teachers and a reference for more experienced teachers (much like the History of Science Society's 1992 publication). Syllabi will be selected for their clarity and completeness and to convey a diverse cross-section of perspectives and pedagogical strategies. An introductory essay will distill the most frequent topics and texts.

The sampler hopes to incorporate several thematic foci:

  • General Survey I: Metaphysics & Core Concepts
  • General Survey II: Science Studies Orientation
  • Race, Gender and Science
  • Philosophy of Biology
  • Philosophy of Physics
  • Philosophy of Psychology & the Social Sciences
  • Special Topics

A complete syllabus must contain the following information:

  1. description of the course's primary objectives and/or its framework and main themes
  2. topic outline and weekly schedule
  3. complete reading list (with full citations)
  4. instructor's name, institution, address, and phone or e-mail

Any additional commentary on the context or design of the course is welcome.

Please send syllabi for consideration to:

  • Douglas Allchin
  • Dept. of Biology
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • El Paso TX 79968

If you are interested in helping to review the syllabi, contact Douglas A. Review of syllabi will begin February 1, 1997. Further updates will appear in the PSA Newsletter.

3. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in History of Science

The University of Oklahoma announces a junior- or senior-level Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Science for the 1997-1998 academic year. The fellowship will be awarded for research and teaching that explore the intersections of the biological and social at the borders of science and culture, with a strong preference given to historical projects situated at the crossroads of human science, life science, and culture. The Fellowship is open to candidates with doctorates in history, the history of science, science studies, or related fields. The Mellon Fellow will have residence with the University's History of Science Department and the University Libraries' History of Science Collections. The Fellow will teach one undergraduate or graduate course in the Fellow's area of interest during the academic year. The fellowship carries a stipend up to $30,000, with benefits including a budget for travel and research expenses.

Applications should be postmarked by January 15, 1997. Contact: Dr. Gregg Mitman; Department of History of Science; The University of Oklahoma; 601 Elm, Rm. 622; Norman, OK 73019-0315; Tel. 405-325-6476; Fax 405-325-2363; E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., The University of Oklahoma is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer.

4. Mellon Fellowships for Assistant Professors

THE SCHOOL OF HISTORICAL STUDIES at the Institute for Advanced Study, with the support of the Andrew Mellon Foundation, has established a program of one year memberships for assistant professors at universities and colleges in the United States and Canada to support promising young scholars who have embarked on professional careers. While at the Institute they will be expected to engage exclusively in scholarly research and writing.

Two appointments will be made for 1997-98.

ASSISTANT PROFESSORS in areas represented in the School of Historical Studies (Greek and Roman civilization, the history of Europe, Islamic culture, the history of modern international relations, and the history of art) may apply, provided at the time of their arrival they will have served at least two and not more than four years as assistant professors in institutions of higher learning in the United States or Canada and provided they can return to their institution.

APPOINTMENTS will be for one full year (July 1 through June 30 with the option of staying through the second summer until August 15) and will carry all the privileges of Membership at the Institute for Advanced Study. The stipend will match the combined salary and benefits at the Member's home institution.

APPLICATION FORMS may be obtained from the Administrative Officer, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey 08540 and should be returned to the Administrative Officer by January 30, 1997. Applicants should submit a c.v., a bibliography of publications, a concise account (not more than three pages) of the work to be performed during the tenure of the membership, and three letters of recommendation. Copies of published writings should be submitted and additional documentation (such as a copy of the thesis) may be requested. As part of the selection process short-listed applicants will be requested to come to the Institute for an Interview in early March. Awards will be announced by April 1.

5. Dubrovnik Philosophy of Science Conference

The annual Philosophy of Science Conference held each April in Dubrovnik will have two themes next year. (They should be understood very broadly).

  1. Freud
  2. Empiricism

Date: April 7-11, 1997

For further information contact me at address below, or by email.

  • James Robert Brown
  • Department of Philosophy
  • University of Toronto
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • CANADA M5S 1A1
  • Office phone: (416) 978-1727
  • Home phone: (519) 439-2889
  • FAX (office): (416) 978-8703

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science home page:

6. Conference on Naturalism, Theism and the Scientific Enterprise

Naturalism, Theism and the Scientific Enterprise
An Interdisciplinary Conference at the University of Texas -- Austin
Feb. 20-23, 1997

Invited speakers:

  • Michael Ruse (Philosophy, University of Guelph, author of Darwinism Defended)
  • Alvin Plantinga (Philosophy, University of Notre Dame, author of Warrant and Proper Function)
  • Frederick Grinnell (UT Southwestern Medical Center, author of The Scientific Attitude)
  • Philip Johnson (Law School, UC-Berkeley, author of Darwin on Trial and Reason in the Balance).

The conference is dedicated to fostering dialogue between naturalists and theists on the impact of metaphysical and methodological ideas on the development, interpretation and presentation of scientific knowledge. The program is balanced between defenders and critics of methodological naturalism, and includes a wide variety of scientific and scholarly disciplines, including philosophy, history of science, biology, geology, anthropology and mathematics.

Contributed papers by: K. Abney, J. Baird, M. H. Barnes, R. Bishop, Thomas J. Burke, Jr., John A. Campbell, Andrew N. Carpenter, M. A. Corey, W. Dembski, Michael Dickson, J. Earley, G. Eichhoefer, W. Elsberry, B. Fitelson, A. Foerst, J. Haas, Donavan Hall, Hummon, K. Kemp, Lillegard, Marinucci, Steven Meyer, D. Nartonis, Paul A. Nelson, A. Newman, R. O'Connor, T. Pearson, V. Pence, R. Pennock, S. Schafersman, J. Schloss, Jeremy Sherman, J. Still, J. Sennett, T. Shanahan, Vuletic, P. Wason, Jonathan Wells.

Hotel Accommodations: The NTSE Conference will be held at the Austin Chariot Resort and Conference Center . A block of rooms has been secured, consisting of both single and double rooms at a group rate of $54 plus tax per night. To reserve a room, contact the Austin Chariot Resort Inn by January 25. Reservations may be made by calling direct at (800) 432-9202 and referring to Group Number 10678, or a request for reservation may be faxed to (512) 452-5079. The room reservation may be secured by Visa, MC, AMEX, Discover or Diner's cards.

Registration: must be postmarked by January, 25, 1997.

For more information, contact Prof. Robert Koons: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

7. Computing and Philosophy Conference

The Twelfth Annual Conference on Computing and Philosophy (CAP) will be held at Carnegie Mellon University on August 7th - 9th, 1997.

This conference, which is co-sponsored by the APA Committee on Philosophy and Computers and the Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon, has become the central meeting place for all aspects of computing and philosophy. This year's meeting will feature a special series of sessions dealing with the impact of computers on teaching, research and the profession as a whole.

Further information regarding the conference, including on-line registration, can b e found at the CAP Rome Page ( This year's conference coordinator is Robert Cavalier (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

8. Medicine and Health Care Conference

11th annual conference of the European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care. Theme: Research in health care - philosophical, ethical and historical aspects.

Date: August 21-23, 1997. Place: Padova, Italy.

Please send abstracts (max. 500 words; as well on diskette in Word Perfect or Dos/Sc) before March 1, 1997 to prof.dr. Henk ten Have, secretariat ESPMH, Dept. of Ethics, Philosophy and History of Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Catholic University of Nijmegen, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Fax. 024-3540254, from abroad: ++31-24-3540254.

9. Conference on Unscientific Psychology

Unscientific Psychology: Conversations With Other Voices
A two day conference on progress and possibilities in creating a cultural, relational and performatory approach to understanding human life

June 14-15, 1997
Edith Macy Conference Center
Briarcliff Manor, New York

Sponsored by the Center for Developmental Learning of the East Side Institute for Short Term Psychotherapy

With each passing day, psychology's inability to provide solutions to critical questions history has raised as we approach the 21st century becomes more apparent. Just about everyone -- theoreticians, practitioners, policy makers, consumers and the general public - - is growing more and more disillusioned with psychology, as it fails to understand or deal successfully with pressing issues such as the nature of human sociality and anti- socialness, emotional pain, violence, identity, sexuality, prejudice and bigotry, creativity, depression, learning and educational failure, memories false and true, to name just a few.

From the postmodern vantage point, the current crisis in psychology and the related fields of psychotherapy and education is rooted in misguided efforts to emulate the natural sciences: Human-social phenomena simply cannot be understood with the tools and conceptions that are used to study nature.

Subjecting psychology to postmodern deconstruction, contemporary psychologists and philosophers find it to be a complex interweaving of the modern science paradigm with centuries-old philosophical presuppositions. Psychology's core conceptions -- such as development, behavior, the individual, the self, stages and patterns, rationality and irrationality, normality and abnormality -- are themselves rooted in philosophical- scientific assumptions about what it means to understand and to know. The challenge to psychology is equally a challenge to the modernist conception of understanding and knowing and its commitment to deeply-rooted methodological-philosophical biases, such as truth, objectivity, causality, duality and linearity. Understanding human life, some leading postmodern voices argue, demands a new epistemology.

Creating a new epistemology -- an unscientific psychology -- is the activity of making new meaning. It is an emergent conversation created by and out of diverse voices who speak more poetically, culturally and historically than analytically and taxonomically. It is a conversation about persons (not minds), about relationships and relationality (not environmental influences on self-contained individuals), about human activity (not behavior), about narratives and stories (not Truth), about creating new forms of life (not adapting to forms of alienation). What is emerging is an approach to understanding human life as semergent, activisitic, relational and performatory.

The invited presenters are leading voices in this conversation. The combination of rigor and creativity in their scholarship and practice is a provocative challenge to orthodox psychology.

  • Erica Burman
  • Lenora Fulani
  • Kenneth Gergen
  • Mary Gergen
  • Lois Holzman
  • John R. Morss
  • Fred Newman
  • Ian Parke
  • John Shotter

The conference is designed to be informal and in-depth, with ample opportunity for participants to explore issues with the presenters.

Participants: The conference should be of interest to a wide range of people, including university faculty, graduate and undergraduate students; clinicians, social workers, educators, health and mental health workers.

Costs: Conference registration: $100
Accommodations and meals: $215 (double occupancy Saturday night, 3 meals on Saturday, 2 meals on Sunday)

For information and/or to register, contact:

  • East Side Institute
  • 500 Greenwich Street
  • New York, New York 10013
  • Phone: (212) 941-8906
  • Fax: (212) 941-8340
  • On the Internet:

10. New Ph.D. Programme in Philosophy and Economics

Erasmus University is launching a new Ph.D. Programme in Philosophy and Economics in 1997. Thanks to recent appointments, Erasmus University has created a unique centre devoted to the combined study of philosophy and economics. The Ph.D. programme exploits the expertise of specialists such as Uskali Maki, Arjo Klamer, Maarten Janssen, Jack Vromen, and Albert Jolink at the Erasmus Institute of Philosophy and Economics.

The Ph.D. Programme consists of one year advanced course work and two years of research within the broad framework of the Erasmus Institute Research Programme 'Institutions'. The advanced courses will go into topical issues in the philosophy of economics, microeconomics and game theory, evolutionary and new institutional economics, history of economic thought, and the rhetoric and culture of economics. The Research Programme is organized under four headings: 'Economics of Institutions', 'Institutions of Economics', 'Economics in Philosophy' and 'Philosophy in Economics' (a detailed description of the research programme is available upon request).

The Ph.D programme is open to all candidates who have a completed Master's degree in economics, in philosophy, or in the philosophy of economics, and who have a strong interest in subjects falling within any or all of the themes of the Research Programme. (Those who are within 3 months of completion of their Master's may also apply.) The tuition for the first year is Dfl. 10.000. After the first year, students can apply for a fellowship of approximately Dfl. 24.000 per year for the second and third year.

The deadline for applications is 15 February 1997. Subject to the availability of positions, applications received before 31 July 1997 may be considered. The Programme will start in September 1997.

For information and application forms please contact:

  • Erasmus Institute of Philosophy and Economics
  • att. dr Albert Jolink
  • Faculty of Philosophy
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Postbus 1738
  • 3000 DR Rotterdam
  • The Netherlands
  • fax.: +31-10-2120448

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