PSA Office Hour
The 2022 biennial meeting in Pittsburgh was a huge success: with over 680 participants it may have been the biggest ever. However, its very size and overdue nature meant that it was in some respects harder than ever for junior scholars to connect with more established members of the profession at this meeting. More generally, in-person meetings may in fact be a suboptimal means for connecting graduate students with more established philosophers for all sorts of reasons, in that the format makes much more likely interactions with graduate students that are already well-connected; from well-resourced programs; of certain backgrounds; and with different attitudes to engaging in carbon-intensive research practices. As such, the PSA would like to offer its graduate student membership the opportunity to interact with prominent members of our profession in a more controlled and accessible setting.
To this end, the PSA is introducing the ‘PSA Office Hour’ as a pilot project. Each month, for some months of the year, a philosophical theme will be chosen and two influential philosophers working within that theme will be made available, individually, to graduate students via Zoom through online sign-up sheet posted on the PSA member website The students will select from the following categories that which best describes what they seek out of the opportunity:
- Input on dissertation topic choice
- Guidance on a problem occurring in own research
- Clarification on an issue within professor’s research
- Other (please describe)
and be invited to write a short paragraph in which they describe in more detail what they would like to discuss with the professor. Up to 6 students will be selected to participate in the office hour, where the selection will be made to maximize thematic cohesion and promote resource redistribution. Office hours will last up to 90 minutes and participants must be current members of the PSA. This opportunity is primarily for graduate students, but postdocs are free to apply as well. There are links to join future sessions, as well as to request a professor at the bottom of this page.
Upcoming Office Hours - January 2024
Tuesday, January 23 - 12pm EST: Feminist Philosophy of Science
Carla Fehr (University of Waterloo)
Carla is Associate Professor (Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy) Gender and Social Justice Advisor in the philosophy department at the University of Waterloo. Her areas of interest spans feminist philosophy of science, feminist epistemology, feminist philosophy of biology, socially relevant philosophy of science, gender and diversity in STEM, animal studies.
Her research explores the social nature of science and technology. She investigates how a group’s culture—its values, practices, and structures—influences the knowledge it produces.She explores how scientific values such as objectivity and creativity, and ethical values such as justice, equity, and respect support and reinforce each other to help people meet a wide range of practical and epistemic goals. Using an intersectional approach to cases ranging from primatology to AI, she explores how structural injustice, exploitation, and objectification harm scientific and technological research. She is also interested in how love can make science better. For fun, she thinks about how the relationships between humans and dogs support excellence in canine cognition research.
Alison Wylie (University of British Columbia)
Alison is Professor of Philosophy of the Social and Historical Sciences in the department of Philosophy at the University of British Colombia. What intrigues her are questions about how inquiry succeeds when evidence is sparce and uncertain. Her work is case-based; she focuses on archaeological research, in particular, questions about evidential reasoning, ideals of objectivity, and how we make research accountable to the diverse communities it affects. She is currently exploring new lines of inquiry inspired by standpoint theory as a framework for making sense of how our understanding of the world can be enhanced by a diversity of situated experience, knowledge, and interests.
Friday, January 26 - 11am EST: Philosophy of Biology and Medicine
Sabina Leonelli (University of Exeter)
Sabina is Professor of Philosophy and History of Science in the Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology department at the University of Exeter. Among other appointments, she is the Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences, Editor-in-Chief of the international journal History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, and serves in the Scientific Advisory Board for the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research.
Her research spans the fields of history and philosophy of biology, science and technology studies and general philosophy of science, and currently focuses on four interrelated strands:  the philosophy, history and social studies of data-intensive science and empirical inquiry, especially the impact of Big and Open Data on research and wider society, responsible data management, data infrastructures and the construction of semantics to enable data linkage for automated mining in the plant sciences and biomedicine;  the philosophy of Open Science, and the scientific and social implications of implementing Open Science policies and procedures;  the philosophy and history of organisms as research models, with a focus on experimental organisms;  the history and epistemology of the plant sciences, especially the global circulation of plant data, its relation to biological materials and agricultural development strategies, and its significance for understanding 21st century biological research beyond the lab.
Anya Plutynski (Washington University in St. Louis)
Anya is a historian and philosopher of biology and medicine. Her most recent book is Explaining Cancer: Finding Order in Disorder (2018, OUP). She has also written on the history and philosophy of evolutionary biology and genetics, the role of modeling in science, and scientific explanation.
Other research interests include biomedical research ethics, particularly issues surrounding precision oncology, cancer genomics, and risk communication.Her current research is on the history of the cancer genome atlas project (TCGA) and the development of precision oncology.
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