2017 Calgary

Practices of Individuation and Classification in Science

Facilitators: Alan Love (University of Minnesota), Ken Waters (University of Calgary), Marcel Weber (University of Geneva), and Bill Wimsatt (University of Chicago/University of Minnesota)

Invited Speakers: Marc Ereshefsky (University of Calgary), Kathrin Koslicki (University of Alberta), and Andrea Woody (University of Washington)

Dates: 18 June ­– 1 July, 2017

Location: Alberta, Canada

Venue: Banff Park Lodge

  • Scientific metaphysics is based on the idea that metaphysics – the study of what the world is ultimately like – should be informed by the remarkable success of science. Our project involves analyzing what kinds of practices are successful in science, and then asking what the world might ultimately be like such that these kinds of practices are successful. The inference from the form of successful practice to the general nature of the world is motivated by the idea that the practices of science have been adapted to work in the real world, that is, the world that scientists actually engage.
  • The 2017 Summer Institute will examine practices of individuation and classification. We will begin by investigating how scientists actually individuate and classify entities and processes and considering what purposes these practices are designed to serve. Then we will ask what metaphysical conclusions might be drawn from these practices. So, for example, instead of framing our philosophical inquiry with questions such as “what is a species?” we will frame it in terms of questions such as “how do biologists classify organisms into kinds they call ‘species’ and for what purposes?” We will consider what our answers to these questions might imply about the general nature of reality. Invited speakers will be Marc Ereshefsky (University of Calgary), Kathrin Koslicki (University of Alberta), and Andrea Woody (University of Washington).
  • A primary emphasis of the 2017 Summer Institute will be the professional development of junior scholars, especially graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. It will offer an opportunity for graduate students and recent PhDs to gain knowledge of important bodies of philosophical literature on metaphysics, scientifically informed metaphysics, and scientific practices. It will provide opportunities for participants to develop current research projects and identify new ones. The Summer Institute will also help participants make connections with researchers who share interests in philosophy of science, philosophy of scientific practice, and metaphysics. The program will be structured to provide opportunities for collaboration.
  • Accepted participants will receive generous stipends to offset expenses associated with travel to and attending the Summer Institute.

Applications are now closed.

For full consideration, applications must be received by 15 February 2017. Questions about the 2017 Summer Institute can be addressed to Ken Waters