Friday, November 30, 2012

Call for Papers and Fellowship applications

Speakers this month are John Michael and Peter Godfrey-Smith. See the calendar for details.

Irvine-Pittsburgh-Princeton Conference on the  Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations of Physics 4 April 2013

Choosing the Future of Science: 
The Social Organization of Scientific Inquiry
20-21 April 2013

The Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh invites applications for Fellowships supporting visits in the Center for a term or a year. Deadlines approaching:

Postdoctoral Fellowship
Visiting Fellowship
Senior Visiting Fellowship
So, what's it like?

CFP: Economic Aspects of Science

Call for Papers - Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science

Spontaneous Generations is an open, online, peer-reviewed academic journal published by graduate students at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto. It has produced six issues and is a well-respected journal in the history and philosophy of science and science studies.  We invite interested scholars to submit papers for our seventh issue.

We welcome submissions from scholars in all disciplines, including but not limited to HPS, STS, History, Philosophy, Women's Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. Papers in any period are welcome. 

The journal consists of four sections:

A focused discussion section consisting of short peer-reviewed and invited articles devoted to a particular theme. The theme for our seventh issue is "Economic aspects of science"* (see a brief description below).  Recommended length for submissions: 1000-3000 words.

A peer-reviewed section of research papers on various topics in the field of HPS. Recommended length for submissions: 5000-8000 words.

A book review section for books published in the last 5 years. Recommended length for submissions: up to 1000 words.

An opinions section that may include a commentary on or a response to current concerns, trends, and issues in HPS. Recommended length for submissions: up to 500 words.

* Economic Aspects of Science
Nearly every discipline in science studies has considered the economics of science in some fashion. Philosophers have long looked to economics as a resource for understanding science. They have considered how individual scientists might economize time and resources in pursuing a variety of epistemic goals, and have considered how competing scientists might spontaneously organize in ways reminiscent of Adam Smith’s invisible hand. More recently philosophers have begun to consider how science’s changing economic context might be affecting scientific norms. Historians have deconstructed the “linear model” whereby scientific progress leads to technological progress, which in turn drives economic prosperity. They have also considered how science's changing economic circumstances, from the patronage relations of the Middle Ages, to the government-driven funding of the Cold War, to the recent trend toward commercial funding, have affected its operation.  Economists have considered how science might be important for the economy and what  that might imply for science policy.

We welcome short papers that explore these and other economic aspects of science, and especially welcome papers looking to make interdisciplinary connections within the economics of science. Case studies that speak to these issues are also welcome. The questions below might help in further guiding potential submissions:

·      Do philosophers, sociologists, historians, and economists interested in economic aspects of science have anything useful to say to each other?

·      What should science studies learn from the history, philosophy, or practice of economics? For example, should we be applying the results of behavioral economics to our accounts of how scientists operate? Can these lessons be applied to discussions of, for instance, the value of intellectual property as a motivating factor in scientific fields such as genomics?

·      Do, must, or should, scientific methods depend on the economic context of scientific research? For example, does the high cost of randomized controlled trials affect the expectation of repeatability in scientific experiments?

·      What role does Intellectual Property play in science and how has it changed through science's history? Is Intellectual Property just a metaphor, or is it a significant component of an economic system of science?

·      To the extent that they were ever descriptively accurate, are Mertonian norms under threat? What does this mean for the nature of science?

·      Is it illuminating to think about science as an economic enterprise? What do we learn about science in doing so?

·      What does it mean to "commodify" scientific research? Is there a qualitative change underway in what scientists produce?

The seventh issue of Spontaneous Generations will appear in September 2013.

Submissions for the seventh issue should be sent no later than March 15, 2013.

For more details, please visit the journal homepage at

Please distribute freely.  Apologies for cross-postings.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Max Planck Institute Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin,
Department II (Lorraine Daston), announces two
Postdoctoral Fellowships for up to two years,
starting date September 1, 2013. Outstanding junior scholars are invited
to apply.

The fellowship will be awarded in conjunction with the following two
Working Group research projects:
Historicizing Big Data

Candidates should hold a doctorate in the history of science or a related
field at the time the fellowship begins; the Ph.D. degree should have been
awarded in 2010 or later.

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science is an international
and interdisciplinary research institute (
It is expected that candidates will be able to present their own work and
discuss that of others fluently in English. Applications may however be
submitted in German, English, or French.

Fellowships are endowed with a monthly stipend between 2.100  and 2.500
(fellows from abroad) or between 1.468  and 1.621  (fellows from Germany).

Candidates of all nationalities are welcome to apply; applications from
women are especially welcomed. The Max Planck Society is committed to
promoting more handicapped individuals and encourages them to apply.

Postdoctoral fellows are expected to participate in the research
activities at the Institute.

Candidates are requested to send a curriculum vitae, publication list,
copies of certificates (PhD), research prospectus (maximum 750 words), a
sample text, and two reference letters (which may be submitted separately)
no later than February 18, 2013 to:
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
Administration, Postdoc Dept. II
Boltzmannstrae 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany
(Electronic submission is also possible:

For questions concerning the research project and Department II, please
contact Dr. David Sepkoski (; for
administrative questions concerning the position and the Institute, please
contact Claudia Paa (, Head of Administration,
or Jochen Schneider (, Research Coordinator.

Candidates may expect a decision by March 18, 2013.

STS Southern California Winter Retreat

STS Southern California Winter Retreat

Dates: Friday February 22, Saturday February 23, and Sunday February 24
Location: Borrego Springs, Anza-Borrego Desert (, exact location TBA

Doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty from across California are invited to the inaugural Southern California Winter STS retreat.

This retreat is designed for a select group of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty advance their research projects in the field of STS, broadly defined, and in so doing to advance an emergent set of problematics and topical foci in STS itself. The emphasis will be on intellectual play. It is not intended to be a training workshop, and graduate students will be expected to participate in the same manner as other participants. Collectively, we will explore each others’ topics through a series of focused discussions as well as small-group engagements with the Anza-Borrego environment. It is not expected that participants necessarily be interested in the study of desert ecosystems, etc.; we will use the local context to stimulate new ways of thinking that we can apply to our own research projects.

STS is to be taken here as an umbrella rather than a fence: work in cognate disciplines (informatics, anthropology, design, etc.) that deploys and engages with STS work is considered part of the mix. We will bring together up to 30 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty for this three-day retreat. There will be two foci: (1) identifying and exploring common interests through two “spotlight” sessions; and (2) exploring these themes through teams exploring the local area. Accommodation for all will be covered; travel will be covered in exceptional circumstances for students. A registration fee of $100 is required. Since space is limited, there will be a selection process: please send a CV and a one-page statement of interest by December 15, 2012. The statement of interest should briefly address the research in progress that you would like to further through participation in the workshop. Those selected to participate in the workshop will be notified by January 1. They will be expected to circulate a two-page description of a current or prospective project by February 1.

Friday, 22 February

12:00pm    Registration begins

2:00pm    Introductions to workshop and participants

4:00pm    Sunset desert walk (continue introductory discussion)

6:00pm    Dinner

8:00pm    Optional film

Saturday, 23 February

7:00am    Optional sunrise desert walk

9:00am    Spotlight 1 (groups of three discuss projects of mutual interest (groups designated based on pre-circulated one-pagers)

10:30am    Break

11:30am    Spotlight 2

1.00pm    Lunch

2:00pm    Joint activity (split into interest groups and engage with the Anza-Borrego locale
to explore how current research interests are reflected in the local environment). Possible foci:
1) Traces (Peteroglyphs, ruins (Borrego hotel), Marshal South and the
Ghost Mountain experiment, mines)
2) Extreme environments (desert ecosystems, spring oases, invasive plants, scientific experiments)
3) Habitations & infrastructures (Borrego Springs, political economy of land use, stores, jurisdictions)
4) the Salton Sea

6:00pm    Dinner in small groups, depending on location

8:00pm    Optional games/discussions

Sunday, 24 February

7:00am    Optional sunrise desert walk

9:00am    Reports on joint activities, including links to participant research projects and emerging themes in STS
10:30am    Break

11:00am    Continued: Reports on joint activities, including links to participant research projects and emerging themes in STS

12:30pm    Lunch

2:00pm    Closing discussion, including future plans