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::: center home >> news >> 2010-11 annual review

Director's 2010-11 Annual Review
November 2011

   Our thanks to Bryan Roberts for conceiving and drawing the donut machine.


                   John D. Norton                      James G. Lennox   


In This Review

This Past Year

     The Center Community                          

    Annual Lecture Series
Lunchtime Colloquium

Other Business

This Past Year

This year brought a change of some importance to the Center. Fortunately, it is also one that the Center family is unlikely to notice, although they will benefit from it. Our new Provost, Patricia Beeson, has now assumed her duties, replacing James Maher, who had served for sixteen years. There will, no doubt, be changes within the University accompanying this transition. However one thing will not change. Maher's tenure was marked by dedication to advancing academic excellence wherever it arose as the highest goal. With the completion of the first year of her tenure, it is clear that our new Provost is dedicated to this same goal. This augurs well for the University and the Center.


During Provost Maher's tenure, the interactions between the Center and the Provost's Office were facilitated by Vice Provost George Klinzing. George was a frequent visitor in the Center offices and helped the Center through moments of triumph and danger with wisdom and tact. The Center will always be in his debt.




Provost Beeson has asked Vice Provost Alberta Sbragia to facilitate interactions between the Center and the Provost's Office. Since Alberta was Director of the Center for West European Studies and European Union Center, she has special insight into the problems faced by a University Center. Over the past year, she has proven herself to be a worthy successor to George Klinzing.



Fall Term

The administrative changes are important but, as far as visitors to the Center are concerned, invisible. The visible change is numerical. If the numbers are to be believed, national and international interest in the Center is at an all time high. We can provide office space for eight visitors and we try to limit our numbers to that. However it has become increasingly difficult for us to turn away the growing pressure of highly qualified, intellectually energetic scholars. This term, we had eleven scholars visiting. That is still small enough for our reading group to function as a coherent unity. However it is too large for us just to turn up at a restaurant afterwards and expect to be seated. From the first time in our reading group's history, we began to call ahead to reserve a table. I have an odd vision of restaurants across Pittsburgh muttering "the philosophers of science are coming."




Spring Term
by James G. Lennox

New Ventures

As Interim Director while John Norton was on leave for the Spring Term of 2011, I returned to a familiar office and many familiar faces, since the wonderful staff I had the great pleasure of working with during my eight years as Center Director are all still here.

The major new venture during my brief tenure was the Center’s collaboration with the MIDAS National Center of Excellence (www.midas.pitt.edu) of Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, and Pitt’s Center for Simulation and Modeling, to stage a major international conference on the Epistemology of Modeling and Simulation April 1-3.  Patrick Grim, a former Fellow at our Center and Distinguished Teaching Professor in Philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook, did a magnificent job heading up the Program Committee, as did Phillip Palmer chairing the Local Planning Committee, which included our own Joyce McDonald and Carol Weber. The conference was a resounding success, bringing together specialists in the use of models and simulation in many different areas of science and medicine with philosophers of science who have focused their attention on modeling and simulation.  Everyone involved in the planning and execution deserves accolades.  Talk had already begun before the conference was over about follow up conferences focused on specific results emerging from this one.

The Term

Of course this past year saw the 50th anniversary of the Center for Philosophy of Science come and go.  Adolf Grünbaum joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh intent not only on reshaping its Philosophy Department but founding a Center for Philosophy of Science.  Its first program, the Annual Lecture Series, also marked its 50th anniversary and concluded on April 15th with William Unruh’s visiting us from the University of British Columbia to discuss “Measurement of Hawking Radiation in an Analog System.” Preceding him this term were lectures by David Danks (Carnegie Mellon University), Helen Hattab (University of Houston), and Kenneth Kendler (Virginia Commonwealth University).

Besides our collaboration with the Graduate School of Public Health, discussed above, this past term also saw workshops on Mechanisms and Embodiment and Adaptation.


Three Spring Term Fellows arrived at the Center at the same time that I did.  Laura Perini was a familiar face, since she had been a Visiting Fellow my last year as director 2004-05, and was returning for her second visit.  I had come to know Elisabeth Nemeth, visiting from the University of Vienna and the Institute Vienna Circle, through our shared interest in HOPOS, the history of philosophy of science, and it was wonderful having many opportunities to discuss the relationship between historical and philosophical studies with her and spend time with her socially.  Finally, the very first Harvey and Lesley Wagner Risk Fellow joined us this Spring Term, in the person of John Worrall.  Like Laura, this was not the first time John had been a Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science; but unlike Laura, you would need to go back a few decades to find a record of his former visit, in fact to 1983-4.  John is a long time friend of many of us at the University of Pittsburgh, and it was great having him here.  Not only did he enlighten us about Risk, he also gave us the opportunity to hear a stirring performance of his own Blues classic, “Structural Realism Blues.”


A workshop on the subject of Embodiment and Adaptation was co-organized by HPS faculty member Edouard Machery and the current Mellon Fellow in History of Science Charles Wolfe and took place on Sunday, 20 March.  The idea was to bring together people thinking about both cognition and biological adaptation from the standpoint of their physical implementation. 

The week after the Epistemology of Modeling and Simulation Conference, on Saturday, 9 April 2011 a workshop devoted to the subject of Mechanisms took place, Les Mécaniciens: Salon des Refusés.  I was myself away lecturing that week, so I asked two graduate students in attendance, Benny Goldberg and Peter Distelzweig, to report on the event.  Here is what they said! “The Mechanisms Workshop was a resounding success.  Although it was planned as one of the smaller events at the Center, the room was filled to capacity, and extra chairs had to be brought in.  Clearly mechanisms are a subject of great interest here at Pitt! The workshop had a morning session on mechanisms in their ontological and explanatory roles and an afternoon session focused especially on the place of regularity in mechanisms and chains of mechanisms--it gave rise to a sharply focused discussion growing out of recent discussions about regularity requirements from philosophers like Sandra Mitchell and James Bogen.  Attention was given throughout the day to specific examples of mechanisms in the sciences and to recent work by psychologists on mechanistic explanation. The workshop demonstrated the full range of views on mechanisms and mechanical explanations, and the format of the workshop--short presentations with plenty of time for discussion--encouraged a lively debate about the details, successes and limitations of this approach in philosophy of science.  The conference was further enlivened by important clarifications and discussions by some of the founding philosophers of the 'new mechanism,' including Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden, and Richard Burian.”

In memoriam: Ernan McMullin, 1924-2011

We at the Center for Philosophy of Science lost a close friend when Father Ernan McMullin passed away on February 8, 2011 at Letterkenny General Hospital near his home in Donegal. He was 86 and was still active intellectually until weeks before his death. 

Ernan McMullin was among the earliest members of the Center Fellowship, delivering an ALS lecture in 1971, and joining us as a Visiting Fellow in 1978-79 and again in 1979-80.  These were my first years in the department of History and Philosophy of Science and I have many vivid memories of his kindness and generosity, not to mention his penetrating intelligence and delightful sense of humor.  He returned to the Center on many occasions, most recently for the &HPS conference in 2007 and for a workshop on Isaac Newton in 2010.  We at the Center for Philosophy of Science feel his loss very deeply. His method of approaching issues in the philosophy of science through a careful study of their history had a profound effect on me. I have vivid memories of those years, having him to our small apartment for dinners and watching him playing with my then 3 yr. old daughter. An obituary can be found at: http://magazine.nd.edu/news/18899-a-death-in-the-family-father-ernan-mcmullin/

Sincerely, Jim Lennox

Click on names in blue to visit each scholar's web page.

The Board of Officers is the central decision-making body of the Center. Its composition remains the same as last year's: Adolf Grünbaum and Nicholas Rescher (co-Chairs); John D. Norton (Director); and Robert Batterman, Peter Machamer, James Woodward (Associate Directors). These Officers are responsible for the major planning and decision making in the Center.

They are sometimes assisted by Resident Fellows who serve in various capacities, often on program committees for conferences. The Annual Lecture Series Committee was chaired by Giovanni Valente, Department of Philosophy and had members:
Robert Batterman, Department of Philosophy
Anil Gupta, Department of Philosophy
Edouard Machery, Department of HPS
Sandra Mitchell, Department of HPS
Peter Distelzweig, Departments HPS & Philosophy graduate student sponsor
John Norton, Department of HPS & Director, Center for Philosophy of Science

News from the Officers

Adolf Grünbaum

During the past year, all the chapters of my 2-volume Philosophy of Science in Action opus (Oxford University Press, New York) have been completed. It remains only to write the HEADNOTES for these chapters.

Peter Machamer

Recent publications:

Jim Bogen and Peter Machamer, “Mechanistic Information and Causal Continuity” in Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo, and Jon Williamson, eds., Causality in the Sciences, Oxford University Press, 2011, pps. 845-864.

A. Raftopoulos and P. Machamer, eds. Perception, Realism, and Reference, Cambridge University Press, in press and contains Peter Machamer and Lisa Osbeck, “Action, Perception, and Reference” in A. Raftopoulos and P. Machamer, eds. Perception, Realism, and Reference, Cambridge University Press, in press.

”Reception and Influence of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius (and the fate of Galileo)” Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius, Daniel DeSimone, ed., Library of Congress Publications, forthcoming. Originally, given as a lecture at Galileo’s Moons: A Celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the publication of Siderues Nuncius, The Library of Congress, Washington D.C., November 5, 2010.

He continues as Philosopher-in-Residence for Attack Theatre dance company.

John D. Norton

It's been a busy year for me. I've written a few papers, whose details you will find on my website. They deal with approximations and idealizations, Einstein's famous chasing a light beam thought experiment and the failure of Einstein's EPR argument. This year, also, I won a Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award.

The most energetic time was a visit to China, where I taught a week's offering in the Pitt-Tsinghua summer school. My topic was philosophy of physics; and you can download all the materials on my lecture website page.

During my sabbatical, my wife spent a month at the Bellagio Center on Lake Como as a resident. It was my good fortune to be able to accompany her as an irresponsible spouse. I was able to enjoy the extraordinary Center with none of the resident's obligations. It was interesting to observe how a Center with apparently limitless resources creates a collaborative and intellectually productive environment. The recipe seems to be lots of personal interactions, plenty of good food and lots to drink. Here's the view from our window over the town and Lake Como.

I'm happy to be home. The sailing is much more interesting on the rivers of Pittsburgh. All I miss is the freshly baked bread rolls each morning.

Nicholas Rescher

*  INFINITE REGRESS (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 2010).
*  REALITY AND ITS APPEARANCE (London: Continuum, 2010).
*  BEYOND SETS: A VENTURE IN COLLECTION-THEORETIC REVISIONISM [co-authored with Patrick Grim] (Frankfurt: Ontos, 2010).
*  Award of the premier cross of the Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz erster Klasse) of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of contributions to philosophy and to German-American cooperation in this field.
*  Inauguration of the Nicholas Rescher Prize for Contributions to Systematic Philosophy with its award to Professor Ernest Sosa of Rutgers University (12 November 2010).

Center Staff

What makes the Center work so efficiently is our staff, Karen Kovalchick, Joyce McDonald, Carol Weber and Benny Goldberg. Benny is a graduate student in HPS, who spends part of his week with us, solving the little problems that pop up constantly. His term with us is over this year and we bid him farewell from the eighth floor with gratitude. Our new "Benny" is Bryan Roberts.

Karen Kovalchick

Karen, being of the opinion that excitement is highly over-rated, has enjoyed a calm and peaceful (some might even say “boring”) year. She did spend enough time at the veterinarian’s office to think she should qualify for a DVM degree herself, but all turned out well. The highlight of her year has been replacing a leaking roof. As often happens in house renovations and repairs, one thing led to another and the porch is still being repaired as of this writing.

Joyce McDonald

After the busy year of events at the Center, Joyce took a break from part-time classes at the university and worked fewer days during the summer.  She took a family vacation at the beach and enjoyed a full week with her 18-month old grandson.  Some weekends were spent entertaining friends and family at her summer place in the Laurel Mountains. Joyce can’t outnumber Karen’s two and Carol’s three, but her one dog, Roxie, the Golden Retriever, has plenty of energy for Joyce and husband. A good reason for some long walks on some days.

Carol Weber

In June, Carol and her husband, along their two daughters, their husbands, and their granddaughter, spent two weeks in England to celebrate their fortieth anniversary. A good time was had by all. In September, Carol’s younger daughter presented the family with a bouncing baby boy. Two of Carol’s three whippets are still participating in various competitions, while the nine-year old has retired. The puppy has started lure coursing and after three trials is more than halfway to a championship title. The six-year old has achieved his AKC Grand Championship title, was in the 2010 top ten in the country for conformation in the straight racing association, and is an all-around sweet boy. In addition to her husband, children, grandchildren, and dogs, Carol enjoys gardening, a never-ending pleasure.

The Center Community
Here I report news from the Center community. To find the specifics of papers and books mentioned, please visit the particular scholar's website elsewhere on this website.

In memoriam: Horacio Arlo-Costa

We mourn the loss of Horacio, who was a member of the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University and a colleague and friend to many of us in the Center. More here.

In memoriam: Robyn Dawes

We mourn the loss of Robyn Dawes, who was a Center Associate in addition to his primary appointment as the Charles J. Queenan Jr. University Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. More here.

Resident, Visiting, and Postdoctoral Fellows

2010-11 Visiting Fellows

Pierluigi Barrotta, University of Pisa, Italy, Fall Term

Heather Douglas, University of Tennessee, USA, Academic Year

Kareem Khalifa, Middlebury College, USA, Spring (Visiting Scholar in Fall Term)

Bert Leuridan, Ghent University, Belgium, Academic Year

P.D. Magnus, University at Albany, SUNY, USA, Fall Term

Elisabeth Nemeth, University of Vienna, Austria, Spring Term

Laura Perini, Pomona College, USA, Spring Term

Richard Samuels, Ohio State University, USA, Fall Term

Samuel Schindler, University of Konstanz, Germany, Fall Term

Ioannis Votsis, Heinrich-Heine University of Dusseldorf, Germany, Fall Term

John Worrall(Wagner Fellow), London School of Economics, UK, Spring Term

2010-11 Postdoctoral Fellows

Hylarie Kochiras, University at Buffalo, SUNY, USA, academic year

Peter Vickers, University of Leeds, UK, academic year

2010-11 Visiting Scholars

Kareem Khalifa, Middlebury College, USA, Fall

J.D. Trout, Loyola University, USA, Fall

News from former Fellows

Bob Almeder

(A) Published a book:  TRUTH AND SKEPTICISM.  (Rowman and Littlefield. Sept. 2010) Truth, as we ordinarily understand it, is not a necessary condition for human knowledge, as we ordinarily understand it. And the canonical argument from ignorance for skepticism does not work; also, in the process of finishing a book on global warming. (IPCC science is GIGO); and launching into a longer book on the failure of materialism and in defense of Cartesian Substance Dualism.               

(B) The usual number of conferences, a short paper on extra-terrestrial science at Pitt (spring 2010). Gave a keynote address on Consciousness in Brazil (at National University in Sao-Paulo).

Hanne Andersen

Hanne Andersen has intensified the ties to the Pitt Center Family by hiring Brian Hepburn as a postdoc in her research group on Philosophy of Contemporary Science in Practice. Other members of the group are Susann Wagenknecht, Sara Green, and Mads Goddiksen. In 2011 work from our group will be presented at the SPSP in Exeter (Susann and Sara) and at the EPSA in Athens (Hanne, Susann and Sara) as well as on a number of workshops, including the workshops on interdisciplinarity and on systems biology that we host in Aarhus in August.

Peter Barker

Peter reports three publications and several talks.

Jeff Barrett

Jeff reports the writing and publication of several papers and that he has been appointed Chancellor's Fellow at the University of California at Irvine.

Andreas Blank

Andreas reports several new publications.

Claus Beisbart

Claus has been busy with editing the book "Probabilities in Physics", which should be published in September 2011 with OUP (co-editor: S. Hartmann). Claus's research is currently focusing on computer simulations. In the summer term 2011 he is replacing a full professor at TU Dortmund. For more information see www.claus-beisbart.de

Thomas Bonk

Thomas reports several new publications.

Lindley Darden

Lindley Darden of the University of Maryland and Carl F. Craver of Washington University in St. Louis received a National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grant to support their joint work on  "In Search of Mechanisms:  Strategies from Biology."  Their goal is to complete a book manuscript on the topic, written for a general audience, by 2012. Lindley was a keynote speaker at the conference on Mechanisms and Causality in Philosophy of Biology and Economics at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan in March 2011.  She and Roberta Millstein also traveled to National Chung Cheng University in Chia Yi City in southern Taiwan and presented a joint colloquium to the Department of Philosophy, debating the topic of whether natural selection is a mechanism.  Lindley published a review of “James T. Costa's The Annotated Origin:  A Facsimile of the First Edition of On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin,” with Introduction and Notes in Annals of Science (2011 online first).

Heather Douglas

Heather has had a busy and enjoyable year at the Center, and has made progress in thinking about the weight of evidence problem, on which she has given four talks this spring (including at AAAS and the Science, Knowledge and Democracy conference at the University of South Carolina), and on which she will give two more this summer (at SPSP in Exeter and at the University of Bielefeld).  She thanks both the National Science Foundation for funding the year and the Center for being such a vibrant community in which to pursue the project.  And she is looking forward to being a visiting professor at HPS at Pitt in the fall!

John Erpenbeck

John reports several new publications.

Bernard R. Goldstein

Bernard R. Goldstein and Giora Hon, “Duhem’s Continuity Thesis: The Intrusion of Ideology into History of Science,” in R. Fontaine, R. Glasner, R. Leicht, and G. Veltri (eds.), Studies in the History of Culture and Science: A Tribute to Gad Freudenthal. Leiden: Brill, 2011, pp. 385-410.

Wenceslao J. Gonzalez

Wenceslao reports a long list of publications, including books and papers.

Mitchell S. Green

Mitch has been appointed NEH/Horace Goldsmith Distinguished Teaching Professor at University of Virginia for 2009-12 and reports a great deal more activity for the year.

Anil Gupta

I continue working on my new book on conscious experience. In the fall of 2010, my work on the book was supported by an NEH fellowship. In other news, a symposium on Empiricism and Experience appeared in Philosophical Studies 152 (2011).

Reiner Hedrich

Reiner has extensively updated his website.

Paul Hoyningen-Huene

Paul reports several new publications.

Andrew Irvine

Andrew Irvine’s essay defending Mill against several famous arguments made by Frege appeared in the most recent issue of Studia Logica (“Frege on Number Properties”, Studia Logica, 96 [2010], 239-260).

Gurol Irzik

Gurol reports two publications.

Hylarie Kochiras

Hylarie has sent us a list of eight papers, some finished, some started and finished and some started during her fellowship at the Center.

Meinard Kuhlmann

While I was a Visiting Fellow in Pittsburgh I organized a conference on Philosophy of Physics which took place in Hannover in June 2010. It turned out to be a great success. Papers can (and more will soon) be found in the PhilSci Archive (http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/view/confandvol/2010Popigcsaph1112June2010.html).

Meinard also reports some recent publications.

Marion Ledwig

Marion reports two recent monographs.

V. A. Lektorsky

An article, which is important for me, was published: “Questions in Philosophy, Science and Education,” In: The Socratic Tradition. Questioning as Philosophy and as Method. Ed. by M. Sintonen. College Publications. Milton Keynes. UK. 2009. Pp, 157-167.
In September 2010 I gave a paper at the meeting of the International Institute of Philosophy (Paris): “World Unity and Cultural Diversity.” It will be published in English. In October 2010 at the University of Helsinki I gave a paper on “Activity Approach in Russian Philosophy and Psychology in the second half of the XXth Century” (it will be published in English).
In April 2011 I was elected a titular member of Academie Internationale de la Philosophie de la science (Brussels).
My area of current research interests: epistemology and cognitive science; philosophy of psychology; Activity Approach in Russian philosophy and psychology and current stage in Cognitive Science: “embodied cognition”, “extended mind.”

Edouard Machery

Edouard was awarded a Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, University of Pittsburgh.

Malcolm Bruce Macmillan

I'm not sure when I last updated things but I should start with a very successful 80th birthday in January 2009 to which many of my old students, colleagues, friends, and comrades were able to come. Just before then I retired (finally and from Deakin University) to become a Professorial Fellow in Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne. I do a little teaching (The Unconscious Mind) and am busy on a book on Alfred Walter Campbell, the forgotten Australian neurologist who pioneered the cytoarchitectonic study of the human brain.  I'm still writing as you can see from this selection [see his web page].

Michele Marsonet

Michele reports seven articles, four talks and that he is Head, Department of Philosophy, University of Genoa and Vice-Rector for International Relations, University of Genoa.

Nicholas Maxwell

I continue to do what I can to get across the message that we urgently need to bring about a revolution in academia so that it takes up its proper task of helping humanity solve its immense, intensifying global problems, and make progress towards as good a world as possible. I published Cutting God in Half And Putting the Pieces Together Again: A New Approach to Philosophy in 2010 (Pentire Press): for an appreciative review see http://metapsychology.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=book&id=6070&cn=394.  I contributed chapters to six other books, and eight articles to various publications: see http://philpapers.org/profile/17092.  To celebrate its 50th issue, The Philosophers’ Magazine published 50 short articles on “the best ideas of the 21st century.”  No. 34 is called “Wisdom Inquiry” and is by me (pp. 84-5, 3rd quarter, 2010).  My own university, University College London, is at last beginning to put my ideas into practice.  It has created a “Grand Challenges Programme” which brings specialists together to tackle global problems.  It has produced a policy document called “Developing a culture of wisdom at UCL”.  Philosophia published a symposium on my work.  I have given lectures on quantum theory at Lisbon University, and on wisdom-inquiry at Poznan University (Poland), at Cambridge, and as a keynote speaker at conferences in Wales and Warsaw.  For more, see www.nick-maxwell.demon.co.uk.

James Edward ("Ted") McGuire

Ted was awarded the Sarton Medal and Chair at Ghent University on April the 28th and 29th. The award is made in recognition of outstanding contributions to the History of Science. On the occasion he gave two lectures, and they will be published in connection with the award.

Dominic Murphy

Dominic reports several publications.

Lisa S. Nelson

She reports: I had a book published with MIT Press in 2010 entitled America Identified: Biometric Technology and Society.  Also, I will be seated as a member of the Department of Homeland Security Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee (DPIAC) for a four-year term. 

Nancy Nersessian

Nancy Nersessian received the inaugural Patrick Suppes Award in Philosophy of Science from the American Philosophical Society for her book Creating Scientific Concepts (MIT Press 2008). Her new book (co-authored with members of her research group, Lisa Osbeck (former Center Fellow), Nancy J. Nersessian, Kareen Malone, & Wendy Newstetter), Science and Psychology: Sense-Making and Identity in Science Practice, was published by Cambridge University Press.

Dan Nesher
Recently I finished two inquiries: 
    1. "ON THE CONCEPTS OF SPACE AND TIME: LOOKING FOR A NEW PICTURE OF PHYSICAL REALITY."  This work I sent to a theoretical physicist for evaluation.
    2.  "GÖDEL ON TRUTH AND PROOF: Epistemological Proof of Gödel’s Conception of the Realistic Nature of Mathematics, but Then Its  Incompleteness Cannot Be Proved Formally and It Is a Trick Based on the Separation of Truth from Proof."  A short version of this work is to be presented in the International Wittgenstein Symposium on Epistemology, and to be published in its pre-proceedings.

Robert Olby

Last October Bob Olby visited old friends at Leeds University, UK, and the University of Vienna, giving a talk on the career of X-ray crystallographer Bill Astbury at the former and on Francis Crick at the latter. The following Spring he visited Australia, where he met with Paul Griffiths and Rachel Ankeny, and gave talks at Adelaide, Sydney, and Canberra. In January Ann and he became snow birds, escaping to Arizona. He reports: "A friend visiting Pittsburgh used our house, and neighbors cleared the snow from the drive!"

Lisa M. Osbeck

Lisa has been promoted to full professor at the University of West Georgia and was nominated for Fellow of the American Psychological Association through the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. She reports numerous new publications and presentations.


philsci-archive.pitt.edu is run by the Center for Philosophy of Science in collaboration with the University Library System.  It continues to flourish and now hosts over 2,000 preprints in philosophy of science. (Not reading philsci-archive.pitt.edu? Not posting to philsci-archive.pitt.edu? You are missing out!)

The Executive Committee presently consists of John Earman (Dept. of HPS, University of Pittsburgh), John D. Norton (Dept. of HPS, University of Pittsburgh), Zvi Biener (Dept. of Philosophy, Western Michigan University) and Justin Sytsma (Dept. of Philosophy, East Tennessee State University).

The Archive Manager is Bryan Roberts (Dept. of HPS, University of Pittsburgh).

Federica Russo

Federica edited the volume Causality in the Sciences (OUP, 2011) with Phyllis Illari and Jon Williamson. She published nine papers. Federica has joined the editorial board of Philosophy and Technology and of Topoi. She continues her intense activities as a member of the steering committee of the 'Causality in the Sciences Conference Series' (next events: 'Causality and Intervention', Paris 9-10 June 2011; 'Causality and Explanation in the Sciences', Ghent 19-21 September 2011).

Howard Sankey

He reports: I’ve been working on the relation between science and common sense, as well as the relation between skepticism and relativism.  Some of this work has appeared already or is forthcoming.  In addition, I’ve been involved in a couple of editorial projects:  one is a book on the metaphysics of science co-edited with Brian Ellis and Alexander Bird that comes out of the 2009 Metaphysics of Science conference in Melbourne; the other is a special issue of a journal devoted to scientific realism, co-edited with Dimitri Ginev.

Drozdstoj Stoyanov

Drossi has sent an elaborate report that can be found on his website.

Derek Turner

Derek Turner has a new book, Paleontology: A Philosophical Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2011).  He began work on the project while at the Center in the spring of 2008.  He has also published a paper, "Gould's Replay Revisited," that he started during his semester in Pittsburgh.  The paper appears in Biology and Philosophy 26(2010): 65-79.

Soshichi Uchii

My old paper in Japanese “The Principle of Divergence in Darwin and Wallace” (originally published in 1993) will be published soon in an anthology edited by Philosophy of Science Society Japan (PSSJ), “Darwin and the Philosophy of Evolution”, Keiso-shobo, Tokyo, 2011. And, as the First Vice President of DLMPS, I have only two more months to go for finishing my term, Nancy Congress 2011.

Jean Paul van Bendegem
I would like to report for the annual review that this year the following paper of mine was published: “The Possibility of Discrete Time.” In: Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 145-162. Apart from that, next academic year I will enjoy a sabbatical leave from my university.

Peter J. Vickers

I spent much of my year at the Center working on a monograph Understanding Inconsistent Science, forthcoming with Oxford University Press (2012). As well as an investigation of inconsistent scientific theories, the monograph also stands as a test-case for a philosophical methodology I have called “theory eliminativism.” Whilst at the Center I wrote a paper on this methodology entitled “Theory Eliminativism as a Methodological Tool” which I will present at the 2011 conference of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science, and the 2011 conference of the European Philosophy of Science Association. In the past year I also finalized two other papers: “Historical Magic in Old Quantum Theory?”, forthcoming in the European Journal for Philosophy of Science, and “Are There No Things That Are Scientific Theories?”, forthcoming in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (co-authored with Steven French). Whilst at the Center I also spent time co-editing (with Otávio Bueno) a forthcoming special issue of Synthese, entitled “Is Science Inconsistent?”

Jan Wolenski

Jan became emeritus on Sept. 30, 2010, but he is still teaching. He was elected to Polish Academy of Sciences in 2010. Jan published two books: History of Polish Philosophy (together with Jan Skoczynski) - in Polish and Essays on Jewish Questions (in Polish) as well as several papers. Jan is preparing a collection of his papers for Peter Lang Publisher and is working on an extensive monograph Semantics and Truth for Springer.


The events of the past year are recorded in greater detail in the Center website. For an informal account of some of them, see the "donuts" page and for photos, "photo album."

Major events of the past year included the following conferences and workshops:

Scientific Achievement: Progress and Problems
10-11 September 2010

Philosophy of Scientific Experimentation: A Challenge to Philosophy of Science
15-16 October 2010

Lecture on the Occasion of Adolf Grünbaum's 50 Years at the University of Pittsburgh
29 October 2010

Embodiment and Adaptation
20 March 2011

Epistemology of Modeling and Simulation: Building Research Bridges between the Philosophical & Modeling Communities
1-3 April 2011

9 April 2011

Speakers in the Annual Lecture Series were:

Peter Achinstein, Johns Hopkins University and Yeshiva University of Science

Paul Humphreys, University of Virginia

David Danks, Carnegie Mellon University

Helen Hattab, University of Houston

Kenneth Kendler, Virginia Commonwealth University

William Unruh, University of British Columbia

Speakers in the Lunchtime Colloquia were:

Nicholas Rescher, University of Pittsburgh

J.D. Trout, Loyola University of Chicago

Peter Vickers, University of Leeds

Ioannis Votsis, University of Düsseldorf

Samuel Schindler, University of Konstanz

P.D. Magnus, University at Albany, SUNY

Heather Douglas, University of Tennessee

Hylarie Kochiras, University at Buffalo, SUNY

Kareem Khalifa, Middlebury College

Pierluigi Barrotta, University of Pisa

Nikolay Milkov, University of Paderborn

John D. Norton, University of Pittsburgh

Richard Samuels, Ohio State University

Bert Leuridan, Ghent University

Laura Perini, Pomona College

Elisabeth Nemeth, University of Vienna

John Worrall, London School of Economics

David John Baker, University of Michigan

Charles Wolfe, University of Pittsburgh

Tomasz Placek, Jagiellonian University

Philip Ehrlich, Ohio University

José Díez, University of Barcelona

Heather Douglas, University of Tennessee

Gordon Fleming, Penn State University

Brad Armendt, Arizona State University

Robert Briscoe, Ohio University

Staffan Müller-Wille, University of Exeter

Other Business

Renewal of Associate Membership of the Center

May we take this opportunity to remind Center Associates that their appointments are for three years. Re-appointment is not automatic. If your three-year Associate's appointment is expiring or has expired and you would like to renew it, please let us know through email to the Assistant Director, Karen Kovalchick. Your appointment will then be renewed for a further three years. If you choose not to renew your appointment, your name will remain on our mailing list, so you will continue to hear news of the Center's activities, unless you request otherwise. Associates receive no compensation and have no regular duties. However, the Center views acceptance of an appointment as an Associate as a commitment to attend a few of the Center’s many activities each year. Annually, these activities include, but are not limited to, the Annual Lecture Series (6 to 8 lectures per year), special lectures, the Lunchtime Colloquium (usually meets twice a week), conferences and workshops (2 or 3), occasional social functions, and occasional study groups.

Request for Feedback

Dear Reader who has had the fortitude to read through to the end of this review: We would appreciate very much some indication of whether you found this review interesting or helpful in any way--or otherwise. Drop us a short email with any remarks you care to make.


This review would be incomplete without thanks to the many people who make the Center possible. Our thanks go to the Center Officers, who take time from their busy academic schedules to serve the Center; to the Office of the Provost of the University of Pittsburgh (including Provost Patricia Beeson and Vice Provost Alberta Sbragia), whose support is both visionary and unflagging; to the Visiting Fellows, who populate the Center each year with new energies and new ideas; and to the many who come to give talks, to hear talks, to enliven discussion, and to keep an eye on the donuts.

This year also I must express my personal thanks to Jim Lennox. He enabled me to take a term's leave by taking over the directorship of the Center. This must have been an odd and even difficult experience for Jim. He had been Director from 1997 to 2005 and now he comes back to his Center to find it both the same and different. No doubt some of the differences displeased him. But I hope that he found many of them good. I will never know the truth. Jim is too kind and polite to do anything other than praise.

Finally my thanks go to the staff -- Karen, Joyce, Carol and Benny. Only someone who has carried the responsibility of an office like the Center's can truly appreciate just how much depends upon the energy and dedication of the staff. This year, they carried a special burden. They needed to respond to my direction in the Fall; Jim Lennox's in the Spring; and mine again in the Summer. They weathered the inevitable dislocation with uniformly good cheer. In addition to my usual thanks for all the things they do, I thank them for that too.

John D. Norton
Director (again)

Revised 11/29/11 - Copyright 2010