Member news – regular email

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The AAHPSSS committee would like to introduce a more regular communication channel with members. Rather than duplicate the existing fine newsletter and announcement lists, we are proposing focussing in the first instance on member news – recent publications, awards or opportunities from AAHPSSS members. Look out for further emails about this and please feel free to share your news with the AAHPSSS community.

If you would like to stop receiving these emails, please let me know by return email and I will remove you from the mailing list.

Martin Bush

Secretary, Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (AAHPSSS):

Talk by Moran Award winner

Dear Academy of Science and AAHPSSS media,

You might be interested in the excellent interview broadcast recently on ABC South Australia which discusses the project that recently was awarded the Moran award. Lil Pearce speaks very clearly about her work, and also about the purpose of the Moran award in furthering the History of Science in Australia.

The interview runs from 17.20- 28.48 on this feed:
The comments about the Moran award are at about the 28 min mark.

I have been following Moran awards for decades now, and this is the best explanation I have heard of how they can be incredibly useful, and how the History of Science is relevant to so much practical action today.

With very best wishes
Libby Robin

Campus Morning Mail: Putting Science into Politics

Science and Technology Australia

Putting science into politics

Science and Technology Australia announces its new STEM advisors for MPs

This is a great idea – providing science-curious politicians with access to a dedicated (as in available and committed) scientist, who brings, “their science expertise and networks to assist evidence-based policy-making.”

When the scheme started Labor members and senators predominated in putting their hands-up for help, with 16 from the ALP, two Libs and one Nat and an Independent (CMM May 3 2018, March 6 2020).

But not now, of the 17 scientists assigned to an office six will go to Labor, seven Liberal, one to a Nat, and two to Greens.

Margaret Shanafield (Flinders U) is assigned to Independent senator for South Australia, Rex Patrick. Dr Shanafield is a freshwater ecologist but CMM is sure she is across submarines.

This is a great way to ensure an independent source of science expertise in receptive political offices.

From Campus Morning Mail May 7, 2021.

HPS & ST Note for July

The latest HPS & ST Note is now up.

PTPBio journal relaunched, first articles

Dear colleagues,

We're excited to announce that first articles of the new volume of Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology - its first volume under the new title - are published. They're listed below, and the volume is still growing. Visit the journal at its new URL:

Our main goal in relaunching the journal was to jump-start its publishing rate without compromising on quality. The higher publishing rate will make PTPBio eligible for inclusion in more indexes. At the same time, we have expanded its scope to explicitly include scientific practice, added new publication-types, made submitting manuscripts easier, enhanced transparency, and updated the article-design.

One of PTPBio's new publication-types is Position Papers: statements and positive defenses of positions with less background than research articles normally provide. Also, every article in PTPBio is now a "target article"; the journal now considers short Comment pieces replying to any of its published articles, at any time. Expressing a view or responding to a paper doesn't always require a research article; sometimes you want to cut to the chase. Our format enables us to entertain a wide range of lengths.

What hasn't changed is that PTPBio remains a high-quality, fully open-access publication, freely accessible to readers worldwide. It also remains free to authors, eschewing the "article processing charges" and submission fees imposed by some OA journals and for OA publishing in commercial journals. PTPBio continues to be published and archived on the stable platform of University of Michigan Library. We prioritize efficient review, and we publish continuously.

I believe that a functional, thriving journal with these features represents an asset for our intellectual community worth building and maintaining. The editors (Joanna, Roberta, Jonathan, and I) hope you will consider PTPBio a possible home for your work.

Best, Christopher H. Eliot

ISHPSSB Announcements

Call for Papers: "On the Nature of Variation: Random, Biased, and
Directional," 3–4 October 2017, University of Lisbon. This conference
aims to provide an interdisciplinary context for uncovering and
critically evaluating the rationale behind the hypothesis of variation
randomness in the light of new developments in the evolutionary
sciences. Deadline: 15 July 2017.

Call for Papers: Interdisciplinary Workshop on Holobionts, 6–8
November 2017, University of Bordeaux. This workshop will bring
together researchers from diverse disciplines working on holobionts
and host-microbe associations, in order to foster interdisciplinary
communication. Deadline: 16 July 2017.

Call for Papers: Philosophy of Epidemiology, a Special Issue of
Synthese. Guest Editors: Sean A. Valles (Michigan State University)
and Jonathan Kaplan (Oregon State University). Deadline: 9 October

POBAM News: POBAM (Philosophy of Biology at Madison) has been
reincarnated as POBAM (Philosophy of Biology at the Mountains). The
first in a new series of biennial meeting at the University of Utah
will be 17–18 May 2018. A call for abstracts will be issued this
summer, with abstracts due this fall. Elliott Sober thanks past
attendees and program committees, along with all the UW-Madison
graduate students who made POBAM possible.

Lakatos Award: The LSE is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015
and 2016 Lakatos Awards. The 2015 award goes to Thomas Pradeu of CNRS
and the University of Bordeaux for his book The Limits of the Self:
Immunology and Biological Identity (OUP, 2012). The 2016 award goes
to Brian Epstein of Tufts University for The Ant Trap: Rebuilding the
Foundations of the Social Sciences (OUP, 2015).

Special Issue: "Ontologies of Living Beings," a special issue of the
open-access journal Philosophy, Theory and Practice in Biology.

Book: Luca Tonetti and Nicole Cilia (eds.), Wired Bodies: New
Perspectives on the Machine-Organism Analogy.

Book: Kevin C. Elliott and Ted Richards (eds.), Exploring Inductive
Risk: Case Studies of Values in Science.

Listserv for the International Society for the History, Philosophy,
and Social Studies of Biology

Please send me items at to post to the list that
would be of interest to Society members: position announcements,
postdoctoral announcements, grant and funding opportunities,
conference announcements, calls for papers, and brief queries on
research topics.  The sooner you send me something, the more likely
that I will be able to have it posted before its deadline. **Please
include a link to details, as we only send out a digest of brief


Trevor Pearce
Listserv Moderator, International Society for History, Philosophy, and
Social Studies of Biology

Obituary: R. S. Cohen

From HPST&ST list:

On June 19 2017, Robert Sonné Cohen passed away at age 94.  His death warrants an exception to the ‘restricted monthly-only usage’ rule for this list.

Bob studied physics at Wesleyan University, and completed his PhD at Yale.  From 1959 he was professor of physics and philosophy at Boston University.  An obituary penned by Don Howard (Philosophy, Notre Dame) and Alisa Bokulich (Philosophy, Boston University) is available, with pics, on Boston University’s Centre for Philosophy and History of Science web site.

The seventeenth century philosopher-theologian-priest Marin Mersenne was the great ‘networker’ of his age.  With a mail list of 140, and by constant letter writing and exchanging communications he kept the diverse and scattered community of natural philosophers, astronomers, theologians and mathematicians in contact with each other, and informed about the progress of each other’s work.  He defended Galileo and a number of other ‘progressive’ thinkers of the time.  This informal grouping of scholars led, soon after his death, to the more formal Académie des Sciences in Paris and the Royal Society in London.  Four hundred years later, in a transformed world, Bob Cohen might be thought of as a latter-day Mersenne.  His authorship of so many papers and books, his editorship of 100s of collections, his convening of countless small and large meetings, his unfailing generosity and support of progressive and humanistic causes are all Mersenne-like.

Bob’s address at the 50th anniversary of the BU Centre for HPS is on Youtube.  Along with so much else, it nicely catches his unrivalled enabling role in modern HPS studies.

Bob had a long interest in education, both broadly as a vehicle for social and cultural enhancement, and more specifically in supporting a more informed, authentic and responsible science education.  The former concern is elaborated in his:

Cohen, R.S.: 1955, ‘On the Marxist Philosophy of Education’.  In N.B. Henry (ed.) Modern Philosophies and Education: The 54th Yearbook of the National Association for the Study of Education, NSSE, Chicago, pp.175-214.

The latter concern in his:

Cohen, R.S.: 1964, 'Individuality and Common Purpose: The Philosophy of Science', The Science Teacher31(4).

This paper was initially given as a plenary address to a meeting of the US Science Teachers Association:  ‘The largest audience I have ever had in my life’, is how he described the occasion.  The paper is reproduced as the third of the ‘Golden Oldies’ series in Science & Education, 1994, 3(4), 393-407.  Understandably his education concerns and location in Boston led him, with his life-long friend Gerald Holton, to engagement in the writing and trialling of the Harvard Project Physics course.  Additionally, while writing and editing HPS tomes, he published an excellent university textbook for General Science:

Cohen, R.S.: 1975, Physical Science, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York.

These educational endeavours manifest Bob’s basic Enlightenment commitment that science and philosophy need to be conducted together and learn from each other, and both need engage and dialogue with cultural beliefs and worldviews of their time and situation.

A personal note: When I went to Boston University forty years ago, in 1978 on my first sabbatical leave from the School of Education at UNSW, I had no reputation, no publications and no PhD.  The only point of contact was a letter of recommendation written by my philosophy teacher, Wallis Suchting, who Bob knew.  Bob typed and posted long and detailed letters to me in Australia about how to organise housing, banking and everything else to make my arrival and early days easy.  I had no profile at all, but was invited to Centre dinners and functions; Bob went out of his way to introduce me to guest speakers and visitors to the Centre.  This hospitality extended to being invited to visit Robyn and himself at their summer house on Cape Cod.  Needless to say, in doing all this there was absolutely nothing in it for him.  This was not special behaviour, he supported everyone in the same manner.  It is a carelessly used word, but he was a great mentor for me, as he assuredly was for so many others all around the world.

Michael Matthews

HPS&ST Note June 2017

The June HPS&ST Note is on the web at:

  • Introduction
  • 2017 IHPST Biennial Conference, Ankara July 4-7, 2017
  • Education Papers at the Division of the History of Science & Technology (DHST) 25th International Congress, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 23 to 29 July 2017
  • British Society for the History of Science, Annual Conference, July 6-9, 2017
  • epiSTEME 7: Seventh international conference to review research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education, 5-8 January 2018
  • British Journal for History of Science, Book Reviews
  • LSE Lakatos Awards
  • Translations of HPS and Science Teaching Book
  • Opinion Page: What’s Wrong with HPS and What Needs be Done to Put It Right? (Nicholas Maxwell)
  • Recent HPS&ST Research Articles
  • Recent HPS&ST Related Books
  • Coming HPS&ST Related Conferences