Workshop “Can Biological Practice Inform Metaphysics?" Cologne, June 15-16, 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017 (All day) to Friday, June 16, 2017 (All day)

Philosophers of science have increasingly shifted their focus away from scientific theories to scientific practice. This workshop seeks to explore what, if anything, the explanatory and investigative strategies of the biological sciences can tell us about reality. Some philosophers draw heavily from biological practices to develop accounts of individuality, the nature of kinds, causal variables, and causal selection. We wish to investigate the relationship between biological practice and metaphysics. Does the former offer a fruitful approach to the latter? What, exactly, does it mean for a metaphysical claim to account for biological practice? Does informing metaphysics with biological practice require that we rethink common views about what counts as metaphysics, what counts as a biological practice, and what sorts of methodological approaches are appropriate? This workshop aims to make explicit methodological and conceptual commitments implicit to the work of philosophers of biology who draw from biological practices.


Janella Baxter (University of Minnesota)
Adrian Currie (University of Cambridge)
John Dupré (University of Exeter)
Laura Franklin-Hall (New York University)
Joyce C. Havstad (Oakland University)
Andreas Hüttemann (University of Cologne)
Marie I. Kaiser (University of Bielefeld)
Catherine Kendig (Michigan State University)
Karen Kovaka (University of Pennsylvania)
Thomas Reydon (University of Hannover)
Derek Skillings (University of Bordeaux)
James F. Woodward (University of Pittsburgh)

Organized by
Janella Baxter (University of Minnesota) and Marie I. Kaiser (University of Bielefeld)

As a cooperation between the The John Templeton Foundation project “From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics” (Grant #50191) and DFG Research Group “Causation and Explanation” (Grant #FOR 1063).

Hosted by the University of Cologne, Department of Philosophy

Funded by DFG (German Research Foundation)