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Video: The Greatly Exaggerated Reports of the Death of Biometry

Video: The Greatly Exaggerated Reports of the Death of Biometry

One advantage of the pandemic is that it gives me the chance to share a few talks that wouldn’t normally have been publicly accessible! Here’s a bit from my current book project (watch this space for more news about that) on the fate of the “biometrical school” after 1906.

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Interdisciplinarity in HPS

Interdisciplinarity in HPS

A strange concurrence of three separate events (now more than a year ago, but such is life in the pandemic) has caused me to spend lots of time lately thinking about the nature of interdisciplinarity – and, in particular, what kind of career interactions we should want to encourage between biologists and philosophers and historians of biology.

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Mapping and Responding to Taxonomic Disorder

Mapping and Responding to Taxonomic Disorder

One of my goals for the group in 2021 is to start ramping up blog posting. To that end, I want to get started introducing a new project that the lab will be running from 2021 until 2024, funded by the FNRS (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique – FNRS)! We’ll be tackling the hotly debated role of taxonomic concepts in the unfolding biodiversity crisis.

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Introducing Hybrida

Introducing Hybrida

As you can tell by the fact that we haven’t updated this blog since January, the pandemic has hit our research group pretty hard. With one of our postdoctoral fellows stuck in Italy, and all of us having at best spotty access to much of our digital humanities infrastructure, things have been moving pretty slowly. But there is some good news to report! As a part of a seven-university consortium, the lab has just been awarded a new grant from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 “Science with and for Society” program. Read on to learn more!

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2019 Lab Year in Review

2019 Lab Year in Review

This year has been amazingly busy. As part of keeping us honest, I want to step back and think about our accomplishments, what we’ve done well, and what we’ve done badly – and speculate a bit about what 2020 might bring!

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Teaching the Writing of Philosophy

Teaching the Writing of Philosophy

There’s a common refrain that I hear when talking to students, even doctoral candidates, that I wish we could somehow communicate better about. It starts with mentioning something about getting a new draft finished or what have you, and then somebody says something like:

“Oh, sure, this writing is easier for you because you’re good at it.”

Sure, for some people this may be right. We all know stories of people who publish six or eight books a year, or can sit down at their laptop and crank out an article in a half an afternoon. But not for me. (Me, I’ve only once written an article in a single day, and it was only because it fell sideways out of my book project, so I’d already finished all the research for it.) And, I suspect, not for many of us.

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Why is it a lab?

Why is it a lab?

As I’ve been doing more PR for the lab online, a few people have been confused by the fact that I call the group a lab in the first place. What do you mean, a philosophy lab? Does that make any sense at all?

On the one hand, I have a pretty simple answer: I’m borrowing from the way that our scientist colleagues organize their research groups, and I think they both have a lot more history doing it, and are a lot better at it than philosophers are! But that’s not all, and I wanted to write something here to say why.

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Research Ethics and Monkey Brains

Research Ethics and Monkey Brains

(N.B.: Français ci-dessous !) I was asked recently by the Brussels newspaper La Libre to provide some comments regarding research ethics concerning some recent experiments in macaques, which involved inserting a gene responsible for human brain development into a number of monkeys. (See some very nice coverage at MIT Technology Review.)

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FNRS MIS Project: Digital History and Philosophy of Biology

FNRS MIS Project: Digital History and Philosophy of Biology

Continuing the series of articles about the lab’s grant funding, I now have the distinct honor of describing our new project under the auspices of the FNRS (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique – FNRS), Wallonia’s scientific funding organization. The grant is a “Mandat d’Impulsion Scientifique,” an early-career fellowship designed to kickstart a new research program for an incoming researcher. And the most important thing that the grant is funding is two two-year (or, possibly, three-year) postdoctoral fellowships!

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Video: Francis Galton on Chance in Evolution

Video: Francis Galton on Chance in Evolution

Last month, I had the chance to visit the incredible group of folks at the Université de Bordeaux led by Thomas Pradeu under the auspices of the PhilInBioMed project. I delivered a talk focusing on new work from my book project, particularly the role of Francis Galton’s work.

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