Call for Participation: Agent-Based Modeling in Philosophy

November 15, 2014
Call for Participation
Conference:  Agent-Based Modeling in Philosophy
Location:  LMU Munich

Keynote speakers:
Jason Alexander (London School of Economics)
Rosaria Conte (Institute for Cognitive Science and Technology, Rome)
Scott Page (University of Michigan)
Kevin Zollman (Carnegie Mellon University)
Michael Weisberg (University of Pennsylvania)

In the past two decades, agent-based models (ABMs) have become ubiquitous in philosophy and various sciences.  ABMs have been applied, for example, to study the evolution of norms and language, to understand migration patterns of past civilizations, to investigate how population levels change in ecosystems over time, and more.  In contrast with classical economic models or population-level models in biology, ABMs are praised for their lack of assumptions and their flexibility.  Nonetheless, many of the methodological and epistemological questions raised by ABMs have yet to be fully articulated and answered.  For example, there are unresolved debates about how to test (or “validate”) ABMs, about the scope of their applicability in philosophy and the sciences, and about their implications or our understanding of reduction, emergence, and complexity in the sciences.  This conference aims to bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers aimed at understanding the foundations of agent-based modeling and how the practice can inform and be informed by philosophy.


Call for Papers: Formal Ethics 2015 at University of Bayreuth

November 15, 2014

Call for Papers

Formal Ethics 2015

July 3-5

University of Bayreuth

The formal analysis of ethical concepts and theories (via the application of tools from logic, rational choice theory, natural language semantics, AI) is a rapidly growing field of research. It has shed new light on a variety of concepts that are central to ethical theory, such as freedom, responsibility, values, norms, and conventions. The series Formal Ethics conferences aims at providing an international platform for the discussion and promotion of formal approaches to ethics and to push the frontiers of the research being conduced in this field.

For information about previous Formal Ethics conferences, please take a look at The program, tutorial, and working session links there will provide some indication of the breadth of possible topics and formal approaches.

We invite submissions to Formal Ethics 2015, to be held at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, from July 3 to 5, 2015. The workshop aims to bring together researchers who are employing formal tools to address questions in ethics and/or political philosophy. We encourage researchers at all level to submit, including graduate students.

Keynote Speakers.

Lara Buchak (Berkeley) — Risk and Uncertainty
Natalie Gold (King’s College) — Team Reasoning (Tutorial)
Fenrong Liu (Tsinghua) — Preference Logic (Tutorial)
Rudolf Schuessler (Bayreuth) — Ethics and Bargaining Theory

Submission Topics.

Submissions in all areas of formal ethics, broadly construed, are welcome. For Formal Ethics 2015, submissions related to ethics and responsibility are particularly welcome.

Submission Information.

Authors should submit an extended abstract (1000 words max, pdf or postscript format) suitable for anonymous review to EasyChair:

Important Note: Submissions will be considered both for full contributed talks and for the poster presentation. Authors who do not which to be considered for the poster presentation should mention this in the abstract.

Important Dates.

Deadline for submissions: January 3, 2015
Notification of acceptance: January 31, 2015
Conference: July 3 to July 5, 2015

Programme Committee.

Albert J. J. Anglberger (Munich)
Constanze Binder (Rotterdam)
Karin Enflo (Uppsalla)
Julian Fink (Bern)
Conrad Heilmann (Rotterdam)
John F. Horty (Maryland)
Fenrong Liu (Tsinghua)
Paul McNamara (New Hampshire)
Ittay Nissan (Jerusalem)
Martin Rechenauer (Konstanz)
Olivier Roy (Bayreuth)
Allard Tamminga (Groningen)

Local Organizing Committee.

Olivier Roy (Bayreuth)
Matthew Braham (Bayreuth)

Steering Committee of Formal Ethics Conference Series.

Albert J.J. Anglberger (Munich)
Constanze Binder (Rotterdam)
Conrad Heilmann (Rotterdam)
Paul McNamara (New Hampshire)

Contact and Further Information.


Submitted by Olivier Roy

Open Position at Carnegie Mellon University

September 28, 2014

Open Rank, Tenure-Track or Tenured Position

Department of Philosophy
Carnegie Mellon University

Open Rank, Tenure-Track or Tenured Position, with a preference for junior candidates, beginning August 2015.

The Department welcomes applications from scholars in any branch of mathematical or scientific philosophy; it also invites scholars from related fields (e.g., computer science, mathematics, statistics, psychology, linguistics, or economics), whose work bears upon or is motivated by methodological or foundational issues.

Responsibilities. Exemplary research and publication, teaching two courses per semester (4/yr), graduate student supervision, and some committee work.

Carnegie Mellon is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer with particular interest in identifying women, minority, individuals with disabilities and veteran applicants for faculty positions.

Deadline for applications is November 1, 2014. Applicants should electronically submit an application letter, C.V., description of research plans, research writing sample, and summary of teaching experience (preferably as a single PDF file) to:

For junior applicants, at least three confidential letters of reference should also be forwarded to this email address. Questions and inquiries may be directed to this email address as well.


September 26, 2014

Several philosophers have written to ask,

Has Brian Leiter ever threatened legal action against you for your criticisms of the PGR?

No,  just insults. However, it is my understanding that he tried to lean on Columbia statistician Drew Gelman over this criticism and discussion of the PGR.  How he came to think that would work is beyond me.

A junior philosopher asks,

Have you followed the recent call to replace Leiter as editor of the PGR? A growing consensus seems to be that the PGR is useful but just needs new management, whereas a minority of people like you and Richard Heck argue that the PGR is a flawed idea.

The genius of Leiter’s defense of the PGR has always been to make it about critics not liking where they came out in the ranking, sliding right past engagement with any and all substantive questions to do with whether the PGR made sense to begin with.  And let’s face it, that strategy worked. The community now accepts the idea that philosophy faculty are things to be ranked, that students benefit from doing this every two years, and that the PGR is a sound instrument to serve this goal.   That is embarrassing.

-Gregory Wheeler

EBM+ blog

September 25, 2014

Readers of this blog may be interested in the blog of the EBM+ consortium, accessible at


EBM+ is a consortium whose members are keen to develop the methods of evidence-based medicine to better handle evidence of mechanisms.



2014 Ig Nobel Prize Highlights

September 20, 2014

ECONOMICS PRIZE [ITALY]: ISTAT — the Italian government’s National Institute of Statistics, for proudly taking the lead in fulfilling the European Union mandate for each country to increase the official size of its national economy by including revenues from prostitution, illegal drug sales, smuggling, and all other unlawful financial transactions between willing participants.

NEUROSCIENCE PRIZE [CHINA, CANADA]: Jiangang Liu, Jun Li, Lu Feng, Ling Li, Jie Tian, and Kang Lee, for trying to understand what happens in the brains of people who see the face of Jesus in a piece of toast.

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE [AUSTRALIA, UK, USA]: Peter K. Jonason, Amy Jones, and Minna Lyons, for amassing evidence that people who habitually stay up late are, on average, more self-admiring, more manipulative, and more psychopathic than people who habitually arise early in the morning.

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE [CZECH REPUBLIC, JAPAN, USA, INDIA]: Jaroslav Flegr, Jan Havlíček and Jitka Hanušova-Lindova, and to David Hanauer, Naren Ramakrishnan, Lisa Seyfried, for investigating whether it is mentally hazardous for a human being to own a cat.

ARCTIC SCIENCE PRIZE [NORWAY, GERMANY]: Eigil Reimers and Sindre Eftestøl, for testing how reindeer react to seeing humans who are disguised as polar bears.

The full list of winners is here.

Philosophy Security Advisory System II

September 10, 2014

.  We at PSAS central are raising the PSAS alert to HIGH.

Since the introduction of PSAS, the terrorist threat to philosophers has evolved from an epistemologically challenged terror organization located in the ungovernable Great Lakes region of North America to a loosely organized confederation of Overly Sensitive Internet Stormtroopers (OSIS).  OSIS has staged a series of spectacular coordinated attacks, prompting us to update our advisory system.


During this LEVEL ORANGE alert, philosophers are advised to stay calm and to avoid keyboards.  To stay safe, remember: If you see something, say nothing.



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