Conf: Science of Evolution and the Evolution of the Sciences, Leuven

The Center for Logic and Analytic Philosophy (KU Leuven) is pleased to invite you to its two day conference on The Science of Evolution and the Evolution of the sciences, a conference generously funded by the Flemisch Research Foundation (FWO). It will take place in Leuven on October 12 and 13.

Description of the conference theme:
One of the longstanding debates in history and philosophy of science concerns how the sciences develop. Thomas Kuhn famously emphasized the role of scientific revolutions and so-called paradigm shifts. Other philosophers, including Karl Popper and David Hull, have offered a Darwinian account of the process of science. In their view, scientists create conjectures about the way the world works, and these conjectures undergo a process of selection as they are tested against the world. This is analogized with biological evolution: mutation and recombination creates novelty in the biological world, which then undergoes natural selection, driving adaptive evolution. In this conference, we will reexamine these ideas using new tools from cultural evolutionary theory and the digital humanities.
This conference explores recent attempts to move beyond mere qualitative theorizing about scientific cultures and their evolution and centers on the question of the extent to which we can make quantitative predictions, extract quantitative data, or build models of and about scientific evolution over time. In addition to numerical models of cultural evolution drawn from the evolutionary sciences, quantitative data are also being extracted in the digital humanities. Cultural products like academic journal articles can be algorithmically mined in order to understand this body of work in a new light, offering data to help test hypothesis about scientific changes. By bringing together researchers with a common interest but with different disciplinary backgrounds and toolboxes, we hope to inspire cross-fertilization and new collaborations.

To register, please email Andreas De Block ( before September 30. Registration fee is 30 € and covers coffee and all refreshments.

12 October
01:30 PM-02:30 PM: Kimmo Erikkson (Stockholm University) - The role of arguments in cultural evolution
02:30 PM-03:15 PM: Michael Hunter (UC Davis) - Scientific disciplines as populations
03:30 PM-04:15 PM: Paul E. Smaldino (UC Merced) & Richard Mc Elreath (Max Planck institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig) - The natural selection of bad science.
04:15 PM-05:00 PM: Mathieu Charbonneau (CEU Budapest) & Christophe Heintz (CEU Budapest) - The evolution of distributed cognitive systems in science: maintenance, modularity, and change
05:15 PM-06:15PM: Simon De Deo (Santa Fe Institute and Carnegie Mellon University) - The Red Queen of Innovation: Empirical Studies of the Relationship between Creativity, Competition, and Conflict in Science
06: 15 PM- 07:00 PM: Stefaan Blancke (Ghent University), Christophe Heintz (CEU Budapest) & Thom Scott-Phillips (Durham University) - Science as an epidemiology of representations: Implications for the evolutionary study of science

13 October
09:00 AM-10:00 AM: Mia Ridge (British Library) - Digital history: evolution or transformation
10:15 AM-11:00 AM: David Chavalarias (CRNS), Philippe Huneman (CNRS/Paris 1) & Thibault Racovski (University of Exeter) - A phylomemetic approach to scientific change/ the case of research on evolutionary novelty between 1965 and 2015
11:00 AM-11:45 AM: Cailin O’Connor (UC Irvine) & Justin Bruner (Australian National University) - The Evolution of Discriminatory Norms in Scientific Disciplines
12:00 PM-12:45 PM: Bennett Holman (Yonsei University) & Justin Bruner (Australian National University) - Exploration by Industrial Selection
02:00 PM –03:00 PM: Charles Pence (Louisiana State University) - Theories under stress: Evolution in the late 19th Century
03:15 PM – 04:00 PM: Antonio Fadda (University of British Columbia) - Text analysis as a tool to investigate the conceptual dynamics of science
04:00 PM - 04:45 PM: Erick Peirson (Arizona State University) – Scales of adaptive evolution: a quantitative analysis of theoretical change in the Ecological Genetics Group

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