BSPS doctoral scholarship open for applications

The British Society for the Philosophy of Science is offering a scholarship for doctoral work in the philosophy of science at a UK university, subject to a candidate of sufficient merit presenting themselves. The competition is open to both UK/EU and international students.

In order to be considered, applications must be received by the deadline of 7 March 2016.

Talk Cancellation

Unfortunately Liz Irvine’s talk, scheduled for Monday 18 January, has had to be cancelled.

2015 Popper Prize Winner: Matthew H. Slater

The decision of the Co-Editors of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science is that the Sir Karl Popper Prize for 2015 should be awarded to Matthew H. Slater for his article ‘Natural Kindness’, Brit. J. Phil. Sci. 66 (2015), 375–411. (Journal Article / PhilSci-Archive Preprint).

Dr. Matthew H. Slater How we understand natural kind phenomena is one of the central issues in the philosophy of science. It has been brought into particular focus within the so-called special sciences where traditional accounts of natural kinds typically run aground. Boyd’s ‘homeostatic property cluster’ approach is widely regarded as having broad applicability but in this paper, which casts new light on this issue, Slater argues that we should drop this approach’s reliance on causal homeostatic mechanisms and instead focus on the underlying cohesiveness in general that such mechanisms offer. This yields a more flexible account that, Slater suggests, can accommodate the diversity of kinds actually found in the world.

Here he articulates and defends his ‘stable property cluster’ account and, in particular, notes that under this conception, kinds are domain- and context- relative. This introduces, as he puts it, a ‘hefty dose’ of pragmatism but, Slater insists, his approach can still accommodate core realist intuitions. Nevertheless, ‘natural kindness’ should be thought of as a status conferred on pluralities of things, albeit one that is objective in a certain sense.

This is a work that builds on but goes beyond extant conceptions of natural kinds and opens up potentially fruitful new avenues of philosophical exploration, while also remaining grounded in scientific practice. Hence, we feel, Slater is a well-deserved winner of this year’s Popper Prize in the philosophy of science.

Steven French and Michela Massimi
Co-Editors-in-Chief, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Introducing the 2015 Ordinary Meeting Lectures

The BSPS is pleased to announce the 2015 lecture series associated with our Ordinary Meetings. Lectures occur on Monday Evenings at 5:15pm in the Lakatos Building at LSE room 2.06, and are preceded by a welcome tea at 4:45pm in LSE Common Room G.01.

Jonathan Birch (LSE)

Jonathan Birch

Monday, 12 October 2015

“Kin selection, group selection and cultural change” Find out more…


Eran Tal (Cambridge)

Eran Tal

Monday, 23 November 2015

“The Shifting Economies of Measurement Uncertainty” Find out more…


Elizabeth Irvine (Cardiff)

Liz Irvine

Monday, 18 January 2016

“Introspection: Decisive Data or Muddled Measurement?” Find out more…


Anna Mahtani (LSE)

Anna Mahtani

Monday, 14 March 2016

“Knowledge and the Sure Thing Principle” Find out more…


James Ladyman (Bristol)

James Ladyman

Monday, 16 May 2016

“The Hole Argument and Homotopy Type Theory” Find out more…

Reports from the BSPS 2015 Annual Conference in Manchester

It was a successful and memorable annual meeting for the BSPS this year in Manchester. Here is a snapshot of what people were saying about it on Twitter.

BSPS 2015 Conference – Registration Info

Past Event

The BSPS 2015 Conference has now passed.

Registration for the BSPS 2015 annual conference in Manchester was open until 26 June.

  • Standard registration (waged): £155
  • Standard registration (unwaged): £90
  • Conference dinner: £25
  • Wine/beer with conference dinner: £8

The registration fee includes lunch and tea/coffee on both days, plus the drinks reception on Thursday evening.

2014 Popper Prize Winner: Rachael Brown

The decision of the Co-Editors of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science is that the Sir Karl Popper Prize for 2014 should be awarded to Rachael Brown for her paper ‘What Evolvability Really Is’, Br J Philos Sci (2014) 65 (3): 549-572. Read more

A Process Ontology for Biology | John Dupré

Reflection on the last hundred years of physics might naturally lead one to suppose that the ancient debate as to whether the world was ultimately composed of things or processes had been resolved in favour of the latter. Quantum physics, whatever else it may be, seems to constitute a decisive rejection of the atomism at […]