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December 1998


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Chris Young <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Wed, 16 Dec 1998 15:46:55 -0800
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From:  Christian Haak <[log in to unmask]>

Title/Topic: History of theory-theory of history

I invite papers dealing with the history of theoretical terms (perhaps
including a feminist perspective).  Papers that deal with theory in
terms of practice or models will be welcome too.

Recent developments in the philosophy of science and the social studies
of science display an under appreciation of the history of theoretical
terms.  The semantic conception of theories, for example, views theories
as extralinguistic models whose terms might or might not refer to real
entities.  Social studies of science with their emphasis on scientific
practice seem to follow a similar anti-realism regarding theoretical
terms.  The source of the anti-realism of both camps might be a
commitment to empiricism which brings both groups close to logical
positivism. This is not problematic in itself.  I fear, though, that
this anti-realism leads to a neglect of the historical context of
theoretical terms.

In my paper I will look at the history of the term "r" which stands for
the intrinsic rate of increase of a population.  The term r had an
important practical but also theoretical impact on ecology.

Daedline for submissions: January 8th 1999

Contact: Christian Haak
Interdisciplinary Program
Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S. Canada
mail to:
Christian Haak
Biology Department
Dalhousie University
Halifax, N.S. B3H 4H1

e-mail:  [log in to unmask]