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May 1999


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Chris Young <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Tue, 11 May 1999 12:16:33 -0700
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Subject:  annoucement for newsletter
Date:  Sat, 8 May 1999 15:58:50 +0200
From:  "patricia morales" <[log in to unmask]>

Rene von Schomberg

Book announcement by the editor:

_Democratising Technology-Theory and Practice of Deliberative Technology
Policy_, Edited by Rene von Schomberg, published by the International
Centre for Human and Public Affairs (ICHPA), Hengelo, The Netherlands,
125 pages.  ISBN 90-802139-6-9, 19,90 US dollar, order by fax

Book description:
With this volume a range of international authors contributes to an
ongoing debate on the conceptual and practical development of a
deliberative technology policy. Such a technology policy should bring
the realm of technological innovation within the scope of democratic
decision making. Deliberative technology policy seeks the right balance
between direct public participation which contributes to the legitimacy
of the policy process whereas the quality of the policy process should
be safeguarded by an appropriate mediation of science and policy by

Table of Contents
1. Escaping the iron cage, or, subversive rationalization and democratic
theory, by Andrew Feenberg (San Diego, State University)
2. Design Criteria and political strategies for democratising
technology, by Richard E. Sclove (Loka Institute)
3. Why the public should participate in technical decision making, by
Carl Mitcham, (Penn State University)
4. Democratizing technology or technologizing democracy- the case of
agricultural biotechnology in Europe, by Les Levidow (Open University,
5. Environmental research between knowledge and organisation,  G.
Bechmann (Institute for Systems analysis, Karlsruhe, Germany)
6. Technology Assessment in a deliberative perspective, by Ole Brekke
and E. Erikson (Bergen, Norway)

Subject:  CFP: Philosophy and Biodiversity

From: [log in to unmask]
Date: Friday, May 07, 1999 6:24 PM


International Seminar at University of Turku, Finland
August 20-21, 1999.

The seminar Philosophy and Biodiversity will focus on two related
research areas: the philosophical analysis of the concept of
biodiversity and the ethics of biodiversity preservation.

According to the Rio Convention on Biodiversity the concept of
biodiversity refers to the variability among living organisms and the
physical environments of which they are part, and it includes the
diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. The
philosophical interest in the phenomenon of multiplicity of biological
kinds is almost as old as the philosophical activity in itself. The
Greek philosophers reflected on such question as 'Why are there so many
kinds?', 'What is the relation of a kind to its individual
representatives?' and 'Are these kinds arranged in systematic ways?'
Some of their constructions are topical as ever. Plato, says Arthur
Lovejoy in his acclaimed The Great Chain of Being, was the first to
defend the so called Principle of Plenitude according to which "the
world is the better, the more things it contains."

The present worldwide attention to biodiversity seems to subscribe to
the same idea: we should do our best not to diminish the multiplicity of
life forms which have generated from the evolutionary processes on
Earth. Whereas the extinction of a kind for a Greek philosopher was
something of an impossibility, our perception of the natural world is
quite different: the species are disappearing to such a rate that
exceeds the rate of evolutionary diversification. The recent realisation
of this fact has put the issue of biodiversity preservation in global
political agenda, and thus far the most significant manifestation of
this concern has been the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

In general, the notion of biodiversity is logically linked to the idea
that we can recognise and identify different kinds of species,
subspecies and habitats and their mutual relationships. How exactly
should we construct the idea of biodiversity? What are the basic units
of biodiversity? Is there some kind of correlation between diversity and
stability? What is the significance of the ancient philosophical ideas
to modern philosophy of
nature? What is the relevance of Plato's, and other Greek philosophers',
ideas concerning our understanding of natural diversity? The
understanding of the nature of biodiversity phenomenon is essential to
the formation of reasonable environmental policies.

Ethically, the preservation of biological diversity raises many
questions that seem to require different answers as compared to answers
usually given in environmental ethics. The first preservationist aims
from the nineteenth century were based on perceptions that certain
species were at the brink of extinction  due to extensive human use: the
use exceeded the rates of reproduction. It was quite common to response
to the problem by prohibiting the hunting, fishing or trapping of the
endangered species. The standard view of species preservation professes
banning the trade with the endangered species (CITES, the U.N.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).  A recent
example of this policy is the banning of any import or export of African
elephants, including their products such as ivory. The critics of this
policy have pointed out that it made management and grazing of elephant
populations impossible: those nations who could manage elephants
successfully lost an incentive to do so.

Similarly, in respect to the special nature sites, the so called
"Yellowstone model" was influential. It favours parks in which
settlement is prohibited, and subsistence and commercial uses of natural
resources are banned. The wilderness ideology is widely criticised for
various reasons. There are doubts over the existence of such a thing as
wilderness. It has questioned for political reasons: can people be
prohibited from using the resources they are accustomed to use? Positive
arguments have been put forward by indicating empirically that the
highest levels of biological diversity are often found in areas with
some (though not excessive) human intervention. Some has doubted that it
makes it impossible to try to bridge the gap between use and
preservation.  Furthermore, the model increases the resource use
pressures elsewhere.

The alternative is that conservation should occur through use of
environmental goods and services. Thus the slogan 'Use it, or lose it'.
Is there an "anthropocentric turn" in  environmental ethics and
conservation policies, a move from banning the use to rational use which
have been brought in with the notion of biodiversity? And a number of
other questions follow: When the use of natural resources is a threat to
the stability of ecological systems? How should the contradiction
between individual welfare and the good of the whole in wildlife
management be resolved? What is the role of institutional solutions to

The purpose of the seminar Philosophy and Biodiversity is to shed light
on the phenomenon of biodiversity by creating a forum for a debate among
philosophers and other researchers interested in conceptual and ethical
issues of biodiversity. The seminar will consist partly of joint
sessions with invited keynote speakers, and partly of parallel sessions
with paper presentations.

Keynote speakers:
*  Prof. Robin Attfield (University of Wales, Cardiff):  Differentiated

*  Prof. Dieter Birnbacher (Universität Düsseldorf):  Primary value and
the problem of the replaceability of biological species

*  Dr. Keekok Lee (University of Manchester):  There is biodiversity and
biodiversity: their implication for environmental philosophy

*  Prof. Bryan G. Norton (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta):
Can There be a Universal Earth Ethic?

*  Dr. Kate Rawles (Lancaster University):  Conservation and Animal

*  Prof. Michael Ruse (University of Guelph):  Biodiversity: Definitions
and Meanings

We invite all interested scholars to send proposal for papers to be
presented at workshops.  Abstracts (max 400 words) should be sent in
paper or e-mail to the following address:

Markku Oksanen
Department of Philosophy
University of Turku
20014 TURKU
Tel: +358-2-333-6336
Fax: +358-2-333-6270
email: [log in to unmask]

The registration fee is 500 FIM. (Further information about the payment
of registration fee will be sent upon registration by ordinary mail.) It
includes refreshments, lunches on Friday and Saturday, and the
conference dinner. Participants are supposed to take care of their
personal travel and accomodation costs. We are also planning a nature
conservation trip to a nearby national park, or a cruising to the Turku
archipelago, for Sunday.

The seminar is arranged by Professor Juhani Pietarinen and Dr. Markku
Oksanen, both from the  Department of Philosophy at University of Turku,
in collaboration with the Finnish Biodiversity Research Programme FIBRE

REMINDER:  Call for Papers
Abstracts due by email May 17, or postmarked by May 14.

Mid-Atlantic Conference in the History of Science, Medicine, and
Technology A conference by and for graduate students interested in the
history of science, broadly understood.

University of Pennsylvania, August 6-8, 1999

Dear Colleagues:
        We in the History and Sociology of Science Department at the
University of Pennsylvania invite you to join us at a conference of
graduate students interested in the history of science, medicine, and
technology.  The purpose of this conference is to foster collegial
interaction among the graduate students of the many fine programs in the
history of science (broadly understood) in this region, and to provide a
forum for constructive and supportive critique of each other's work.
To encourage social as well as scholarly interaction, MAC will open on
Friday, August 6 with a welcoming reception for attendees.   Saturday,
August 7, and the morning of Sunday, August 8, will be devoted to paper
presentations and "working sessions" of pre-circulated works longer than
the typical conference paper, such as articles-to-be or dissertation
chapters.  Paper presentations will be 20-25 minutes.  Each "working
session" will be one hour, and will consist of a 20-30 minute
presentation by the author with the remainder of the time devoted to

Following the precedent established by the 1998 MAC organizers at Johns
Hopkins University, we will strive to make this conference as productive
and as inexpensive as possible for all participants.  We will make an
effort to house attendees with local graduate students, and some meals
will be provided.

DEADLINES:  Abstracts of no more than 300 words (for a paper
presentation) or no more than 500 words (for a working session) may be
submitted electronically to:

[log in to unmask]

or by mail to:

A. Wolfe
Mid-Atlantic Conference Organizing Committee
History and Sociology of Science Department
University of Pennsylvania
249 S. 36th St., Logan 303
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6304.

ABSTRACTS SHOULD BE POSTMARKED BY MAY 14, or emailed by Monday, May 17.
Please specify "paper" or "working session."

For more information and the program for MAC '98, see our website at: