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A Science of Human Nature?

Philosophical Disputes at the Interface of Natural and Social Science

Studying at Cambridge

 

Conference

Why We Disagree about Human Nature

10-11 December 2015

Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). 

 

Speakers

Tim Lewens | Edouard Machery | Heidi Colleran | Fiona Jordan | Kevin Laland | Peter J Richerson

John Dupré | Cecilia Heyes | Stephen Downes | Christina Toren | Maria Kronfeldner

 

Programme

 

Thursday 10th December

 Day 1

  

10.45

Registration and Coffee

 

11.15

Introduction - Tim Lewens (Cambridge)

 

11.30

Edouard Machery (Pittsburgh)

A plea for human nature, redux

 

12.30

Lunch

 

1.30

Heidi Colleran (Toulouse) and Fiona Jordan (Bristol)

Bridging divides in anthropology using evolutionary theory

 

2.30

Kevin Laland (St Andrews)

The social construction of human nature

 

3.30

Tea

 

4.00

Peter J Richerson (UC Davis)

What work (or mischief) does "human nature" do in the work of scientists?

 

7.00

Wine reception and dinner, Clare College 

 

 

 

Friday 11th December

 Day 2

 

9.30

John Dupré (Exeter)

The nature of human processes

 

10.30

Coffee

 

11.00 

Cecilia Heyes (Oxford)

The development of human nature

 

12.00

Stephen Downes (Utah)

Understanding the evolutionary challenges to human nature

 

1.00

Lunch

 

2.00 

Christina Toren (St Andrews)

Human ontogenies as historical processes: Lessons from ethnography

  

3.00 

Maria Kronfeldner (Central European University)

Divide and conquer: The authority of nature and why we disagree about human nature

 

4.00

Concluding remarks - Tim Lewens (Cambridge)

 

4.15

Wine reception (CRASSH Atrium) 

 

  

 

Philosophy of Biology Consortium

26-27 June 2014

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

 

Speakers

Nick Shea

Keynote

Antonine Nicoglou | Ronald De Sousa | Laurent Jodoin | Andrew Buskell | Thiago Hutter | Antoine C. Dussault & Anne-Marie Gagné-Julien | Carlos Mariscal | Hugo Viciana | Adrian Boutel | Ghyslain Bolduc | Alex Djedovic | Robert N. Brandon

 

Programme

Thursday

 

9.00

Registration

 

10.00

Welcome

 

10.10

Antonine Nicoglou

Plasticity: ‘Beyond’ or ‘Between’ Nature and Nurture?

Commentary | Frederic Bouchard

 

11.00

Coffee

 

11.20

Ronald De Sousa

Nature's Purposes and Mine

Commentary | Christopher Clarke

 

12.10

Laurent Jodoin

The Tool Works at Both Ends? Formal Analogies in Population Genetics

Commentary | Philippe Huneman

 

1.00

Lunch

 

2.00

Andrew Buskell

Extending Cultural Evolution

Commentary | Cory Lewis

 

2.50

Thiago Hutter

Dupré and O’Malley on Biofilms: A Mereological Approach for the Theorization of Biological Individuality

Commentary | Reuben Shiels

 

3.40

Tea

 

4.00

Keynote | Nick Shea

How Innateness Inferences Go Wrong in a Cultural Species

Commentary | Andre Ariew

 

5.15

End

 

7.00

Conference dinner | Clare College

Friday

 

9.30

Antoine C. Dussault & Anne-Marie Gagné-Julien

Health, Homeostasis, and the Situation-Specificity of Normality

Commentary | Marion Godman

 

10.20

Carlos Mariscal

Evolution Reduces to Logic, Not Physics

Commentary | Denis Walsh

 

11.10

Coffee

 

11.30 

Hugo Viciana

From Human Culture to Animal Culture

Commentary | Riana Betzler

 

12.20

Adrian Boutel

Cultural Explanations

Commentary | Mirco Plante

 

1.10

Lunch

 

2.00 

Ghyslain Bolduc

What Does a Preformationist Theory of Development in the Postgenomic Age Look Like?

Commentary | Paul Thompson

 

2.50 

Alex Djedovic

The Ecology Gap: A Problem with Agency as a Complex Autonomous System

Commentary | Marion Vorms

 

3.40

Tea

4.00

Robert N. Brandon

Evolution’ Reconsidered

Commentary | Jonathan Birch

 

4.50

Concluding Remarks

 

5.00

Close

 

Extension and Embodiment in Cultural Evolution

19-20 September 2013
CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT - S1Tim IngoldCecelia HeyesJesse PrinzEmma FlynnMichael WheelerWybo HoukesAdrian BoutelZina Ward

 

Speakers

Emma Flynn | Cecelia Heyes | Wybo Houkes | Tim Ingold | Jesse Prinz | Michael Wheeler

 

The noted social anthropologist Clifford Geertz warned in 1973 that ‘the main source of theoretical muddlement in contemporary anthropology is a view which […] is right now very widely held—namely, that [...] “culture [is located] in the minds and hearts of men”’. The view that Geertz opposed is precisely the one upheld by many influential cultural evolutionists: as Richerson and Boyd put it in their (2005) manifesto for an evolutionary approach to culture, ‘culture is (mostly) information stored in human brains’. This standoff is symptomatic of a more general debate over the proper role of appeals to cognition in understanding cultural change and cultural stasis: cultural evolutionists have tended to argue that cognition has central explanatory relevance, while many social anthropologists (with some notable exceptions) have recently been sceptical of such appeals to cognition (Bloch 2012). In this conference, our contributors look at the question of whether cognition itself occurs solely ‘in human brains’, or whether cognition should instead be properly thought of as occurring partly in embodied action, or partly in extra-bodily artefacts (Clark and Chalmers 1998). Appeals to embodied or extended forms of cognition open up the possibility of a variety of rapprochements between cultural evolution and social anthropology, for they signal moves away from a conceptualisation of cultural traits as atoms located in the heads of individuals, and towards a notion of cognition as partially constituted by, or realised in, social and technical environments (Henare et al. 2007).

 

Programme

Thursday

 

12.30

Registration

13.00

Lunch

13.45

Welcome and Introduction

14.00

Wybo Houkes

Technology and Cumulative Cultural Evolution

15.15

Tea

15.45

Emma Flynn

Developmental Niche Construction

17.00

Close

Friday

 

9.30

Michael Wheeler

Moving Out: Cultural Evolution and Extended Cognition

10.45

Tea

11.15

Cecelia Heyes

Cultural Inheritance of Mindreading

12.30 

Lunch 

13.30

Tim Ingold

Personal Knowledge: Embodied, Extended, or Animate?

14.45

Tea 

15.15

Jesse Prinz

The Culturally Embodied Mind

16.45 

Close 

 

Further details about the conference can be found here.

 

Kindly supported by the European Research Council and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH), University of Cambridge.