Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Update: Festival of Dangerous Ideas

The following deals are now available:
  • Dambisa Moyo: $20 tickets (single purchase), or $15 if included as part of a multipack if the code ETHICS is used.
  • Susan Greenfield: $20 tickets (single purchase), or $15 if included as part of a multipack if the code ETHICS is used.
  • IQ2 Debate: $20 tickets (single purchase), oor $15 if included as part of a multipack if the code ETHICS is used.
  • The Multipack of the three events above is being promoted as a 'Sunday Pass' at $45.
All these tickets were initially $45 so it is a saving of $25/$30.

Box Office (02 9250 7777)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Key Thinkers Lecture: Mark Colyvan on Gödel

The Director of the SCFS, Professor Mark Colyvan, will be delivering a lecture on "Kurt Gödel and the Limits of Mathematics" for the Key Thinkers Lecture series hosted by Sydney Ideas. The lecture will be given at the New Sydney Law School Building on Wednesday, September 30, 6:30 - 8:00 pm.

View an interview of Mark talking about Gödel.

"Kurt Gödel was one of the foremost mathematicians and logicians of the 20th century. He proved a number of extremely surprising results about the limitations of mathematics. Perhaps the most significant of these is his celebrated incompleteness theorem, which tells us that there are mathematical "blind spots": parts of mathematics that traditional methods of proof cannot access. These results are thought by many to have far-reaching consequences for computing and for our understanding of the nature of the human mind. Gödel's results have thus been the subject of a great deal of popular attention. Indeed, few other results in the history of mathematics have had such an impact outside of mathematics. For those of us who have never heard of Gödel, this lecture will give an accessible outline of his work and achievements."


Congratulations to Honorary SCFS Associate Zach Weber, and his lovely wife, Vicki, on the birth of their son, Oskar, on September 22. Our best wishes and thoughts to Dunedin.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Charles and the Women: Darwinian psychology meets the female body

My review essay of some recent books in evolutionary psychology, titled 'Charles and the Women: Darwinian psychology meets the female body' just appeared in the Australian Review of Public Affairs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Second Call For Papers: “Darwin and the Social Sciences”

Interdisciplinary Conference, organised by the Research School of the Social Sciences, Australian National University, November 12-14, 2009 at Sparkle Helmore Lecture Theatre, Law School

The call-for-paper deadlines have been extended until September 30

1. Keynote Speakers

Peter Godfrey-Smith (Philosophy, Harvard)

Dalton Conley (Sociology, NYU)

Paul Seabright (Economics, IDEA, France)

Brian Boyd (English, Auckland)

2. The Origin Cycle

In addition, the conference will host the Australian premier of “The Origin Cycle”: a connected series of compositions written for and to passages of the Origin, and sung by Jane Sheldon. More details on this unique event will be provided in the next CFP/conference information notice.

3. Registration.

There is no fee for conference attendance. But space at the lecture theatre is limited, so those intending to attend should e-mail Professor Kim Sterelny ( to notify him of your interest. If lack of space is a problem, he will let you know.

4. Papers.

Themes for the Conference may include (but are not restricted to): evolution and complexity; evolutionary models of cultural change; the cultural importance of Darwinian ideas; the role of primate legacies in human social worlds. Contributed papers are invited: they should be of about 40 minutes duration, allowing about 20 minutes for questions/discussion. Those offering a paper should e-mail Sterelny (( with a brief abstract and a brief biographical note (a link to an academic website suffices) so he can group similar-themed papers together. Offers should reach him by September 30 (for preference); he will confirm acceptance early October.

5. Accommodation.

There is a reasonable amount of accommodation available on campus at University House and Liversidge. (There may be somewhat cheaper, but less upmarket accommodation available at the various student halls of residence). But this can be booked out quite early. So those intending to come are urged to book early (;

Friday, September 18, 2009

John Wilkins' New Book

Congratulations to SCFS Research Associate John Wilkins on the publication of his latest book, Defining Species: A Sourcebook from Antiquity to Today. (Especially after the recent [weeks-ago!] launch of his Species: A History of the Idea.)

Description: This volume provides excerpts and commentary on source material ranging from the Greeks, through the middle ages, to the modern era, on the definition of "species". It demonstrates that the logical meaning of species is in direct contrast to the use of kind terms and concepts in natural history and biology, and that the myth that biologists or natural historians were ever essentialists about kinds is mistaken.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Key Thinkers Series

Paul Griffiths delivered his Key Thinkers lecture on "Konrad Lorenz and the Rise of Sociobiology" last night. Two more SCFS researchers will be following Paul in this series hosted by Sydney Ideas: Duncan Ivison on "John Rawls on Social Justice" (September 23) and Mark Colyvan on "Kurt Godel and the Limits of Mathematics" (September 30).

Festival of Dangerous Ideas

Over the October long weekend the Sydney Opera House is hosting the Festival of Dangerous Ideas

Of particular interest to SCFS associates would be Julian Savulesca's "Genetically Enhance Humanity or Face Extinction." Baroness Susan Greenfield is also giving a talk.

For the possibility of tickets, closer to the date, contact: