Thursday, September 13, 2012


AAHPSSS's 2012  DYASON LECTURE will be presented by:
Warwick Anderson

“ Fashioning the Immunological Self: The Biological Individuality of F. Macfarlane Burnet”.
During the 1940s and 1950s, the Australian microbiologist F. Macfarlane Burnet sought a biologically plausible explanation of antibody production. In this talk, I seek to recover the conceptual pathways that Burnet followed in his immunological theorizing. In so doing, I emphasize the influence of philosophical speculations on individuality, especially those of Alfred North Whitehead; the impact of cybernetics and information theory; and the contributions of clinical research into autoimmune disease at Melbourne. Accordingly, this talk describes an intellectual arc distinct from most other tracings of Burnet’s conceptual development, which focus on his early bacteriophage research and his fascination with the work of Julian Huxley and other biologists in the 1920s. No doubt these were potent influences, but they seem insufficient to explain Burnet’s sudden enthusiasm in the 1940s for immunological definitions of self and not-self. I want to demonstrate here how Burnet’s deep involvement in philosophical biology—along with ineluctable clinical entanglements—shaped his immunological theories.

WHERE: Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre
WHEN: Thursday, 27 Sept, 6.30-8pm

The event is free and all are very welcome.

Call for Applications for Visiting Fellowships at the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science

We are currently inviting applications for one-semester visiting fellowships at The University of Sydney, for either second semester (August to November) 2013 or first semester (February to May) 2014. This program is associated with The Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science (SCFS), a research centre promoting work into the logical, philosophical, and historical foundations of science (further details below). We are hoping to receive applications from leading historians and philosophers of science (including the special sciences and biomedical sciences) at any post-PhD career stage. This is the sixth round of such fellowships and we anticipate being able to offer them each year.

Up to four fellowships are available, and each fellowship will come with a travelling allowance of up to AUD 6,000. These fellowships will provide opportunities for academics on sabbatical from their home institution to spend a semester in a productive and collegial research environment (in a beautiful city), to work with members of the SCFS and with other visiting fellows. It is important that the applicant has a position at their home institution that extends beyond the term of the intended stay in Sydney and is on salary from their home institution for the duration of their intended stay. The allowance is to help offset some of the travelling and living-away-from-home expenses; it is not a salary. The successful applicants will be expected to work on a specific research project currently being conducted in the  SCFS. See the SCFS website for current research projects. One of the aims of the SCFS is to strengthen international links in history and philosophy of science, so expressions of interest from researchers outside Australia are particularly encouraged.

Applications should including a cover letter, a CV, an indication of which of the current research projects you intend to work on and what your contribution to that project will be. Applications should be sent electronically to:

Dr Rodney Taveira
Administrative Officer
Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry
A14, Main Quadrangle
University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW, 2006

by 14th November 2012. Applicants will be informed of decisions by 19th December 2012.

About The Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science
The SCFS is an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Sydney. We draw together researchers from philosophy, history, history and philosophy of science, science and medicine, with research concentrations in and around foundations of physics, decision theory, history and philosophy of biology, history of early modern science, history of medicine, and decision theory. Senior members of the SCFS include, Warwick Anderson, Stephen Bartlett, Alison Bashford, David Braddon-Mitchell, Mark Colyvan, Clio Cresswell, Ofer Gal, Stephen Garton, Stephen Gaukroger, Paul Griffiths, Ian Kerridge, Dominic Murphy, Maureen O'Malley, Hans Pols, Dean Rickles, Nick Smith, and Karola Stotz. We also have a number of mid-career and junior faculty, as well as several postdoctoral fellows and graduate students associated with the SCFS. Further details can be found on our website:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Report on Integration workshop

Former SCFS Visitor Sara Green and Prof Olaf Wolkenhauer have written a report on the recent "Integration in Biology and Biomedicine" workshop, held by the SCFS at the University of Sydney in May 2012. You can find a copy of the report here: Many thanks to Sara and Olaf for their efforts!