Monday, December 5, 2011

Species & Biodiversity Reading Group

I was delighted to receive a David T. Scadden Fellowship to fund a project investigating the philosophical and biological underpinnings of the concept of biodiversity. It seems to me that this term is much used, but poorly understood. The more I've thought about the vagaries of biological classification, the more problematic the issue seems.

So starting in the Spring 2012 term, I will be running an interdisciplinary reading group on the nature of species and biodiversity. The group will include a mix of students and professors and we will read several books and articles — to be decided, but right now I'm thinking about reading Wheeler & Meier (eds.) Species Concepts and Phylogenetic Theory: A Debate, Richard Richards' The Species Problem, James Maclauren and Kim Sterelny's What is Biodiversity?, and some chapters form my book manuscript, Are Species Real? (forthcoming from Palgrave-Macmillan in 2012), among other things. Meetings are tentatively scheduled for alternating Wednesdays from noon-1PM (over lunch).

Students may join the reading group for credit (a full course-credit section of PHIL 320). If you're interested, please send me an email (matthew.slater@b...) or come chat with me about your experience/coursework in biology (and philosophy, if any). Specific requirements (papers, projects, &c.) for receiving credit will be negotiated on an individual basis.

The Fellowship will also allow me to fund one or two students to continue their research over the summer or fall of 2012 (and possibly attend a relevant conference). So students who are interested in getting some independent research experience on biodiversity are especially encouraged to join.

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