Monday, June 2, 2014

Philosophy of Biology at Madison

Third time's a charm! After two previous attempts to get on the program at POBAM, I finally made it for a development of the presentation I made at the Paris workshop. As with the previous workshops, this was a really high quality affair. Many kudos and thanks to the organizers. It was great to see a lot of old friends and meet some new folks.

POBAM is a "pre-read" conference, meaning that attendees are distributed all papers in advance and asked to read them. Presenters only get 10–15 minutes (of their hour session) to present (or remind folks) of the main ideas of the paper. The result is — when people actually fulfill their obligations — a much deeper conversation than is typical. But it of course also presents some challenges for the presenters — because you know that not everyone has read your work (and fewer have read it recently), so it's hard to resist the urge to just zip through a super-short summary. I actually found the paper challenging to write (submissions are evaluated on the basis of an extended abstract). Since the subject of ecosystemic kinds is meant to be a chapter in my next book, and not a standalone paper, I essentially had to cobble together just enough background detail of how my general view on natural kinds works to apply it to this case and start thinking through some of the relevant nuances. The result (hosted by POBAM) is here if anyone cares to read it. As I note, it's pretty drafty. . . . Hopefully, I'll be able to get an updated version along with some other draft chapters from The Nature of Biological Kinds posted in a few months.

As usual, I had some fun with my new Canon 6D and recently-aquired lenses (24–70mm f/2.8 and 70–200mm f/2.8). Nice to finally have some L-series lenses to play with. Photos here. They're heavy, but pretty amazing. I'm eager to break them out in Hawaii and Alaska this summer. Next stop: Hawaii.