CFP: Workshop on the Philosophy of Biophysics

Submission deadline: June 15, 2023

Conference date(s):
September 14, 2023 - September 15, 2023

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Conference Venue:

Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol
Bristol, United Kingdom

Topic areas


Workshop on The Philosophy of Biophysics

14-15 September 2023, Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Cotham House


Margarida Hermida (University of Bristol)

James Ladyman (University of Bristol)

Confirmed speakers:

James Ladyman (University of Bristol)

Patricia Palacios (University of Salzburg)

Karl J. Niklas (Cornell University)

Jennifer McManus (University of Bristol)

Michael Levin (Tufts University)

Margarida Hermida (University of Bristol)

Call for papers:

Biophysics has existed as a discipline since the nineteenth century, but it has expanded considerably in recent years and is a thriving area of research at the interface between physics and biology. It raises interesting and important questions both within philosophy of biology and in philosophy of science more generally. In philosophy of biology, debates about reductionism have focused almost exclusively on genetic reductionism, but biophysics has the potential to transform these debates, as it raises the issue of explaining biological wholes in terms of their physical parts and their interactions, both above and below the molecular scale. The philosophical study of biophysics can also illuminate longstanding questions concerning the nature of life and how it emerges from non-living matter. The philosophy of biophysics can also inform debates concerning interdisciplinarity, causal explanation at different scales, how biology relates to the physical sciences, and the unity of science more broadly.

We invite abstract submissions on any topic related to the philosophy of biophysics, including, but not limited to, the following:

- Biological function and physical laws and structure

- Biophysics as a case study of interdisciplinary scientific practice

- Causes, mechanisms, and processes in biophysics

- Reduction and emergence in biology

- Biophysical explanation

- Macroscopic and microscopic biophysical kinds, e.g. ‘wing’ and `membrane’

- Quantum biology

- The importance of matter, energy, and physical structure for understanding life

-  Levels of explanation and scale in biology

- The relationship between physics and biology

We especially encourage submissions from Early Career Researchers (i.e. PhD students and philosophers not in permanent academic employment). Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words (not including references) and should be submitted as a pdf attachment prepared for blind review and emailed to [email protected]. Authors should state their names and affiliations clearly in the email.

The deadline for submissions is 15 June 2023 11.59pm (BST). Authors will be informed of a decision by 30 June 2023.

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