Current Visiting Fellows
Patrick Forber is a professor at Tufts University in the Philosophy Department. He holds a PhD in Philosophy and MS in Biological Sciences from Stanford University. He spends most his time thinking about the nature of evidence in evolutionary biology, though his research ranges from general philosophy of science to evolutionary game theory.
While at the Centre, Patrick will focus on a project that investigates the strengths and limits of using DNA and protein sequence data to test hypotheses about evolutionary processes. There are a number of tests that aim to detect the signatures of selection in the genome or proteome and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. He will also use molecular evolution as a case study in developing a broad philosophical account of evidence that pays particular attention to how scientists frame testing problems.
Framing is an important and perhaps underexplored part of the scientific process. When framing a problem, scientists give arguments to exclude possible hypotheses from consideration so as to strengthen the contact between theory and evidence. As part of his research project, Patrick aims to identify the normative standards that govern framing arguments in molecular evolution, and build epistemological models of the testing process that incorporate framing.
He will also be continuing two projects already underway. The first is a review of philosophical issues surrounding causation and explanation in evolution. The second is a collaborative project on the evolution of spite and punishment from the perspective of evolutionary game theory.
Ted McCormick is Associate Professor of Early Modern European History at Concordia University in Montreal. He received his PhD from Columbia University in 2005, and is the author of William Petty and the Ambitions of Political Arithmetic (Oxford University Press, 2009), which was awarded the 2010 John Ben Snow Prize by the North American Conference on British Studies. His current project examines the role of political arithmetic – an early form of quantitative demographic thinking – in English and Anglo-American religious and scientific debates from the Stuart Restoration of 1660 through the later eighteenth century. While the quantification of population has been seen as crucial to modern state-formation, Ted will be exploring political arithmetic’s more immediate uses in the less familiar contexts of natural theology and sacred history, and their relation to its origins in seventeenth-century English science, notably Baconian natural history. Political arithmetic revealed demographic regularities that looked like empirical evidence of divine design; regularities observed in the present afforded probable knowledge about the demographic past that (it was hoped) might certify orthodox chronologies independently of scriptural authority; finally, quantification shaped providentialist interpretations of demographic events, such as epidemics, for the benefit of learned readers and the church-going public. At the same time, Ted is interested in pursuing how this non-secular history of political arithmetic, as a scientifically credible prophylactic against the skepticism and deism associated with the “radical” Enlightenment, might change our understanding of demography’s secular career.
Past Visiting Fellows
- Mark Olson, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
- Emanuele Serrelli, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano
- Arnon Levy, Van Leer Institute
- Steven Orzack, Fresh Pond Institute
- Juha Saatsi, University of Leeds
- Albrecht Heefer, Universiteit Ghent
- Matthew Slater, Bucknell University
- Maria Kronfeldner, Universität Bielefeld
- Peter Menzies, Macquarie University
- Darrell Rowbottom, University of Oxford
- Brian L. Keeley, Pitzer College
- Ken Wharton, San Jose State University
- Arif Ahmed, Cambridge University
- Daniel Quesada, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
- Elliott Sober, University of WisconsinMadison
- Richard Healey, University of Arizona
- Friedel Weinert, University of Bradford
- Lenny Moss, University of Exeter
- Gianluigi Oliveri, Università di Palermo
- Jeremy Butterfield, University of Cambridge
- Christopher Eliot, Hofstra University, New York
- Roman Frigg, London School of Economics
- Anjan Chakravartty, University of Toronto
- Larry Shapiro, University of Wisconsin
- Mariam Thalos, University of Utah
- Sven Dupre, University of Ghent
- Helen Regan, University of California, Riverside
- Roy Sorensen, Dartmouth College
- JC Beall, University of Connecticut, University of St Andrews
- Peter Godfrey-Smith, Harvard University
- Alexander Paseau, Oxford University