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Fourth PhilInBioMed Meeting in Cambridge (UK)

5 May 2023 - 6 May 2023

The fourth Philosophy in Biology and Medicine (PhilInBioMed) Network Meeting took place in-person in Cambridge, U.K., on May 5-6, 2023.





Friday, May 5, 2023

9:00-9:15        Welcome

Session Chair: Benjamin Chin-Yee, University of Cambridge

9:15-9:45        “Emotionless Animals?”

Jonathan Birch, London School of Economics

9:45-10:15      “Memory, Mental Time Travel and a bit of Magic”

                        Nicky Clayton, University of Cambridge

10:15-11:00    Coffee Break (Seminar Room 1)

11:00-11:30    “Justifying New Uses of Insight in Psychiatry”

Derek Braverman, University of Cambridge; Washington University in St. Louis; Johns Hopkins University

11:30-12:30    Flash Talks

  1. “Reconceptualizing the Debate in Cancer Research”

Mariano Martín Villuendas, University of Salamanca

  1. “Bad Feelings, Best Explanations: In Defence of the Propitiousness Theory of the Low Mood System”

James Turner, University of Sheffield

  1. “Defining ‘Space’ through Data Sharing: Plant Space Experiments and NASA’s GeneLab”

Paola Castaño, University of Exeter; Sabina Leonelli, University of Exeter

  1. “Robust or busted? Menstrual synchrony and the variety of evidence thesis”

Rose Gatfield-Jeffries, University of Cambridge

12:30-13:45    Lunch (Seminar Room 1)

Session Chair: Ina Jängten, University of Cambridge

13:45-14:15    “Exploring Geneticists’ Alternate Understandings of Causation”

Stephen Downes, University of Utah; Hannah Allen, University of Utah; Bennett Knox, University of Utah

14:15-14:45    “Minimal Residual Disease: Premises Before Promises”

Benjamin Chin-Yee, University of Cambridge

14:45-15:30    Flash Talks

  1. “The evolution of complex multicellularity in animals”

Arsham Nejad Kourki, University of Cambridge

  1. “Examining Transient Part–Part Interactions toward Improving the Quality of Mechanistic Explanations in Cell Biology”

Sepher Ehsani, University College London; Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship

  1. “Why naturalism will not go away”

Paul Griffiths, University of Sydney

15:30-16:15    Coffee Break (Seminar Room 1)

Session Chair: Cristian Larroulet Philippi, University of Cambridge

16:15-16:45    “Reproduction in Space, Missing Data and Ethical Challenges”

Lara Jost, University of St Andrews; Emily Finer, University of St Andrews; Morven Shearer, University of St Andrews; Nicola Simonetti, University of St Andrews; V. Anne Smith, University of St Andrews

16:45-17:15    “In Pursuit of Perils: An Ethnographic Case Study of Research Method Development in the Biomedical Sciences”

Doohyun Sung, KAIST

17:15-17:45    “The Epistemic Importance of Standardised Quality Assessment as a Technology of Transparency”

Simon Brausch, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

17:45-18:00    Philosophy in Biology and Medicine 5 (2024) in Bielefeld updates

Alkistis Elliott-Graves, Bielefeld University

18:00-20:00    Reception

Held at the Whipple Museum for the History of Science

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Session Chair: Jacob Stegenga, University of Cambridge

9:00-10:00      Flash Talks

  1. “Fitness, the Reproduction Number and Covid-19”

Bengt Autzen, University College Cork

  1. “Biomedical Research Exposes the Limits of Explanatory Reductionism”

Ilir Isufi, University of Cincinnati

  1. The Complex Nexus of Evolutionary Fitness

Mauricio Suárez, University of Cambridge; Complutense University of Madrid

  1. Etiological Naturalism In Medicine: A Shaky Project

Claudio Davini, University of Pisa

10:00-10:45    Coffee Break (Seminar Room 1)

10:45-11:15    “Nuclear transfer, gametic essentialism, and identity”

Margarida Hermida, University of Bristol

11:15-11:45    TBD

Neil Ferguson, Imperial College London

11:45-12:15    “Understanding and Misunderstanding Medical Risks”

Jonathan Fuller, University of Pittsburgh

12:15-13:45    Lunch (on your own)

Session Chair: Hamed Tabatabaei Ghomi, University of Cambridge

13:45-14:15    “Making a “Sex-Difference Fact”: Ambien Dosing at the Interface of Policy, Regulation, Women’s Health, and Biology”

Marion Boulicault, University of Cambridge

14:15-14:45    “Real-world evidence in drug regulation: Lessons from the FDA’s approval of Prograf”

Michaela Egli, University of Geneva

14:45-15:30    Flash Talks

  1. “Drug repurposing for COVID-19 and the problem of excessive hypothesis testing: a methodological lesson for drug approval”

Mariusz Maziarz, Jagiellonian University

  1. “When risk matters: the dominance of risks over outcome measures”

Ina Jäntgen, University of Cambridge; Nicholas Makins, King’s College london

  1. “Varieties of Representational Risk in Medical AI: A case study in how algorithmically assisted decision-making encodes value judgements”

Phillip Kieval, University of Cambridge

15:30-16:15    Coffee Break (Seminar Room 1)

16:15-16:45    “Universal Darwinism and Natural Induction”

Tim Lewens, University of Cambridge; featuring Richard Watson, University of Southampton

16:45-17:15    “Natural Induction and Adaptation”

Richard Watson, University of Southampton; featuring Tim Lewens, University of Cambridge

17:15-17:30    Closing Remarks




Confirmed Speakers

Neil Ferguson, Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health, Imperial College London

Jonathan Fuller, History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh

Tim Lewens, History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

Richard Watson, Institute for Life Sciences, University of Southampton

Jonathan Birch, Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method, London School of Economics

Nicky Clayton, Psychology, University of Cambridge


The conference is generously funded by the Philosophy in Biology and Medicine Network; the International Research Network, CNRS; the Region Nouvelle Aquitaine (France); and the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge.


Hopkinson Lecture Theatre

Phoenix Building Floor 1, New Museums Site, Pembroke St (Map)

History and Philosophy of Science Department, University of Cambridge


All questions about submissions should be emailed to the program chairs at PIBM2023@gmail.com



Call for participation (closed)

The fourth Philosophy in Biology and Medicine (PhilInBioMed) Network Meeting will take place in-person in Cambridge, U.K., on May 5-6, 2023. The program committee invites abstracts from those wishing to present at the conference.

The PhilInBioMed Network is an international group of philosophers and scientists advancing philosophy in biology and medicine. Information about the details of the conference will be made available soon on the PhilInBioMed Network website: https://www.philinbiomed.org/

Submission Guidelines

The program committee welcomes abstracts for contributed full-length talks (30 min, including 10 min Q&A) as well as flash talks (15 min, including 5 min Q&A) by scientists and philosophers, on work which combines biological or medical science with a conceptual or philosophical approach. Relevance for the scientific community will be an asset, and talks that result from collaboration among philosophers and scientists are particularly welcome. We welcome submissions from individuals identifying with historically underrepresented groups within philosophy of science and medicine.

The deadline for abstract submissions is March 1st, 2023.

Abstracts should be 500 words max.

Authors must remove all identifying information from their title and abstract.

Please submit your abstract using the following link: https://forms.gle/iYTfEaLH48jWd5Wx8

The program committee aims to notify authors of the result of their submission by late March, 2023.


5 May 2023
6 May 2023
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Cambridge University
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