February 02, 2007

Philosophy, science come together at conference

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. —A renowned biologist will address the ethics of selective breeding during a two-day Pragmatism and Evolutionary Biology conference at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Garland E. Allen of Washington University will deliver the Wayne Leys Memorial Lecture at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17, in the University Museum Auditorium of SIUC's Faner Hall. Leys was an SIUC philosophy professor who specialized in applying ethics to everyday life.

Allen is an expert on the history of genetics and the misuse of genetics that resulted in the eugenics (selective breeding) movement in the early 20th century.

Allen's speech is one of many events lined up for the conference set for Feb. 16-17. Sponsored by SIUC's Department of Philosophy, part of the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Science, the two-day colloquium will also feature the following scholars: Mahesh Ananth of Chicago State University, Randall E. Auxier of SIUC, Peter Gunter of the University of North Texas, Hugh McDonald of New York Technical College, The City University of New York and Michael Ventimiglia of Sacred Heart University.

"This colloquium is the first of its kind at SIUC and it was all student initiated," said George E. Schedler, chair of SIUC's philosophy department.

Philosophy graduate students Justin P. Bell of Midland, Texas, and Mark D. Tschaepe of Fort Wayne, Ind., are behind the effort.

"The purpose of the colloquium is to allow for fruitful dialogue across disciplines,

especially between the liberal arts and the sciences," Tschaepe said. "Being a person

who works both with the tools of pragmatism and on scientific subjects, I wanted to utilize the University's resources in both areas to start what will hopefully be a traditional dialogue

between our department (philosophy) and other departments."

"It is our hope that this type of discussion will result in a new manner of undertaking philosophic inquiry," Bell said.

All of the activities are free and open to the public. Here is the schedule:

Friday, Feb. 16 (all events in the University Museum Auditorium)

• Welcome, 1 p.m.

• Hugh McDonald, 1:15 p.m.

• Graduate panel, 2 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 17 (morning events at the Student Center; afternoon events in the University Museum Auditorium)

• Mahesh Ananth, 8 a.m.

• Randall Auxier, 9 a.m.

• Michael Ventimiglia, 10 a.m.

• Tour of Center for John Dewey Studies, 11 a.m.

• Peter Gunter, 1 p.m.

• Undergraduate panel, 2 p.m.

• Garland Allen, 3 p.m.

For more information, email pragmatism.evo.bio@gmail.com.