Summer Seminar (June 11th-15th)

(This page is now of historical interest only.)

This summer the ISN will host its first annual tutorial for students called the “Summer Seminar,” followed by a small conference for the students and scholars. This page contains information on the Summer Seminar. Click here for information on the Summer Conference.

Important new link: click here for the schedule and reading plan for the Summer Seminar.

ISN Summer Seminar 2007:
“Does Nature Act for an End?: Teleology Reconsidered”

What: Four days of study and dialog on questions of science, natural philosophy, and their intersection. The questions and issues will be far-ranging, from anti-reductionism, emergentism, and structuralism in science, to “anti-realism” and “pluralism” in philosophy of science, to the continuing relevance of Aristotle's understanding of nature.

The readings, lectures, and discussions will be organized around the theme of teleology in natural things. Teleology, even in the limited sense of “self-directedness” or “intrinsic purposiveness,” has long been a source of controversy in philosophical reflections on nature and science. Using primarily texts and examples from modern chemistry, we will attempt to show that intrinsic teleology is neither a scary “ghostly cause” nor a “science-stopper,” but a common-sense conclusion from the data of modern science, and one that neither undermines the modern scientific edifice, nor remains irrelevant to it.

In order to maximize the value of week, students will be expected to read approximately 400 pages of materials from scientific, philosophical, modern, and classical sources in the month leading up to the Summer Seminar. Those readings are now posted, linked from the Seminar Plan and Schedule page.

Who: Approximately 15 graduate and advanced undergraduate students currently studying within a modern scientific discipline or related fields. Post-docs and other young scientists are also welcome. Applications from students in other disciplines with a deep interest in science, philosophy and history of science, and/or natural philosophy will be seriously considered.

Faculty: ISN Fellows Michael Augros, Joe Audie, and James Barham.

When: The Summer Seminar begins on Monday evening, June 11th, at 4pm, and ends on Friday afternoon by 3pm.  Students are encouraged to stay and participate in the Summer Conference, and the fee covers room and board through Sunday morning.

Where: The Institute of Catholic Thought of the St. John's Newman Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.

How: The fee for the Summer Seminar and Conference is $500, including room and board and at least one celebratory dinner at a nearby restaurant. The fee can be reduced or waived on a showing of need. Travel expenses to Champaign-Urbana, IL (airport code “CMI”), are generally not covered; but we will consider exceptions to that policy on a case-by-case basis. Please click to download the application document in Word (native or zipped) or PDF (native or zipped) formats, and preferably email a filled-out Word document (or fax the filled-out PDF). The application must be returned by May 21th, 2007.

Questions: Contact Henry Teichert, ISN Program Director.

Hosting Co-sponsor

The Summer Seminar and Summer Conference are hosted and co-sponsored by the Institute of Catholic Thought.


This page last updated on June 19, 2007