"Reduction, Emergence, and Essence"
ISN Summer Seminar 2009: Details
Application details below.
Summer Seminar is four days of study and dialog to explore
questions of science, natural philosophy, and their
intersection: the efficacy of reduction, the appeal of
emergence, and the necessity of postulating essences. The course
spans from the beginnings of science in the ancient Greeks,
through the early moderns like Newton and Descartes to more
recent modern results that have signaled a rebirth of interest
in the notion of emergence.
In order to maximize the value of the week,
students will be expected to read and assimilate approximately
250 pages of materials from scientific, philosophical sources,
both modern and classical in the months leading up to the Summer
Seminar. Careful reading of the materials in advance will
vastly increase the value and quality of the Seminar for all
concerned. Those readings will be posted on the
Seminar Plan and Schedule page by March 2, 2009.
Who: Approximately 20-40 graduate and advanced
undergraduate students currently studying within a modern
scientific discipline or related fields. Post-docs and young (at
heart) scientists are also welcome. Applications from students
in other disciplines with a deep interest in science, history
and philosophy of science, and/or natural philosophy will be
ISN Fellows Michael Augros,
Mark Ryland, and
Bernhardt Trout, as well as James Navarro; other lecturers and
guest speakers TBA.
The Summer Seminar begins on Monday
afternoon, June 15th, at 3:00pm, and ends on Friday
afternoon at 3:30 pm. Students are encouraged to stay and
participate in the
Summer Conference, which will
bring together a number of scientists and philosophers around a
theme related to the Seminar.
Where: The Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, will provide space for the Seminar. Information about travel to and around
Cambridge can be found on the Conference logistics
The fee for
the Summer Seminar and Conference is $200. Board will cost $175
and includes lunch and dinner for the week and at least one
special group dinner at a nearby restaurant. Room rates are set
by MIT and have not yet been posted. They are expected to
approximate last year’s rates, which means six nights in a
single room will cost about $336, and in a double about $234.
The fee and room and board costs can be
reduced or waived on show of need. Students are expected to
cover their own travel expenses, but exceptions will be
considered on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, there are…
Scholarships: Three Honor Scholarships will be awarded
that include full tuition, room, and board. The scholarship
application consists of the standard Seminar application
ensemble, plus a basic five-paragraph-style essay, not to exceed
three pages in length, addressing the following
Why is analysis into parts such a
successful strategy for understanding natural things? What are
the limits of this strategy?
The essays will be judged on clarity and
thoroughness of reasoning, not on the particular conclusion
In addition to the full Summer Seminar
application package (Adobe PDF), you may download the
simple application document in
or Adobe PDF formats, and
preferably email us (jkeck [ at ] isnature.org) a filled-out Word document (or
else fax the filled-out PDF).
(Please include your last name in the filename of the document.)
Final deadline for all applications
(including scholarship essays) is Monday, March
16th, 2009. A discount of $50 off tuition for applications received by
the initial deadline of Monday, February 23.
John Keck, Director of the ISN.
Look here for an overview of the