Prof. Dr. Peter McLaughlin

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Short CV

I’m from Northern Virginia. I studied ethology (BA) at the University of Pennsylvania and philosophy (MA) at the Free University of Berlin: PhD 1986.

I was a lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science at Tel Aviv University (1985/86) and a Postdoc scholar in HPS at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1986/88).

In 1988/89 I returned to Germany as a fellow at the Wissenschaftkolleg in Berlin and then took a position as lecturer in the Philosophy Department of the University of Constance from 1989 to 1999. Habilitation in 1998.

In 1995/96 I was a visiting Associate Professor at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

From 2000 to 2003 I was a senior scientist at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin.

I joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Heidelberg in April 2003 and served as Chairman from 2008 to 2011.

 

I work in philosophy of science, especially philosophy of biology, and history of early modern philosophy. Even 25 years after my dissertation I am still trying to understand Kant. I also do research on the history of early modern science (mechanics and biology).

 

Books

Kant’s Critique of Teleology in Biological Explanation. Antinomy and Teleology, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990 (originally German: Kants Kritik der teleologischen Urteilskraft, Bonn: Bouvier, 1989).

Exploring the Limits of Pre-classical Mechanics: A Study of Conceptual Development in Early Modern Science: Free Fall and Compound Motion in the Work of Descartes, Galileo, and Beeckman, New York: Springer-Verlag, 1992 (with P. Damerow, G. Freudenthal, and J. Renn) (2d ed., 2004).

The Idea of Progress (coedited with A. Burgen and J. Mittelstrass) Berlin: de Gruyter, 1997.

What Functions Explain. Functional Explanation and Self-reproducing Systems, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Theory and Method in the Neurosciences (coedited with P. Machamer and R. Grush) Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001.

The Social and Economic Roots of the Scientific Revolution: Texts by Boris Hessen and Henryk Grossmann (edited by G. Freudenthal and P. McLaughlin) Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 278, New York: Springer, 2009

Margherita von Brentano. Akademische Schriften (ed. P. McLaughlin) Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2010.

 

Papers

“Blumenbach und der Bildungstrieb. Zum Verhältnis von epigenetischer Embryologie und typologischem Artbegriff,” Medizinhistorisches Journal 17 (1982) 357–372.

“Darwin und das Experiment,” Dialektik 5 (1982) 27–43 (with H.-J. Rheinberger).

“Darwin’s Experimental Natural History,” Journal of the History of Biology 17 (1984), 247–268 (expanded version of above; with H.-J. Rheinberger).

“Darwin und der Begriff des Organismus,” in: Organismus und Selection - Probleme der Evolutionsbiologie, Aufsätze und Reden der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft 35 (1985) 7–22 (with H.-J. Rheinberger).

“Soemmerring und Kant: Über das Organ der Seele und den Streit der Fakultäten,” Soemmerring Forschungen 1 (1985) 191–201.

“What is an Antinomy of Judgment?” Proceedings: Sixth International Kant Congress, Univ. Press of America, 1989, 351–361.

“On the Adaptations of Organisms and the Fitness of Types,” (with Lia Ettinger and Eva Jablonka) Philosophy of Science 57 (1990) 499–513.

“Newtonian Biology and Kant’s Mechanistic Concept of Causality,” Akten des Siebenten Internationalen Kant-Kongresses, Bonn: Bouvier, 1991, 57–66. Republished in P. Guyer (ed.) Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment: Critical Essays, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003, 209–217.

“Nachgedanken zum Bedürfnis der Physiologie nach einer philosophischen Naturbetrachtung,” in M. Hagner and B. Wahrig-Schmidt (eds.) Johannes Müller und die Philosophie, Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1992, 301–311.

“Der neue Experimentalismus in der Wissenschaftstheorie,” in M. Hagner and H.-J. Rheinberger (eds.) Experimentalstrategien in der Biologie 1850/1950, Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1993, 207–218.

“Descartes on Mind-Body Interaction and the Conservation of Motion,” Philosophical Review 102 (1993) 155–182 (republished in T. Sorell (ed.) Descartes, Aldershot: Ashgate 1999).

“Die Welt als Maschine. Zur Genese des neuzeitlichen Naturbegriffs,” in A. Grote (ed.) Macrocosmos in Microcosmo. Die Welt in der Stube. Zur Geschichte des S des Sammelns, 1450–1800,” Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 1994, 439–451.

“Kants Begriff des Organismus,” in K. T. Kanz (ed.) Philosophie des Organischen in der Goethezeit, Stuttgart: Steiner 1994, 100–110.

“What’s Good about Anomalies?” in J. Lennox and G. Wolters (eds.), Concepts, Theories, and Rationality in the Biological Sciences, (The Second Pittsburgh-Konstanz Colloquium in the Philosophy of Science) Konstanzer Universitätsverlag and University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995, 165–169.

 “Force, Determination and Impact,” in St. Gaukroger, J. Schuster, J. Sutton (eds.), Descartes’ Natural Philosophy, London: Routledge, 2000, 81–112.

“The Limits of Generative Atomism,” in Martin Carrier and Gerald Massey (eds.) The Limits of Science. (The Fourth Pittsburgh-Konstanz Colloquium in the Philosophy of Science) Konstanzer Universitätsverlag and University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000, 33–39.

“Contraries and Counterweights: Descartes’ Statical Theory of Impact,” The Monist  84 (2001) 562–581.

“Functional Explanation,” in: Renate Mayntz (ed.) Akteure, Mechanismen, Modelle. Zur Theoriefähigkeit makro-sozialer Analysen, Frankfurt/M: Campus Verlag, 2002, 196–212.

“On Having a Function and Having a Good,” Analyse und Kritik 24 (2002) 130-143.

“Naming Biology,” Journal of the History of Biology 35 (2002) 1–4.

 “Aristotle, Archimedes, Euclid, and the Origin of Mechanics: The Perspective of Historical Epistemology,” in: José Luis Montesinos Sirera (ed.) Symposium Arquímedes, Fundación Canaria Orotava de Historia de la Cienci, 2004, 43–59 (with Peter Damerow and Jürgen Renn).

“Lehren was man selber nicht weiß,” in M. Carrier und G. Wolters (eds.) Homo Sapiens und Homo Faber, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2005, 157–169 (Festschrift for Jürgen Mittelstraß).

“Der Organismus als Analogon des Lebens” in: Renate Wahsner (ed.) Hegel und das mechanistische Weltbild. Vom Wissenschaftsprinzip Mechanismus zum Organismus als Vernunftbegriff, Frankfurt/M. u.a.: Peter Lang, 2005, 66–76

“Materialism, Actualism, and Science: What’s Modern about Modern Science,” in: Vittorio Hösle and Christian Illies (eds.) Darwinism and Philosophy, Notre Dame: Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 2005, 15–29.

“Funktionen,” in: Georg Toepfer and Ulrich Krohs (eds.) Philosophie der Biologie - Eine Einführung, Frankfurt/M: Suhrkamp, 2005, 1–15.

“Interdisziplinaritätsgrenzen,” in S. Baumgärtner/Christian Becker (ed.) Wissenschaftstheorie interdisziplinärer Forschung: Voraussetzungen, Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Integration von Ökologie und Ökonomie, Marburg: Metropolis, 2005, 41–52.

“Mechanical Philosophy and Artefact Explanation,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 37 (2006) 97–101.

“Spontaneous versus Equivocal Generation in Early Modern Science,” Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology 10 (2006) 79–88.

“Kant on Heredity and Adaptation,” in S. Müller-Wille and H.-J. Rheinberger, Heredity Produced. At the Crossroads of Biology, Politics and Culture 1500–1870, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007, 277–291.

“Selection of, for, with, and against,” in P. Machamer and G. Wolters: Thinking about Causes: From Greek Philosophy to Modern Physics (Pittsburgh-Konstanz Series in the Philosophy and History of Science) Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press 2007, 265–283.

“Der Mechanismus und seiner Geschichte,” In: D. Bailer-Jones/M. Dullstein/S. Pauen (ed.) Kausales Denken. Philosophische und psychologische Perspektiven, Paderborn: Mentis 2007, 21–39.

“Reverend Paley’s Naturalist Revival,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Science 39 (2008) 25–37.

“Naturgeschichte,” §18 of H. Holzhey (ed.): Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie. Philosophie des 18. Jahrhunderts. Bd. 2, Frankreich, Basel: Schwabe, 2008, 380–424 (with H.-J. Rheinberger).

“Funktion und Bewusstsein” in V. Gerhardt/J. Nida-Rümelin (eds.) Funktionen des Bewusstseins, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2008, 21–38

“Functions and Norms” in: Ulrich Krohs (ed.) Comparative Philosophy of Technical Artifacts and Biological Organisms, Vienna Series of Theoretical Biology, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009).

“Classical Marxist Historiography of Science: The Hessen Grossmann Thesis,” in G. Freudenthal/P. McLaughlin (eds.) The Social and Economic Roots of the Scientific Revolution: Texts by Boris Hessen and Henryk Grossmann, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 278, New York: Springer 2009, 1–40.

“Cartesische und Newtonianische Biologie. Zur Entstehung des Vitalismus,” in Petra Bahr/Stephan Schaede (eds.) Das Leben, Bd. 1, Tübingen: Niemeyer, 2009, 305–321.

“The Arrival of the Fittest: What Natural Selection Explains,” in Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao J. Gonzalez, Stephan Hartmann, Thomas Uebel, Marcel Weber (eds.) Explanation, Prediction, and Confirmation. The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective, vol. 2, Springer, 2011, 203–222.

“Funktion und Norm,” in: A. Buyx/P. Hucklenbroich/ S. Suhm (eds.) Wissenschafts­theoretische Aspekte des medizinischen Krankheitsbegriffs, Paderborn: Mentis, 2013, 167–179

 

Preprints

The Impact of Newton on Eighteenth-century Biology,” in: S. Mandelbrote and H. Pulte (eds.) The Reception of Isaac Newton in Europe, London: Bloombury Academic (2014).

Mechanical Explanation in the Critique of the Teleological Power of Judgment,” in Ina Goy/Eric Watkins (eds.) Kant’s Theory of Biology, Berlin: De Gruyter (2014).

Actualism and the Archaeology of Nature Proceedings of the 11th International Kant-Congress, Pisa (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014).

Regulation, Assimilation, and Life: Kant, Canguilhem and Beyond

 

Translations

Hugo Dingler: “Method instead of Epistemology and Philosophy of Science”

Letters of Descartes, Fermat, and Hobbes on optics

Leibniz: a letter to Hôpital on measurement

 

Hobby Horses

Aristotle’s mechanics

Boris Hessen on the history of physics

At the time of his execution in the first Stalinist purge of 1936 Boris Hessen had a 700-page text- and sourcebook on the history of physics in proof. It was never published. The incomplete proof sheets were found in 2004 by the late V.S. Kirsanov in the papers of the historian of mathematics A.S. Youschkevitsch, whose father-in-law, V.S. Gochman, presumably translated a number of Latin texts for the compilation. If you know Russian, download the text here.

 

 

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Latest Revision: 2013-10-15
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