Biological Interest Group


The lake geneva BIOLOGICAL INTEREST GROUP is a forum for discussing biology from a multitude of perspectives, including philosophical, scientific and historical, and was founded in 2012 at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Geneva. Our standing members are based in different institutions at the Universities of Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, and Milan. We consider ourselves to be part of a BIG international movement that includes kindred groups at the University of Minnesota and the University of Exeter. Our members are also participating in the From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics initiative, sinergia and What if? research projects.

Our meetings take place on Tuesdays from 12:15 to 14:00 in Bâtiment des Philosophes in the room Phil102 (22, boulevard des Philosophes). We discuss our own research as well as other contemporary philosophical, scientific and historical work that addresses interesting biological issues.

Everyone is welcome!

Members in Geneva

William Bausman  
Luis Bordo Garcia
Silvia de Cesare
Christine Clavien
Lucie Cauwet
Michaela Egli
Michal Hladky
Anatolii Kozlov
Michele Luchetti
Guillaume Schlaepfer
Michael Stuart
Marcel Weber

External members

Rawad El Skaf (Salzburg)
Tiberiu Popa (Butler University)
Christian Sachse (Lausanne)
Raphael Scholl (Cambridge)


Draft Program Spring Term 2022

22 February Pre-meeting for Master students
1 March Marcel Weber on Dupré’s The Metaphysics of Biology
8 March Anatolii Kozlov, Theoretical Objects and Non-Perceptual Art
15 March Michaela Egli on meta-research and experimentation on animals
22 March TBA
29 March Romolo Borra: topic TBA
5 April Christian Sachse: topic TBA
12 April Lauriane Nicole: topic TBA
26 April Raphaël Scholl: topic TBA
3 May Nadine Marachly on the evolution of freedom
10 May Silvia De Cesare: book chapter presentation on progress and evolution
17 May Piera Filippi on animal communication

Past Activities



10-14 September 2018
KLI Klosterneuburg/Vienna
EASPLS : Interdisciplinarity in the Life Sciences and their Philosophy

14-15 June 2018
Explanatory Power (CFP)


10-11 October 2017
Bordeaux-Geneva Colloquium in Philosophy of Biology (programme)

18 June - 1 July 2017
Alberta, Canada
Summer Institute 
From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics: Practices of Individuation and Classification in Science

14 June 2017
Bastions, B101
Quodlibeta special
Bas van Fraassen (Princeton)
After Hempel's Dilemma: On the Evidence of Things Unseen

8-9 June 2017
Bastions, B214
Simulation and thought experiment

23 May
François Pellet
on “Disease and Its Kinds”

16 May
Andrea Loettgers
on modeling and experimentation

9 May
Michal Hladky
on simulation in neuroscience

2 May
Maria José Ferreira Ruiz (University of Buenos Aires)
on information in biology

25 April
Will Bausman
on “Understanding the inference from scientific practice to metaphysics as an adaptive inference”

11 April
Guillaume Schlaepfer
on a priori knowledge in evolutionary biology

4 April
Luigi Scorzato
on Science and Illusions

21 March
Raphael Scholl
on True causes

14 March
Joshua Babic, Lorenzo Cocco and Michal Hladky
Back to the Woodger - The Axiomatic Method in Biology (1937) (Part 2)

7 March
Joshua Babic, Lorenzo Cocco and Michal Hladky
on Joseph Woodger - The Axiomatic Method in Biology (1937) (Part 1)

28 February
Martin Wasmer (ETHZ)
on practices in evolutionary biology

21 February
Lorenzo Casini
Horizontal Surgicality and Mechanistic Constitution
(Michael Baumgartner, Lorenzo Casini, and Beate Krickel)


lgBIG Fall 2016
Classification: Ancient and Modern Perspectives
Marcel Weber and Paolo Crivelli

September 2016

5-9 September 2016
KLI Klosterneuburg/Vienna
EASPLS : Function and Malfunction in Biology and the Social Sciences (CFP)

August 2016

1-12 August 2016
2016 Summer Institute: Reconceiving and Explaining the Success of Science (Details)

May 2016

3 May
2, Rue De-Candolle
Christian Sachse
on functions

10 May
2, Rue De-Candolle

17 May
Miloud Belkoniene
on Explanationism and Truthlike Explanations
2, Rue De-Candolle
(Department, 405A)

24 May
Michal Hladky
on Functions in biology and in technology : unified account (systemic account)
2, Rue De-Candolle
(Department, 405A)

April 2016

5 April
2, Rue De-Candolle
Justin Garson, A Critical Overview of Biological Functions, Ch. 5&6

12 April
2, Rue De-Candolle
Lorenzo Casini and Marcel Weber
on grounds and biological functions

19 April
2, Rue De-Candolle
Antoine Rebourg
on Peter Godfrey-Smith, Philosophy of Biology, CH. 5

March 2016

1 March
2, Rue De-Candolle
Andrea Loettgers
Tarja Knuuttila and Andrea Loettgers on defining life

8 March
2, Rue De-Candolle
Parissa Farmanfarian
on Peter Godfrey-Smith, Philosophy of Biology, Ch. 2

15 March
2, Rue De-Candolle
Justin Garson, A Critical Overview of Biological Functions, Ch. 1&2

22 March
2, Rue De-Candolle
Justin Garson, A Critical Overview of Biological Functions, Ch. 3&4


December 2015

1 December 2015, 12:15
2, Rue De-Candolle
Michal Hladky
On simulation models in neuroscience

15 December 2015, 12:15
2, Rue De-Candolle
Raphael Scholl
The irrelevance of unconceived alternatives: On two types of inference in biological science


17 November 2015, 12:15
2, Rue De-Candolle
Marcel Weber
Which kind of causal specificity matters biologically?