Département de philosophie

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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

Department of Philosophy

Lorenzo Casini
Silvia de Cesare
Christine Clavien
Michaela Egli
Michal Hladky
Anatolii Koslov
Michele Luchetti
Guillaume Schlaepfer
Michael Stuart
Marcel Weber

External members

William Bausman (Wisconsin)
Rawad El Skaf (Salzburg)
Maria José Ferreira Ruiz
Pierre-Luc Germain (Zürich)
François Pellet (Münster)r)
Tiberiu Popa (Butler University)
Christian Sachse (Lausanne)
Raphael Scholl (Cambridge)
Martin Wasmer (Hannover)


Program (provisional) Spring Term 2020

18 Feb             Organisational meeting


25 Feb             Maria José Ferreira Ruiz on causal specificity


03 March         Marcel Weber on the concepts of morphogen and positional information in developmental biology


10 March         Pierre-Luc Germain against proper function


17 March         All on Baetu’s Mechanisms in Molecular Biology


24 March         Michaela Egli on pragmatic clinical trials and extrapolation


31 March         Christine Clavien on the evaluation of patients’ responsibility for their health condition


07 April            Silvia de Cesare on progress in evolution


21 April            Nadine Marachly on Pradeu’s Philosophy of Immunology I (Chapters 2-3?)


28 April            Nadine Marachly on Pradeu’s Philosophy of Immunology II (Chapters 4-5?)


05 Mai             Lorenzo Casini and Jan Sprenger on conflicts of interest and meta-analysis in clinical research


12 Mai             Tiberiu Popa on Aristotle on microstructural explanations


19 Mai             Christian Sachse on asymmetric co-evolution between homogametic (XX) and heterogametic (XY) organisms



Past Activities


If you are interested in the group, in attending the weekly meetings, or in presenting your own work at one of the meetings, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Marcel Weber 
Département de Philosophie 
Université de Genève 
2, rue de Candolle 
CH-1211 Genève 4 
Tél.: +41.22.379.7050 (secrétariat) 
Email: Marcel.Weber(at)unige.ch