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Venice Workshop on Explaining Development

Venice Workshop on Explaining Development

9-10 September 2014
Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti
Palazzo Loredan - Venezia

A workshop organized by Alessandro Minelli (University of Padova and Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti) and Thomas Pradeu (Paris-Sorbonne University and Institut universitaire de France)

What is development, and how should it be explained? Conceptual issues play an important role in today's developmental biology (e.g., concerning plasticity and robustness, the periodization of development, etc.) An important, related question is to determine whether developmental biology offers theories. In a volume published by OUP in 2014 and edited by Minelli and Pradeu (Towards a theory of development), prominent biologists and philosophers have examined this question. This exploration of the theoretical aspects of developmental biology has now naturally led us to a broader and perhaps even more fundamental question, that of the explanation(s) of development.

Attendance to the workshop will be open
and free to all interested people. 

Active participation to the discussion will be welcome.
Please inform the organizers of your intention to attend by sending a message to alessandro.minelli@unipd.it
not later than August 31, 2014.


9 September 2014

ALESSANDRO MINELLI & THOMAS PRADEU - Welcome and introductory remarks

Explaining what? - Putting development in context 

GIUSEPPE FUSCO - Development in the context of the life cycle

JAMES R. GRIESEMER - Periodization of development

Coffee break

Explaining what? - Unconventional developmental systems

ALESSANDRO MINELLI - The development of the fruit, the seed, the moss and other chimaeric systems

ALEXANDER V. ERESKOVSKY - Problems and insights from sponge developmental biology

What is the respective role of descriptions, explanations and predictions in developmental biology?

THOMAS PRADEU - Description, explanation, and prediction in developmental biology

LUCIE LAPLANE - Contrasting notions of theory and their relevance for developmental biology

Coffee break


Plenary discussion I - The problem agenda(s)

10 September 2014

On the causality of development
WALLACE ARTHUR - Topology of causal links in development

JOHANNES JAEGER - The role of dynamical systems theory in a mechanistic theory of development

Coffee break

GERD B. M▄LLER - Do theories of evolution affect theories of development?

What does it exactly mean to give an explanation of development?

ALAN C. LOVE - The concept of potentiality in developmental reasoning

MICHEL VERVOORT - The importance to compare convergent developmental processes in trying to establish some principles of development

Coffee break

Plenary discussion II - Connections and broader issues

What next? General discussion on research, meetings and editorial plans

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