PhD programs in Philosophy of Biology/Biosemiotics?
November 20, 2014 6:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for PhD programs with a philosophy of science track, where I would be able to focus on biology; in particular, biosemiotics.

It's a niche & relatively new field, so I don't expect that there would be programs offering an explicit concentration, but I've been having trouble finding many leads online. At this point I've been working on making a list of authors who have published in Biosemiotics or are otherwise mentioned on the ISBS website, and their respective institutions.

I thought I would ask in case anyone had insight or recommendations that could point me in the right direction. I'm in the US, but would definitely entertain international suggestions.

posted by funeralcult to Education (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't really know much about biosemiotics per se, but when i think of the intersections of philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, mathematics, and language, I do tend to think of Philip Kitcher at Columbia.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:11 PM on November 20, 2014

This survey is rather out of date now - but it might be a good place to start in your search for good programs for the philosophy of biology. A new version of the survey is going on now, and the results of it should be up in a month or two.

I don't know anything about biosemiotics in particular. Are you planning to pursue a career as an academic philosopher?
posted by HoraceH at 9:41 PM on November 20, 2014

Look at Wisconsin.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:52 AM on November 21, 2014

Have you tried here
International Society of Biosemiotic Studies

Tartu, Estonia seems to be a leading university in biosemiotics

The Department of Semiotics at the University of Tartu is one of the most important centres of semiotics in Europe, with deep roots for cultural semiotics and biosemiotics

Gatherings in Biosemiotics

But I don't know anything about Tartu University, I just came across this recently looking for something else.
posted by 15L06 at 2:08 AM on November 21, 2014

I'm a researcher and lecturer at the Uni of Tartu, dept of semiotics, doing biosemiotics. We have an English PhD program. So, come on over! Or ask me anything.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 5:04 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Another site which might be of use:
posted by HoraceH at 2:16 PM on November 22, 2014

Philosophy of science: the Pittsburg centre is tremendous. Really ace. Yes.

Philosophy of science with philosophy of biology: check out Bristol (PoS: James Ladyman, Alexander Bird; PoB: Samir Okasha).

Biosemantics - so if you mean (broadly) the kind of thing that Millikan's known for, then I think you'll get excellent supervision in any philosophy department with faculty who have strengths in (naturalised approaches to) philosophy of language, which is to say: there's no particular reason to think that this has to be done in a particularly PoS/PoB context first and foremost).

[More generally: the process of picking a graduate programme should probably also involve a kind of thinking that isn't just 'where is big for X?'. I think you should entertain the thought that moving your life to a city because its big for X doesn't mean that X is going to be so super fulfilling that everything else will just fall into place. It's hard to keep going with a PhD when you're also a person who loves cinema (for e.g.) but you're living in a place with no cinema. What will you do in those long winter evenings to keep yourself happy (and when X is the last thing you want to be doing) when the nearest cinema is about a billion miles away? Better to pick the place that's perhaps not quite so shit-hot for X but has a cinema. That way you'll get a PhD written. Going to the hottest cinema-less place for X might not result in a PhD. Look to satisfying those other needs as well: clubs, company/cohort, connections.]

Happy to talk with you more and other related bits of where-and-how-to-choose-a-PhD-programme-in-philosophy, just memail.
posted by Joeruckus at 4:08 PM on November 22, 2014

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