PSA2018 took place 1-4 November 2018. It marks the 50th anniversary of the Association's first Biennial Meeting, which took place 11-13 October 1968 at the Webster-Hall Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1933, the Philosophy of Science Association promotes research, teaching, and free discussion of issues in the philosophy of science from diverse standpoints.
President's Plenary Symposium
This symposium will focus on the historical origins of the concept and present wide-ranging observational evidence in favor of the existence of dark matter throughout the universe. We will enumerate the possible particle-physics candidates for dark matter, and touch upon the experimental strategies being used to explore them. We will also present the most recent observational results bearing on dark matter. The introduction of dark matter into astrophysics has fundamentally changed the way we conceptually and practically model and explore the cosmos on both the smallest and on the largest scales. Particle physics and astrophysics now meaningfully interface with each other in a cosmological setting, mutually addressing questions of a truly fundamental nature. Given that dark matter was not predicted by any pre-existing theories of matter in the Universe, and given that there has not yet been a successful detection of any the theoretical entities put forward as candidates for dark matter candidates, this has led some to suggest the alternative possibility that the laws of gravity might need to be reconsidered and modified.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and data-intensive science are influencing all aspects of our lives. Our smart phones and search engines anticipate our needs and preferences, driverless cars and autonomous military weapons are no longer the stuff of SciFi, and life-changing judgments about everything from medical diagnoses and credit ratings to college admissions and parole decisions are informed by algorithm-driven data analysis. Yet questions about which data sets to mine, how a particular algorithm is constructed, and what kind of transparency we can demand for these powerful technologies persist. The PSA invites the public to join us in exploring these important issues:
• What assumptions are built into the algorithms that make data mining and AI possible?
• How should developers change their practice to address encoded values?
• And ultimately, what “public good” should data science and AI serve?