Werner Callebaut, whose creativity and support played a critical role in getting this project started, suddenly died in November 2014. Here is a short note of remembrance.
Werner Callebaut was a unique intellectual, whose inexhaustible vitality, passion, incisiveness and open-mindedness contributed enormously to the successful development of philosophy of biology world-wide.
As many younger scholars in this field, I met him in the first days of my PhD training, and he proved to be an inspiring mentor, colleague and friend, and a steadfast source of support and inspiration ever since. His mentorship and guidance has benefitted the intellectual and personal development of countless philosophers and scientists over the last twenty years, and contributed greatly to making sure that our field does not lose contact with the science which it analyses, but rather that philosophical and scientific work evolve in constructive dialogue and reciprocal respect. His ability to reach across fields of relevance to the philosophical understanding of biology (comprising areas as far removed as economics, evolutionary biology, history, sociology and cognitive science), as well as across national cultures, languages and traditions (most notably the ‘continental-analytic’ divide among philosophers of science), made him into a perfect ambassador and scientific director for the KLI.
He was also a shrewd organiser, with the rare ability not only to produce ideas, but to transform them into reality in ways that were inclusive and transformative for others — among his many achievements in this respect, aside from the wonderful community he created at the KLI, are his creation of the journal Biological Theory and his many initiatives fostering the training of young philosophers, such as the creation of a European Advanced School in the Philosophy of Biology, whose latest session took place two months ago at the KLI, and his support for the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology, of which he was currently President. Adding to this background and vision, Werner was an inventive, ebullient thinker, able to intervene in and shape several crucial debates within and outside of the life sciences.
He was due to take part in a project on data-intensive biology that is starting at Egenis this coming month, and he will be very dearly missed both as a contributor and as a friend. His untimely death is a serious blow to our field, and leaves us with an immensely rich legacy for the future.
— Sabina Leonelli, November 2014