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Ingo Brigandt // website, CV, PhilPapers[edit]

As a Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Biology, I am happy to work with new MA and PhD students. My recent and former graduate student include Esther Rosario (philosophy of biology, feminist philosophy, metaphysics), Taylor Murphy (homology of cognitive processes), and Sara Weaver (essentialism in philosophy of biology and feminist philosophy).

Though focused on the philosophy of biology, my research has highlighted connections to general philosophy of science notions (e.g., explanation, reduction, conceptual change, and natural kinds). A theme running through my work has been to emphasize the role of standards, aims, and values for scientific practice, including its diversity and change. I am an Associate Editor of the Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution and an Executive Editor of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy.

Chief Areas of Interest within Philosophy of Biology[edit]

  • Evolutionary developmental biology (homology, novelty, evolvability, interdisciplinarity and explanatory integration)
  • Molecular and developmental biology (gene concept, explanations of development)
  • Systems biology (impact of mathematical modelling for philosophical views of mechanistic explanation)
  • Science and values (including epistemic and social values)

Journal Articles[edit]

  • 2015, “Social values influence the adequacy conditions of scientific theories: beyond inductive risk.” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45: 326–356.
  • 2013, “Systems biology and the integration of mechanistic explanation and mathematical explanation.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44: 477–492.
  • 2013, “Explanation in biology: reduction, pluralism, and explanatory aims.” Science & Education 22: 69–91.
  • 2012, “Conceptualizing evolutionary novelty: moving beyond definitional debates” (with Alan C. Love). Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution 318: 417–427.
  • 2010, “Beyond reduction and pluralism: toward an epistemology of explanatory integration in biology.” Erkenntnis 73: 295–311.
  • 2010, “The epistemic goal of a concept: accounting for the rationality of semantic change and variation.” Synthese 177: 19–40.
  • 2009, “Natural kinds in evolution and systematics: metaphysical and epistemological considerations.” Acta Biotheoretica 57: 77–97.
  • 2007, “Typology now: homology and developmental constraints explain evolvability.” Biology and Philosophy 22: 709–725.
  • 2003, “Species pluralism does not imply species eliminativism.” Philosophy of Science 70: 1305–1316.
  • 2003, “Homology in comparative, molecular, and evolutionary developmental biology: the radiation of a concept.” Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution 299B: 9–17.

Other Papers and Articles[edit]

  • 2015, “Evolutionary developmental biology and the limits of philosophical accounts of mechanistic explanation.” In: Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. P.-A. Braillard and C. Malaterre (eds), Springer, pp. 135–173.
  • 2015, “From developmental constraint to evolvability: how concepts figure in explanation and disciplinary identity.” In: Conceptual Change in Biology: Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives on Evolution and Development. A. C. Love (ed), Springer, pp. 305–325.
  • 2013, “Intelligent design and the nature of science: philosophical and pedagogical points.” In: The Philosophy of Biology: A Companion for Educators. K. Kampourakis (ed), Springer, pp. 205–238.
  • 2012, “Reductionism in biology” (with Alan C. Love). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2012 edition).
  • 2012, “The dynamics of scientific concepts: the relevance of epistemic aims and values.” In: Scientific Concepts and Investigative Practice. U. Feest and F. Steinle (eds), de Gruyter, pp. 75–103.
  • 2011, “Philosophy of biology.” In: The Bloomsbury Companion to the Philosophy of Science. S. French and J. Saatsi (eds), Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 246–267.

Special Issues Edited[edit]

  • 2015, Science, Values and the ‘Death of Evidence’ in Canada. Symposium of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy (Volume 45, Issue 3, pp. 326–424). Edited by Ingo Brigandt.
  • 2013, Integration in Biology: Philosophical Perspectives on the Dynamics of Interdisciplinarity. Special section of Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (Volume 44, Issue 4, Part A, pp. 461–571). Edited by Ingo Brigandt.
  • 2012, Perspectives on Evolutionary Novelty and Evo-Devo. Special issue of the Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution (Volume 318, Issue 6). Edited by Ingo Brigandt.
  • 2007, The Importance of Homology for Biology and Philosophy. Special issue of Biology and Philosophy (Volume 22, Number 5). Edited by Ingo Brigandt and Paul E. Griffiths.

Robert A. Wilson // website, CV, PhilPapers[edit]

Although my principal focus as a doctoral student and junior faculty member was in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, I taught my first class in the philosophy of biology while at Queen’s University in the mid-1990s and have kept up both research and teaching interests there since that time. I welcome students in the philosophy of biology, especially those who are prepared to travel into the cognitive or social sciences from there. Most of my recent activity has been connected with the Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada project (2010-2015)], which I directed, and whose Eugenics Archives contains a wealth of teaching and other public educational resources. We also recently completed a documentary film, "Surviving Eugenics" (2015) structured around eugenics survivor interviews we did. The film is distributed by Moving Images Distribution and is great for classroom use in courses that touch or concentrate on eugenics, disability, biotechnology, science and values, biology and society.

I am currently completing two books: *The Eugenic Mind* derives from my work with the Living Archives project, while *Relative Beings* focuses on kinship and sociality and completes the trilogy of books I've done on the role and conception of individuals in the cognitive, biological, and social sciences. Recent and current students in the area include Matthew Barker (species), Nicolas Bullot (agents and tracking), and Emma Chien (philosophical issues in autism); Killam Postdoctoral Fellows whose work I have supervised include Gabriella Coleman (Wolfe Chair, McGill University), Ingo Brigandt (CRC, University of Alberta), Georg Theiner (Villanova University), and Alan McLuckie (Journal of the History of Philosophy and University of Alberta). I also founded and co-edit the MIT Press book series, Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology, with Kim Sterelny, and was the program co-chair (with Mark Borello) of the 2015 meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) in Montreal.

Chief areas of interest within philosophy of biology[edit]

  • essentialism in biology, the nature of species, levels of natural selection, group-level cognition, organisms
  • explanation, pluralism, natural kinds, realism
  • eugenics, disability, and the mind
  • kinship and sociality in the biological and social sciences
  • accounts of incest and incest avoidance across the fragile sciences
  • old and new eugenics, and the uses of biotechnology


  • Genes and the Agents of Life: The Individual in the Fragile Sciences: Biology (2005). Cambridge University Press. 312 pp. Hard & paperback, 2005.
  • Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays (1999). MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. Editor. x + 325 pp., 12 original, commissioned essays. Hard & paperback, 1999.

Journal Articles[edit]

  • 2016, "Thinking about Relations: Strathern, Sahlins, and Locke on Anthropological Knowledge”, Anthropological Theory.
  • 2016, "Kinship Past, Kinship Present: Bio-Essentialism and the Study of Kinship" American Anthropologist 118(3).
  • 2010, “Cohesion, Gene Flow, and the Nature of Species” (with Matthew J. Barker) Journal of Philosophy, CVII (2), pp.59-77.
  • 2005, “Collective Memory, Group Minds, & the Extended Mind Thesis”, special issue Cognitive Processing, 6 (December 2005): 227-236.
  • 2004, "Test Cases, Resolvability, and Group Selection: A Critical Examination of the Myxoma Case", Philosophy of Science 71 (July 2004): 380-401.
  • 2003, “Pluralism, Entwinement, and the Levels of Selection”, Philosophy of Science 70 (July 2003), pp.531-552.
  • 2001, “Group-Level Cognition”, Philosophy of Science;; 68 (2001 supp.), S262-S273.
  • 2000, “Some Problems for ‘Alternative Individualism’”, Philosophy of Science 67 (December 2000), pp.671-679.
  • 1996, "Promiscuous Realism", British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (June 1996), pp.303-316.

Other Papers and Articles[edit]

  • in press, “Collective Intentionality in Non-human Animals”, in Marija Jankovic and Kirk Ludwig (eds), Routledge Handbook on Collective Intentionality. Routledge.
  • in press, “Group-level Cognizing, Collaborative Remembering, and Individuals”, in Michelle Meade, Amanda Barnier, Penny Van Bergen, Celia Harris, and John Sutton (eds.), Collaborative Remembering: How Remembering with Others Influences Memory. Oxford University Press.
  • in press, “Preface”, in Frank W. Stahnisch and Erna Kurbegović (eds.), Exploring the Relationship of Eugenics and Psychiatry: Canadian and Trans-Atlantic Perspectives 1905 – 1972. Athabasca University Press.
  • 2016, "Eugenics and Disability" (with Joshua St. Pierre), in Patrick Devlieger, Frank Rusch, Steven Brown & Megan Strickfaden (eds.) Rethinking Disability. Garant Publishing).
  • 2015, “The Role of Oral History in Surviving a Eugenic Past”, in Steven High (ed.), Beyond Testimony and Trauma: Oral History in the Aftermath of Mass Violence. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press, pp.119-138.
  • 2014, "Eugenics: positive vs negative, entry for Encyc at
  • 2014, "Psychology", entry for Encyc at
  • 2014, “Sorts of People”, entry for Encyc at
  • 2014, “Science, role of”, entry for Encyc at
  • 2014, “Family Studies”, entry for Encyc at
  • 2014, “Sociobiology", entry for Encyc at
  • 2014, “Eugenic Traits”, entry for Encyc at
  • 2014, "Eugenics", central node for Connections at
  • 2013, “Group Mind” (with Georg Theiner), Byron Kaldis (ed.). Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage, pp.401-404.
  • 2012, “The Biological Notion of Individual” (with Matthew J. Barker), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • 2008, “A Conceptual and Empirical Framework for the Social Distribution of Cognition: The Case of Memory”, Cognitive Systems Research, 9 (1-2) March 2008, pp.33-51. Co-authors: Amanda Barnier, John Sutton, and Celia Harris, Macquarie University.
  • 2007, “When Traditional Essentialism Fails: Biological Natural Kinds” (with Matthew J. Barker and Ingo Brigandt), Philosophical Topics 35 (1 and 2): 189-215.
  • 2007, “Social Reality and Institutional Facts: Sociality Within and Without Intentionality”, in Savas L. Tsohatzidis (editor), Intentional Acts and Institutional Facts: Essays on John Searle’s Social Ontology (Dordrecht: Springer), 139-153.
  • 2007, “Levels of Selection”, in M. Matthen and C. Stevens (editors), Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Volume 3, Philosophy of Biology, Elsevier, pp.155-176.
  • 2004, “Recent Work in Individualism in the Social, Behavioural and Biological Sciences”, Biology and Philosophy, 19 (June 2004), pp.397-423.
  • 1999, "The Individual in Biology and Psychology", in V.G. Hardcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology: Philosophical Essays. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp.357-74.
  • 1999, "Realism, Essence, and Kind: Resuscitating Species Essentialism?", in R.A. Wilson (ed.), Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp.187-207.