Research Interests

Research Interests: Most of my work concerns philosophical issues within and about evolutionary biology, addressing topics such as reductionism and the unity of science, explanatory pluralism, evolutionary epistemology, emergence, and natural kinds. My publications engage issues that have been at the center of biological research: the units of selection controversy, the "species problem", phylogeny reconstruction, and evolutionary psychology. Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, I spent the 1999-2000 academic year at the University of Chicago working with paleontologists. Since then, I have been trying to understand why paleontology is poorly integrated with much of "mainstream" evolutionary biology. In addition, I am currently working on a textbook that introduces the philosophy of science via the history of genetics.

Major Publications:

“Is macroevolution more than successive rounds of microevolution?” Palaeontology 50(1) (2007): 75-85.

“The Role of Fossils in Phylogeny Reconstruction, or Why Is It Difficult to Integrate Paleontological and Neontological Evolutionary Biology?” Biology and Philosophy 19: 687-720, 2004.

“Conceptualizing the (Dis)unity of Science”, Philosophy of Science 71(2): 133-155, 2004.

“Species Selection” in M. Pagel (ed) Encyclopedia of Evolution. Oxford UP, 2002, pp. 1086-87.

“Hierarchies in Evolution” in D.E.G. Briggs and P. Crowther (eds) Palaeobiology II Blackwell Science, 2001, pp. 190-194.

“Adaptive Complexity and Phenomenal Consciousness.” Philosophy of Science 67: 648-670, 2000. (Coauthored with Shaun Nichols).

“Evolutionary Epistemology, Social Epistemology, and the Demic Structure of Science,” Biology and Philosophy 15: 443-463, 2000.

“Explanatory Pluralism in Paleobiology,” Philosophy of Science 66 (Proceedings): S223-S236, 1999.

“Evolutionary Psychology: Ultimate Explanations and Panglossian Predictions” in V. Hardcastle (ed), Where Biology Meets Psychology: Philosophical Essays. Cambridge, MA: MIT press, pp. 47-66, 1999. (Co-authored with Shaun Nichols).

"Hierarchical Approaches to Macroevolution," Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 26:301-21, 1995.


collage of three images: an evolutionary tree of dinosaurs, a fossil trilobite, and a graph showing the history of marine animal diversity.