Department of History and Philosophy of Science
University of Pittsburgh
PhD, Philosophy, Temple University
MA, Philosophy, Temple University
BA, Philosophy and Music, College of William and Mary
I'm a philosopher with research foci in philosophy of biology, history of philosophy of biology, and twentieth-century continental European philosophy. Perhaps the largest overarching theme of my work concerns the relations between philosophy and biology. For instance: What relations of authority and influence hold (normatively or descriptively, in various contexts) between epistemological questions and positions, on the one hand, and biological concepts, perspectives, and models, on the other? I use analytic-philosophical, historical, and social-scientific approaches to confront different aspects of such questions.
My first major research project was a critical historical reconstruction of the bio-philosophical tradition known in Germany as philosophische Anthropologie ("philosophical anthropology") and an evaluation of its central arguments and implications, particularly regarding human animality and human distinctiveness. This project resulted in several published papers, a dissertation, and an edited book with Palgrave MacMillan. I continue to be active in this area and have several publications in the works.
My second major project is a history of the philosophy of biology, 1950-present. It uses bibliometric, archival, oral history, and computational HPS approaches and is funded through a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Michael Dietrich (Dept. of HPS, U.Pittsburgh) is my Postdoctoral Mentor on this grant. An abstract may be found here.
In addition to these topics, I've published on a number of other issues including the species problem, the realism/anti-realism debate in American neo-pragmatism, abductive inference in history (mostly with Allan Megill), and the political philosophy of Frantz Fanon. Works-in-progress include papers on microbial taxonomy, scientific collaborations, Charles Darwin, and Pierre Duhem.
René Magritte, The Search for Truth (1963)