Professor and Department Chair
I grew up in a small New England town but spent my college years in the Midwest. After receiving a B.A. from DePauw University, I studied under David Hull at Northwestern University and joined the faculty at the College immediately after graduate school. I am married, have two children and enjoy kayaking, classical guitar, and bird watching. I especially enjoy teaching philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, logic, and epistemology, as well as courses that draw on the history of biology (e.g., "Darwinian Revolutions" and "Genetics in Philosophical Focus").
M.A., Ph.D. - Philosophy, Northwestern University
B.A. - DePauw University
- Philosophy of Biology (especially evolutionary theory)
- Philosophy of Science
My research focuses on philosophical issues within and about evolutionary biology. Philosophically, my work focuses on several inter-related issues: reductionism, emergence, the unity of science, and explanatory pluralism. In addition, my research addresses important biological controversies, such as the units of selection, 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. I am currently working on a textbook that introduces the philosophy of science via the history of genetics.
Honors and Awards
Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2009-12), "Integrating Biological Approaches: A Philosophical Contribution." (with Ingo Brigandt (Principal Investigator) and Alan Love.)
College of Charleston, Lightsey Humanities Chair (2006-2010)
College of Charleston Summer Undergraduate Research Grant, "The Evolutionary Origins of Religion" (with Andrew Aghapour, Summer 2006).
National Science Foundation Professional Development Fellowship, "Macroevolution and the Unity of Science" (1999-2000 academic year).
"Taxic Paleobiology and the pursuit of a unified evolutionary theory." In Ruse and Sepkoski (eds) Paleontology at the High Table, Univ. of Chicago Press, pp. 215-238, 2009.
"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 (2004): 687-720.
"Conceptualizing the (Dis)unity of Science", Philosophy of Science 71(2004): 133-155.
"Species Selection", in M. Pagel (ed.) Encyclopedia of Evolution. Oxford UP, 2002, pp. 1086-87.
"Adaptive Complexity and Phenomenal Consciousness", Philosophy of Science 67(2000): 648-670. (Coauthored with Shaun Nichols).
"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(1995):301-21.