Natural classification

It occurs to me that I haven’t plugged my own book here. What a failure on my part! It was published in December, so it is really time I did so. In this book, Malte Ebach and I discuss a topic not often discussed in the philosophy of science: the classification of nature in the Read More…

Does life exist?

Life, I believe, is what physics does on one particular planet on a Wednesday. More exactly, it is a series of chemical and physical dynamics that occurs between 3.85 billion years ago and now on this planet. Ferris Jabr, an editor at the Scientific American site, has a piece entitled “Why Life Does Not Really Exist”, Read More…

My book is published

See the book at the right entitled The Nature of Classification? According to the website you go to when you click on the cover, it has now been published. I haven’t seen a copy yet, but I’m hopeful… anyway, there’s your stocking filler for the philosopher of science in your life.

Are species theoretical objects?

[Note: this is a paper that has sat in my drawer for a while now. I am posting it to follow from my last post on the theological origins of species. If species are not ranks in biology, what are they?] It is often claimed that species are the units of evolution, but this is Read More…

Articles of faith: The theological and philosophical origins of the concept of species

It takes a while for the implications of one’s own work to sink in. In my 2009 book Species, a History of the Idea (see here), I argued that the notion that before Darwin people were essentialistic and fixist about species was false. A recent paper by Jack Powers about Mayr’s misreading of Plato complements an earlier Read More…

Ooh! Shiny!

Just got the draft cover art of my new book with Malte Ebach: I designed the logo myself… clever, hey?

Are humans just animals?

Yesterday I heard on the radio a discussion by neuroscientist turned philosopher Raymond Tallis, who was arguing that humans are not just animals, and that consciousness is not just what happens in the brain. He went on at length about “Darwinitis”, a disease of intellectuals who wish to explain everything in terms of Darwinism. It Read More…