Membership of the GROUP


List of members (alphabetical order)


Alex Aylward, PhD candidate

Centre for History and Philosophy of Science

School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science

University of Leeds

Woodhouse Lane, Leeds

West Yorkshire




Research interest: My interests are broad, but mainly fall within the history and philosophy of biology, and historiography / philosophy of history. My current doctoral research focuses upon British geneticist and statistician Ronald Aylmer Fisher (1890-1962). Fisher is widely considered a founding father of modern evolutionary theory, and his 1930 book The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection has been hailed as a foundational text of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis. However, we lack a systematic historical account of this work, and Fisher’s thought generally. My thesis tracks the historical emergence and development of the ideas in Fisher’s magnum opus, contextualising the book’s writing within debates over the mechanism of evolution, the status of the new science of genetics, the British eugenics movement, and the gradual mathematization of biology. In addition, I critically assess the twentieth-century legacy of Fisher and his The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, as well as historiographical categories such as the ‘Modern Synthesis’ and the ‘Eclipse of Darwinism’.


Lorenzo Baravalle, Assistant Professor

Centre of Natural and Human Sciences of the Federal University of ABC

Av. dos Estados 5001

09210-580, Bairro Bangú

Santo André, Sao Paulo, Brasil



Research interest: I am especially interested in the possibility of generalising evolutionary theory to non-strictly biological domains, such as computation, epistemology and, more specifically, culture. I have published on topics related to the theoretical structure of evolutionary theory and evolutionary explanations. Currently, I am working on epistemological and metaphysical issues concerning the integration of social sciences within a broadly conceived evolutionary framework.


Richard Bellon, Associate Professor

Department of History and Lyman Briggs College

506 E. Circle Dr. Room 256

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI  48824 USA



Research interest: My research focuses on two distinct if overlapping areas. First, the cultural and intellectual history of Victorian science, with particular attention to Charles Darwin and evolutionary biology. Second, the intersection of biology and technology from eighteenth-century sheep breeding to the latest breakthroughs in CRISPR.


Joe Cain, Professor

Department of Science and Technology Studies

University College London

Gower Street, London




Research interest: Synthesis period in evolutionary studies with special focus on the work of George Gaylord Simpson and Ernst Mayr.


David Ceccarelli, Post-doctoral Assistant

University of Rome “Tor Vergata”,

Dept. of History, Cultural Heritage, Education and Society

Via Columbia 1, 00133 Rome, Italy



Research interest: The history of non-Darwinian evolutionism between the XIX and the XX centuries, with specific regard to the American school of orthogenetic paleontology led by Edward Drinker Cope, Alpheus Hyatt, Alpheus Packard, Henry Fairfield Osborn, and William Berryman Scott. The epistemological and extra-scientific implications of nineteenth-century debates on epigenetic inheritance and morphology. The role of historically-epistemologically informed approaches in scientific dissemination and education.


Barbara Continenza, Associate Professor

Department of History, Cultural Heritage, Education and Society

University of Rome “Tor Vergata”,

Via Columbia 1, 00133 Rome, Italy



Research interest: (1) History and philosophy of biology, especially in relation to evolutionary biology before and after Darwin and to figures such as James Mark Baldwin and Conrad Hal Waddington. (2) The relationship between “Lamarckism” and “Darwinism” in the different stages of transformation, development and interpretation of both the theories, up to the present “recoveries”, in a “Lamarckian” key, of the concept of development in epigenetic studies. (3) The definition of the concept of species in biology between essentialist and population thought and the role of Ernst Mayr in the so-called “essentialism story” and in the Evolutionary Synthesis. (4) The role of behaviour in evolution and the history of ethology.


Richard G. Delisle, Associate Professor

Departments of Philosophy, Liberal Education, and Archaeology

University of Lethbridge

4401 University Drive

Lethbridge, Alberta

Alberta T1K 3M4



Research interest: (1) In my view, the time has come to reconsider the usefulness of the traditional historiography based on labels such as “Darwinian Revolution”, “Eclipse of Darwinism”, “Evolutionary Synthesis”, etc. It seems to me that these were retrospectively created, hiding the reality more than revealing it. (2) Because it is the past that must highlight the present (and not the reverse), I am also interested in the epistemology of current paleoanthropology as revealed by its historical development.


Maurizio Esposito, Associate Professor

Head Department of Philosophy

University of Santiago

Av Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins 3363

Santiago, Chile



Research interest: I am interested in the history of biology and the philosophical, political and social dimensions of biosciences more generally. I have published on a series of topics concerning the history of evolutionary and developmental biology as well as on the theoretical problems and conceptual implications surrounding reductionist and mechanist approaches in the 19th and 20th century life sciences.


Emily Herring, PhD candidate

School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science

University of Leeds

Woodhouse Lane, Leeds

LS2 9JT United Kingdom



Research interest: My research interests include 20th-century evolutionary theories, the history of the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of biology. My PhD dissertation is the first to examine the reception of French philosopher Henri Bergson’s 1907 book Creative Evolution, among French and British biologists.


Uwe Hossfeld, Professor

Research Group for Biology Education

Institute of Zoology and Evolutionary Research

Faculty of Biological Sciences

Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena

Am Steiger 3, Bienenhaus

07743 Jena, Germany



Research interest: History and Theory of Biology/ Science (Evolutionary Biology, EvoDevo, Biological Anthropology, Morphology); Science Education; History of Natural Sciences at Jena University; Biology in the Third Reich.


S Andrew Inkpen, Assistant Professor

Department of Philosophy

Brandon University

Email: inkpena@BrandonU.CA


Research interest: My work aims to unearth and critically evaluate implicit philosophical assumptions in biology. Drawing on the methods of philosophy of science, history of science, science and technology studies, environmental ethics, and philosophy of medicine, I am working on issues surrounding the human-natural distinction and about ecological function and health.


Ulrich Kutschera, Professor

Institut für Biologie

Universität Kassel

Heinrich-Plett-Str. 40

D-34132 Kassel




Research interest: Systematics and evolution of bacteria, myxomycetes and freshwater leeches, based on analyses of populations and DNA-sequence-studies (inclusive of the description of new species). History and philosophy of evolutionary biology and physiology, with a focus on the key drivers of evolution (symbiogenesis, natural selection, plate tectonics). Symbiotic interactions between land plants and epiphytic microbes with reference to physiological processes (cell metabolism, photosynthesis) and systems biology. The modern theory of biological evolution as an expanded synthesis.


Georgy Levit, Associate Professor

Department of Social Sciences and Humanities

ITMO National Research University

Chaikovsky Str. 11/2,

191187 St. Petersburg, Russia



Research interest: History and Philosophy of Biology/Nutrition Science/Veterinary Science, History of Russian/Soviet Science, History of German biology.


Laurent Loison, PhD

CNRS, Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques (IHPST, UMR 8590, CNRS, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, ENS)

13 rue du Four

75006 Paris, France



Research interest: My main research program, at the intersection of history and philosophy of biology, is devoted to the clarification of a cluster of concepts generally considered as equivalent or even synonymous from the standard point of view of the Modern Synthesis, namely : organic selection, the Baldwin effect, stabilizing selection and genetic assimilation. My aim is twofold : first, to draw firm distinctions between these concepts (and other related ones), and second, to reassess the fecundity of some of these (especially Waddington’s and Schmalhausen’s) in the scientific debate for a renew evolutionary synthesis.


Kate MacCord, PhD

Program Administrator and McDonnell Foundation Fellow

Marine Biological Laboratory

7 MBL Street

Woods Hole MA 02532




Research interest: The driving theme of my research in the history and philosophy of science is understanding the roles that assumptions play within scientific practice and explanations, particularly in studies of development and evolution. My research has focused on the ways in which investigators have understood and explained mammalian tooth development and morphogenesis, and how development and evolution have been perceived as intertwined within this work. My current research program is two-fold: first, investigating the study of regeneration, with an understanding of how it has been explained across in an evolutionary context, and investigating how scientists have understood germ cells over time, with an interest in how the properties that have been attributed to these reproductive cells have influenced our current understanding of what germ cells are and how they act.


Gordon McOuat, Professor

History of Science and Technologies

Contemporaries Studies

University of King’s College

Halifax, Canada



Research interest:



Carlos Ochoa, Professor

Department of Evolutionary Biology

Faculty of Science

National Autonomous University of Mexico

Coyoacán, 04510

Mexico City, Mexico



Research interest: My principal interest is about the anti-Darwinian theories such as Saltationism and Orthogenesis. I aim to make a reinterpretation of these theories as well as the debates around the period of the Modern Synthesis. I am also interested in the “formalism and functionalism” debate that took place in the 19th century where it was argued whether the unity of type or conditions of existence were the predominant law of organization in living beings. By doing so, I have closely followed the origin of the most important concepts of comparative anatomy (such as homology and homoplasy).


Olivier Rieppel, PhD

Department of Geology

The Field Museum

1400 S. Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL 606605-2496, USA



Elizabeth Watts, Post-doctoral researcher

Research Group for Biology Education

Institute of Zoology and Evolutionary Research

Faculty of Biological Sciences

Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Am Steiger 3, Bienenhaus

07743 Jena, Germany



Research interest: (1) History and philosophy of biology, with a focus on evolution and genetics. (2) Science education and science communications with a particular focus on evolution. (3) The history and development of anti-scientific trends such as creationism and intelligent design. (4) The effect of anti-scientific ideologies on public understanding of science/evolution and on students’ receptivity and acceptance of science/evolution.