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Department of

History and Philosophy of Science   

Graduate Program


Overview & Requirements

Areas of Concentration


Graduate Handbook

Placement Record

Virtuvian Man
Leonardo Da Vinci

Special Program in History & Philosophy of Biology:

The Department of History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) is recognized as a world leader in general history and philosophy of science. In addition to strengths in the philosophy of physics, early modern natural philosophy, and ancient science, the department has excellent resources for graduate study in the philosophy and history of biology.

The department is able to offer a generous package of financial support to most successful applicants for admission and has an excellent record of placing its PhD graduates in academic positions.

Participating Senior Faculty:

James G. Lennox, Ancient Greek philosophy, science, medicine, and Charles Darwin and Darwinism. Author of Aristotle's Philosophy of Biology: Studies in the Origin of Life Science (Cambridge, 2000) and translator of Aristotle on the Parts of Animals I-IV (Oxford 2002).

Sandra D. Mitchell, Epistemological and metaphysical issues in biological science. Author of Biological Complexity and Integrative Pluralism (Cambridge, 2003).

Robert C. Olby, History of Genetics and molecular biology. Author of The Path to the Double Helix: The Discovery of DNA (Dover, 1994).

Kenneth F. Schaffner, Philosophy and history of biology and medicine, including psychiatry. Author of Discovery and Explanation in Biology and Medicine, (Chicago, 1993) and Behaving: What’s Genetic and What’s Not? (Oxford, forthcoming)

Current Dissertation Projects:

"Causation in the Nature-Nurture Debate: The Case of Genotype-Environment Interaction”

"Historical and philosophical aspects of the concepts of innovation and novelty in evolutionary biology"

"A theory of conceptual progress: Explaining conceptual change in evolutionary, molecular, and evolutionary developmental biology"

"The influence of molecular biology on neurobiology"

"Epistemic status of images produced by highly mathematicized imaging techniques"