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::: center home >> people >> visiting fellows, 2005-06 >> fehr

Carla Fehr
Iowa State University, USA
Spring Term 2006
Explanatory Pluralism and Mechanistic Explanation
in Biology

July 2007
Dear John et al

Here is what I have been up to since I said goodbye to folks at Pittsburgh:
I published two papers:
Carla Fehr. “Explanations of the evolution of sex: A plurality of local mechanisms,” Scientific Pluralism, Minnesota Series in the Philosophy of Science, 2006. eds. Stephen H. Kellert, Helen E. Longino, C. Kenneth Waters.
Dave Schutler, Robert Clark, Carla Fehr and Anthony Diamond, "Time and Recruitment costs as currencies in manipulation studies on the costs of reproduction: Evidence from Tree Swallows,” Ecology, November 2006 87(11): 2938–2946. With
I gave three lectures:
“Thinking ecologically about bison,” Author meets Critics Session on Ecological Thinking by Lorraine Code, American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, April 2007, San Francisco, CA.

“Changing paradigms about feminism and evolutionary biology,” American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, April 2007, San Francisco, CA.

“Gendered Perspectives in Scientific Communities: Deep and Shallow Diversity,” Feminist Epistemology, Metaphysics, Methodologies and Science Studies Annual Conference, Arizona State University, February 2007.
I also am part of a group that won a great big grant:
I am a co PI on a $3,200,000 National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Award, designed to increase the retention and advancement of women in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics careers. Here is the web page the ISU ADVANCE Program http://www.advance.iastate.edu/

I also bought a house and have succeeded in growing tomato plants that are taller than I am.

best wishes,

Spring 2006
Carla is interested in interactions among feminist theory, evolutionary theory, and the philosophy of biology. She studies explanations of complex biological phenomena. In particular she addresses the explanations that different biological disciplines offer for the evolution of sexual reproduction. She argues that biological accounts of the evolution of sex represent a healthy plurality of explanations for a single, albeit complicated process. This explanatory pluralism has both ontological and epistemological roots – it is a result of both the way the world is and the way that we come to have knowledge of the world.
Carla grew up in Canada, went to graduate school at Duke University in North Carolina and is currently an associate professor of philosophy at Iowa State University.
Although she enjoys hiking and canoeing, concerts and theater, as she has learned from her cats, there are really very few things as nice as a good nap.

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