Rice University, USA
Fall Term 2013
Collaborative Explanation: Causal Unification without Laws
Melinda Bonnie Fagan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Her research focuses on experiment, explanation and modeling in life sciences, with particular emphasis on social aspects of scientific practice. She is the author of Philosophy of Stem Cell Biology: Knowledge in Flesh and Blood (2013, Palgrave Macmillan) and articles on social epistemology, philosophy of science, and history and philosophy of biology. Before joining the Rice philosophy faculty in 2007, she obtained degrees in History and Philosophy of Science (Ph.D. 2007, Indiana University), Philosophy (M.A. 2002, University of Texas at Austin) and Biology (B.A. 1992, Williams College; Ph.D. 1998, Stanford University). Her research in biology focused on colonial organisms (plants and protochordates) and the evolution of histocompatibility. Relations between science and philosophy, and philosophy and other humanistic disciplines, are the starting point for most of her research, and she is involved in a number of interdisciplinary initiatives, including Rice’s new Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences, where she serves on the Steering Committee. While at Pittsburgh, she will pursue a new research project on connections between collaboration and explanation. She also hopes to run, hike and rockclimb in the surrounding area, and to reflect on the works of Michael Chabon.