Michigan State University
Spring Term 2017
Tangled kinds of being: towards a practice-based metaphysics for homology
Catherine Kendig is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University. She is editor of the new collection Natural Kinds and Classification in Scientific Practice (2016, Routledge). Her work focuses on history and philosophy of biology, metaphysics of individuation, classification, lineage, homology, and kinds. She has also worked on a series of NSF-MCB grant-funded projects on synthetic biology and metabolic engineering centering on modularity and parthood. At the Center for Philosophy of Science, Katie will focus on ontologizing practices involved in part-making and kind-making used in comparative biology. Relying on a philosophy of science in practice approach, she will investigate the activities which lead to the identification and comparison of two or more biological parts as the same part—activities that might be referred to using the verb “homologizing.”
She plans to investigate the nature of natural kind-generating and kind-discovering activities used in the individuation of homologues as well as normative aspects of homology thinking by relying on two case studies: 1) homologizing among holobionts and 2) orthogonal kinding practices in metabolic engineering. Katie quite likes trains, rocks, trail and urban running, and is looking forward to running outdoors in the snow and mud over as many hills and bridges as she can whilst in Pittsburgh.