Research Projects and Topics

The Explanatory Scope of Generalized Darwinism: Towards Criteria for Evolutionary Explanations Outside Biology

(PIs: Philippe Huneman & Thomas Reydon | 2020-2023 | Funding: DFG and ANR)

 

The German and French Research Foundations (DFG and ANR) have awarded Philippe Huneman and me a little under € 655,000 to investigate applications of Darwinian evolutionary theory outside the biological sciences. Together, we are Principal Investigators of the project, The Explanatory Scope of Generalized Darwinism: Towards Criteria for Evolutionary Explanations Outside Biology (GenDar), which runs from early 2020 until mid-2023. The project encompasses two teams, one led by me at the Institut für Philosophie, Leibniz Universität Hannover, and one led by Philippe at the Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.

 

More information will follow as the project starts up.

 

Some of my earlier research on the topic leading up to this project:

  • Reydon, T.A.C. (2020): ‘Generalized Darwinism as modest unification’, American Philosophical Quarterly, in press
  • Reydon, T.A.C. (2016): ‘A critical assessment of graph-based Generalized Darwinism’, in: Jagers op Akkerhuis, G.A.J.M. (Ed.): Evolution and Transitions in Complexity: The Science of Hierarchical Organization in Nature, Cham: Springer, pp. 125-135.
  • Reydon, T.A.C. (2015): ‘The evolution of human nature and its implications for politics: A critique’, Journal of Bioeconomics 17: 17-36.
  • Reydon, T.A.C. & Scholz, M. (2015): ‘Searching for Darwinism in Generalized Darwinism’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66: 561-589.
  • Reydon, T.A.C. & Scholz, M. (2014): ‘Darwinism and Organizational Ecology: A case of incompleteness or incompatibility?’, Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44: 364-373.
  • Scholz, M. & Reydon, T.A.C. (2013): ‘On the explanatory power of Generalized Darwinism: Missing items on the research agenda’, Organization Studies34: 993-999.
  • Reydon, T.A.C. (2012): ‘How-possibly explanations as genuine explanations and helpful heuristics: A comment on Forber’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43: 302-310.
  • Reydon, T.A.C. & Hoyningen-Huene, P. (2010): ‘Kuhn’s evolutionary analogy in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and “The Road Since Structure”’, Philosophy of Science 77: 468-476.
  • Scholz, M. & Reydon, T.A.C. (2010): ‘Organizational ecology: No Darwinian evolution after all. A rejoinder to Lemos’, Philosophy of the Social Sciences40: 504-512.
  • Reydon, T.A.C. & Scholz, M. (2009): ‘Why organizational ecology is not a Darwinian research program’, Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39: 408-439.
  • Scholz, M. & Reydon, T.A.C. (2008): ‘The population ecology programme in organization studies: Problems caused by unwarranted theory transfer’, Philosophy of Management 6: 39-51.
  • Scholz, M. & Reydon, T.A.C. (2008): ‘Wie praktische Probleme aus ungerechtfertigter Theorieübertragung hervorgehen können: Eine Fallstudie des populationsökologischen Ansatzes in der Organisationstheorie’, in: Scherer, A.G. & Patzer, M. (Eds): Betriebswirtschaftslehre und Unternehmensethik, Wiesbaden: Gabler, pp. 125-143.

Taxonomic Disorder: A Philosophical-Taxonomic Investigation Into the Role of Values in Species Classification

(PIs: Tom Artois, Andreas de Block & Thomas Reydon | 2020-2023 | Funding: FWO)

 

The Flemish Research Foundation (FWO) has awarded Tom Artois (U Hasselt), Andreas de Block (KU Leuven) and me a little over € 420,000 to investigate how epistemic and non-epistemic values play a role in biological classification. The project runs from early 2020 until mid-2023. The project's website is here.


The Ontological Status of Genome Edited Organisms (GEOs)

(PIs: Nils Hoppe & Thomas Reydon | 2016-2020 | Funding: BMBF)

 

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) awarded Nils Hoppe and me a little under € 250,000 for the project Legal Issues of Genome Editing in Plants and Animals. This project was (as subproject 4) part of the cooperative project Ethical, Legal and Socio-Economic Aspects of Genome Editing in Agriculture (ELSA-GEA) and ran from mid-2016 to mid-2020. In this subproject I supervised a PhD student (Martin Wasmer) who examined the ontology of Genome Editing (GE) and Genetic Modification (GM) technologies and their product organisms. The aim was to apply the various available accounts of what makes things into members of their kinds to the question whether Genome Edited Organisms (GEOs) should be considered (1) a subcategory or subkind of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), such that they would fall under the same legislation, (2) a subcategory or kind of the of conventional organisms, or (3) as constituting a category or kind sui generis that has to be subject to its own specific regulation. A project description can be downloaded here.


How Do Life Scientists Generalize? Natural Kinds as the Grounds for Explanatory Generalizations in the Life Sciences

(PI: Thomas Reydon | 2006-2008 | Funding: DFG)

 

This was a personal research grant ("eigene Stelle", around € 182,000) from the German Research Foundation that funded my position as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Zentrale Einrichtung für Wissenschaftstheorie und Wissenschaftsethik (ZEWW), Leibniz Universität Hannover, for three years. During those three years I investigated whether classificatory groups in the life sciences could be thought of as natural kinds in the technical philosophical sense of that term, and how such groups (natural kinds or not) featured in scientific explanations of biological phenomena.