Participant Group
Participant Role
Ellen Clarke

Ellen Clarke

Evolutionary Origins and Transitions of Agency
Cluster Coordinator

Dr Clarke is a Lecturer at the University of Leeds in the UK, and Director of the Leeds Centre for History and Philosophy of Science. Before being appointed at Leeds in 2017, she held postdocs at All Souls College, Oxford, and the Konrad Lorenz Institute in Vienna. She finished her PhD at Bristol under the supervision of Samir Okasha.

She specialises in Philosophy of Biology, especially evolutionary theory. Much of her published work concerns unitisation problems in biology: Situations where it is difficult to agree on the nature and boundaries of the main actors or concepts in a theory or model. One example is the organism – an important unit in all branches of biology, but one which lacks a common definition. My work explores this unit in the context of evolutionary optimality models and major transitions. I am also interested in how units are picked out in ecology and in conservation, and what difference changes of definition make to things like biodiversity measures. She also maintains interests in Philosophy of Race, and Sex and Gender. She is currently writing a book called ‘The Units of Life: Kinds of individuals in Biology’.