Project News

February 14
9th RUB-workshop on the History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

24th-25th March 2022, Beckmanns Hof and Zoom, Ruhr University Bochum

Several of our Purpose Project colleagues are speaking at this event, the goal of which “is to address the riddle of organismal agency through the lenses of philosophy, history, and the biological sciences. It aims to (i) clarify the epistemological and ontological underpinnings of organismal agency; (ii) contextualize this problem in the history of philosophy and biology in fruitful new directions; and (iii) delve into the consequences of embracing organismal agency for the study of development and evolution, its formal integration into biological theories, and translatability into scientific practice.”

More information, including registration, here.

February 10
Episodic memory, simulated future planning, and their evolution

Armin Shultz, coordinator of the Modelling Agency Formally cluster, recently published “Episodic Memory, Simulated Future Planning, and their Evolution” in the Review of Philosophy and Psychology with his colleague Professor Sarah Robins.

February 8
Seeking co-editors for Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution special issue

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution has asked Anya Plutynski, coordinator of the Agency and Directionality in Development cluster, about co-editing a special issue. Two to four co-editors are sought to help put together a short description of the Research Topic, as well as a list of potential contributors, by mid-March.


Potential co-editors should have three or more years of postdoc experience and be based at a range of institutions and regions. Co-editors must also be able and willing to review both empirical and theoretical contributions. Please contact Anya with suggestions for topics and to express interest in collaborating as a co-editor or contributing to the special issue.


Frontiers is an Open Access publisher, so manuscripts accepted for publication would be subject to a publishing fee. There is a fee support program to help authors whose institution/funder cannot cover the full cost.

February 4
Development and selective grain make plasticity 'take the lead' in adaptive evolution

Tobias Uller and Richard Watson, PIs of the “Evolution and Organismal Goal-Directedness: Toward an Explanatory Agenda” project, along with colleagues, recently published work in BMC Ecology and Evolution. “Without overlooking the fact that adaptive plasticity is itself a product of genetic evolution, we show how past selection for plasticity can exercise a disproportionate effect on genetic evolvability and, in turn, influence the course of adaptive evolution.”

February 2
Unifying heritability in evolutionary theory

Pierrick Bourrat, philosopher of biology at Macquarie University, in Australia, and PI of the “Transitions in individuality: from ecology to teleonomy” project, recently published "Unifying heritability in evolutionary theory" in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science.