Project News

December 7
New paper in Philosophy World Democracy

On 27 October 2021, Charbel N. El-Hani and Claudio R. M. Reis, from the subaward "Toward a science of intrinsic purposiveness: an organizational account of ecological functions and its implications to ecological research and environmental ethics" published a paper in Philosophy World Democracy in which they embed the organicist philosophical bases followed in the project into a broader epistemological view on the goals of scientific research and different value outlooks.


The paper takes as a point of departure the well-accepted thesis that scientific research is an inherently social and plural activity, from where it proceeds to a discussion on the relationships between the goals of scientific investigation, research strategies, and value outlooks. They first describe dominant strategies and goals since the origins of modern science, and then discuss an alternative view on these goals and strategies that may bring science to be committed to a broader array of value outlooks and research strategies, combining decontextualized and context-sensitive strategies, and increasingly connecting scientific research to value outlooks related to the  sustainability of socioecological systems, democratic participation, social justice, and the common good.


Finally, they articulate how organicist thinking can be connected to such a broader array of value outlooks and research strategies. The articulation of these goals of investigation, value outlooks, and research strategies are the core of the subaward conception of research and its social responsibility.

December 6
New job! Researcher in Evolutionary Biology at Lund University, Sweden

The research groups of Tobias Uller and Charlie Cornwallis are recruiting a fully-funded researcher in evolutionary biology. The project aims to use microalgae and experimental evolution to study evolvability. Theory predicts that selection in variable environments can modify gene regulatory networks to make new genetic mutants with desirable trait combinations appear more frequently. This, in turn, could potentially facilitate the response to selection in more extreme environments. This project will test this theory using a combination of experimental evolution, phenotypic and genetic engineering, and analyses of metabolic, transcriptomic and genomic data. The project is part of an international research programme that provides opportunities for career development. The starting date is negotiable and funding is available for three years. The full job description is here.

Deadline: 13 December 2021

November 29
Call for Papers: Teleology for the 21st Century - Synthese Topical Collection

Teleology used to be one of the central topics in metaphysics from antiquity until well into the 19th century, but it is rarely discussed today. This lacuna is unfortunate, because the nature of goal-directedness has important implications in debates about biological functions, human and AI agency, naturalism, the philosophy of social science, the philosophy of mind, and experimental philosophy. We are looking for innovative papers that shed light on what teleology is, either from a general metaphysical standpoint or in connection with some specific debate.
Guest Editors: Daniel Kodaj (Eötvös Loránd University), László Bernáth (Eötvös Loránd Research Network & Eötvös Loránd University), Martin Pickup (University of Birmingham)

Appropriate topics include, but are not limited to:

  • New approaches to teleology in the philosophy of biology

  • Concepts of teleology that go beyond the philosophy of biology and relate to issues in, or re-structure debates within, the philosophy of action, social ontology, or the philosophy of mind

  • Goal-directedness and AI

  • The role of teleology in the explanatory practices of the natural vs the social sciences

The deadline for submissions is 15 May 2022.

For further information, please contact the lead guest editor at:

Submissions via:

November 16
New job posting! Postdoc at Georgetown University

Manus Patten in the Department of Biology at Georgetown University and Arvid Ågren at the Department of Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University are searching for a postdoctoral fellow to conduct research on the “Paradox of the Organism,” the observation that despite ample opportunity for organisms to be torn apart from within by selfish genetic elements and selfish cell lineages, they nevertheless persist. This project is funded by the John Templeton Foundation and is part of a larger effort investigating agency, directionality, and function in biological systems. More details on our project are available online here. And the full job description is here.

November 2
To err is human – or is it? Even simple organisms can act wrongly in a given environment and then adapt to correct the mistake.

The saying goes that to err is human – but researchers at the University of Reading think that to err is to be alive in the first place. An interdisciplinary team from the University will analyse the nature of mistakes and their classification – such as mistakes of timing, measurement, and discrimination – over the next three years. The goal is to create a general framework for the life sciences that can systematically generate novel, testable hypotheses concerning the mechanisms and processes by which living systems make mistakes. Read Professor David Oderberg's full article online here.