March 5, 01

Vol. 16 , No. 06   


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Podlich Distinguished Fellow

Deconstructing Darwin
DAVID HULL
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2001

David Hull is one of the leading philosophers of science of our time and the founder of the contemporary philosophy of biology. His philosophical insights into evolutionary theory have led him to the bold view that the principles of biology also apply to developments in history and to the history of science in particular. While studying the cultural history of science, Hull has argued convincingly against views that science and its findings are mere social constructions. Nevertheless, he has shown the ways that science itself can and should be studied scientifically, avoiding the blinders of "great men" accounts of historical development. How does Darwin himself appear under scrutiny of Hull's philosophy of cultural evolution? The Dressler Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University, Hull is the author of numerous books including Science and Selection (Cambridge, 2001), Science as a Process: An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science (1988) and Darwin and his Critics: The Reception of Darwin's Theory of Evolution by the Scientific Community (1973) (both from the University of Chicago Press), and The Philosophy of Biology (Oxford 1998). He has been president of the both the Philosophy of Science Association and the Society of Systematic Zoology. Professor Hull will be in residence at Claremont McKenna College until February 17 as a Podlich Distinguished Fellow. This year's Podlich program focuses on the implications of Darwin and evolution. The other fellows this year include Professors Michael Ghiselin of the California Academy of Sciences and Richard Lewontin of Harvard University (both also in residence in February) and Professor Dame Gillian Beer of Cambridge University (in residence in late March and April).