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Dr Ellen Clarke

Quondam Fellow since 2017
I am a philosopher of biology. My work explores the metaphysics and epistemology of biological science, especially the ontology of the living world. In particular, I have written about levels of selection and the problem of defining biological individuals. I am especially interested in social evolution and in evolved relations between parts and wholes, from bacteria to plants to people. My current activities include an investigation of microbial ontology; a project that brings together philosophers and zoologists to think about the relation between inheritance systems and cooperation; and some musings on political philosophy from the perspective of the evolution of cooperation literature.
Dr Ellen Clarke
  • Background

    • Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Leeds (from 2017)
    • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, All Souls College (from 2011 to 2016)
    • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, Vienna (from 2010 to 2011)
    • Postgraduate, University of Bristol (from 2005 to 2010)
    • Undergraduate, University of Leeds (from 2000 to 2003)
  • Research interests

    • Biological individuality
    • Game theory
    • Major transitions
    • Levels of selection
    • Philosophy of science
    • Evolution
    • Philosophy of biology
  • Selected publications

    • 'Anarchy, Socialism and a Darwinian Left', in 'Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science Part C', Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, vol. 37, No. 1, (March 2006), 136-50.
    • 'The Problem of Biological Individuality', in Biological Theory 5(4), 2010, 312-25.
    • 'Plant individuality and multilevel selection theory', in Kim Sterelny and Brett Calcott (eds), The Major Transitions Revisited (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013).
    • 'Plant individuality: A solution to the demographer's dilemma' in Biology and Philosophy 27(3), 2012, 321-61.
    • (with Samir Okasha), 'Species and Organisms: What are the problems?' in Philippe Huneman and Frederic Bouchard (eds.) From Groups to Individuals (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013).
    • 'The multiple realizability of biological individuals' in Journal of Philosophy CX(8), 2013, 413-35.
    • 'Origins of evolutionary transitions' in Journal of Biosciences 39(2), 2014, 303-17.