University of Pittsburgh
Graduate Student

Aaron Novick


My primary interest is in the philosophy of biology. My main line of research focuses on the conceptual challenges that arise when trying to integrate current research in developmental genetics into evolutionary theory. I believe that these challenges can be seen most clearly, and in at least some cases can be resolved, by understanding how they originated historically. My project thus brings the history of conflicts between evolutionary and developmental biologists to bear on questions of interest to contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology. In addition to this, I have two subsidiary research programs. The first is an attempt to argue that the vera causa ideal, so prominent in nineteenth century science, provides (once suitably updated) a better model of contemporary biological reasoning than does inference to the best explanation. The second is line of historical research into the 19th century entomologist William Sharp Macleay, who developed the strange and fascinating quinarian system of classification. I have a BA from the College of Wooster, where I majored in philosophy and biology.