• Professor, Philosophy

Research Statement

My research is in philosophy of science and philosophy of biology. I currently have two main research interests: Biology of Human Behavior and Models and Images in Science.

Research Keywords

  • Philosophy of Biology


  • “Tens of Thousands of Associations but No Causal Mechanisms Revealed: Mismatches between GWAS and Developmental Molecular Biology,” Behavior Genetics Association Meeting, Boston, May 2018. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 06/21/2018.
  • "Is there a gene for language," Washington University, St. Louis, April 2017. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/2017.
  • "What is Missing Heritability?" PBDB 10, Moruya, NSW, Australia, August 2016. Conference Paper, Presented, 08/2016.
  • "Budgie Grammar, FoxP2 and Human Linguistic Uniqueness," Evolution of Language Workshop, Australian National University, August 2016. Conference Paper, Presented, 08/2016.
  • "Response to Gillian Barker Beyond Biofatalism: Human Nature for an Evolving World," Pacific Division American Philosophical Association Meeting, San Francisco, March-April 2016. Conference Paper, Presented, 03/2016.
  • "Assessing the evolutionary challenges to human nature," IV Colombian Conference on Logic, Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, Bogota, Colombia, February 2016. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 02/2016.
  • "Causation in Evolutionary Anthropology," International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology Meeting, Montreal, July 2015. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 07/2015.
  • "Confronting Variation in the Social and Behavioral Sciences," Philosophy of Science Association Meeting, Chicago, November 2014. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/2014.


  • Downes, S. M. & James Tabery (2017). Variability of Aggression. Springer. Published, 12/2017.
  • Downes, S. M. (2017). Scientific Imperialism and explanatory appeals to evolution in the social sciences. (pp. 224-236). Routledge. Published, 12/2017.
  • Downes, S. M. (2017). Human Nature: An Overview. (pp. 155-166). Routledge. Published, 12/2017.
  • Downes, S. M. (2017). Review of How Biology Shapes Philosophy: New Foundations for Naturalism. (pp. 149-152). Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, Vol 1. Published, 07/2017.
  • “Evolutionary Psychology” in L. McIntyre and A. Rosenberg (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Social Science. New York: Routledge: 330-339 (2016). Published, 12/2016.
  • “Reform for the evolutionary social sciences or a new theory of human nature?” Metascience, Vol. 25:479-485 (2016). Published, 11/2016.
  • “Confronting Variation in the Social and Behavioral Sciences,” Philosophy of Science: 909-920 (2016). Published, 12/2016.
  • “Evolutionary Psychology, Adaptation and Design” in Heams, T. et al. (Eds.), Handbook of Evolutionary Thinking in the Sciences. Dordrecht: Springer: 659-673. Published, 01/2015.
  • "Evolutionary Psychology", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Published, 05/2014.
  • “No Magic Bullet Explains the Evolution of Unique Human Traits,” Biological Theory, Vol. 8, No. 1: 37-43. Published, 04/2013.
  • “Evolutionary psychology is not the only productive evolutionary approach to understanding consumer behavior,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 23, No. 3: 400-403. Published, 03/2013.
  • Arguing About Human Nature (Co-edited with Edouard Machery). Routledge. Published, 03/2013.
  • Philosophy of Science Vol. 78, Issue 5: Proceedings of the 2010 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association: Part 2 Symposia Papers. University of Chicago Press. Published, 12/12/2012.
  • “How much work do scientific images do?” Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science, Vol. 6, No. 1: 115-130. Published, 10/2012.
  • Special issue of Human Nature: Evolution and Human Aggression (Co-edited with Elizabeth Cashdan), Vol 23, No. 1. Published, 03/2012.
  • "Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Aggression: Introduction to the Special Issue” (Co-authored with Elizabeth Cashdan). Human Nature 23: 1-4. Published, 03/2012.
  • Philosophy of Science Vol. 78, Issue 5: Proceedings of the Biennial Meetings of the Philosophy of Science Association, Part I Contributed Papers. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. Published, 12/31/2011.
  • "Scientific Models" Philosophy Compass, 10:757-764. Published, 11/10/2011.
  • “La Psychologie Évolutionniste, L’Adaptation et L’Orginisation” (E-Edition) in Heams, T. et al. (Eds.) Les Mondes Darwiniens: 1115-1140. Published, 09/2011.