STEPHEN M DOWNES portrait
  • Professor, Philosophy
  • Adjunct Professor, School Of Biological Sciences

Research Statement

My research is in philosophy of science and philosophy of biology. I have several main research interests: Biology of Human Behavior, Human Behavior Genetics, Evolution of cognition, Genetic Causaiton and Models and Images in Science.

Research Keywords

  • Philosophy of Biology

Presentations

  • "Alternate Understandings of Genetic Causation" (Short version) University of Michigan Workshop on Genetics for Social Scientists, August 2023 (via Zoom). Contributed Talk, Presented, 08/04/2023.
  • "Alternate Understandings of Genetic Causation," International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology Meeting, Toronto, Canada, July 2023. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 07/07/2023.
  • "Exploring Geneticists’ Alternate Understandings of Causation," PhilInBioMed, Cambridge University, UK, May 2023. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 05/05/2023.
  • "Implications of Alternate Understandings of Genetic Causation" (with Hannah Allen and Bennett Knox). Poster presentation at NHGRI, Salt Lake City, UT, April 2023. Poster, Presented, 04/04/2023.
  • "More Trouble for Biological Approaches to Human Nature," 6th Annual Workshop on Agency in the Mountains, Brighton, Utah, March 2023. Conference Paper, Presented, 03/04/2023.
  • "WEIRDness, Worms and Biological Approaches to Human Nature," Central Division American Philosophical Association Meeting, Denver, Colorado, February 2023. Conference Paper, Presented, 02/18/2023.
  • "Do microbes have SNPs?" POBAMA, Westfield, North Carolina, August 2022. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 08/06/2022.
  • "Values and Epidemiological Modeling: A case study of Covid-19 modeling in Utah in 2020," 10th Annual Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology Conference at The Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology, University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, Texas, USA May 2022. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 05/14/2022.
  • “Joint agency and the uniquely-human-cooperation hypothesis” (with Patrick Forber) Philosophy of Science Association, Biennial Meeting, Baltimore, November 2021. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/2021.
    https://psa2020.philsci.org/program-schedule/spons...
  • “Genetic Causation,” International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology Meeting, Woods Hole, MA (via Zoom), July 2021. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 07/2021.
  • “Genetic Causation,” Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Marist College, New York (via Zoom), May 2021. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 05/2021.
  • “A History of the Heritability Coefficient Applied to Humans,” Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine, Indiana University, Bloomington (via Zoom), March 2021. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/2021.
  • "Why we should care about Genome Wide Association Studies". Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 06/24/2020.
    https://sites.google.com/view/pobam2020/schedule
  • “Hiring in Philosophy” presented in the APA Committee Session: Diversity in Philosophy Departments, APA Pacific Division Meeting, Vancouver, CA, April 2019. Presentation, Presented, 04/2019.
  • "Tens of Thousands of Associations but No Causal Mechanisms Revealed: Mismatches between GWAS and Developmental Molecular Biology," Philosophy of Science Association Biennial Meeting, Seattle, 2018. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/03/2018.
    https://psa2018.philsci.org/en/74-program/program-...
  • “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.
    http://programme.exordo.com/bga18/
  • "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.

Publications

  • Smith, Adam C. & Stephen M. Downes (2023). Shallow vs Deep Genetic Causes. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Vol. 46, 2. Published, 09/11/2023.
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X22002114
  • Stephen M. Downes and Jonathan M. Kaplan “Changes in Heritability: Unpredictable and of Limited Use” Behavioral and Brain Sciences Vol. 45: e159 (2022). Published, 09/13/2022.
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X2100159X
  • Stephen M. Downes and Eric Turkheimer “An Early History of the Heritability Coefficient Applied to Humans (1918-1960)” Biological Theory (Online First Nov 2021). Published, 11/2021.
    https://link.springer.com/epdf/10.1007/s13752-021-...
  • Stephen M. Downes “The role of ancient DNA research in archaeology,” Topoi Vol. 40: 285–293 (2021). Published, 03/2021.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11245-0...
  • “Variability of Aggression” (with James Tabery) in T. Shackleford and V.A. Weekes-Shackleford (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, Cham: Springer: 8341-8348 (2021). Published, 09/2021.
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-19650-3_1668
  • Stephen M Downes (2020). Models and Modeling in the Sciences: A Philosophical Introduction. (pp. 104). Routledge. Published, 07/10/2020.
    https://www.routledge.com/Models-and-Modelling-in-...
  • Stephen M Downes (2020). Diversifying Tenure-Line Faculty. [Website/Blog] URL https://blog.apaonline.org/2020/07/09/diversifying-tenure-line-faculty/h. Published, 07/09/2020.
    https://blog.apaonline.org/2020/07/09/diversifying...
  • Stephen M Downes & Lucas J. Matthews (2019). "Heritability". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Published, 12/2019.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/heredity/
  • "Review of Maria Kronfeldner What's Left of Human Nature?," BJPS Review of Books (2019). Published, 07/2019.
    http://www.thebsps.org/2019/07/downes-on-kronfeldn...
  • "Evolutionary Psychology", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2018 Edition), revised version of “Evolutionary Psychology” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Published, 09/2018.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2018/entri...
  • “Human nature: An Overview” in R. Joyce (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy. New York: Routledge: 155-166. Published, 04/2018.
  • “Scientific Imperialism and explanatory appeals to evolution in the social sciences,” in U. Mäki, A. Walsh and M. Fernández Pinto (Eds.) Scientific Imperialism, New York: Routledge: 224-236. Published, 12/2017.
  • “Review of How Biology Shapes Philosophy: New Foundations for Naturalism,” Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture Vol 1: 149-152. Published, 03/2017.
  • “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.
    http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2014/entries...
  • “No Magic Bullet Explains the Evolution of Unique Human Traits,” Biological Theory, Vol. 8, No. 1: 37-43. Published, 04/2013.
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13752-01...
  • “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.
    http://www.routledge.com/philosophy/articles/inter...
  • 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.
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/1045-6767/23/1...
  • "Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Aggression: Introduction to the Special Issue” (Co-authored with Elizabeth Cashdan). Human Nature 23: 1-4. Published, 03/2012.
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/1045-6767/23/1...
  • 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.
    http://philosophy-compass.com/
  • “La Psychologie Évolutionniste, L’Adaptation et L’Orginisation” (E-Edition) in Heams, T. et al. (Eds.) Les Mondes Darwiniens: 1115-1140. Published, 09/2011.
    http://www.materiologiques.com/Les-mondes-darwinie...