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Philosophy of Biology

For more information contact

Director of Graduate Studies
Philosophy of Biology Certificate Program
Box 90743
Duke University
Durham, NC 27708
(919) 660-3067

General Information

Degree offered:
Certificate

Program Description

The Duke Center for the Philosophy of Biology offers a formal interdisciplinary graduate certificate in the philosophy of biology. The program which draws upon course work and faculty from departments of biology and philosophy, as well as from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. It is designed to enable students with substantial backgrounds in one of the two disciplines to learn about the major issues that animate research and scholarship on the intersections between biology and philosophy. The philosophy classes enable students to acquire experience in methods of philosophical analysis and to explore the broader philosophical background of problems in the philosophy of biology. The biology classes provide exposure to theoretical questions in biology that raise conceptual issues, to experimental methods and quantitative modeling with substantive and often unarticulated philosophical implications. Students generally apply to the program in their first or second years of doctoral study.

The interdisciplinary certificate will require at least two 200-level seminars in the Philosophy Department in philosophy of biology, at least two 200-level courses in Evolutionary and/or Developmental biology in the Biology Department; a directed reading class supervised by a faculty member in the Center for Philosophy of Biology, which eventuates in a capstone research paper; and regular participation in the philosophy of biology seminar over a two-year period. The certificate will have as prerequisites prior enrollment in at least one 100-level class in the philosophy of science or the philosophy of biology, and at least two courses in biology at the 100 level.