Denis Walsh



Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology 
Web Page:

Phone: 416-978-5847


Research Interests

Evolutionary biology deploys three distinct modes of explanation: causal, statistical and teleological. My research investigates the nature and relation of these kinds of explanation in evolutionary biology. It pursues twin objectives: (i) an understanding of the structure of evolutionary theory and (ii) an understanding of the phenomenon of scientific explanation in general. Over the last couple of years I have been engaged in a defence of the so-called 'statistical interpretation' of the Modern Synthesis theory of evolution. It claims that our post-Darwinian theory of natural selection explains evolutionary change by citing statistical properties of populations and not the causes of change. Another area of recent research involves the role of development, and particularly the place of the organism, in evolutionary biology. Related to this, I am working towards a naturalized account of teleological explanation in biology, and rationalizing explanation in folk psychology, that draws upon recent research in complex systems dynamics.