Centre for Philosophy of Science Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab

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Michael Benton Michael Arnold is Distinguished Research Professor of Genetics at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA. He is a pioneering and leading expert on the study of hybridization as an evolutionary mechanism and performs research on how hybridization can contribute to fitness, adaptive evolution and speciation. His research group studies reticulate evolution in a wide variety of taxa, including, fungi, plants and animals. Professor Arnold has also authored three books in which he discusses the role of genetic exchange in the evolution of organisms as diverse as viruses and humans. His course will cover a broad range of topics associated with reticulate evolution and speciation.

Michael Benton Folmer Bokma is Professor in the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences at Umeå University, Sweden. As a senior researcher, he runs a lab that investigates the premises of punctuated equilibria theory in a neontological context. He is one of the pioneering researchers that uses computation-intensive analyses of molecular phylogenetic data to draw conclusions on macroevolutionary events. He estimates rates of morphological and genetic evolution: speciation rates, extinction rates, and rates of gradual and speciational change of morphology, gene expression, co-expression, gene family size and sequence divergence. His course will focus on macroevolution in general and punctuated equilibria in particular, in a variety of extant species.

Michael Benton William Croft is Professor of Linguistics at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. He is a leading expert in the fields of Language Change, Cognitive Linguistics and Typology. He implements population and selection models from biology for analyses language variation and language change. In his approach, he also makes use of the evolutionary epistemological approach that was pioneered by the philosopher and biologist, David Hull. He has also used mathematical models (in collaboration with the physicists Richard Blythe, Alan McKane and Gareth Baxter) to test various evolutionary hypotheses in sociolinguistics, historical linguistics and linguistic typology.

Francisco Dionísio Francisco Dionísio is Assistant Professor at the Plant Biology Department at the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon. He specializes in Evolutionary Ecology of Microorganisms and is the team leader of a group that performs both laboratory as well as theoretical research on the evolutionary ecology of microorganisms, with special focus on bacteria, viruses and plasmids. He conducts this research in collaboration with the Gulbenkian Science Institute in Oeiras.

Michael Benton Daniel Dor holds a PhD in Linguistics awarded by Stanford University. He is Senior lecturer in the Communication Department of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Israeli Tel Aviv University. Dor developed the theory of Language as a Communication Technology (LCT). This theory provides a new general framework for the description, analysis and explanation of language as a socially-constructed communication technology, originated through cultural evolution to allow for communication across the experiential gaps between its users. Together with Evolutionary Biologist and Philosopher of Science, Eva Jablonka, Dor has published a series of articles on the evolution of language, highlighting the complex co-evolutionary relationship between the cultural evolution of language as a technology, and the cognitive evolution of human individuals as its users.

Michael Benton Bruce S. Lieberman is Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Senior Curator, Division of Invertebrate Paleontology Biodiversity Institute, at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. He runs a research lab that investigates patterns and processes of macroevolution. His research focuses on using phylogenetic and biogeographic approaches to study key time periods in the history of life in order to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. A special emphasis is placed on considering the role that earth history change plays in motivating evolution. He has contributed significantly to macroevolutionary theory and the ongoing debates on hierarchy theory and units and levels of selection. His lectures will focus on macroevolution in general, and punctuated equilibria, biogeography, phylogeny, astrobiology and evolutionary radiations in particular, and he will link these topics to philosophical issues of hierarchy theory and the units and levels of selection.

Michael Benton Eörs Szathmáry (Canceled) is Professor of Biology at the Department of Plant Taxonomy and Ecology at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, where he is also the chairman of the PhD program in Evolutionary Genetic and Conservation Biology. Since 2011, Szathmáry is guest professor at the Faculty of Biology, LMU Munich. He is on the faculty of the Parmenides Foundation, a member of the Board of The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research and he is the Vice Chairman of the COST CM0703 Action (on Systems Chemistry). His main interest lies in theoretical evolutionary biology and focuses on the common principles of the major transitions in evolution, such as the origin of life, the emergence of cells, the origin of animal societies, and the emergence of human language. He developed these theories in collaboration with the late John Maynard Smith. These major transitions will form the content of his course.

Mónica Tamariz Mónica Tamariz is a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the Experimental Psychology research unit, University of Granada (Spain). Previously she worked at the Language Evolution and Computation Research group at the University of Edinburgh, UK. She is developing new experiments and theoretical frameworks that formalize and conceptualize the units, levels and evolutionary mechanisms involved in language transmission and language evolution. These models will form the basis of her course.

Michael Benton Douglas P. Zook holds a PhD in Biology awarded by Clark University, USA and the German University of Tübingen. He is Associate Professor of Science Education and Global Ecology and directs the MAT program in science education at Boston University. Boston University was also the home base of Professor Lynn Margulis, founder of the modern field on Symbiosis studies, before she moved to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Zook now teaches her course on Symbiosis. He is the former president and current vice-president of the International Symbiosis Society (http://iss-symbiosis.org). He is a select member of the National Academy of Sciences' Science Education Standards. He is a leading expert in symbiosis, global ecology, and in bringing symbiosis studies into the science curriculum. He will teach a course on symbiosis and symbiogenesis.