DEPARTMENT of PSYCHOLOGY
2017-2018 Colloquium Series and the
Aston-Gottesman Lecture Series present
Professor Paul Griffiths, PhD, FAAS, FAHA
The University of Sydney
“The Behavioral Gene”
The field of behaviour genetics has a long history of controversy. To a significant extent this is to be explained as a response to the social implications – real or perceived – of behaviour genetic results. In this lecture, however, I focus on another reason why biologists have often strongly disagreed about the value of behavioural genetic results. The concept of the gene is a multi-faceted one. It has both changed over time and diversified across biological fields as the methods of genetics have evolved and diversified. This diversity is reflected in a range of different conceptions of how genes do or should explain aspects of bodies and behaviour. I will outline some of this diversity and the mutual misunderstanding between fields that can result. Some of the more recent methodological and conceptual developments in genetics hold out the hope of resolving some of these controversies and achieving greater consensus on the achievements – and limitations – of behavioral genetics.
Paul Griffiths is a philosopher of science with a focus on genetics and development, he is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney and a Domain Leader at the Charles Perkins Centre, a major research institute of the university devoted to interdisciplinary approaches to lifestyle-related disease. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. From 2011-13 he was President of the International Society for History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology. His publications include: (1997) What Emotions Really Are: The problem of psychological categories. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. (1999). Sex and Death: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Biology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (with Kim Sterelny). (2013). Genetics and Philosophy: An introduction. New York: Cambridge University Press (with Karola Stotz). Personal website: http://griffithslab.org/.
Friday, November 10, 2017
Gilmer Hall, Room 190
Enhanced refreshments/reception to follow
"Sponsored in part by the Genetics and Human Agency and the John Templeton Foundation"