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A Science of Human Nature?

Philosophical Disputes at the Interface of Natural and Social Science

Professor Tim Lewens

Principal Investigator



Tim Lewens is Professor of Philosophy of Science in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge, and a Fellow of Clare College. His research interests include the philosophy of biology, biomedical ethics, and general philosophy of science. He is a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and Deputy Director of the Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH).


Selected Publications




  • Boutel, A., and Lewens, T. (2014) 'The Descent of Culture', Symposium on Stephen Davies: The Artful Species in The British Journal of Aesthetics, 55, pp. 489-92.




  • Hannon, E., and Lewens, T. (2013) ‘Cultural Evolution’, in Jonathan Losos (ed.), The Princeton Guide to Evolution, New Jersey, Princeton University Press.


  • Lewens, T. (2013) 'Cultural Evolution', in E. N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.






Selected Talks


  • Lewens, T. 'Darwinian Inheritance: From Pangenesis to Politics', 2015 Lyon HPS Winter School, Lyon, 27-30 January 2015.

  • Lewens, T. ‘What Is Human Nature Good For?’, PSA Biennial Conference, Chicago, 7 November 2014.


  • Lewens, T. 'Cultural Adaptationism', Department of Philosophy, KU Leuvan, 20 October 2014.


  • Lewens, T. 'Nature, Culture, and Philosophy', Inaugural Lecture, Peterhouse College, Cambridge, 20 June 2014.

  • Lewens, T. 'Cultural Adaptationism', Plenary Session, Philosophy of Biology in the UK Conference, Christ's College, Cambridge, 31 March 2014.


  • Lewens, T. 'Human Nature: From Theory to Practice' Cambridge Philosophy of Science Seminar Series, CamPoS, Cambridge, 5 February 2014.


  • Lewens, T. 'Conceptions of Human Nature', Philosophy of Medicine 'Concepts of Health' Seminar, King's College London, 14 January 2014.


  • Lewens, T. 'The Kinetic Theory of Culture', International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science 2013, Montpellier, 10 July 2013.


  • Lewens, T. ‘The Shaping of Emotions: Reconciling “Practice Theory” and Cultural Evolution’, Cultural Evolution, Philosophy, and the Emotions, University of Leuven, 28-30 May 2013.