John Dupré Interview: Deeper into the Royal Society Evolution Paradigm Shift Meeting


(photo by Guido Castagnoli)

“And the concept of nature’s pickiness will give people like George Henry Lewes, George Eliot and Herbert Spencer what they are aching for — a secular creation myth. . . . A new secular alternative to religion.” –Howard Bloom, The God Problem

Since the upcoming Royal Society meeting on evolution paradigm shift is a public one, one of its organizers — British philosopher John Dupré — recently agreed to answer some of my questions about the event. This in itself is progress in science, considering the silly secrecy that surrounded “the Altenberg 16” Extended Synthesis conference of 2008 that two years later would produce a book timidly announcing:

“The modification and additions to the Modern Synthesis presented in this volume are combined under the term Extended Synthesis, not because anyone calls for a radically new theory, but because the current scope and practice of evolutionary biology clearly extend beyond the boundaries of the classical framework.”

However, that is not what is expected from the Royal Society gathering in November, since Denis Noble, the point man of the meeting, has already expressed that his interest is in replacing the Modern Synthesis, neo-Darwinism.

John Dupré is director of Egenis, Centre for the Study of Life Sciences at the University of Exeter as well as a professor of philosophy of science (biology). He has been affiliated with Exeter since the late 1990s and is credited with rebuilding its philosophy department, which had been “dormant” for some years.

His PhD is from Cambridge University and his BA and MA degrees are from Oxford — all in philosophy. Dupré has been writing extensively on the subject of the philosophy of science for the last —> Read More