I am a philosopher of biology who works on levels of selection and the problem of defining the organism in biology, whilst occasionally fiddling with bacteria and maintaining interests in political philosophy, game theory, the evolution of cognition and anything to do with evolution or the living world.

I am a postdoctoral fellow at All Souls College, Oxford.
From January 2017 I will be Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Leeds.



  • Coming soon...



  • 'Reproduction' at Metaphysics of Pregnancy workshop, March 23, University of Southampton.
  • 'Rethinking reproduction' at ISHPSSB 2015, July 5-10, Montreal.
Selected Previous:
  • 'On biological individuality', Moral Sciences Club, Jan 2015, Cambridge.
  • 'On the subject of bacteriology', UCL STS, November 2015, London.
  • 'How to count organisms', BSPS meeting, October 2014, LSE.
  • 'Bacterial Individuality', Keynote at PBUK 2014, April 2014, Cambridge.
  • 'The organism concept in biology' at Groups and Individuals conference, May 2012, Almora, India.


Reading groups

  • Coming soon...

Work in progress

  • Bacterial individuality - A paper which asks what turns on the question whether biofilms are organismal.
  • Inheritance and cooperation - A review of different ways in which inheritance can be thought about, and the implications of different versions for our understanding of the evolution of cooperation.
  • Adaptation, evolutionary transition and organismality - In this paper I argue that we can only arrive at a comprehensive understanding of evolutionary adaptation via a proper appreciation of the major transitions in evolution and the constraints that such events place on our notion of organismality.
  • How to count organisms - A paper which explain how organism counts can go wrong and what to do to get the answer right.
  • Individuality as a disposition - Here I explore the conceptual constraints that follow from treating organismality as a dispoitional capacity. In other words, what limitations do dispositional kinds have when it comes to supporting inferences and functioning in laws, compared to 'natural' kinds?
  • Why mentalise? - I'm interested in explaining how and why humans have evolved to track each other's mental states.
  • Transposon individuality - How, if at all, should we understand transposeable elements as constituting units of selection in their own right?
  • Societal organismality - Are humans stalled partway through an evolutionary transition in individuality (Stearns 2007)? What are the similarities between human and biological solutions to policing, demarcation, and individuation problems? What policy/political theoretical lessons might we learn from articulating such similarities?
  • The evolution of political differences - An evaluation of EP stories about the adaptive functions of different political ideologies.



  • Coming soon...


At the beach

All Souls College, 27 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4AL