Centre for Philosophy of Science Lisbon Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab

Current Projects

Springer Book Series: Interdisciplinary Evolution Research

About the Series

Nathalie Gontier, PhD

The time when only biologists studied evolution has long since passed. Accepting evolution requires us to come to terms with the fact that everything that exists must be the outcome of evolutionary processes. Today, a wide variety of academic disciplines are therefore confronted with evolutionary problems, ranging from physics and medicine, to linguistics, anthropology and sociology. Solving evolutionary problems also necessitates an inter- and transdisciplinary approach, which is why the Modern Synthesis is currently extended to include drift theory, symbiogenesis, lateral gene transfer, hybridization, epigenetics and punctuated equilibria theory. The series Interdisciplinary Evolution Research aims to provide a scholarly platform for the growing demand to examine specific evolutionary problems from the perspectives of multiple disciplines. It does not adhere to one specific academic field, one specific school of thought, or one specific evolutionary theory. Rather, books in the series thematically analyze how a variety of evolutionary fields and evolutionary theories provide insights into specific, well-defined evolutionary problems of life and the socio-cultural domain. Editors-in-Chief are Nathalie Gontier & Olga Pombo.

Published Anthologies

Forthcoming Anthologies in Progress (publication expected in 2015/6)

Previous Projects

Implementing the Extended Synthesis in Evolutionary Biology into the Sociocultural Domain

Project Leader: Nathalie Gontier
Project Co-Leader: Olga Pombo
Project Members: Francisco Carrapiço, Luís Correia, Marco Pina, Emanuele Serrelli, Larissa Mendoza Straffon  
Funding Agency: John Templeton Foundation

Project Summary

Symbiogenesis, lateral gene transfer, virolution, punctuated equilibria, drift theory and epigenetics provide major insights into how life evolved. We want to examine how these theories can be extended to sociocultural evolution. This one-year pilot program consists of research, curriculum development and dissemination of findings. (1) In collaboration with international scholars, a permanent academic staff will conduct and report on research on how biological micro- and macroevolutionary theories can be implemented in the sociocultural domain. Emphasis lies on how punctuated equilibria theory, drift theory, symbiogenetic and lateral gene transfer theory can provide conceptual frameworks, methodologies, and scientific visualizations to comprehend, quantify and model sociocultural evolution . (2) Erudition is cultivated by the organization of an International Winter and Summer School on Evolution. Visiting staff are teaching 18 courses on biological and sociocultural evolution for international Master, doctoral and post-doctoral students. The visiting staff will also contribute introductory articles of their courses that will be published in multiple Proceedings, collected in the New Book Series Interdisciplinary Evolution Research. (3) Three dissemination activities are planned:


We would like to express our sincere gratitude towards the John Templeton Foundation as well as their support staff (Paul Wason, Heather Micklewright, Kevin Arnold, Andrew Rick-Miller, Rachel Goldbaum, and Derek Leonard); Professor Sá Fonseca and Professor Paixão of the Faculty of Science, and the R&D, financial and human resources support staff of the University (Sílvia Gomes, Jorge Lobato, Paula Montenegro, Eduarda Tavarez, and Carmo Fonseca); Rui Málho and Fernando Oliveira from the Faculty of Science for formalizing the Evolution Schools and attributing course credits; Ana Simões, Henrique Leitão and Ricardo Coelho from the Autonomous Section for the History and Philosophy of Science Department; Sofia Cruz from the Cell Communications of the University of Lisbon, as well as the camera crew and video-editors responsible for shooting the Public Evolution Day and the feature on the Teenager Day (Tânia Ferreira, Tiago Duarte, Duarte Correia); Rosalia Vargas and Ana Noronha from Ciência Viva and the Pavilion of Knowledge's Special Event Team (Carla Carvalho, Filomena Ramalhoto, Daniela Martins, Rosário Pereira Sofia Lourenço), for co-organizing the 2 Evolution Schools and the Lisbon Evolution Day; Emílio Rui Vilar and Artur Santos Silva from the Gulbenkian Foundation as well as Gulbenkian's support staff (Paulo Madruga and the technical staff, including the camera crew) for co-organizing the Evolutionary Patterns Conference; Rui Silveira, a Winter School volunteer, who shot all winter school videos; Sérgio Moço and Inês Tomé, who edited the interviews conducted with the teachers of the Winter and Summer School, as well as the videos from the Evolutionary Patterns Conference; and all national and international collaborators who have either taught at the Schools, or provided plenary and invited talks at the Evolutionary Patterns Conference; who have participated in symposia organized by AppEEL; who have seated in the Scientific Board of the conference; and who either have, or are in the process of, writing chapters for our Book Series Interdisciplinary Evolution Research.

These scholars are Daniel Dor, William Croft, Monica Tamariz, Bruce Lieberman, Folmer Bokma, Francisco Diónisio, Douglas Zook, Michael Arnold, Luis Villarreal, Frietson Galis, Fiona Jordan, Michael Ruse, Derek Turner, Frédéric Bouchard, Michael Benton, Tal Dagan, John Jungck, Carl Knappett, Daniel McShea, Alex Mesoudi, Mark Pagel, Tyler Volk, Richard Watson, Quentin Atkinson, Alberto Bisin, Thierry Verdier, Andreas Bohn, Maurizio Casiraghi, Jorge Carneiro, Claudine Chaouiya, Alex de Voogt, Frank Kressing, Matthis Krischel, André Levy, Margarida Matos, Telmo Pievani, Luis Mateus Rocha, Sven Steinmo, Bernard Wood, Charbel Niño El-Hani, Davide Vecchi, David Sepkoski, Douglas H. Erwin, Alycia Stigall, William Martin, Matthew Joseph Walsh, Anna Marie Prentiss, Slawomir Wacewicz, Vitor Faria, Elio Sucena, Amanda N. Brothers, Jennafer A. P. Hamlin, Sunni J. Taylor, Noland H. Martin, António Manso, Douglas Futuyma, Stanley Salthe, Elena Casetta, Jorge Miguel Luz Marques da Silva, Michelle Wesley, Rituparna Bose, Lutz Beck, Randall R. Skelton, Matthew Mattes, Cedric Boeckx, Daniel García Rivero, Derk Venema, Allison Tripp, Mark Collard, Fiona Coward, Leonardo Vanneschi, Guido Barbujani, Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Lounes Chikhi, Maria Manuela Coelho, José Croca, Cristina Cruz, Terrence Deacon, Heiner Fangerau, Isabel Gordo, Roderic Guigó, Rui Moreira, Samir Okasha, Octávio Paulo, Luís Paulo N. Rebelo, Ana Sanchez, Gil C. Santos, Cristina Vieira, Pedro Mariano, Octávio Mateus, Luis Vicente, Jeroen Stevens, Evelien De Groot, Adrian Jaeggi, Maria Botero, David A. Leavens, William D. Hopkins, Jared P. Taglialatela, Adam See, Mary Lee Jensvold, Augusta Gaspar, Francisco Esteves, Patrícia Arriaga, Timothy P. Racine, Olga Vasileva, Shoji Nagataki, Jordan Zlatev, Hiroyuki Nishina, Natalie Uomini, Antonio Benítez-Burraco, Ana Mineiro, Alexandre Castro-Caldas, Rita Nolan, Gertraud Fenk-Oczlon, August Fenk, Constança Carvalho, Stefaan Blancke, Sandra Swart).

Finally, we want to thank the students from both 2013 schools as well as the scholars who replied to our call for abstracts of the Evolutionary Patterns conference; and the audiences we attracted for the Lisbon Evolution Day (both the Public Conference and Teenagers afternoon), the various symposia we organized, and the presentations we gave. These audiences add up to an estimated additional 600 people, who have been influenced by the project.