Karola Stotz's Homepage

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Nature Nurture Project
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Australian Research Fellow
Department of Philosophy
University of Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
Email: karola.stotzATgmail.com






Short Biography

Karola Stotz is ARC Australian Research Fellow at the University of Sydney. Stotz has published on philosophical issues in evolutionary, developmental and molecular biology, psychobiology and cognition. Her research contributes to a reconciliation of nature and nurture, a dualism that stands in the way of a full understanding of development, evolution and heredity (http://nanu.dynalias.org). An important pillar in such a new theory of development is molecular postgenomic biology, where she has argued for the idea of distributed sequence specificity in the regulation of gene expression. Beyond sequence specificity, however, gene expression that underpins normal development depends on a complex developmental niche which coevolved with the genome. She has used examples from this field of research to argue for an integrative explanatory strategy that involves reductionist and holistic research methods. Together with Paul Griffiths she pioneered the use of 'experimental philosophy' methods in the field of philosophy of science, analysing the diversification of the gene concept in different research communities within contemporary biology (http://representinggenes.org). This work has received significant attention from biologists and was discussed in Nature (441: 398-401). More recently, she and her collaborators have turned their attention to the concepts of innateness and human nature and ask, if the idea of human nature can survive without the traditional dichotomy between nature and nurture, and what this new conception of human nature will look like.

Karola Stotz received her Masters in physical and cultural anthropology from the University of Mainz, Germany and her PhD in philosophy from the University of Ghent in Belgium. She has worked at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Austria, the Unit for History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney, the Department of HPS at the University of Pittsburgh and the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University. In 2008 she returned home to Australia as an Australian Research Fellow to work at the University of Sydney in the project “Postgenomic Perspectives on Human Nature”.

She has a major in physical and cultural anthropology and a PhD in Philosophy. Stotz has published on philosophical issues in evolutionary, developmental and molecular biology, the nature-nurture controversy, psychobiology and cognition. Together with Paul Griffiths she pioneered the use of 'experimental philosophy' methods in the field of philosophy of science. Applications have been the recent and ongoing analysis of the vernacular use of the concept “innateness”, and earlier the analysis of the diversification of the gene concept in different research communities within contemporary biology.