Victoria N. Alexander

Victoria N. Alexander

Director, Dactyl Foundation; Public Scholar, New York Council for the Humanities

Victoria N Alexander is a biosemiotician, focusing on the role of chance in biology and in intentional behavior.  She is interested in questions about emergence, purpose, self-organization and mimicry. She is currently serving a two-year term as a Public Scholar with the New York Council for the Humanities (2015-2017), lecturing on non-Darwinan approaches to the evolution of novelty, purposeful behavior and intelligence.

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As a contributor to the widely reviewed volume, Fine Lines: Vladimir Nabokov's Scientific Art (Yale UP, 2016), Alexander argues, following Nabokov's lead, that there is no compelling reason to believe that some forms of mimicry have been shaped by Natural Selection. Alexander is a novelist as well as a philosopher of science contributing to the field of biosemiotics, and since 1996 as Director at the Dactyl Foundation, she has worked to facilitate interactions between the arts and sciences. She earned her PhD in English at the Graduate Center, City University New York and did her dissertation research on the relationship between chance, teleology, intentionality, self-organization at the Santa Fe Institute, with support from the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women and the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center.

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"A widely remarked fact about On the Origin of Species is that it is not about "origins" per se—singular points at which something new begins—but about gradual changes in the proportions of already existing forms."

(Monstrous Fate: The Problem of Authorship and Evolution by Natural Selection," Annals of Scholarship 19(1) August 2010)

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