Nathalie Gontier

Nathalie Gontier

Director of the Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab, Centre for Philosophy of Science, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Faculty of Science; University of Lisbon, Portugal

Gontier investigates how non-Darwinian theories have identified new and converging patterns in micro-, meso- and macroevolution, as well as new units, levels, mechanisms and processes whereby biological, sociocultural and linguistic evolution occur. She proposes a new and pluralistic methodology, Applied Evolutionary Epistemology, that beyond the classic evolutionary hierarchy (genes – organisms – species), is able to cope with the ontological layeredness of evolution. Other research interests include the origin of life; and how organisms embody knowledge and underlie the formation of biological realities or biorealities.

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Gontier has a background in both Philosophy of Science and Anthropology, and holds a PhD in Philosophy that was awarded by the Dutch Free University of Brussels (Belgium). She is the founder and director of the Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab that is part of the Centre for Philosophy of Science at the University of Lisbon; the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Springer Book Series Interdisciplinary Evolution Research; and she functions as a permanent board member of the Protolang conference series. 

She has published a Dutch monograph on 15 non-Neodarwinian theses that underlie research on the origin and evolution of life; and she had edited anthologies on reticulate evolution and macroevolution as well as on evolutionary epistemology, primate communication and human language. In addition, she has guest-edited special issues for journals including Evolutionary Biology, Theory in Biosciences and Language Sciences.

Her work is currently funded by the Fund for Science and Technology, Portugal. Previously, she has been an Invited Associate Researcher at the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon; a part-time Professor of Philosophy of Science at the Dutch Free University of Brussels (Belgium); as a Marie Curie Fellow, she has worked at the Division of Paleontology of the American Museum of Natural History (New York City, USA); she has been a Research Assistant for the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Belgium); and a Research Fellow at the Konrad Lorenz Institute (Altenberg, Austria). 

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"…we can abstract a universal methodology to study evolution, namely, the study of any kind of evolution involves an identification of units, levels, and mechanisms, and allocating them into an ontological hierarchy. There is much to be gained by recognizing that evolution is no longer synonymous to “that what evolves by means of natural selection …"

(Language Sciences 63, p. 14.)

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