ROBERT A. WILSON


Are you a Lebowski achiever? 
G'day.   I have been a professor at the University of Alberta in the Department of Philosophy since July 2000, and in the Department of Educational Policy Studies (as well) since July 2013.  I hold a B.A. with first class honours in philosophy from the University of Western Australia (1986), and an M.A. (1990) and Ph.D (1992) from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.  I have taught at Queen's University, Canada 1992-1996 and at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 1996-2000, where I was also a member of the Cognitive Science Group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.  I founded Philosophy for Children Alberta in 2008, and am also the principal investigator for a 5-year project funded by the Community-University Research Alliance program of SSHRC, Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada, which will conclude in the first half of 2015, shortly after our final mentoring workshop, The Scope of Eugenics in May.

My research falls chiefly in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, the philosophy of biology, and general philosophy of science, but I also have ongoing interests in ethics, metaphysics and epistemology, and 17th and 18th century philosophy. In more recent years I have been reading and thinking about eugenics, the contemporary uses of biotechnology, disability, and the philosophy of psychiatry, amongst other things.  I am also involved in several large-scale research projects that fall under the question What Sorts of People Should There Be?, whose searchable blog has many posts from 2008 that are worth checking out.

About a dozen years ago, I started an ambitious project, The Individual in the Fragile Sciences, ranging across the cognitive, biological, and social sciences. A 3-year SSHRC grant with teaching release awarded in 2001 allowed me to finish two books in this project, Boundaries of the Mind (2004) and Genes and the Agents of Life (2005), both published with Cambridge University Press.  Another 3-year SSHRC grant awarded in 2005 allowed me to undertake the more substantive work I needed to do on the social sciences in preparation for the third book in this series, and in 2008 I drafted five chapters that I expect to form its core. These chapters focus on kinship and sociality.

You can find a bunch of recent papers in the recent papers section of this website.   A complete list of publications is available from my c.v.. And you can get an overview of my research and teaching interests in each of the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, the philosophy of biology, and disability and the philosophy for children in documents available in the left-hand side bar. For the food that fuels all this, and how it is to be eaten, click here.

I am also the general editor, with Kim Sterelny, of the book series Life and Mind: Philosophical Issues in Biology and Psychology.  We've published 25 books to date, including Scott Atran and Doug Medin's The Native Mind and the Cultural Construction of Nature, Russell Hurlburt and Eric Schwitzgebel's Describing Inner Experience? Proponent Meets Skeptic, and Bob Richardson's Evolutionary Psychology as Maladapted Psychology. I am also, most importantly, along with my esteemed paleobiological colleague Mike Caldwell , a member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists scroll to the end of that site for Mike's picture; he's the one on the left.)


CONTACT INFORMATION
Department of Philosophy
2-40 Assiniboia Hall
University of Alberta
Edmonton, T6G 2E5
Canada
Tel: 780-492-8481 (direct)
FAX: 780-492-9160
e-mail: rwilson.robert@gmail.com
 
This informational page was updated Feb 2015