Department of Philosophy

Karola Stotz

Karola StotzKarola came to Macquarie in 2014 as a senior lecturer and Templeton World Charity Foundation Fellow. She received her Masters in Anthropology from the University of Mainz, Germany and her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Ghent, Belgium. She has held positions at the Unit of History and Philosophy of Science at Sydney University, Pittsburgh University, the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University. From 2008-2013 she was an ARC Australian Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, working on a 5 year discovery project entitled: "Postgenomic Perspectives on Human Nature". Her personal website can be found here.

Current Research

Karola is currently working on a Templeton World Charity Foundation project entitled: "Causal Foundations of Biological Information", which aims to ground the idea of biological information in contemporary philosophical work on the nature of causation.

Her other research interests are:

  • Philosophy of Biology: philosophical issues of developmental, evolutionary and molecular biology, developmental niche construction and non-genetic/epigenetic inheritance
  • Philosophy of Cognitive Science: 4E cognition (embodied, embedded, extended, enacted), neural plasticity, the evolution of cognition, theory of mind, animal cognition, minimal (bacterial) cognition
  • Philosophy of Science: reductionism versus emergence, integrative science and pluralism, causation (measuring differing degrees of causal influence), process philosophy, complex systems theory


  • (2013) "Genetics and Philosophy: An Introduction". Cambridge University Press.

Edited Works
  • (2009). "Philosophy in the Trenches:  From Naturalised Philosophy to Experimental Philosophy (of Science)". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science A, 40 (2)
  • (2008). (with Colin Allen). "Reconciling Nature and Nurture in the Study of Behaviour". Philosophical Psychology, 21 (3).
  • (2004). "Genes, Genomes, and Genetic Elements". History and Philosophy of the Life Science, 26 (1).

Peer-Reviewed Articles (last 10 years)

Scholarly Chapters (last 10 years)
  • (In Press). (with Griffiths, P.). "A developmental systems account of human nature". In: Elizabeth Hannon and Tim Lewens (eds) Why we disagree about Human Nature. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • (In Press). (With Griffiths, P.) "Genetic, epigenetic and exogenetic  information". In: Richard Joyce (ed.). Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy. Routledge.
  • (In Press). (with Griffiths, P.). "Developmental Systems Theory as a Process Theory". In: Daniel J. Nicholson and John Dupre (eds) Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford: OUP
  • (In Press). (with Griffiths, P.). "Biological Information, specificity and causality - an intimate relationship". In: Sara Imari Walker, Paul C.W.  Davies and George F. R. Ellis (eds) Information and Causality: From Matter to Life. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • (2014). "Die Entwicklungsnische als Integrationsrahmen erweiterter Vererbungssysteme." In: V. Lux and J. T. Richter (eds), Kulturelle Faktoren der Vererbung: Interdisziplinärer Sammelband zur Epigenetik. Berlin: De Gruyter, (209-220).
  • (2014). (with Griffiths, P.). "Conceptual Barriers to Interdisciplinary Communication: When does ambiguity matter?" In: Michael O'Rourke, Stephen J. Crowley, Sanford D. Eigenbrode and J. D. Wulfhorst (eds). Enhancing Interdisciplinary Communication.Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, (195-215).
  • (2012). (with Allen, C.)."From cell-surface receptors to higher learning: a whole world of experience". In: Katie Plaisance and Thomas Reydon (eds). Philosophy of Behavioral Biology. Boston: Springer, (85-123).
  • (2007). (with Griffiths, P. E.) "Gene". In: Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology, eds. David Hull and Michael Ruse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Karola has received approximately AUD$2.5 million in research funding for projects on philosophy of biology and philosophy of science (e.g., foundation of biological information, niche construction, perspectives on human nature, nature-nurture dichotomy, biology of cognition, experimental philosophy, and changing concept of gene).

  • 2014-16. "Causal foundations of biological information"; P. Griffiths, K. Stotz, A. Pocheville; Templeton World Charity Foundation, US$ 1,200,000.
  • 2014-16. Macquarie University Start-Up grant, AUD$50,000

Recent (last 10 years)
  • 2013. "Developmental Niche Construction"; DVC Research/Bridging Support Fellowship[MF2] .
  • 2008-2012. ARC Discovery Project + ARF DP0878650 'Postgenomic perspectives on Human Nature' (with Paul Griffiths) AU$641,000
  • 2007. PI, New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program: New Perspective Grant. Reconciling Nature and Nurture in the Study of Behavior' (Co-PI Colin Allen) US$20,000
  • 2003-2005. Co-PI, later PI, National Science Foundation, Science and Technology Studies and Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science, and Technology programs, "Conceptual Issues in the Dissemination and Reception of Genomics" (PI: Paul Griffiths), NSF award #0323496, US$107,000

Graduate Supervision 

  • Alexandra Curran, graduate thesis, School of Science & Technology Studies, University of NSW, September 1999
  • Paul Remati, graduate thesis, Unit for History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney, March 2000 
  • Heather Logue, graduate thesis, Department of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, August 2003 
  • Margeret Heath, Konrad Lorenz Institute Junior fellowship application 2006
  • Adam Hochman, Co-supervisor, Honours thesis, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney, 2009
  • John Zerilli, Masters Thesis, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney, 2010
  • Sue Hobley, Co-supervisor, HPS, Graduate Thesis, 2010
  • Kate Lynch, Co-Supervisor, PhD thesis, Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University, 2014.

Teaching (last 10 years)

Prior to coming to Macquarie, Karola has taught courses in philosophy and cognitive science at the University of Sydney and at Indiana University Bloomington.

Philosophy Department, University of Sydney

  • Advanced Philosophy of Science, graduate seminar 2009, 2010, 2011
  • Philosophy of Genetics, honours seminar 2011
  • Philosophy of Genetics, honours seminar 2012
  • Philosophy of Psychiatry PHIL 2627, undergraduate seminar, S1 2013
  • Philosophy of Cognitive Science, honours seminar, S2, 2013

Cognitive Science Program, Indiana University Bloomington

  • 2006. CogSci Q240 "Philosophical Foundations in Cognitive Science"
  • 2006. CogSci Q700/Philosophy P540 "The Nature-Nurture Debate in Behavior and Cognition Research"
  • 2007. HPSC 755 "Functions and Mechanisms in the Life Sciences"
  • 2007. CogSci Q240 "Foundations in Cognitive Science"  

Contact details

Location: Building W6A Room 702
Phone: +61 (2) 98506774;  +61 (0)450224228
Fax: +61 (2) 98508892;
Office hours: to be advised