Our Research

Welcome to the research page of Purpose, Agency and Field Theory, a project led by Dan McShea (Biology, Duke) and Gunnar Babcock (Philosophy, Duke). Links to papers are below.

McShea research site: https://sites.duke.edu/mcshearesearch/

Babcock research site: gunnarbabcock.com

Published articles

Babcock, G., & McShea, D. W. (forthcoming). Goal directedness and the field concept. Philosophy of Science, 1–15.cock, G. (2023).

Babcock, G. (2023). Teleology and function in non-living nature. Synthese201(4)

Babcock, G., & McShea, D. W. (2023). Resolving teleology’s false dilemma. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society139(4), 415–432

McShea, D.W. (2023). Evolutionary trends and goal directedness. Synthese201(5).

Babcock, G., & McShea, D. W. (2021). An externalist teleology. Synthese199(3–4), 8755–8780

Lee, J. G., & McShea, D. W. (2020). Operationalizing goal directedness: An empirical route to advanc­ing a philosophical discussion. Philosophy, Theory and Practice in Biology

McShea, D.W. (2016). Freedom and purpose in biology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences58, 64–72

McShea, D.W. Machine Wanting. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 44, 679-687

McShea, D.W. (2012). Upper-directed systems: a new approach to teleology in biology. Biology and Philosophy27(5), 663–684.

Presentations