The Department of Logic & Philosophy of Science Colloquium Series presents

"Hormones, Explanation and Evolution"
with Stephen Downes, Professor of Philosophy, University of Utah

Friday, May 30, 2014
3:00-5:00 p.m.
Social Sciences Tower, SST 777 (LPS Conference Room)

Behavioral biologists appeal to hormones in their explanations of various areas of human behavior, for example, in studies of aggression, dominance hierarchies, parenting and sexuality. This work has led to some surprising hypotheses, including the claim that men’s testosterone levels go down during their partner’s pregnancy while their prolactin levels go up. In his talk, Downes will lay out some examples of evolutionary anthropologists’ work on hormones and then go on to assess these researchers’ explanatory options. One issue he will confront is the explanatory role appeals to hormones have in evolutionary explanations. Here he will distinguish between the evolution of hormone production and action in humans and the role of hormone action in the evolution of other human traits.  Finally, he will canvas some contrasting explanatory approaches recently defended by both behavioral biologists and philosophers of science and assess which of these approaches best applies to explanations invoking hormones.

For further information, please contact Patty Jones, of 949-824-1520.

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