Derek D. Turner on “The Meaning of ‘Fossil’ and the Incompleteness of the Fossil Record”

Dear all,

Professor Derek D. Turner (Connecticut College)

will give a talk at the research seminar of the Helsinki Philosophy of Science Research Group on Monday 5 December on

“The Meaning of ‘Fossil’ and the Incompleteness of the Fossil Record”

Derek Turner is a philosopher of science who has specialized in evolutionary paleontology. He has studied philosophical questions on punctuated equilibrium, species selection, species sorting, large-scale directional changes in evolutionary history, and fossils and fossil record.

In the talk, he will explore some of the ways in which new techniques (for example, the study of chemofossils, molecular clocks, and ancient DNA) are changing the meaning of “fossil,” and thereby also forcing us to rethink the incompleteness of the historical record.

Turner has published two books on paleontology:
– Making Prehistory (2007, Cambridge University Press), and
– Paleontology: A Philosophical Introduction (2011, Cambridge University Press)

And articles on different aspects of paleontology, such as
–  (2009) “How much can we know about the causes of evolutionary trends.” Biology & Philosophy 24: 341- 357
– (2011) “Gould’s replay revisited” Biology & Philosophy 26: 65-79

Time: Monday 5 December, 12-14

Place: Unioninkatu 40 (“Forest House”), room A217 (A-wing, second floor)



Jani Raerinne, PhD
Department of Philosophy, History, Culture, and Art Studies
Univ. Helsinki