Emily Herring

Emily Herring

Profile

After a BA in philosophy (Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne) and an MA in the history and philosophy of science (Paris 7 Diderot and Universite de Nantes), I started my PhD at the University of Leeds in 2015. At Leeds I have taught various undergraduate courses in the history and philosophy of science and since starting my PhD I have spoken at several international conferences in my field, including the 2016 ESHS conference in Prague, the 2017 HSS conference in Toronto, and the 2018 HOPOS conference in Groningen. In 2017 I travelled to Rice University in Houston to study the papers of Neo-Darwinian zoologist Julian Huxley thanks to a BSHS research grant. From September to December 2018 I will be writing up my thesis in the USA, first in Philadelphia and then in Kansas City thanks to an American Philosophical Society Library Grant and a Linda Hall Library Grant. 

Research interests

My PhD research concerns the reception of French philosopher Henri Bergson's philosophy in 20th-century biology. In the first decades of the 20th century, French philosopher Henri Bergson was an international celebrity. His philosophy of “duration” was discussed in most intellectual circles and, although his metaphysical interpretation of biological evolution, developed in L’Evolution Créatrice (1907), was often dismissed as vitalistic, it appealed to many biologists. They saw Bergson as raising the status of their science by giving it philosophical significance. Their enthusiasm for Bergson’s metaphysics clashes with the traditional representation of the 20th century as the era of extreme scientific specialisation and of the definitive separation between science and philosophy. Indeed, these biologists believed that the very nature of their research (biological evolution, the nature of heredity, animal behaviour, etc.) implied the need to take into consideration psychological, philosophical and sometimes even theological questions and the acclaimed Bergson gave them the intellectual resources to do so.

In January 2018 I published an article on Neo-Darwinian zoologist Julian Huxley's Bergsonism in the Annals of Science. 

I have also published on various aspects of 20th-century French biology in Revue d'histoire des sciences and Viewpoint magazine.

For more information on my work see my website  and follow me on Twitter @EtheHerring 

Qualifications

  • MA History and Philosophy of Science (Paris 7 Diderot)
  • BA Philosophy (Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne)