Emily Herring

Emily Herring


I grew up in Paris and received a BA from the Sorbonne in 2012 and an MA from Paris Diderot University in 2014. I am currently finishing my PhD at the University of Leeds in the Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science.



Herring E, Jones K, Kiprijanov K, Sellars L (eds.). Forthcoming 2019. The Past, Present and Future of iHPS. Routledge.

Peer Reviewed Articles

Herring, E. 2018. ‘Great is Darwin and Bergson his poet’: Julian Huxley's other evolutionary synthesis. Annals of Science. 75(1), pp. 40-54

Herring, Emily. 2016. Des évolutionnismes sans mécanisme : les néo-lamarckismes métaphysiques d’Albert Vandel (1894-1980) et Pierre-Paul Grassé (1895-1985). Revue d'histoire des sciences. 69(2), pp. 369-398

Book Chapters

Herring, Emily and Radick, Gregory. Forthcoming 2019. Emergence in Biology: From Organicism to Systems Biology. In. Gibb, Sophie, Hendry, Robin and Lancaster Tom (eds.). The Routledge Handbook of Emergence. Routledge

Loison, Laurent and Herring, Emily. 2018. Lamarckian Research Programs in French Biology. 1900-1970. in. Delisle, Richard G. (ed.). The Darwinian Tradition in Context: Research Programs in Twentieth-Century Evolutionary Biology. Springer, pp. 243-269

Herring, Emily. 2017. The Genotype/Phenotype Distinction. in. Smith, Justin E. H. (ed.). Embodiment. Oxford University Press, pp. 325-330

Book Reviews

Herring, Emily. 2016. Book review. The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson and the Debate that Changed our Understanding of Time. Annals of Science 74(1), pp. 86-87

Other Publications

Herring, E. 2018. French Naturalistes vs Darwinian Specialits: Unity and Disunity in 20th-Century Biology. Viewpoint. Magazine of the British Society for the History of Science. 116, pp. 6-7



Invited Talks

  • Forthcoming: 'L’Évolution créatrice de Henri Bergson lue par les biologistes' for the Séminaire du Centre François Viète, Université de Nantes, January 2019
  • ‘Philosophical Biology: The Reception of Henry Bergson's Creative Evolution in French and British Biology’ for the American Philosophical Society Library Brown Bag Lunch Seminar, American Philosophical Society Library, October 2018
  • ‘Why did Bergson Matter for so Many Biologists?’, for the History of Biology Mini Symposium, University of Leeds, May 2018
  • 'Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: Palaeontology, Theology and the Meaning of Life' for the Religion and Public Life Research weekly Seminar at Rice University, Houston, Texas. January 2017
  • 'Arthur D. Darbishire's Bergsonian Biology' for the University of Manchester CHSTM Lunchtime Seminar. April 2016

Conference Presentations

  • ‘French Naturalists vs Darwinian Specialists: Albert Vandel and Pierre-Paul Grassé’s ‘True’ Synthesis'’ for the European Society for the History of Science annual conference, University College London, September 2018
  • ‘Henri Bergson’s Biological Theory of Knowledge’ for the History of the Philosophy of Science annual conference, University of Groningen, July 2018
  • ‘The Reception of Henri Bergson’s Creative Evolution in French and British Biology’, for the PRHS Work in Progress Seminar, University of Leeds, April 2018
  • ‘Creative Evolution: Bringing Bergson Back into the Modern Synthesis’, for the HSS annual conference in Toronto. November 2017
  • ‘Realism Evolving: Bergson’s Biological Theory of Knowledge’, for the University of Leeds Get Real! Realism as a goal for the sciences and for HPS conference. September 2017
  • ‘Creative Evolution: Bringing Bergson Back into the Modern Synthesis’, for the BSHS annual conference in York. July 2017
  • 'Lamarckian Power Politics: The Case of Pierre-Paul Grassé (1895-1985)', for the BSHS postgraduate conference, Florence. April 2017
  • 'Biologie bergsonienne en théorie et en pratique: le cas de Julian Huxley' for the Société Française d’Histoire des Sciences et des Techniques Journées Jeunes Chercheurs. November 2016
  • 'Julian Huxley as a Bergsonian Biologist', for the HSTM Network Conference at Dublin City University. November 2016
  • 'Why Bergson matters for the History of Science" PRHS Work in Progress Seminar, University of Leeds. November 2016
  • 'Bergson Among the Biologists: Why Bergson Matters for the History of Science', for the Henri Bergson: Thinking Life. Anglo-French Perspectives Symposium at the University of Oxford. November 2016
  • 'Lamarckian Power Politics: The Case of Pierre-Paul Grassé (1895-1985)', for the 7th ESHS conference in Prague. September 2016
  • 'Bergsonian Biology in Theory and in Practice: A New Interpretation of the Early Career of Julian Huxley', for the University of Leeds Postgraduate workshop in the History and Philosophy of Biology, Medicine and the Human Sciences. June 2016
  • 'The Metaphysical Neo-Lamarckisms of Albert Vandel (1894-1980) and Pierre-Paul Grassé (1895-1985)' for the BSHS Postgraduate Conference. January 2016

Public Lectures

  • 'A Philosopher Among the Biologists: How French Philosopher Henri Bergson Helped 20th-Century Biologists Get Creative About Evolution' at the Linda Hall Library, November 2018. Video available here
  • ‘Coral: or, a fragile enigma brings lessons from the shallows’ with Ellen Clarke Lecture 14 in the History and Philosophy of Science in 20 objects public lecture series at the University of Leeds, April 2017. Video available here



  • University of Leeds 110th anniversary 3-year research PhD studentship (2015-2018)
  • American Philosophical Society Library Short-Term Resident Research Fellowships (September-October 2018)
  • Linda Hall Library Residential Fellowship (October-December 2018)
  • British Society for the History of Philosophy Scholarly Activity Grant (2018)
  • Society for the Study of French History Travel Bursary (2017)
  • History of Science Society Travel Grant (2017)
  • British Society for the History of Science, British Society for the Philosophy of Science and School of Philosophy Religion and History of Science (University of Leeds) Conference Grants for the organisation of “The Past, Present and Future of Integrated HPS: An International Postgraduate Forum” at the University of Leeds (2017)
  • British Society for the History of Science Research Grant (2016)


TEACHING (University of Leeds)

2018 “How Biology Works”
2017 “History of Psychiatry and Mental Illness”
          “Magic, Science and Religion”
2016 “Introduction to the History of Science”

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.

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


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

Research groups and institutes

  • History and Philosophy of Science