Derek J Skillings
I am a Lecturer in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania and the City College of New York. Before that I was a postdoctoral researcher, and member of the ERC-funded IDEM project at the University of Bordeaux, working on the philosophy and biology of holobionts, symbiosis, microbiomes, and biological individuality. I received my Ph.D. in philosophy from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) in 2017. I received my Ph.D. in zoology and my M.A. in philosophy from The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2012.
A full CV is available here.
I am currently co-organizing, with Maureen O'Malley and Paul Griffiths, an interdisciplinary workshop on the Future of Microbiome Research. I am also currently a Guest Editor for a special issue in PTPBio stemming from the Interdisciplinary Workshop on Holobionts that I organized in in the fall of 2017. Outside of my research I enjoy hiking, camping, diving, video/board/role-playing games, the sci-fi and fantasy genres, and putting together LEGOs with my daughter. I am also passionate about cooking, barbecuing, brewing and baking.
I specialize in philosophy of biology, philosophy of science, and environmental ethics/philosophy. I work primarily on biological individuality and explanation and causal reasoning in biology. I am particularly interested in the problem of how to approach the complex and hierarchical nature of living systems when investigating biological phenomena and constructing explanations. I have ongoing projects on biological individuality, holobionts, robustness, causal explanation, speciation and lineage concepts, and biological organization. I also have side projects in the history of biology, on marine population connectivity, and on a Buddhist approach to the ontology of living systems.
My biology research has focused on conservation biology, evolutionary ecology, and phylogeography. I have done the majority of this research at The Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology working with the coral reefs and organisms within the incomparable Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.