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Stijn Conix

PhD student



Forthcoming. Integrative Taxonomy and the Operationalization of Evolutionary Independence. European Journal for Philosophy of Science. (

Forthcoming. Values, regulation, and species delimitation. Zootaxa. (




2017. Measurement and the Operationalization of Species. EPSA 2017, Exeter

2016. The role of conservation values in species classification. Phil. of Biology in the UK, Bristol

2016. Taxonomic inflation: values in species classification. Ger. Soc. for Phil. of Sci., Hannover


2016. Taxonomic inflation and value-laden taxonomy. HPS Cambridge Philosophy Workshop

2015. Species and individuality. Summer school ‘Biological Individuality’, Gut Siggen (Germany)


Teaching Experience

Supervisions, ‘Introduction to Philosophy of Science’, HPS Cambridge, 2015, 2016, 2017

Supervisions, ‘Metaphysics, Epistemology and the Sciences’, HPS Cambridge, 2015, 2016, 2017

Supervisions, ‘Ethics and Politics of Science and Medicine’, HPS Cambridge, 2017


Funding and Awards

2017. EPSA Graduate Student Essay Prize (€500), for the paper ‘Integrative Taxonomy and the Operationalization of Evolutionary Independence’

2017. PhD Completion Grant HPS Cambridge (£2500)

2014. Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) - AHRC - Walker Studentship (PhD tuition and college fees)

2014. SHSS PhD Bursary Maintenance Award (PhD stipend)

2013. MA fees Cognition and Culture at Queen’s university Belfast


Thesis summary

My thesis argues that value-judgments should play a profound role in the construction and evaluation of species classifications. The arguments for this claim are presented over the course of five chapters. These are divided into two main parts; part one, which consists of the two first chapters, presents an argument for a radical form of species pluralism; part two, which comprises the remaining chapters, discusses the implications of radical species pluralism for the role of values in species classification.

More precisely, the content of the five chapters is as follows. Chapter 1 starts with a discussion of the theoretical assumptions concerning species and natural kinds that form the broad framework within which the arguments of the thesis are placed. The aim of this chapter is to introduce a set of relatively uncontroversial assumptions that frame the rest of the thesis. On the basis of these assumptions, chapter 2 presents an argument for radical species pluralism. The chapter substantiates this argument with a broad range of examples, and compares this position to other forms of species pluralism. Chapter 3 returns to the main interest of the thesis, namely, the role of values in species classification. It introduces the notion of values and presents an argument for the value-ladenness of taxonomy on the basis of the considerations in the first two chapters. It then sketches three important views on values in science in the literature. Chapter 4 argues that the case presented in chapter 3 provides strong support for one of these views, called the ‘Aims View’, and against two other prominent views, called the ‘Epistemic Priority View’ and the ‘Value-Free Ideal’. The resulting view, in line with the Aims View, is that value-judgments should play a particularly substantial role in species classification. Chapter 5 then considers the popular assumption that these value-judgments in taxonomy commonly take the shape of generally accepted classificatory norms, and argues that this assumption is not tenable. Finally, a brief concluding chapter points at some implications of the claims and arguments in this thesis.



2018:   PhD in History and Philosophy of science, University of Cambridge. Supervisor: Tim Lewens.

Dissertation: Radical Pluralism, Ontological Underdetermination, and the role of values in species classification. Available online at .

Committee: Thomas Reydon (Hannover, external examiner) and Jacob Stegenga (Cambridge, internal examiner). Viva passed with no corrections 1/03/2018.

2014:   MA in Cognition and Culture, QU Belfast, with commendation

2013:   MPhil in Philosophy (Analytic Philosophy), KU Leuven (Belgium), summa cum laude

2011:   MA in Philosophy, KU Leuven (Belgium), magna cum laude

2010:   BA in Philosophy with a minor in History, KU Leuven (Belgium), magna cum laude