MacArthur Fellows Program

Michael Ghiselin

Evolutionary Biologist | Class of June 1981

Evolutionary Biologist
Salt Lake City, Utah
42 at time of award
Published June 1, 1981

About Michael's Work

Michael Ghiselin is a leading Darwinian authority, combining the history, philosophy, and criticism of science with his laboratory and field investigations in evolutionary biology.

Trained as an invertebrate zoologist and an evolutionary biologist, Ghiselin applies economic and evolutionary theory to a variety of subjects, including intellectual history and the philosophy of classification.  He has worked with molecular techniques for the high-level classification of animals, seeking to not only identify branching sequences for animals in the phylogenetic tree, but to also explain rather than just describe the history of life.  Ghiselin has published extensively on species concepts and other aspects of the philosophy of biology.  His books include The Triumph of the Darwinian Method (1969), The Economy of Nature and the Evolution of Sex (1974), Intellectual Compromise: The Bottom Line (1989), Metaphysics and the Origin of Species (1997), and Impact of Travels on Scientific Knowledge: Cultures and Institutions of Natural History Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science (co-editor, 2004). 


Ghiselin has held teaching appointments at the University of California, Berkeley (1967-78) and the University of Utah (1980-83), and since 1983 has been a senior research fellow at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Ghiselin received a B.A. (1960) from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. (1965) from Stanford University.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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