Bio


I am a postdoctoral researcher working in the Suppes Center for History and Philosophy of Science. I explore the implications of evolutionary contingency—a view about the nature of evolution that emphasizes the role of dependency relations and chance-based factors. Generally, I argue that contingency produces diverse biological entities, processes, and mechanisms, which can be categorized into a plurality of kinds.

Professional Education


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Calgary (2017)
  • Master of Arts, University of Western Ontario (2011)
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Regina (2010)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


My current research examines the implications of evolutionary contingency for different topics in philosophy of biology and medicine. For example, in one project, I argue that contingency produces a plurality of individuals in selection, as well as types of major events in evolution. In another project concerning the nature of cancer, I investigate the structural differences among cancer types and how medical interventions inform cancer classificatory practices.

2019-20 Courses


All Publications


  • TURNING POINTS: HOW CRITICAL EVENTS HAVE DRIVEN HUMAN EVOLUTION, LIFE, AND DEVELOPMENT (Book Review) QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY Book Review Authored by: McConwell, A. K. 2020; 95 (1): 78–79

    View details for DOI 10.1086/707883

    View details for Web of Science ID 000515694000027

  • OTaVIO BUENO, RUEY-LIN CHEN, & MELINDA BONNIE FAGAN (eds.), Individuation, Process, and Scientific Practice, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018, x+308 pp. History and philosophy of the life sciences McConwell, A. K. 2020; 42 (1): 4

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s40656-019-0297-3

    View details for PubMedID 31907665

  • Walking the Line: A Tempered View of Contingency and Convergence in Life's History : Review of Jonathan B. Losos: Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution (2017). Acta biotheoretica McConwell, A. K. 2019

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10441-019-09347-x

    View details for PubMedID 31098759

  • Contingency's causality and structural diversity BIOLOGY & PHILOSOPHY McConwell, A. K. 2019; 34 (2)
  • Contingency and Individuality: A Plurality of Individuality Types Philosophy of Science McConwell, A. K. 2017; 84 (5)
  • Gouldian Arguments and the Sources of Contingency Biology and Philosophy McConwell, A. K., Currie, A. 2017; 32 (2)
  • Review of Maureen O'Malley's Philosophy of Microbiology (2014) The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science McConwell, A. K. 2015; 0: 1-5
  • Review of Thomas Pradeu's The Limits of the Self: Immunology and Biological Identity (2012) Philosophy in Review McConwell, A. K. 2015; 35 (3): 171-173