Robert Richardson

Robert C. Richardson

Charles Phelps Taft Professor | Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Science, Cognitive Science

McMicken Hall


A&S Philosophy - 0374

Professional Summary

Dr. Robert C. Richardson is the Charles Phelps Taft Professor of Philosophy in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. He is a fellow of the AAAS, and a fellow in the Graduate School at the University of Cincinnati. He earned hs B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Colorado (1971) and his M.A. and Ph.D. with homors from the University of Chicago (1977). He has held numerous visiting appointments including, most recently, as Gervinus Fellow at the Universität Osnabrück (2008-2009), as a Mercator professor of Cognititve Science, Universität OsnabrUuck (2005), and Visiting Research Professor in the Department of Molecular Cell Physiology, Free university of Amsterdam (1993-94). Professor Richardson is the author of Discovering Complexity: Decomposition and Localization as Strategies in Scientific Research (Princeton 1993) considered a seminal work in the area of philosophy of science and biology, and of Evolutionary Psychology as Maladapted Psychology (MIT 2007). He is the author of over eighty academic articles in the areas of philosophy of science, cognitive science, philosophy of ecology, history of biology (19th century), philosophy of the mind, and the history of psychology. Professor Richardson has received awards and grant support from the National Science Foundation, National Research Council, National Endowment for the Humanitites, and the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study in Delmenhorst, Germany and serves on numerous editorial boards for academic journals and presses. In the near three decades of service to the University of Cincinnati, Professor Richardson has served two terms as Head of the Department of Philosophy, several terms as Director of Graduate Studies, and as a member of the Charles Phelps Taft Faculty Executive Board as well as Taft standing committees.


Ph.D., University of Chicago 1976

Research and Practice Interests

Richardson's primary research interests include issues in philosophy of science, cognitive science, and the history of modern philosophy. Within philosophy of science, Richardson works on philosophy of biology (particularly issues related to evolutionary theory and development) and on theories of scientific change. Within cognitive science, Richardson focuses on accounts of human judgment, as well as on broader issues concerning philosophy and psychology.

Research Support

Investigators:Richardson, Boogerd, Bruggeman, Stephan 2005 -2005 Hanse Institute Hanse Institute for Advanced Study (Delmenhorst, Germany), jointly with F. Boogerd, F. Bruggeman (Free University, Amsterdam), and A. Stephan (Osnabrück), Type:Fellowship

Investigators:Richardson 2008 -2009 Volkswagen Foundation Senior Gervinus Fellow in Cognitive Science Active Type:Fellowship

Investigators:Richardson 1990 -1992 National Science Foundation

Investigators:Richardson and P.W. Bechtel 1985 -1986 National Endowment for the Humanities Completed Type:Fellowship

Investigators:Richardson 1984 -1984 National Science Foundation Type:Fellowship

Investigators:Richardson 1980 -1981 National Endowment for the Humanities Type:Fellowship

Abbreviated Publications


Richardson (2007). Evolutionary Psychology as Maladapted Psychology. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Richardson & Bechtel (1993). Discovering Complexity: Decomposition and Localization as Strategies in Scientific Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Invited Publication

Richardson & Stephan (2007). “What Physicalists Should Provide Us With …”. C. Penco, M. Beaney, and M. Vignolo, eds. Explaining the Mental: Naturalist and Non-Naturalist Approaches to Mental Acts and Processes (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007) 207-221.

Richardson (2007). “Reduction without the Structures”. M. Schouten and H. Looren de Jong, eds., The Matter of Mind (London: Blackwell), 123-145.

Richardson & Stephan (2007). “Mechanisms in Systems Biology”. in F. Boogerd and F. Bruggeman, eds., Theory and Philosophy of Systems Biology (Elsevier), 123-144.

Richardson. “Evolutionary Psychology”. P. Thagard, ed., Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science (Elsevier), 317-358.

Richardson (2006). “Explanation and Causality in Self-Organizing Systems”. B. Feltz, M. Crommelinck and P. Goujon, eds., Self-Organization and Emergence in Life Sciences (Spri, 315-340.

Richardson, Boogerd, Bruggeman, Stephan (2005). “Interaktion von Biologie and Wissenschaftsphilosophie: Mechanistiche Erklärungen emergenten Verhaltens von Zellen”. U. Krohs and G. Toepfer, eds., Philosophie der Biologie – Eine Einführung (Suhrkamp Verlag, 379-99.

Kane & Richardson (2005). “Natural Selection”. in D. Culver, ed., Encyclopedia of Caves.

Kane & Richardson (2003). “Orthogenesis”. The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science. Oxford University Press 669, 670.

Richardson. “Reduction”. Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (New York: Macmillan 2002) 897, 904.

Richardson (2001). “Evolution without History: Critical Reflections on Evolutionary Psychology”. in H. Holcomb, ed., Conceptual Challenges in Evolutionary Psychology (Dordrecht: Kluwer) 327, 373.

Richardson (1999). “Explication et Causalité dans les Systèmes Auto-organisés”. in B. Feltz, M. Crommelinck, and P. Goujon, eds., Auto-organisation et Émergence dan les Sciences de la Vie (Brussels: OUSIA, ) 439, 474.

Richardson (1999). “Heuristics, ” ; "Black Box, " "Figure-Ground, " "Modularity, " "Split Brain Effects, " and "Zeigarnik Effect, ." in R. Audi, ed., The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, second edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 310-311, 379, 579, 874-5, 987.

Richardson (1999). “Functional Decomposition." in R. A. Wilson, and F. C. Keil, ed., MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (Cambridge: MIT Press) 328, 329.

Richardson (1998). "Heuristics and Satisficing." in W. Bechtel and G. Graham, eds., A Companion to Cognitive Science.(London: Basil Blackwell) 566, 575.

Bechtel & Richardson (1998). "Vitalism." Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul), 9, 639, 643.

Burian & Richardson (1996). "Form and Order in Evolutionary Biology." in M. A. Boden, ed., The Philosophy of Artificial Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press 146, 172.

Richardson (1995). "Black Box, " "Figure-Ground, " "Modularity, " "Split Brain Effects, " and "Zeigarnik Effect, ." in R. Audi, ed., The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) 76-77, 267, 503-4, 763-4, 865.

Bechtel & Richardson (1992). "Emergent Phenomena and Complex Systems." in A. Beckermann, H. Flohr, and J. Kim, eds., Emergence or Reduction? Essays on the Prospects of Nonreductive Physicalism. (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter) 257, 288.

Kane & Richardson (1989). "Orthogenesis and Evolution in the Nineteenth Century." in Matthew Nitecki, ed., Evolutionary Progress (University of Chicago Press) 149, 168.

Richardson (1988). "Objects and Fields, ." in Herbert R. Otto and James A. Tuedio, ed., Perspectives on Mind (Dordrecht: D. Reidel) 283, 292.

Richardson (1988). "Objects and Fields, ." in Herbert R. Otto and James A. Tuedio, ed., Perspectives on Mind (Dordrecht: D. Reidel) 283, 292.

Richardson (1986). "Language, Thought, and Communication." in W. Bechtel, ed., Integrating Scientific Disciplines (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers) 263, 283.

Richardson (1986). "Models and Scientific Idealizations, ." in P. Weingartner and F. Dörn, eds., Foundations of Biology (Vienna: Holder-Pichler-Tempsky) 109, 144.

Richardson (1985). "Biological Reductionism and Genic Selectionism." in James H. Fetzer, ed., Sociobiology and Epistemology (Dordrecht: D. Reidel) 133, 160.

Richardson (1983). "The Use of Models in Biological Explanation." Proceedings of the Seventh International Congress of Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science, 4, 333, 336.

Richardson (1981). "Internal Representation: Prologue to a Theory of Intentionality." Philosophical Topics, 12, 171, 211.

(1981). "The Justice of Utilitarian Social Organization." in E. Morscher and Rudolf Stranzinger, eds., Ethics: Foundations, Problems, and Applications" (Dordrecht: D. Reidel) 271, 273.

Work in Progress

Bechtel & Richardson (2009). Discovering Complexity: Decomposition and Localization as Strategies in Scientific Research. Cambridge: MIT Press.


Richardson (2007). W. Wimsatt, Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality.Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews,

Richardson (2001). S.P. Rose, Lifelines: Biology Beyond Determinism. Journal of the History of Biology 34, 223, 224.

Richardson (2000). M. Levin, Why Race Matters. Ethics 11, 847, 848.

Richardson (2000). J. Maienschein, and M. Ruse, eds., Biology and the Foundation of Ethics. The Quarterly Review of Biology 75, 168.

Richardson (2000). H. Hermann, From Biology to Sociopolitics: Conceptual Continuity in Complex Systems. The Quarterly Review of Biology 75:, 41.

Richardson (1996). Critical Review of Robert Brandon, Adaptation and Environment. Philosophy of Science 63, 122, 136.

Richardson (1994). M. Fisch, William Whewell, Philosopher of Science. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 16, 165, 167.

(1991). P. Thompson, The Structure of Biological Thought. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 13, 343, 346.

Morris & Richardson (1989). "Critical Review: B. O'Shaunnesy, The Will." Nous 23, 677, 688.

(1984). R. Dawkins, The Extended Phenotype: The Gene as the Unit of Selection. Philosophy of Science 51, 357, 359.

Richardson (1984). A. Grünbaum, The Foundations of Psychoanalysis. APA Philosophy and Medicine Newsletter, 1, 4.

(1983). C. Wade Savage, Perception and Cognition. Nous 17, 482, 494.

(1981). M. Ruse, The Darwinian Revolution. Environmental Ethics 3, 75, 83.

Richardson (1980). Teaching Philosophy 3, [Review of "Review Essay: Sociobiology" ] 479, 489.

Peer Reviewed Publications

Richardson (2008). “Multiple Realization and Methodological Pluralism”. Synthese.

Richardson (2008). “Autonomy and Multiple Realization”. Philosophy of Science.

Richardson (2001). “Complexity, Self Organization and Selection”. Biology and Philosophy, 16, 655, 683.

Richardson (2000). “The Organism in Development”. Philosophy of Science, 67, 312, 321.

Richardson (2000). “Epicycles and Explanations in Evolutionary Psychology, ”. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 46, 49.

Richardson (1997). "Natural and Artificial Complexity." Philosophy of Science, 64, S255, S267.

Richardson (1996). "The Prospects for an Evolutionary Psychology: Human Language and Human Reasoning." Minds and Machines, 6, 541, 557.

Burian, Richardson & van der Steen (1996). "Against Generality: Meaning in Genetics and Philosophy." Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 27, 1, 29.

Morris & Richardson (1995). "How Not to Demarcate Cognitive Science and Folk Psychology." Minds and Machines, 5, 339, 355.

Richardson (1994). "Optimization in Evolutionary Ecology." PSA 1994, 1, 13, 21.

Morris & Richardson. "Mismatching Categories." Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 16, 62, 63.

Burian & Richardson (1992). "A Defense of Propensity Interpretations of Fitness." PSA 1992, 1, 349, 362.

. "Form and Order in Evolutionary Biology: Stuart Kauffman's Transformation of Theoretical Biology." PSA 1990, 2, 267, 287.

Kane, Richardson & Fong (1990). "The Phenotype as the Level of Selection: Cave Organisms as Natural Model Systems." PSA 1990., 1, 151, 164.

Richardson (1990). "The Tally Argument and the Validation of Psychoanalysis." Philosophy of Science, 57, 668, 676.

Richardson (1986). "Models and Scientific Explanations." Philosophica, 37, 59, 72.

Kane & Richardson (1985). "Regressive Evolution: An Historical Perspective." Bulletin of the National Speleological Society, 47, 71, 77.

Richardson (1985). "Union and Interaction of Body and Soul." Journal of the History of Philosophy, 23, 221, 226.

Richardson (1984). "Biology and Ideology: The Interpenetration of Science and Values." Philosophy of Science, 51, 396, 420.

Bechtel & Richardson (1983). "Consciousness and Complexity: Evolutionary Perspectives on the Mind-Body Problem." Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 61, 378, 395.

Richardson & Muilenburg (1983). "Sellars and Sense Impressions." Erkenntnis, 12, 171, 211.

Richardson (1983). "Modality Third Grade." Philosophia, 12, 345, 356.

Richardson (1983). "Brentano on Intentional Inexistence and the Distinction Between Mental and Physical Phenomena." Archiv für Geschichte die Philosophie, 65, 250, 282.

Richardson (1982). "How Not to Reduce a Functional Psychology." Philosophy of Science, 48, 125, 137.

Richardson (1982). "Turing Tests for Intelligence: Ned Block's Defense of Psychologism." Philosophical Studies, 34, 421, 426.

Richardson (1982). "Grades of Organization and the Units of Selection Controversy." PSA 1982, 1, 324, 340.

Richardson (1982). "The 'Scandal' of Cartesian Interactionism." Mind, 90, 20, 37.

Richardson (1981). "Disappearance and the Identity Theory." The Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 11, 473, 485.

Richardson (1980). "Intentional Realism or Intentional Instrumentalism?." Cognition and Brain Theory, 3, 125, 135.

Richardson (1980). "Reductionist Research Programmes in Psychology." PSA 1980, 1, 171, 183.

Richardson (1979). "Functionalism and Reductionism." Philosophy of Science, 45, 533, 558.

Richardson (1975). "A Revised 'Logical Connection Argument." Philosophical Studies, 27, 217, 220.


Invited Presentations

Richardson (2009. )Moral Sentiments .AAAS, Chicago. Professional Meeting. .