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Aleta Quinn

Associate Professor of Philosophy


205G Administration Building



Mailing Address

Department of Politics and Philosophy
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3165
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3165

Aleta Quinn researches the history and philosophy of biology, in particular the study of biodiversity. Prior to coming to the University of Idaho, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at California Institute of Technology and a Research Collaborator with the Smithsonian Institution.

  • Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh, 2015
  • B.A. Philosophy, University of Maryland, 2005
  • B.S. Biology, University of Maryland 2005

  • Quinn, A. 2019. “Diagnosing discordance: signal in data, conflict in paradigms.” Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 11(17).
  • Quinn, A. 2019. “Biological kinds at the turn of the 20th century: characters, genes, and species as theoretical elements.” Pp. 43-60 in Unnatural Kinds: Perspectives on Classification in Synthetic Sciences (Julia Bursten, ed.). London: Routledge History and Philosophy of Technoscience Book Series.
  • Quinn, A. 2018. “Darwin’s first theory: exploring Darwin’s quest to find a theory of the Earth.” [Book Review]. The Quarterly Review of Biology 93: 356-357.
  • Quinn, A. 2018. “How to be a systematist.” Pp. 187-198 in Living with Animals: Bonds Across Species (Natalie Porter and Ilana Gershon, eds.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
  • Quinn, A. 2017. “Whewell on Classification and Consilience.” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 64: 65-74.
  • Quinn, A. 2017. “When is a cladist not a cladist?” Biology and Philosophy 32(4): 581-594.
  • Quinn, A. “How to Classify Animals.” [Invited]. Forthcoming in How to Do Things with Animals: Imagined Field Guides for Social Tasks (Natalie Porter and Ilana Gershon, eds.). Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.
  • Quinn, A. 2016. “Run the Experiment, Publish the Study, Close the Sale: Commercialized Biomedical Research.” De Ethica 3(2): 5-21.
  • Quinn, A. 2016. “Charles Girard: Relationships and Representation in 19th Century Systematics.” Journal of the History of Biology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10739-016-9447-6
  • Quinn, A. 2016. “William Whewell’s Philosophy of Architecture and the Historicization of Biology.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 59: 11-19.
  • Quinn, A. 2016. “Phylogenetic Inference to the Best Explanation and the Bad Lot Argument.” Synthese 193(9): 3025-3039.
  • Helgen, K.M., C.M. Pinto, R. Kays, L.E. Helgen, M.T.N. Tsuchiya, A. Quinn, D.E. Wilson, and J.E. Maldonado. 2013. “Taxonomic Revision of the Olingos (Bassaricyon), with Description of a New Species, the Olinguito.” Zookeys 324: 1-83. 
  • Quinn, A., and D.E. Wilson. 2005. “Tasmanian Tiger – the Tragic Tale of How the World Lost its Most Mysterious Predator [Book Review].” Journal of Mammalogy 86(3): 639-640.
  • Quinn, A., and D.E. Wilson. 2005. “The Last Tasmanian Tiger: The History and Extinction of the Thylacine [Book Review].” Journal of Mammalogy 86(3): 639.
  • Quinn, A., and D.E. Wilson. 2004. “Daubentonia madagascariensis.” Mammalian Species 740: 1-6.
  • Quinn, A., and D.E. Wilson. 2002. “Indri indri.” Mammalian Species 694: 1-5.

  • SEED Grant, University of Idaho, 2018
  • Postdoctoral Instructorship in Philosophy of Science, California Institute of Technology, 2016  
  • Distinguished Research Fellowship, Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, 2015  
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of South Florida 2015-2017 [declined]  
  • University of Pittsburgh Provost’s Development Fund Award, 2014  
  • Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellowship, 2014   
  • Library Resident Research Fellowship, American Philosophical Society, 2014 [declined]  
  • Elizabeth Baranger Graduate Teaching Award Nominee, 2012  
  • University of Maryland Honors Program, 2001-2005  
  • University of Maryland Presidential Honors Scholarship, 2001-2005  
  • Golden Key International Honors Society, 2001-2005


Department of Politics and Philosophy

Physical Address:
205 Administration Building

Mailing Address:
Department of Politics and Philosophy
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3165
Moscow, ID 83844-3165

Phone: 208-885-6328