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The Australian National University

Rachael Brown

Position: Lecturer

School or Centre: School of Philosophy

Phone: 61 2 6125 4355
Location: HC Coombs Building, Room 3210

Website: My profile website


B.Sc. (The Univeristy of Melbourne)

B.A. (Hons., The Univeristy of Melbourne)

PhD (Australian National University)


Rachael Brown is lecturer in the School of Philosophy at the Research School of Social Sciences at the ANU. From 2014-2016, she was a lecturer at Macquarie University, and, from 2013-2014, a postdoctoral fellow at the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. Rachael works primarily at the intersection of the philosophy of biology, philosophy of cognitive science, and philosophy of science. She is particularly interested in the evolution of cognition and behaviour; the relationship between Evo-devo and the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis; model-based reasoning in biology and philosophy; and methodological issues in the study of animal behaviour and cognition.

Research Interests

Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Science


  • Brown, R. L. (2015) “A clear-eyed defense of philosophy of biology” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 49: 63-65.
  • Brown, R. L. (2015) “Why development matters” Biology & Philosophy, 30(6): 889-899. Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 889-899.
  • Brown, R. L. (2014) “What Evolvability Really Is.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. 65(3): 549-572.
  • Brown, R. L. (2014) “Rethinking Behavioural Evolution,” in Entangled Life: Organism and Environment in the Biological and Social Sciences, Barker, Desjardins & Pearce (eds.) Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp 237-260.
  • Brown, R. L. (2014) “Identifying Behavioral Novelty” Biological Theory. 9(2): 135-148.
  • Brown, R. L. (2013) “Learning, Evolvability and Exploratory Behaviour: Extending the Evolutionary Reach of Learning.” Biology & Philosophy. 28(6): 933-955.
  • McNamara, K., Brown, R. L., Elgar, M. & Jones, T. (2008) “Paternity Costs from Polyandry Compensated by Increased Fecundity in the Hide Beetle.” Behavioral Ecology, 19: 433-440.


2014: Sir Karl Popper Essay Prize, British Society for the Philosophy of Science for ‘What Evolvability Really Is’ (BJPS 65 (3), 549-572).


PHIL1004: Fundamental Ideas in Philosophy: An Introduction
Philosophy of Cognitive Science
Science in Society: Ethics, Public Policy and Scientific Practice
PHIL2082: Sex and Death: Philosophy of Biology
Science Fiction and Philosophy

Updated: 4 July 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher