Lindley Darden
Research Professor
AOS: History and Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Science, Artificial Intelligence
Office: 1102A Skinner Building

Lindley Darden (PhD, University of Chicago) is Professor of Philosophy and an affiliate in the Department of History and in theBehavior, Evolution, Ecology, and Systematics (BEES) Concentration Area, the Computational Biology, Bioinformatics and Genomics (CBBG) Concentration Area, and the Molecular & Cellular Biology (MOCB) of the Biological Sciences Graduate Program (BISI). She is a philosopher of science and a historian of biology. In June 2006, she was a Visiting Professor in the Centre Cavailles for History and Philosophy of Science at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris and in 2008, the Clark-Way-Harrison Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. She was President of the International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, 2001-2003. She was elected a Fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science in 1995 and was designated a Distinguished Scholar/Teacher of the University of Maryland for 2006.Her research focuses on reasoning in scientific change. She views the development of scientific knowledge as progressing through iterative cycles of construction, evaluation, and revision of hypotheses. More specifically, she investigates the conceptual aspects of discovery of biological mechanisms from the nineteenth through the twenty-first century, such as evolutionary and genetic mechanisms. She also explores the implications of such discoveries for science education, medicine, and environmental policy. Her current area of research is on computational methods for aiding the discovery of molecular biological and disease mechanisms.


Darden, Lindley and Pal, Lipika R. and Kundu, Kunal and Moult, John (2017) The Product Guides the Process: Discovering Disease Mechanisms. [Preprint] Available:

In Search of Mechanisms: Discoveries Across the Life Sciences, with Carl Craver, University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Reasoning in Biological Discoveries: Mechanism, Interfield Relations, and Anomaly Resolution. Cambridge Studies in Biology and Philosophy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Paperback 2009.

Theory Change in Science: Strategies from Mendelian Genetics, New York: Oxford University Press, Series in History and Philosophy of Biology, 1991.

"Mechanisms versus Causes in Biology and Medicine" (2013), in Hsiang-Ke Chao, Szu-Ting Chen, and Roberta L. Millstein (eds.), Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics. The Netherlands: Springer, pp. 19-34. 

"Discovering Mechanisms in Molecular Biology: Finding and Fixing Incompleteness and Incorrectness, " (2009) in J. Meheus and T. Nickles (eds.), Models of Discovery and Creativity. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 43-55.

"Molecular Biology," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),

"Thinking Again About Mechanisms," Philosophy of Science 75 (5):958-969 (2008)

"Relations Among Fields: Mendelian, Cytological and Molecular Mechanisms," in Carl F. Craver and Lindley Darden (eds.) Special Issue: Mechanisms in Biology, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological Sciences. vol. 36: 357-371, Issue 2, June 2005.

"Discovering Mechanisms: A Computational Philosophy of Science Perspective," in Klaus P. Jantke and Ayumi Shinohara (eds.), Discovery Science (Proceedings of the 4th International Conference, DS2001). New York: Springer-Verlag, pp. 3-15.

"Thinking About Mechanisms," with Peter Machamer and Carl Craver, Philosophy of Science 67 (2000): 1-25. (Refereed to as MDC.)