Charles Wolfe

Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
Philosophy and Moral Sciences

Room 2.03, Blandijnberg 2

Charles T. Wolfe is Research Fellow at the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, University of Ghent, and an associate member of the Unit for History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney. His work focuses on the interrelation between early modern philosophy and the history and philosophy of the life sciences—primarily medicine, 'biology' and natural history—, centering on themes such as the man-machine, mechanism and organism, vitalism and materialism; and figures such as Locke, La Mettrie, and Diderot. He is the author of Materialism: A Historico-Philosophical Introduction (Springer, 2015). He has published in journals including Early Science and Medicine, Perspectives on Science, Journal of the History of Biology, Recherches sur Diderot et l'Encyclopédie, and Dix-huitième siècle; his edited volumes include: Monsters and Philosophy (2005), a special issue of Science in Context on Vitalism without Metaphysics? (2008); The body as object and instrument of knowledge. Embodied empiricism in early modern science (with Ofer Gal, 2010); The Concept of Organism (with Philippe Huneman, special issue of History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 2010); Vitalism and the scientific image, 1800–2010 (with Sebastian Normandin, 2013); and Brain Theory (2014). He is also Co-Editor of the Springer Series 'History, Philosophy & Theory of the Life Sciences'. His current project is a monograph on the conceptual foundations of vitalism.

A list of Charles T. Wolfe's publications can be found here.

Selected publications: 

• (with Motoichi Terada), "The animal economy as object and program in Montpellier vitalism," Science in Context 21:4 (2008), 537-579
• "Do organisms have an ontological status?", History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32:2-3 (2010), 195-232
• (Charles Wolfe and Ofer Gal, eds.), The Body as Object and Instrument of Knowledge. Embodied Empiricism in Early Modern Science, Dordrecht/New York: Springer Verlag, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 2010
• "Endowed molecules and emergent organization: the Maupertuis-Diderot debate", Early Science and Medicine 15 (2010), 38-65
• "Why was there no controversy over Life in the Scientific Revolution?", in V. Boantza & M. Dascal, eds., Controversies in the Scientific Revolution (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2011)
• “On the Role of Newtonian Analogies in Eighteenth-Century Life Science: Vitalism and Provisionally Inexplicable Explicative Devices,” in Zvi Biener and Eric Schliesser, eds., Newton and Empiricism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)
• “Epigenesis as Spinozism in Diderot’s biological project,” in Ohad Nachtomy and Justin E.H. Smith, eds., The Life Sciences in Early Modern Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014)
• “The ‘physiology of the understanding’ and the ‘mechanics of the soul’: reflections on some phantom philosophical projects,” Quaestio 16 (2016)