portrait Meunier

Robert Meunier

Fellow 12-14

History and Philosophy of the Life-Sciences


Robert Meunier studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the Technical University Berlin. From 2008-2011 he held a fellowship in the programme „Foundations & Ethics of the Life Sciences“ at the European School of Molecular Medicine (Milan, Italy). He was awarded his PhD from the University of Milan for a thesis titled „Thick and Thin Characters: Organismal Form and Representational Practice in Embryology and Genetics.” In 2010 Robert spend eight month as a visiting researcher at the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society at the University of Exter, UK. In 2012 he worked as a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin) in a group dedicated to “Historicizing Knowledge about Human Biological Diversity in the 20th Century” on a project on the relation of genetics and medicine around 1900.

ICI Project (2012-14)

The Historical Dynamics of Plurality in the Life Sciences - Perspectives of Practice and the Parts and Properties of Organisms

The proposed project is part of an ongoing investigation in the genealogy and structure of the plurality of disciplinary perspectives in the life sciences. The method employed is to compare from a historical point of view the role parts and properties of organisms play in different disciplines and the ways they are individuated through representational practices. The comparative character of the larger project allows showing how the relevant categories in a discipline result from specific practices, how different perspectives within the life-sciences interact and change, and how they are embedded into cultural practices in a broader sense. Following previous work that focused on anatomy, embryology, genetics and medicine, the partial project pursued at the ICI focuses on the reconfiguration of taxonomic and functional interpretations of parts and properties of organisms through evolutionary theory. By tracking this process from the eighteenth century through its interaction with the emergence of the concepts and practices of genetics, the study will contribute to a reconstruction of today ́s configuration of perspectives.


“Stages in the development of a model organism as a platform for mechanistic models in developmental biology: Zebrafish, 1970–2000.” In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 43 (2), 2012.
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