Dr Emily Parke

PhD (University of Pennsylvania)

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Senior Lecturer


I am a philosopher of science with a mixed background in philosophy and biology. Before coming to New Zealand I grew up in Seattle, got my BA at Reed College in Oregon, spent four years in Italy working for a synthetic biology company, and completed my PhD at the University of Pennsylvania.

I work on philosophical questions about scientific inquiry and methodology. My areas of research focus include the philosophy of biology (especially microbiology, astrobiology, evolutionary and conservation biology), philosophy of science (especially experiments and models), bioethics and environmental ethics. During my PhD I worked in a lab doing experimental microbial evolution, and a lot of my work involves thinking about this and other areas of inquiry that challenge our ideas about life and its simplest forms.

I am co-organizing a national panel advising on social and ethical issues in invasive species management in New Zealand, specifically regarding Predator Free 2050, with funding from the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge. You can learn more about the panel’s activities through our information page or this interview.

I am also an executive member of Te Ao Mārama—Centre for Fundamental Inquiry, a new research center in the Faculty of Science at the University of Auckland focusing on fundamental questions about life and the universe.

Research | Current

  • Philosophy of scientific experimentation and modelling
  • Philosophy of microbiology
  • Philosophy of astrobiology and origin of life research
  • Philosophy of conservation and invasion biology

Teaching | Current

In 2019 I am teaching the following concurrent courses:

PHIL 263 Philopsophy of Biology

PHIL 363 Philopsophy of Biology

In alternate years I teach:

PHIL 260 Philosophy of Science

PHIL 360 Philosophy of Science

I also teach at the postgraduate level in Philosophy and in the School of Biological Sciences (note these courses are not running in 2019):

BIOSCI739 Dialogues in Biology

PHIL749 Philosophy of Science 1 (focal topics change year to year)

PHIL750 Philosophy of Science 2 (focal topics change year to year)


Areas of expertise

Philosophy of Science

Philosophy of Biology

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

Contact details

Office hours

I am on Research and Study Leave in Semester 1 2019, but will be in Auckland part of the time and am happy to meet by appointment. 

Primary office location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
Level 4, Room 427
New Zealand

Social links

Web links