John Dupré is the director of the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society and professor of philosophy at the University of Exeter. Dupré was educated at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge and taught at Oxford, Stanford University and Birkbeck College of the University of London before moving to Exeter. Dupré’s chief work area lies in philosophy of biology, philosophy of the social sciences, and general philosophy of science. Together with Nancy Cartwright, Ian Hacking, Patrick Suppes and others, he is often regarded as belonging to the “Stanford School” of philosophy of science. In 2010 Dupré was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of his work on Darwinism, and became President-Elect of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science.
Dupré’s seminal “The Disorder of Things” made a huge impact on me as a philosophy undergrad, and we spend quite some time discussing the background for the book as well as its advancement of a pluralistic model of science as opposed to the common notion of reductionism. We also discuss his complex path through academia, and his work on feminism, evolutionary psychology and other issues centred around the issue of essentialism and the disunity of science.