Frédéric Bouchard

Université de Montréal, Département de philosophie

After completing a BA and MA in philosophy at the Université de Montréal (MA 2000), I completed a PhD in philosophy at Duke University (Ph.D. 2004) under the supervision of Alex Rosenberg (committee: Robert Brandon, Owen Flanagan and Dan McShea). I then went on to pursue a post-doc followship at the IHPST, University of Toronto under Paul Thompson's supervision.

My research interest focus mainly on the concept of fitness and the role it plays in evolutionary theory. As a philosopher of biology I also examine other topics such as the nature of explanations in ecology, reductionism, the notions of laws and trends in biological explanations, and the concept of biological individuality. I try to link these concerns to broader concerns in philosophy of science.

Most of these interests stem from an epistemological and ontological concern about 'exotic' biological systems that are often ill-served by existing explanatory schema. My research has lead me to examine clonal species (e.g. Quaking aspen), colonial organisms (e.g. Macrotermes michaelseni) and symbiotic communities (e.g. the association of Euprymna scolopes et Vibrio fischeri).


  1. Frédéric Bouchard (ACCEPTÉ/ACCEPTED)"Symbiosis, Lateral Function Transfer and the (many) saplings of life", Biology and Philosophy[www; PDF]

  2. Frédéric Bouchard (2009) "Understanding colonial traits using symbiosis research and ecosystem ecology", Biological Theory Vol 4 (3) pp.240-246[www; PDF]

  3. Frédéric Bouchard (2009) "La fitness au-delà des gènes et des organismes" in Les mondes darwiniens ed par Heams, Huneam, Lecointre & Siberstein, Éditions Syllepse, France, pp. 285-304 [www]

  4. Frédéric Bouchard (2009) Book review of "Science, Politics and Evolution" by Elisabeth A. Lloyd in Isis 2009, 100: 444-445 journal [www; PDF)

  5. Frédéric Bouchard (2008) "Causal Processes, Fitness and the Differential Persistence of Lineages" Philosophy of Science 75 2008: 560-570 journal [www; PDF]

  6. Frédéric Bouchard (2008) "Ernst Mayr et la définition des espèces"[in numéro anniversaire sur l'héritage de Darwin], Les dossiers de LA RECHERCHE, 33: 50-54

  7. Alex Rosenberg et Frédéric Bouchard (2008), 'Fitness' (2e édition) in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (

  8. Frédéric Bouchard, (2007) Book review of "Minerva's Aviary: Philosophy at Toronto, 1843-2003." by John G. Slater. in Scientia Canadensis 30 (2) 2007 : 123-142 [www; PDF]

  9. Frédéric Bouchard (2007) "Évolution d'écosystèmes sans réduction à la fitness des parties" in Le tout et les parties dans les systèmes naturels, collection « Philosophie des sciences Â», ed Th. Martin, Éditions Vuibert, Paris, pp.57-64.[www]

  10. Frédéric Bouchard (2007) "Moving beyond the influence of molecular genetics on the debate about reductionism in philosophy of biology" in The Influence of Genetics in Scientific and Philosophical Thinking, collection "Logic, Epistemology and the Unity of Science", Vol.6, co-ed.Anne Fagot-Largeault, Shahid Rahman, Juan Manuel Torres, Springer Academic Publishers. 280 p.[www ; PDF]

  11. Frédéric Bouchard (2007) 'Rationalité et néo-darwinisme : l'origine de la pensée selon de Sousa', Dialogue: revue canadienne de philosophie Vol.46 (1) pp.155-163 [www; PDF]

  12.  Frédéric Bouchard,(2007) 'Ideas that stand the [evolutionary] test of time.', Interdisciplines: adaptation and representation, C.N.R.S, Paris.[www; PDF]

  13. Frédéric Bouchard (2006), 'Fitness' in The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia, pp.310-315, ed. par Sahotra Sarkar et Jessica Pfeifer, Routledge Press.[www]

  14. Alex Rosenberg et Frederic Bouchard (2005) "Matthen and Ariew's Obituary to Fitness: Reports of Its Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated" Biology and Philosophy Vol.20 (2-3) pp.343-353. [SITE ;PDF)

  15. Frédéric Bouchard et Alex Rosenberg (2004) "Fitness, Probability and the Principles of Natural Selection" British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Vol. 55 (4) 2004, pp.693-712.[www; PDF]

  16. Frédéric Bouchard et Alexander Rosenberg (2003), "Drift, Fitness and the Foundations of Probability", in: Determinism in Physics and Biology, ed.  Andreas Hüttemann, Paderborn: mentis: 108-137.

  17. Alex Rosenberg et Frederic Bouchard, (2003) 'Fitness' in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (

  18. (IN PREPARATION) Frédéric Bouchard, "How Ecosystem Evolution Strengthens the Case for Functional Pluralism" [PDF]

Online papers