Nathalie Gontier

Bio | Situação no CFCUL | Produção Científica | CV

Nathalie Gontier

Bio || Bio

Nathalie Gontier is a researcher for the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon, sponsored by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology under law 57/2016, and she is an Integrated Member of the Center for Philosophy of Sciences where, since 2012, she is the director of AppEEL – The Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab that was founded with the support of the John Templeton Foundation. She has a background in both Philosophy and Comparative Science of Cultures (Cultural Anthropology), and she holds a PhD in Philosophy of Science. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Springer Book Series Interdisciplinary Evolution Research, Associate editor for Evolutionary Biology, Advisory Editorial Board Member for Theoria et Historia Scientiarum, and Review Editor for Frontiers in Psychology/Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. She seats on the permanent board of the Protolang Conference Series, she is a Member of the Third Way of Evolution, and a collaborator for the Astra project. Previously, she has been an Invited Associate Researcher for the Autonomous section for History and Philosophy of Science at the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon, a part-time Professor of Philosophy of Science at the Dutch Free University of Brussels (Belgium); with the support of the Marie Curie Actions under Framework 7 of the European Union, she has worked at the Division of Paleontology of the American Museum of Natural History (New York City, USA); she has been a Post-Doctoral Fellow for the Portuguese Fund for Science and Technology; a Research Assistant for the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (Belgium); and a Research Fellow at the Austrian Konrad Lorenz Institute. Her publications include a monograph on theories on the origin and evolution of life that deviate from the standard paradigm (in Dutch), and she has edited several books and academic journals on topics of biological, linguistic and sociocultural evolution. Her personal website can be found at

Áreas de Interesse || Current Research

  1. Philosophy of Evolutionary Biology with focus on the Extended Synthesis (reticulate evolution, macroevolution and hierarchy theory)
  2. Applied Evolutionary Epistemology (the units and levels of evolution debate)
  3. Anthropology of Science (scientific practices and interdisciplinarity)
  4. Origins and Evolution of Language

Situação no CFCUL || Position at the CFCUL

Membro Integrado Doutorado / Post-Doc FCT

Projecto Pós-Doc || Post-Doc Research Project

Referência da bolsa: SFRH/BPD/89195/2012
Applied Evolutionary Epistemology: How can the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis be implemented into the sociocultural domain?
Orientação: Olga Pombo
Início: 2013

Grupos de Investigação || Research Groups

Epistemologia e Metodologia (Membro)

Área de Investigação Epistemologia Evolucionária (Head)

Área de Investigação Filosofia da Biologia (Colaborador)


Linhas Temáticas || Thematic Lines

Unidade da Ciência e Interdisciplinaridade (Membro)

Participação em Projectos || Participation in Projects

Em Curso | Ongoing

Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab (Director)



Contactos || Contacts

Campo Grande, C4.3.24 - 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal

+351 217 500 000 (Ext. 24323)





Produção Científica (Selecção) || Scientific Production (Selection)

Publicações || Publications

Livros / Books
  1. 2015: Gontier, N. (ed). Reticulate Evolution: Symbiogenesis, Lateral Gene Transfer, Hybridization and Infectious heredity. Interdisciplinary Evolution Research Vol 3, Springer, Dordrecht.
  2. 2015: Serrelli E. & Gontier, N. (eds). Macroevolution: Explanation, Interpretation and Evidence. Interdisciplinary Evolution Research Vol 2, Springer Dordrecht.
  3. 2014: Pina, M. & Gontier, N. The Evolution of Social Communication in Primates: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Interdisciplinary Evolution Research Vol 1, Springer Dordrecht.
  4. 2006: Gontier, N., Van Bendegem, J.P. & Aerts, D. (eds). Evolutionary Epistemology, Language and Culture: a Non-Adaptationist Systems Theoretical Approach. Springer, Dordrecht (NL). [Theory and decision library, Series A, 39. Series editor: Nida-Rümelin, J.]
  5. 2006: Gontier, N. & Mondt, K. (eds.). Dynamisch Inter(-en trans)disciplinair Taal Onderzoek: De nieuwe taalwetenschappen. (Dynamic Inter(-and trans)disciplinary language research: the new language sciences." Gent: Academia press, Ginkgo.
  6. 2004: De oorsprong en evolutie van leven: 15 van het standaardparadigma afwijkende thesen. Van voorwoord en nawoord voorzien door Philip Polk en Jean Paul Van Bendegem (The origin and evolution of life, 15 non-Neodarwinian theses). Brussel: Vubpress.
Capítulos de Livros / Book Chapters
  1. 2012: Introducing Universal Symbiogenesis. In: O. Pombo et al. (eds.), Special Sciences and the Unity of Science. 89-111. Dordrecht: Springer. [Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science 24] DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-2030-5
  2. 2009: "The origin of the social approach in language and cognitive research exemplified by studies into the origin of language." In, Pishwa, H. (ed.), Language and Social Cognition: Expressions of the social mind, pp. 25-46. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. [Trends in Linguistics.]
  3. 2006: "An epistemological inquiry into the 'what is language' question and the 'what did language evolve for' question." In: Cangelosi, A., Smith, A., & Smith, K. The evolution of language: proceedings of the 6th international conference (EVOLANG 6), pp. 107-114. London: World Scientific.
  4. 2006: "Introduction to evolutionary epistemology, language and culture." In: Gontier, N., Van Bendegem, J.P. & Aerts, D. (eds). Evolutionary Epistemology, Language and Culture: a Non-Adaptationist Systems Theoretical Approach, pp. 1-29. Springer, Dordrecht (NL). [Theory and decision library, Series A, 39. Series editor: Nida-Rümelin, J.]
  5. 2006: "Evolutionary epistemology and the origin and evolution of language: taking symbiogenesis seriously." In: Gontier, N., Van Bendegem, J.P. & Aerts, D. (eds). Evolutionary Epistemology, Language and Culture: a Non-Adaptationist Systems Theoretical Approach, pp. 195-226. Springer, Dordrecht (NL). [Theory and decision library, Series A, 39. Series editor: Nida-Rümelin, J.]
Artigos / Articles
  1. 2012: "Applied Evolutionary Epistemology: A new methodology to enhance interdisciplinary research between the human and natural sciences." Kairos, Journal of Philosophy and Science, 4: 7-49.
  2. 2012: Selectionist Approaches in Evolutionary Linguistics: An Epistemological Analysis. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (1): 67–95.
  3. 2011: "Depicting the tree of life: The philosophical and historical roots of evolutionary tree diagrams." Evolution, Education and Outreach 4 (3): 515-38.
  4. 2010: "Evolutionary epistemology as a scientific method: a new look upon the units and levels of evolution debate." Theory in Biosciences 129 (2-3): 167-182.
  5. 2008: "Genes, Brains, and Language: Would Someone Please Pull the Brakes?" Review of General Psychology, 12 (2): 170-180.
  6. 2007: "Universal symbiogenesis: a genuine alternative to universal selectionist accounts." Symbiosis 44: 167-181, 15 pp. Journal impact factor 2007: 0,598.
Edited Special Issues in Journals
  1. 2016. Gontier, N., Guest editor, "Special Issue on Evolutionary Patterns", Journal Evolutionary Biology, Volume 43 · Number 4 · December 2016.
  2. 2010. Gontier, N., Carrapiço, F., Pina, M., Levy, A. & Abreu, H. (guest editors) Double special issue: Darwin evaluated by contemporary evolutionary and philosophical theories. Theory in Biosciences 129, number 2-3
CD-Room, Webpages and Vídeos
  1. 1. 2011: Promotional video on the European Union and the United States, global partners (filmed by the European Union, External Action).

Reuniões Científicas || Scientific Meetings

Colóquios / Colloquia
  1. 2009. International colloquium "Illustration in Darwin: the tree as an image in evolution". The colloquium was part of the 2-day conference Darwin and scientific illustration.
Mini Symposia and International Conferences
  1. 2013: Two AAAS Sessions on the Extended Synthesis
  2. 2013: ISHPSSB Roundtable on Evolution's Narratives
  3. 2012: AAA Session on cultural transmission studies: Tree and network models of micro- and macroevolution
  4. 4. 2007: ISHPSSB- Double theme session on The Impact of Symbiosis and Symbiogenesis on the Study of Evolution and Its Historical and Philosophical Implications I & II
Comunicações / Talks
  1. 17/02/2013: "Punctuated Equilibria: a universal pattern in life and culture", AAAS, Boston, USA
  2. 16/02/2013: "The importance of horizontal evolution for the sociocultural sciences", AAAS, Boston, USA
  3. 15/11/2012: "Units, levels and mechanisms of cultural evolution: an applied evolutionary epistemological account" AAA, San Francisco, USA.
  4. 11/07/11-17/07/11: "Undoing of the biology/culture divide within evolutionary linguistics, a new methodology to study the evolution of language." ICLC 11 International cognitive linguistics association, Xi'an, China. Part of the mini-symposium/Theme session entitled: "Language Evolution: Biological, Cultural, and Bio-Cultural", organized by Arie Verhagen and Jordan Zlatev.
  5. 22/06/11-24/06/11: "Towards an overarching methodology to study the evolution of language: Identifying the units, levels and mechanisms of language evolution." SPSP 2011, Society for philosophers in practice, Egenis, Exeter, UK
  6. 12/04/11-16/04/11: "An epistemological investigation into the different theories on the rise of behavioural modernity in the hominin lineage." 80th AAPA meeting (American Association of Physical Antropologists), Hilton, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
  7. 14/06/08-16/06/08: "Horizontal and vertical transmission in language (evolution) studies." Language, Culture and Mind 3, University of Odense, Denmark.
  8. 04/06/08-08/06/08: "The rise of behavioural modernity." 19th Human Behaviour and Evolution Society meeting (HBES), Kyoto University, Japan.
  9. 15/11/2007. "Philosophy of anthropology and the gradualism versus punctuated equilibrium debate." EPSA, European Philosophy of Science Association, Madrid, Spain.~
  10. 08/11/2006. A quest for the evolutionary mechanisms that allow for a windows approach to language evolution." Cradle of language conference, University of Stellenbosch, Zuid-Afrika.
  11. 10/08/2006. "Universal symbiogenesis: a genuine alternative to universal selectionism". 5th International Symbiosis Society meeting (ISS), August 4-10, 2006. Universität Wien, Biocentre.
Organização de Eventos / Event Organization
  1. 2013: 1st International Summer School on Evolution
  2. 2013: Lisbon Evolution Day
  3. 2013: International Conference on Evolutionary Patterns: Horizontal and Vertical Transmission and Micro- and Macro-evolutionary Patterns of Biological and Sociocultural evolution
  4. 2012: 1st International Winter School on Evolution
  5. 2012: International conference: From Grooming to Speaking: Recent trends in Social Primatology and Human Ethology
  6. 2009: International conference: Evolution today and tomorrow, Darwin evaluated by contemporary evolutionary and philosophical theories
  7. 2004: Evolutionary Epistemology, Language and Culture

Divulgação || Outreach

Imprensa / Press
  1. 2009: "150 years after the Origin of Species." translation to English from 2009. Gontier, N. "De oorsprong van soorten, 150 jaar later." UVV-Info, 26 (2): 8-11. Brussels: Unie Vrijzinnige Vereningen.