Thomas Bonnin

Department: Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology
Discipline: Sociology and Philosophy
Research Centre/Unit: Egenis, the Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences

Project Summary

Updated 23/01/2017

Please contact me if you wish to discuss one of the draft, or any part of the project in general. 


This dissertation is a work in philosophy of science, understood as a study of the nature of scientific knowledge, its production as well as its transmission across disciplines. To make this inquiry somehow tractable, I restrict my attention to the works of two evolutionary biologists: Tom Cavalier-Smith and William Martin. Both of these scientists are still actively engaged in an attempt to reconstruct the history of life, with a particular focus on ‘early’ evolution (up to the advent of multicellular organisms). Not only are their respective scenarios in strong disagreement, but they also differ in many other areas of their research. Making sense of these differences and explaining them provide me a basis for discussing a wide array of issues in philosophy of science. The aim of this analysis is both to critically analyse the literature on the relevant philosophical topics in the light of the case studied and to account how, in the Cavalier-Smith/Martin controversy, these different issues interact with one another.



Bonnin T. (2017) [in French], "Utiliser des modèles en sciences historiques". Implications Philosophiques. URL = <>


Bonnin T. (2017) [in French], "Utiliser des modèles en sciences historiques". Implications Philosophiques. URL = <>

Supervisory Team

First supervisor : Pr. John Dupré

​Second supervisor : Dr. Daniel Nicholson

Mentor : Pr. Michael Schillmeier

Wider Research Interests

Broader interests

Philosophy of Science, Historical Epistemology, Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of History, Philosophy of Medicine, Science and Technologies Studies, Social Epistemology, Biochemistry.

"Narrower" interests

Construction and evolution of disciplines, Evolution, Genomics in Society, Disagreement and controversies, Bioenergetics, Mitochondria, Narratives, Pluralism, Process Philosophy, Models, Thought Experiments, Science and Literature, Popular Science, Scientific Rhetoric.