I was born in London in 1947, and spent my early life in Eastbourne, Sussex, on the South Coast of England. From 1958 to 1966, I attended Christ’s Hospital, and then went to Christ’s College Cambridge to study mathematics. After leaving Cambridge, I went to Princeton University, where I obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy/history and philosophy of science.

Since then, I have taught at Vassar College, the University of Vermont, the University of Minnesota, the University of California at San Diego, and, most recently at Columbia. My principal interests have been in the philosophy of science. After working on the philosophy of mathematics early in my career, I began to write on issues in the philosophy of biology and in general philosophy of science. I am currently interested in the ethical and political constraints on scientific research, the evolution of altruism and morality, and the apparent conflict between science and religion. My principal current research projects focus on pragmatism, and on issues in philosophy in/and/of literature.  I continue, however, to write on some of the topics treated in my earlier publications.