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Dr

Mathilde Tahar

Philosophy of Biology. Evolutionary theory. Animal Agency.

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Mathilde Tahar

PhD

Philosophy of Biology

Agrégée de philosophie

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About

About me

Who am I?

I am a philosopher of biology working as a Research Fellow at the University College London (UK), in the framework of the Research Project Animal inventiveness: a new insight on agency in evolution, funded by the Leverhulme Trust (under the supervision of Dr Alecia Carter).

My research interests include the epistomology of the theory of evolution, animal agency (especially the role played by non-human animals in evolution) and Henri Bergson's philosophy (of biology!).

My doctoral thesis (from which a book will be published by Presses Universitaires de France in September 2024) examined the relevance of Henri Bergson's philosophy to contemporary biological problems, especially those relating to the theory of evolution. In particular, I studied the use of teleology in biology, and the integration of historical time into the theory of evolution. This also led me to analyse biological causality. See Areas of expertise.

More recently, my research has focused on the question of biological agency and its evolutionary implications. In particular, I am studying animal agency, exploring the link between play, inventiveness and adaptability. See Research in Progress.

General information

Dr Mathilde Tahar

 

Nationality: French

Languages: French mother language; advanced English, Italian; reading of Latin and ancient Greek.

PhD in Philosophy of Biology

University of Toulouse 2-Jean Jaurès (ERRAPHIS)

Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité)

Research fellow, University College London (Department of Anthropology)

Leverhulme Research Project Grant Animal inventiveness: a new insight on agency in evolution (RPG 2023-320)

Qualified by the French National Counsel of Universities to be “Maître de conferences”, i.e., to teach philosophy (qualification 17) and epistemology & history of science (qualification 72) at the university level. These qualifications are awarded after a peer-reviewed process

 

Agrégée de philosophie

Education & Experience

Education

WHAT I’VE LEARNED

Experience

WHERE I’VE WORKED

Sep. 2022–Apr. 2024
2018-2022

Ph. D. in Philosophy of Biology                                                         

University of Toulouse 2 & Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.

Dissertation subject: “Evolution beyond all finalism: Bergson’s critique of evolutionists”.

Advisors: Prof. Paul-Antoine Miquel (Universitu of Toulouse 2-Jean Jaurès), and Prof. Pierre-Henri Gouyon (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle-CNRS).

2016

Agrégation de philosophie

The most selective comprehensive national examination in philosophy.

Ranking: 50. Language: Ancient Greek.

Research Fellow in Philosophy of biology

University College London.

Sep. 2022–Apr. 2024

Visiting Associate Professor (Attachée temporaire d’enseignement et de recherche) in Philosophy of Science.

University of Lille.

Jan. 2023–Apr. 2023

Invited Professor

University of Sorbonne Paris-Nord.

Jan. 2022–Aug. 2022
2013–2015

Étudiante normalienne (École Normale Supérieure, Paris)

Master of Arts (honors) – Contemporary Philosophy

École Normale Supérieure Ulm & École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.

Dissertation subject: “Beyond finality: élan vital, disorder and creation from Bergson” (honors).

 

Advisor: Prof. Frédéric Worms (École Normale Supérieure, Paris)

Assistant teacher

University of Rouen.

Sep. 2018–Jan. 2022

Doctoral student and teacher

University of Toulouse 2.

Sep. 2018–Jul. 2021

Invited teacher (colleuse) in Philosophy

Lycée Henri IV, Paris

Being a colleuse consists of preparing students for the oral exam of the Ecole Normale Supérieure competition.

2010–2013

Bachelor of Arts (honors) – Philosophy.

University Paris IV Paris-Sorbonne.

 

Bachelor of Arts (honors) – History.

University Paris IV Paris-Sorbonne.

 

University-Level Preparation Courses for entrance to Grandes Écoles – Philosophy.

Lycée Henri IV, Paris.

Sep. 2016–Aug. 2017

Philosophy teacher

Lycée Racine, Paris

Other training courses

Other training courses

March 2022

Training “Vivre avec les autres animaux”

UVED (Université Virtuelle Environnement et Développement durable)

 

Jan. 2020-June 2020

Courses “Biodiversity and Evolution”

AgroParisTech

 

Sep. 2017-Aug. 2018

Master 1 “Systematic, Evolution, Paleontology – Ecology, Biodiversity, Evolution” as an auditor

University Pierre and Marie Curie

Fellowships & Awards

Fellowships and Grants

July 2023, July 2024, July 2025

Fellowship for the Villa Vigoni Trinational Summer School (Germany-Italy-France) on the theme “Life and Form”,

 

August 2022

EMBO Grant for the Venice Summer School 2022 on the theme “The Future of Evolutionary Systems Biology”.

[Declined]

 

May-July 2022

Research fellowship awarded by the CNRS (in the framework of the IRN project “Global Bergsonism”).

Host university: University of Fukuoka.

 

September-December 2020

Research fellowship awarded by the Allpha Doctoral School (University of Toulouse 2).

Host university: University of Verona.

[Cancelled: Covid-19 epidemic]

 

September 2018-January 2022

Doctoral research fellowship of the University of Toulouse 2.

Awards and Prizes

2023

Thesis Award from the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société de Toulouse.

2009

Prize at the Concours général (national contest) in Philosophy.

Other (selected) academic activities

Member of the board of the Société des amis de Bergson since 2019.

 

Member of the editorial board of Bergsoniana, Société des amis de Bergson, OpenAccess, since 2020.

 

Reviewer for: Bergsoniana; Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal; Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology; Palgrave Macmillan.

 

Reviewer of applications for the National Science Center Poland (SONATA funding scheme).

Learn more
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You will find my main publications here. Most are in OpenAccess. For those that are not, don't hesitate to write to me: I'll happily send you the preprint.

Mathilde Tahar

Here you will find a list of my main conferences. Some of them have been recorded and you will find the link to the videos on this page.

A dog and a cat at the beach

If you have any questions about my research, would like to have access to an article or simply want to have a chat, don't hesitate to contact me using this form.

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I'm also a very active member of the Société des Amis de Bergson!


Please check out the programme of the webinar l'Atelier Bergson we are co-organising with Caterina Zanfi:

Programme 2024

Programme 2023

Programme 2022

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