Office Address Home Address
Philosophy Department 1331 East 2100 South
University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 Tel: 412.657.2796
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Utah 2007—Present
Adjunct Asst. Prof., Div. of Medical Ethics and Humanities, Univ. of Utah 2007—Present
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
PhD, History and Philosophy of Science (2007)
Thesis: Causation in the Nature-Nurture Debate: The Case of Genotype-Environment
Interaction. Advisors: Paul Griffiths and Sandra Mitchell
MA, Interdisciplinary Master of Arts in Bioethics (2007)
Thesis: From a Genetic Predisposition to an Interactive Predisposition: Rethinking the Ethical
Implications of Gene-Environment Interaction Research. Advisor: Lisa Parker
Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT
BS, Biology (2000)
BA, Philosophy (2000)
AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Biology
History of Biology
AREAS OF COMPETENCE
Tabery, James (Forthcoming), “Interactive Predispositions”, Philosophy of Science.
Tabery, James (Forthcoming), “Making Sense of the Nature-Nurture Debate (Review of Neven
Sesardic, Making Sense of Heritability)”, Biology and Philosophy.
Tabery, James and Paul E. Griffiths (Forthcoming), “Historical and Philosophical Perspectives
on Behavioral Genetics and Developmental Science”, in Kathryn E. Hood, Carolyn
Tucker Halpern, Gary Greenberg, and Richard M. Lerner (eds.), Handbook of
Developmental Science, Behavior, and Genetics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Tabery, James (2009), “From a Genetic Predisposition to an Interactive Predisposition:
Rethinking the Ethical Implications of Screening for Gene-Environment Interactions”,
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 34(1): 27-48.
Tabery, James (2008), “R. A. Fisher, Lancelot Hogben, and the Origin(s) of Genotype-
Environment Interaction”, Journal of the History of Biology 41(4): 717-761.
Griffiths, Paul E. and James Tabery (2008), “Behavioral Genetics and Development: Historical
and Conceptual Causes of Controversy,” New Ideas in Psychology 26(3): 332-352.
Tabery, James and Charles W. Mackett (2008), “The Ethics of Triage in the Event of an
Influenza Pandemic”, Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness 2: 114-118.
Tabery, James (2007), “Biometric and Developmental Gene-Environment Interactions: Looking
Back, Moving Forward,” Development and Psychopathology 19: 961-976.
Tabery, James (2006), “Looking Back on Lancelot’s Laughter: The Lancelot Thomas Hogben
Papers, University of Birmingham, Special Collections,” Mendel Newsletter 15: 10-17.
Tabery, James (2004), “Synthesizing Activities and Interactions in the Concept of a
Mechanism,” Philosophy of Science 71(1): 1-15.
• Awarded 2004 Philosophy of Science Association Graduate Student Essay Prize
Tabery, James (2004), “The ‘Evolutionary Synthesis’ of George Udny Yule,” Journal of the
History of Biology 37(1): 73-101.
Darden, Lindley and James Tabery (Spring 2005), “Molecular Biology,” The Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.), available online at
Tabery, James (2001), “Marshall Nirenberg: Transition to Neurobiology, 1965-1969” and
“Marshall Nirenberg: Neuroblastoma Research, 1967-1976,” published online as part of
the National Institutes of Health’s Profiles in Science digital archive project at
Tabery, James (2007), “Pearson, the Person” (A Review of Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in
a Statistical Age, by Theodore Porter, 2004), Metascience 16(1): 143-146.
Tabery, James (2006), “Fueling the (In)Famous Fire” (A Review of Making Sense of
Heritability, by Neven Sesardic, 2005), Metascience 15(3): 605-609.
Tabery, James and Lisa Parker (2005), “Book Review: Politics in the Laboratory, The
Constitution of Human Genetics, by Ira H. Carmen, 2004,” Journal of the American
Medical Association 294(11): 1431-1433.
Tabery, James (2002), “No Gene Is an Island…” (A Review of The Misunderstood Gene, by
Michel Morange, 2001), Metascience 11(2): 227-229.
CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS AND INVITED LECTURES
Mechanism and Causal-Mechanical Explanation
“Difference Mechanisms,” University of California—San Diego, San Diego, CA, October 8,
2007. (Invited Lecture) Also presented at:
• Biological Explanations of Behavior, Leibniz University, Hannover, Germany, June
• Future Directions in Genetic Studies (ISHPSSB Off-Year Workshop), University of
Washington—St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, August 9, 2008.
“Causes of Development, Causes of Variation…Causes of Controversy,” Pomona College,
Claremont, CA, February 13, 2007. (Job Talk) Also presented at:
• Rice University, Houston, TX, January 17, 2007. (Job Talk)
“Mechanisms and Mechanism Differences: Between Proximate and Ultimate Biology,” 3rd
Queensland Biohumanities Conference, Brisbane, Australia, December 15-17, 2006.
“Synthesizing Activities and Interactions in the Concept of a Mechanism,” 4th Athens-Pittsburgh
Symposium in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Delphi, Greece,
June 3, 2003. Also presented at:
• 5th Annual Pittsburgh-CMU Graduate Conference in Philosophy, University of
Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, March 15-16, 2003.
“Interactive Predispositions,” Philosophy of Science Association biannual meeting, Pittsburgh,
PA, 7 November 2008.
“From a Genetic Predisposition to an Interactive Predisposition: Rethinking the Ethical
Implications of Screening for Gene-Environment Interactions,” University of Nevada—
Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, February 8, 2008. (Invited Lecture)
“A ‘Genetic Predisposition’ to Violence?: Rethinking the Ethical and Legal Implications of
Genetic Research on Antisocial Personality Disorder,” University of Dayton, Dayton,
OH, January 22, 2007. (Job Talk) Also presented at:
• University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, January 29, 2007. (Job Talk)
• Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL, Feb. 1, 2007. (Job Talk)
• University at Albany, Albany, NY, February 7, 2007. (Job Talk)
“What Is Genotype-Environment Interaction?,” Na-Nu (Nature-Nurture) Symposium, University
of Indiana, Bloomington, IN, March 23-25, 2007. (Invited Lecture)
“Causes of Variation, Variations on Causation,” Southwest Conference for the History and
Philosophy of the Life Sciences, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, March 31-
April 1, 2006.
“Genotype-Environment Interaction in the IQ Controversy,” History of Science Society Annual
Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, November 3-6, 2005.
“R.A. Fisher, Lancelot Hogben, and the Origin(s) of Genotype-Environment Interaction,” British
Society for the History of Science Annual Meeting, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK, July
15-17 2005. Also presented at:
• International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology Bi-
annual Meeting, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, July 13-17, 2005.
• Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science Annual Meeting,
University of Western Ontario, London, ON, May 29-31, 2005.
• Beyond Dichotomies, Across Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Investigations of Dynamic
Interactions in Biological and Social Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis,
MN, April 14-17, 2005.
“History and Philosophy of Behavioral Genetics,” Program in Psychiatric Genetics, University
of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, December 17, 2004. (Invited Lecture)
“Critiquing the Analysis of Variance: The Argument from Genotype-Environment Interaction,”
EGenIS, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK, September 14, 2004. (Invited Lecture)
History of the Evolutionary Synthesis
“The ‘Evolutionary Synthesis’ of George Udny Yule,” 46th Midwest JUNTO for the History of
Science Conference, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, April 5, 2003.
Ethics of Pandemic Influenza Preparation and Response
“Pandemic Flu: Lessons from the Past, Preparing for the Future,” Muhlenberg College,
Allentown, PA, November 27, 2006. (Invited Lecture)
“Ethical Considerations in the Event of a Flu Pandemic,” VHA Pennsylvania Physician Leaders
Forum, Harrisburg, PA, November 21, 2006. (Invited Lecture)
“From Principles to Practice: Implementing an Ethical Health Policy for Pandemic Flu
Preparation,” Bioethics and Health Law Grand Rounds, University of Pittsburgh,
Pittsburgh, PA, September 28, 2006. (Invited Lecture)
SUMMARY OF RESEARCH
History and Philosophy of Science
For the last several years I have focused my philosophical attention on issues revolving around
causation and causal-mechanical explanation. Successful explanations in biology generally take
the form of elucidated mechanisms. In the past I have investigated and attempted to bring
together different theories of mechanism (see my 2004 in Philosophy of Science). More recently,
I am attempting to extend the mechanical program so as to capture biological explanations of
Lately, I have been exploring the philosophical and historical issues pertaining to research on
gene-environment interaction (or G×E). The concept of G×E refers to cases wherein different
genetic groups respond differently to the same array of environments. G×E has resided at the
heart of the nature-nurture debate since the very origins of the concept. I have been exploring
both the history of this research (see my 2007 in Development and Psychopathology, and my
2008 in the Journal of the History of Biology), as well as the philosophical issues concerning
causation that this research raises (see my Forthcoming in Philosophy of Science).
My historical and philosophical interests in G×E carry over into the bioethical implications of
that research. Cases of G×E are being found for a host of complex human traits (e.g. antisocial
personality disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and asthma). Most often, cases of G×E are
conceptualized as if they reveal a “genetic predisposition” to the trait under investigation. I argue
that this concept fundamentally misconstrues this research, and so I have introduced a new
concept to accurately capture the results: interactive predisposition (see my Forthcoming in
Philosophy of Science). My bioethical interests in this area revolve around how this switch from
a genetic predisposition to an interactive predisposition reconfigures some of the ongoing
debates over genetic screening (see my 2009 in Journal of Medicine and Philosophy).
The emergence of avian flu in Southeast Asia in 2004 and the subsequent explosion of the virus
out of that region into Africa and Europe has renewed fears of a possible influenza pandemic on
the order of the Great Pandemic of 1918. There are a host of ethical issues raised by the
preparation for and response to this threat. My interests are at the local/institutional level (see my
2008 in Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness): How will hospitals triage (or sort)
patients during a pandemic to decide who gets what level of treatment? What criteria will guide
this process of sorting? Are healthcare workers obligated to work in this environment? What are
the obligations of hospital administration to prepare for such a threat?
FELLOWSHIPS AND AWARDS
Philosophy of Science Association Graduate Student Essay Prize for “Synthesizing Activities
and Interactions in the Concept of a Mechanism,” 2004
Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Research Fellowship, 2004-2005
National Science Foundation Travel Grant, Fall 2005
University of Pittsburgh Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Organization Travel Grant,
University of Pittsburgh Graduate and Professional Student Association Travel Grant, Summer
National Science Foundation Travel Grant, Fall 2006
University of Utah
Bioethics, Spring 2008, Fall 2008
Science and Society, Fall 2007, Spring 2009
Topics in the Philosophy of Science: Genetics, Fall 2007
University of Pittsburgh
Ethics, Law, and Professionalism [Biomedical Ethics for Medical Students], Fall 2006
The Development of Modern Biology [History and Philosophy of Biology], Spring 2003
Problem Solving [Intro. to Scientific Reasoning], Sm 2006, Sp 2006, Fl 2005, Fl 2001
Morality and Medicine [Biomedical Ethics], Summer 2005, Summer 2004, Spring 2002
Myth and Science [Ancient Philosophy], Spring 2004, Fall 2003, Fall 2002
Principles of Scientific Reasoning [Intro. to Logic], Fall 2003
Magic, Medicine, and Science [Modern Philosophy/Science], Summer 2002
Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences, Pittsburgh, PA
Ethical Considerations in the Event of a Flu Pandemic, Summer 2006
Medicine and Its Moral Consequences [Biomedical Ethics], Summer 2003-Summer 2005
Referee, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Referee, Philosophy of Science
Referee, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science
Referee, Biology and Philosophy
Referee, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy
Referee, National Science Foundation
Co-Organizer, 6th Annual CMU-Pittsburgh International Graduate Philosophy Conference, 2004
University of Utah
Committee Member, Graduate Committee, Department of Philosophy (2007-Present)
Director, Job Placement, Department of Philosophy (2007-Present)
University of Pittsburgh
Ethicist, Avian Flu Task Force (for University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), 2006-2007
Graduate Assistant, NEH Summer Institute: Science and Values, 2003
Representative, Arts & Sciences Graduate Student Organization, 2002-2005
Co-Organizer, University of Pittsburgh Grad-Expo, 2003
Referee, 4th Annual CMU-Pittsburgh Graduate Philosophy Conference, 2002
University of Pittsburgh (Teaching)
Mentor, Teaching Assistants/Teaching Fellows in the Dept. of History and Philosophy of
Committee Member, Elizabeth Baranger Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award, 2005
Instructor, New Teaching Assistant Orientation, 2002-2003
American Philosophical Association
American Society for Bioethics and Humanities
Behavior Genetics Association
History of Science Society
International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology
Philosophy of Science Association