Derek Skillings

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Environment and Sustainability


Pronouns: He/Him/His

Email Address:


Ph.D. Philosophy, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Ph.D. Zoology, University of Hawaii at Mānoa
M.A. Philosophy, University of Hawaii at Mānoa
B.A. Biology, Chemistry, Philosophy, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Ethics
  • Contemporary Moral Problems
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Medical Ethics
  • Introduction to the Philosophy of Science
  • Seminars on Topics in the Philosophy of Biology or Environmental Philosophy
  • Ancient Eastern Philosophy
  • Ethics and Genetics


Derek Skillings specializes in philosophy of biology, philosophy of science, and environmental ethics/philosophy. He works primarily on biological individuality and explanation and causal reasoning in biology. He is particularly interested in the problem of how to approach the complex and hierarchical nature of living systems when investigating biological phenomena and constructing explanations. Skillings has ongoing projects on biological individuality, holobionts, robustness, causal explanation, speciation and lineage concepts, and biological organization. He also has side projects in the history of biology, on marine population connectivity, and on a Buddhist approach to the ontology of living systems.