Revisiting three decades of Biology and Philosophy: a computational topic-modeling perspective

Computational approaches make it possible to analyze large corpora and extract meaningful semantic information. Here, we have applied topic-modeling approaches to investigate the content of the journal Biology and Philosophy since its launch in 1986 up to 2017. This journal is a major journal in the field of philosophy of biology and, more broadly, in philosophy of science which, as a discipline of philosophy, has strongly developed in the second half of the 20th century and continues to do so today. With topic-modeling, we were able to extract 67 key research topics that have played a significant role in the research agenda of philosophers of biology over the past 30 years. We have also investigated the diachronic evolution of these topics over time. Browsing on the project website, one can view the detailed content of each topic, as well as the articles in which topics are the most probable. Diachronic views are also available that reveal topic trends over time, on a yearly basis.

Cite as: Malaterre C. Pulizzotto D., Lareau F. (2020) Revisiting three decades of Biology and Philosophy: a computational topic-modeling perspective. Biology and Philosophy 35(5) (preprint).

Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to Springer for kindly providing access to Biology and Philosophy. Funding from Canada Foundation for Innovation (Grant 34555), Canada Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Grant 435-2014-0943) and Canada Research Chair (CRC-950-230795) is gratefully acknowledged. FL acknowledges support from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (Grant 276470).