Karen Neander

Karen Neander

Professor of Philosophy

Contact Information
210 West Duke Building, Durham, NC 27708
Duke Box 90743, Durham, NC 27708-0743
(919) 660-3050


Neander is Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Philosophy at Duke.  She joined the department in 2006, after holding positions in other philosophy departments in Australia and the US, including the University of Sydney, the University of Adelaide and the Australian National University, where she was a Post-Doctorial Fellow and then a Research Fellow in RSSS.  Her (1984) PhD from La Trobe University discussed the concept of mental illness and the application of biological concepts of function and malfunction to disorders of the mind.  Since then her work has primarily been in philosophy of mind, philosophy of biology and the conceptual foundations of cognitive science and neuroscience.  She has published numerous papers on the nature of functions and functional explanation, teleological and selectional explanation, mental representation and mental reference to content (especially teleosemantics), pictorial representation and consciousness.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., La Trobe University (Australia) 1984

  • B.A., La Trobe University (Australia) 1976

Neander, K. “Does biology need teleology?” In The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy, 64–76, 2017. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315764863. Full Text

Neander, K. “The methodological argument for informational teleosemantics.” In How Biology Shapes Philosophy: New Foundations for Naturalism, 121–40, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781107295490.007. Full Text

Neander, K. “Biological Functions.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2013.

Neander, K. L. “Toward an Informational Teleosemantics.” In Millikan and Her Critics, edited by J. Kingsbury and D. Ryder, 21–41. Wiley Blackwell, 2012.

Neander, K. L. “"Teleological theories of mental content".” In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2011.

Neander, K. L. “"Comment les traits sont-ils types dans le but leur attribuuer des fonctions?" (How are traits typed for the purpose of ascribing functions to them?).” In Les Fonctions: Des Organismes Aux Artifacts, edited by Jean Gayon, 99–124. Press Universitaires France, 2010.

Neander, K. L. “Les explication fonctionnelles.” In Revue Philosophique, edited by Marie Claude Lorne and Denis Forest, 5–35, 2009.

Neander, K. “Teleological Theories of Mental Content: Can Darwin Solve the Problem of Intentionality?” In Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Biology, edited by Michael Ruse, 381–409. Oxford University Press, 2008.

Neander, K. “Content for Cognitive Science.” In Teleosemantics, edited by David Papineau and Gary McDonald, 140–59. Oxford University Press, 2006.


Neander, K. “Functional analysis and the species design.” Synthese 194, no. 4 (April 1, 2017): 1147–68. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-015-0940-9. Full Text

Neander, K., and A. Rosenberg. “Solving the circularity problem for functions: A response to Nanay.” Journal of Philosophy 109, no. 10 (January 1, 2012): 613–22. https://doi.org/10.5840/jphil20121091030. Full Text

Rosenberg, A., and Karen Neander. “Solving the circularity problem for functions.” Journal of Philosophy, July 2011.

Rosenberg, A., and K. Neander. “Are homolgies function free?Philosophy of Science 76, no. 3 (December 2009): 1–39.

Rosenberg, A., and K. Neander. “Are homologies (selected effect or causal role) function free?Philosophy of Science 76, no. 3 (July 1, 2009): 307–34. https://doi.org/10.1086/649807. Full Text

Neander, K. L., and A. Rosenberg. “Are Homologies SE (or CR) Function-Free?Philosophy of Science, July 2009.

Neander, Karen. “Les explications fonctionnelles.” Revue Philosophique De La France Et De L’Étranger 134, no. 1 (2009): 5–5. https://doi.org/10.3917/rphi.091.0005. Full Text

Neander, K. L. “Teleology.” Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2005.