Brett Calcott

Brett Calcott

Brett is a philosopher of science with a background in software engineering. His research focuses on the evolution of complex systems. He has worked as an SFI/ASU post-doctoral fellow at Arizona State University and a fellow in Joshua Epstein’s Center for Advanced Modeling at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. He has worked with Kim Sterelny on a project on Evolvability and the Evolution of Complexity, and with biologist Lindell Bromham on a project on Major Transitions in Evolution. He completed his PhD, “Major Transitions in Biological Organisation” in 2007, at the Australian National University, supervised by Peter Godfrey-Smith.



Calcott, B., Griffiths, P. E., & Pocheville, A. (In Press). Signals that make a Difference. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. Download


Griffiths, P. E., Pocheville, A., Calcott, B., Stotz, K., Kim, Hyunju, & Knight, R. (2015). Measuring Causal Specificity. Philosophy of Science, 82(4), 529–555.
Calcott, B., Levy, A., Siegal, M. L., Soyer, O. S., & Wagner, A. (2015). Engineering and biology: counsel for a continued relationship. Biological Theory, 10(1), 50–59. Retrieved from
Frandsen, P. B., Calcott, B., Mayer, C., & Lanfear, R. (2015). Automatic selection of partitioning schemes for phylogenetic analyses using iterative k-means clustering of site rates. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 15(1), 13.


Calcott, B. (2014). The Creation and Reuse of Information in Gene Regulatory Networks. Philosophy of Science, 81(5), 879–890.
Misof, B., Liu, S., Meusemann, K., Peters, R. S., Donath, A., Mayer, C., … Zhou, X. (2014). Phylogenomics resolves the timing and pattern of insect evolution. Science, 346(6210), 763–767.
Lanfear, R., Calcott, B., Kainer, D., Mayer, C., & Stamatakis, A. (2014). Selecting optimal partitioning schemes for phylogenomic datasets. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14(1), 82.
Calcott, B. (2014). Engineering and evolvability. Biology & Philosophy, 29(3), 293–313. Retrieved from


Calcott, B. (2013). Why how and why aren’t enough: more problems with Mayr’s proximate-ultimate distinction. Biology & Philosophy, 28(5), 767–780.
Calcott, B. (2013). Why the Proximate–Ultimate Distinction Is Misleading, and Why It Matters for Understanding the Evolution of Cooperation. In K. Sterelny, R. Joyce, B. Calcott, & B. Fraser (Eds.), Cooperation and its Evolution (pp. 1–31). MIT Press.