Neven Sesardić

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Neven Sesardić
Born (1949-07-30) July 30, 1949 (age 67)[1]
School Analytic philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of mind[1]
Notable ideas

Neven Sesardić (born 30 July 1949) is a Croatian philosopher known for his writings on heritability and race.

Life and career[edit]

The beginning of his academic career was marked by continuous polemics with Marxist philosophers, who were dominant in the Croatian academic circles at that time in Yugoslavia.[citation needed]

From 1977–83 he worked as a lecturer at the University of Zagreb, and, from then, until 1989 he was Assistant Professor at the same university. From 1989 to 1991 he was Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the University of Giessen. From 1991 to 1992 he worked as a Fellow of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Bielefeld. The following two years (1992–94) he spent as an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Zagreb. The following academic year, 1994–1995, he worked as a Visiting Professor at the University of Notre Dame,[1] while the following year (1995–96) he became an NSF Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota. Following that, in 1996 he became Professor of Philosophy at the Miyazaki International College, Japan, where he worked until 1999 when he was appointed Research Fellow at King's College London. From 2000 until 2006, he worked as an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Lingnan University, Hong Kong.[1] From 2006 to 2015, he worked as a Professor of Philosophy at the Lingnan University. In the year of 2015, he retired from Lingnan University.

He is a member of the American Philosophical Association (APA), the Croatian Philosophical Association, and the Philosophy of Science Association.

During his academic career he has taught courses in Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mind, Logic, Probability and Scientific Method, Contemporary Issues in Bioethics, Critical Thinking, Introduction to Philosophy of Science and Social Science, Theory of Knowledge, Introduction to Philosophy, Morality and Evolution, Science and Society, Genetics and Psychology, Philosophy and Environmental Issues, and Ethics.


Heritability and Causality[edit]

In his first article, "Heritability and Causality" (Sesardic 1993), Sesardic argues that the environmentalist criticism of hereditarianism greatly exaggerate in claiming that the explanation of human behavior in terms of genes is faced with methodological problems and flaws. He says (Sesardic 1993: 396): "They reject the idea that heritability estimates could lead to genetic explanations by pointing out that these estimates are strictly valid only for a given population and that they are exposed to the irremovable confounding effects of genotype-environment interaction and genotype-environment correlation".

Philosophy of Science that Ignores Science: Race, IQ and Heritability[edit]

In his article "Philosophy of Science that Ignores Science: Race, IQ and Heritability" Sesardic argues that the rejection of most philosophers of the connection between the heritability of race and IQ, which is, according to them, based on methodological flaws, is ill-founded. According to him the prevalence of this view among philosophers of science is based on the gap between them and experimental scientists. Sesardic argues (Sesardic 2000: 580): "[...] the discussion in philosophy of science about these matters is largely disconnected from the real, empirically complex issues debated in science."

Heritability and Indirect Causation[edit]

In his 2003 article, "Heritability and Indirect Causation" Sesardic argues that in spite of the possibility of genetic effects being changed by the environmental influences, heritability can still provide a well-founded causal explanation, since genetic differences can lead to their visible effects either directly or indirectly. In his words (Sesardic 2003: 1002): "Genetic differences can lead to phenotypic differences either directly or indirectly (via causing differences in external environments, which then affect phenotype). This possibility of genetic effects being mediated by environmental influences is often used by scientists and philosophers to argue that heritability is not a very helpful causal or explanatory notion."

Same-sex marriage[edit]

In his 2007 article "Homosexual marriage: The Victory of Political Correctness and Bad Arguments" he argues that the conservative arguments against homosexual marriage are not actually damaged by the most frequent liberal critiques against them.[2]



  • When Reason Goes on Holiday: Philosophers in Politics, New York: Encounter Books, 2016.
  • Making Sense of Heritability, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. (ISBN 0-521-82818-X)
  • Marxian Utopia? (with Domenico Settembrini), London: CRCE, 1985. (ISBN 0-948027-01-0)


  • "Women in Philosophy: Problems with the Discrimination Hypothesis", Academic Questions 27 (4): 461–473.
  • "Race: a social destruction of a biological concept", Biology and Philosophy
  • “Sudden Infant Death or Murder? A Royal Confusion about Probabilities“, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 2007 58(2):299-329
  • “From Genes to Incest Taboos: The Crucial Step”, in W. H. Durham & A. P. Wolf (eds.), Incest, Inbreeding, and the Incest Taboo:
  • The State of Knowledge at the Turn of the Century, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004, 109-120.
  • "Heritability and Indirect Causation", Philosophy of Science 70 (2003), 1002-1014.
  • “Evolution of Human Jealousy: A Just-So Story or a Just-So Criticism?", Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 33 (2003), 427-443.
  • Philosophy of Science that Ignores Science: Race, IQ and Heritability”, Philosophy of Science 67 (2000), pp. 580–602.
  • “Altruism”, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (1999), pp. 457–466.
  • “From Biological Inhibitions to Cultural Prohibitions: How Not to Refute Edward Westermarck”, Biology and Philosophy 13, (1998), pp. 413–426.
  • “Reductionism and Supervenience”, in P. Weingart et al. (eds.), Human by Nature: Between Biology and Social Sciences.
  • Mahwah, N. J.: Erlbaum, 1997.
  • “Recent Work on Human Altruism and Evolution”, Ethics 106 (1995), pp. 328–357.
  • “Heritability and Causality”, Philosophy of Science 60 (1993), pp. 396–418.
  • “Egalitarianism and Natural Lottery”, Public Affairs Quarterly 7 (1993), pp. 47–59.
  • “Clock Paradox Lost in Space”, Philosophia Naturalis 30 (1993), pp. 72–83.

Book reviews[edit]

  • Book review of D. J. Bartholomew, Measuring Intelligence: Facts and Fallacies, Intelligence 33 (2005), pp. 325–327.
  • Book review of N. Zack, Philosophy of Science and Race, Philosophy of Science 70 (2003), pp. 447–449.
  • Book review of P. Danielson (ed.), Modeling Rationality, Morality and Evolution, Ethics 113 (2003), pp. 402–405.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Tko je Neven Sesardić?". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). January 14, 2006. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  2. ^ Sesardić, Neven (2007). "Homosexual marriage: The Victory of Political Correctness and Bad Arguments". Prolegomena: Journal of Philosophy. 6 (1): 5–28. ISSN 1333-4395. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 

External links[edit]