Dr Ben Jeffares

Department: Research and Innovation 

Position held: Senior Advisor

ORCID ID Number0000-0001-6941-2896

Research Specialty: Philosophy of Biology/Philosophy of Cognition.

My research has two strands: Work that looks at the empirical status of the historical sciences such as archaeology and palaeoanthropology, geology, etc, and in the evolution of cognition, in particular the evolution of spatial reasoning and competence in relation to the archaeological record. My current focus is exploring the role of physiological constraints, biogeography, and evolutionary history in the evolution of human cognitive evolution.

 

Academic Qualifications

PhD, Philosophy, The Australian National University. (Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship).

M.A., 2002, Masters with Distinction in Philosophy, Victoria University of Wellington.

B.A. (Hons), 1998, First Class Honours in Philosophy, Victoria University of Wellington.

B.F.A., 1996, Computer Art and Printmaking, Otago Polytechnic School of Fine Art.

 

Professional Positions Held

2017 to present, Senior Advisor, Research and Innovation, Whitireia and WelTec

2012 to 2017 Research Assessor, Royal Society of New Zealand

2011 Contractor

2008 to 2011 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Victoria University of Wellington

2008 Assistant Lecturer, Phil318/418 Philosophy of Science, Victoria University of Wellington

2006 Assistant Lecturer, Phil319/419 The Evolution of Life and Mind, Victoria University of Wellington

2006 Assistant Lecturer, Phil316/416 Philosophy of Mind, Victoria University of Wellington

2006 Assistant Lecturer, Phil/Pols 269/369 Philosophy of Sex and Sexuality, Victoria University of Wellington

2005 Lecturer, Phil263/Phil363 (Philosophy of Biology), Auckland University

2005 Assistant Lecturer, Phil264/Phil364 (Philosophy of Social Science), Auckland University

2004 Lecturer, Phil263/Phil363 (Philosophy of Biology), Auckland University

2002 Assistant Lecturer, Phil269/Phil369 (Philosophy of Sex), Victoria University of Wellington

 

Professional Distinctions and Memberships

Australian Postgraduate Award

 

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Jeffares, B. (2013). Back to Australopithecus: Utilizing New Theories of Cognition to Understand the Pliocene Hominins. Biological Theory, 9(December), 4–15.

Jeffares, B. (2012). Thinking tools: acquired skills, cultural niche construction, and thinking with things. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 35(4), 228–9.

Jeffares, B. (2010a). Guessing the future of the past. Biology & Philosophy, 25, 125–142.

Jeffares, B. (2010b). The co-evolution of tools and minds: Cognition and material culture in the hominin lineage. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 9(4), 503–520.

Jeffares, B. (2008b). Testing times: regularities in the historical sciences. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C : Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 39(4), 469–475.

Jeffares, B. (2005b). Regaining Archaeology’s Nerve: Culture and Biology in Archaeological Theory. Biology & Philosophy, 20(2–3), 545–556.

Jeffares, B. (2004). Dead Men Telling Tales: Homo Fossils and What to Do With Them. Biology and Philosophy, 19(1), 159.

Jeffares, B. (2003a). Clark, Mary E., In Search Of Human Nature. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 81(4), 621.

Jeffares, B. (2002a). The Explanatory Limits of Cognitive Archaeology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 25(3), 410–412.

 

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters, Books Edited

Jeffares, B., & Sterelny, K. (2014). Darwinism and its Influences. In A. Gardner, M. Lake, & U. Sommer (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Theory (pp. 1–14). Oxford University Press.

Jeffares, B., & Sterelny, K. (2012). Evolutionary Psychology. In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Cognitive Science.

Sterelny, K., & Jeffares, B. (2010a). Rational Agency in Evolutionary Perspective. A Companion to the Philosophy of Action, 374–383.

Sterelny, K., & Jeffares, B. (2010b). Rational Agency in Evolutionary Perspective. In A Companion to the Philosophy of Action (pp. 374–383). Wiley-Blackwell.

Jeffares, B. (2009). Philosophy of Archaeology. In A Companion to the Philosophy of History and Historiography (pp. 330–341).

 

Refereed Conference Proceedings

Jeffares, B. (2010c). The Evolution of Technical Competence: Strategic and Economic Thinking. Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science, 162–169.

Jeffares, B. (2010): Models and Explanations: From General Models to Specific Accounts. Society for American Archaeology, 75th Anniversary Conference. Saint Louis, MO, April 14th-18th.

 

Other Forms of Dissemination

Jeffares, B. (2017). What kind of where you are: Does a Pleistocene shift to discontinuous environments lend itself to “category” thinking? Paper presented at New Zealand Association of Philosophy, Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Jeffares, B. (2016) The Ape that stayed: Hominin Life History over the Miocene/Pliocene Transition. 2016 Empirical Philosophy Workshop, Victoria University of Wellington 25-26 November 2016.

Jeffares, B. (2015). Hawkes’ hierarchy: function, meaning and the challenge for archaeology. Sydney. Symbols and communicative behaviour in Pleistocene hominins: Archaeology-Philosophy Interdisciplinary Workshop 2015.

Jeffares, B. (2013) The Evolution of Technical Competence. 2013 Empirical Philosophy Workshop, Victoria University of Wellington 30 April 2013.

Jeffares, B. (2012): The Foundations of Symbolic Behaviour in the Pliocene. Archaeology and the Evolution of Symbols. ANU, Canberra, Australia. 30-31st of October.

Jeffares, B. (2010): The Limits of Biological Explanations of Behaviour. MMM-CCC Workshop. Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science (MACCS) Sydney Australia, 18th –19th October.

Jeffares, B. (2009): The Co-evolution of Tools and Minds: The Extended Mind in the Hominin Lineage. Workshop on Embodied Cognition, Enactivism and the Extended Mind. Wollongong University, NSW, Australia Conference Presentations.

Jeffares, B. (2009). Upstanding Citizens: Australopithecines and the Foundations of Human Behaviour. Australasian Association for Philosophy (New Zealand Division), Massey University, Palmerston North.

Jeffares, B. (2009). The Evolution of Technical Competence: Economic and Strategic Thinking. 9th Meeting of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

Jeffares, B. (2009). The Evolution of Technical Intelligence. Meeting for the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, Brisbane, Australia.

Jeffares, B. (2009). Composite Models and the Historical Sciences. Australasian Association for Philosophy, Melbourne University, Melbourne, Australia

Jeffares, B. (2009) Human Uniqueness: A Bio-cultural Synthesis. New Zealand Archaeological Association Conference. Wellington, New Zealand.

Jeffares, B. (2008). Life History and Artefacts. Australasian Association for Philosophy (New Zealand Division), Canterbury University, Christchurch.

Jeffares, B. (2007). The Archaeology of Cultural Inheritance in Early Homo. Meeting for the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, Exeter, England.

Jeffares, B. (2008). Testing Times: Confirmation in the Historical Sciences. PhD Thesis. Australian National University.

Jeffares, B. (2006). Cognitive Archaeology. Australasian Association for Philosophy, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Jeffares, B. (2005). Cultural Variation and Epistemic Access. Conference for the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology. University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Jeffares, B. (2005). Signals and Noise in Sedimentary Records. Australasian Archaeometry Conference. Canberra, Australia.

Jeffares, B. (2003). The Limits on Biological Explanations in Archaeology. In T. Denham (Ed.), Whither theory in Australian archaeology? Australian Archaeological Association Conference. Jindabyne, NSW, Australia:

Jeffares, B. (2002). The Scope and Limits of Biological Explanations in Archaeology. Philosophy. Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.

 

Research Contributions:

2011-2008 Marking Master Theses, Religious Studies, VUW.

2005-2008 Organised Australian National University Philosophy of Biology Graduate Workshops at Kioloa, NSW, Australia.

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