Associate Professor



Areas of Research


AOS: Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy and History of Science, Metaphysics


AOC: Philosophy of New and Emerging Technologies (especially of Synthetic Biology and Agriculture), Philosophy of Race, Philosophy of Ethnobiology


Catherine Kendig is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University. Her research explores the normative and metaphysical commitments underlying scientific classifications and natural and synthetic kinds broadly construed. Her current research concentrates on (1) philosophical analyses of the notions of proof-of-concept and identity in synthetic biology; (2) enthnobiological kind-making practices and indigenous botanical nomenclatures; and (2) the development of epistemic standards in engineering and agriculture.


Kendig is editor of the collection of interdisciplinary essays Natural Kinds and Classification in Scientific Practice (2016 Routledge) which explores the role of kind-making or ‘kinding’ in the work of scientists. She serves as Associate Editor of the journal History & Philosophy of the Life Sciences, and as Co-Editor (with Lydia Patton and Alan Richardson) of the series “History of Philosophy and Science” (De Gruyter). She was elected to the Committee for Integrated History and Philosophy of Science; serves on the Organizing Committee of the International Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice; and board representative to the Consortium for Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering. She was also contributor to the U.K. Nuffield Council on Bioethics International Report on Genome Editing.


Kendig earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Exeter/ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society and her MSc in Philosophy and History of Science at King’s College London. Before joining Michigan State University, she was Lecturer/Teaching Fellow in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London, and Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, Missouri Western State University. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

5-minute Fellows: Catherine Kendig

Featured publication

Natural Kinds and Classification in Scientific Practice



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Genome Consortium for Active Teaching-Synthetic Biology (GCAT-SynBio):