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Taylor Davis

Taylor Davis

Associate Professor // Philosophy

Associate Professor // Religious Studies // SIS

Curriculum vitae

Office and Contact

Room: BRNG 7136


Phone: (765) 494-4282

After completing a B.S. in psychology, Taylor Davis turned to philosophy to pursue more theoretical, foundational questions about the evolution of morality and religion. This led to a master’s degree at Tufts University, where he first encountered theories of cultural evolution, and this, in turn, led to a doctorate at the University of British Columbia, where he studied cultural evolution with some of the foremost scientists in the field. He wrote his dissertation on the cultural evolution of religion, and joined Purdue as part of an interdisciplinary hiring cluster organized around the theme of sustainability. The sustainability movement is, at root, a shift in cultural values, and a major thread in Davis’s research examines ways to accelerate this shift by understanding the evolution and psychology of these values. In collaboration with other members of this cluster, as well as many other social scientists and philosophers, his work on this topic has been published in Nature SustainabilitySustainabilitySustainability Science, and Ecology and Society. He is currently writing a book on cultural values in general, and the final chapter will focus on the sustainability.

Unlike most philosophers, Davis also engages frequently in empirical work, in addition to his purely theoretical projects. This includes both traditional scientific studies and less traditional studies in what is known as “experimental philosophy” (whether or not experiments are actually involved). This work has been published in Philosophical PsychologySocial Cognition, and Journal of Memory and Language. Davis’s theoretical work has been published in Review of Philosophy and PsychologySocial Philosophy and Policy, and Journal of Cognition and Culture.

In a former life, Davis was a touring musician. In this life, he sings and plays guitar, bass, drums, banjo, steel guitar, harmonica and piano, as often as he can. He also has an uncanny ability to find four-leaf clovers.


Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Mind