Resources on biological visualisation in history, philosophy and social studies of biology

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Compiled by Sabina Leonelli, University of Exeter, with help from Dan Nicholson, Nadine Levin, Staffan Mueller-Wille (University of Exeter), Gregory Radick (University of Leeds) and Maureen O’Malley (University of Sydney). This is by no means a complete listing and we welcome suggestions for further materials.

Online Repositories


Special Issues




Individual Papers

  • Bruno Latour “Visualisation and Cognition: Drawing Things Together”
  • Laura Perini “Explanation in Two Dimensions: Diagrams and Biological Models,” Biology & Philosophy, (2005) pp. 257-269.
  • Laura Perini “The Truth in Pictures,” Philosophy of Science, Vol. 72 (2005) pp. 262-285.
  • James R. Griesemer and W.C.Wimsatt "Picturing Weismannism: A Case Study in Conceptual Evolution" in Michael Ruse, ed., WHAT THE PHILOSOPHY OF BIOLOGY IS: ESSAYS DEDICATED TO DAVID HULL (Kluwer, 1989), pp. 75-137.
  • Michael Ruse “Are Pictures Really Necessary?  The Case of Sewall Wright's 'Adaptive Landscapes', PSA PROCEEDINGS 1990 : 63-77.
  • Cambrosio, Alberto, Daniel Jacobi, & Peter Keating (1993) “Ehrlich’s ‘Beautiful Pictures’ and the Controversial Beginnings of Immunological Imagery,” Isis 84(4): 662–99.
  • Isabelle Charmantier. 'Carl Linnaeus and the Visual Representation of Nature', Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 41 (2011), 365-404.
  • Ruse, Michael & Peter Taylor (eds) (1991) “Pictorial Representation in Biology,” Biology and Philosophy 6(2): 125–294.
  • Mark A. Ragan “Trees and networks before and after Darwin” (pdf)


Material Culture of Visualisation