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Elisabeth Anne Lloyd Edit Profile

Philosopher , university professor

Elisabeth Anne Lloyd, American Philosophy educator. Graduate fellow National Science Foundation, 1980-1983, fellow University of California Humanities Research Institute, 1989, 91; scholarly research grantee National Science Foundation, 1986, 87, 88.


Lloyd, Elisabeth Anne was born on September 3, 1956 in Morristown, New Jersey, United States. Daughter of Stuart Phinney and Ruth Elisabeth (Sorensen) Lloyd.


After some graduate study under the supervision of Stephen Jay Gould in the Department of Genetics at Harvard University in 1983, Lloyd studied under Bas van Fraassen at Princeton University for a PhD in Philosophy 1980 – 1984.


She currently holds the Arnold and Maxine Tanis Chair of History and Philosophy of Science and is also Professor of Biology, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University, Affiliated Faculty Scholar at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction and Adjunct Faculty at the Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior. She worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at University of California, San Diego, 1985–88. And then was assistant professor, then associate professor, then full professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley from 1988 to 1999, before moving to Indiana University.

Her 2005 book, The Case of the Female Orgasm, was widely discussed in the scholarly and popular press, including Isis, Nature and The New York Times. The book criticizes what it portrays as anti-scientific biases infecting the many proposed adaptive explanations of female orgasm. Lloyd goes on to argue that the available evidence, such as from sexology studies, is far more supportive of a neutral "byproduct" explanation put forward by Donald Symons, under which female orgasm is the result of orgasm developing as a species trait due to its critical role in males for procreation (akin to explanations for why nipples, which are required for nursing in females, are also present in males).

The book received so much attention that it was lampooned on an episode of Saturday Night Live because its title sounds like a racy version of a Hardy Boys novel. Lloyd had been working on the subject for two years, when a discussion with Stephen Jay Gould in 1986 led to her providing the basis for his 1987 essay in Natural History titled 'Freudian Slip', which was reprinted in 1992 as 'Male Nipples and Clitoral Ripples.'.



Campaign writer, contributor California and National Democratic Party, Sacramento, since 1984. Member, contributor Nature Conservancy, Washington, since 1985, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, New York City, since 1993. Member, activist National Organization of Women, Washington, 1980-1992.

Member International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (board directors 1991-1995), Society for Social Studies of Science (program committee 1989), Philosophy of Science Association (nominating committee 1990-1991, program committee 1991-1992), American Philosophical Association (program committee 1988-1991, award referee for Matchette prize 1992-1994), Bay Area Philosophy of Science Reading Group (founder since 1988), Phi Beta Kappa.


  • Other Interests

    Avocations: gardening, Aikido, knitting, swimming, acoustic and electric guitar.


Stuart Phinney Lloyd

Ruth Elisabeth (Sorensen) Lloyd