John Beatty teaches history and philosophy of science, and social and political philosophy, in the Department of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

His research focuses on the theoretical foundations, methodology, and socio-political dimensions of genetics and evolutionary biology (he is one of many UBC faculty specializing in history and philosophy of science, and science and technology studies).

His current research projects concern more specifically: 1) the distinction between "history" and "science," and the respects in which evolutionary biology is as much like the former as it is like the latter, 2) changing views of contingency and necessity in the Darwinian Revolution, 3) the relationships between biology and "the state," from the Manhattan Project to the Human Genome Project, and 4) issues concerning the nature of scientific "authority."

He is the coauthor of The Empire of Chance: How Probability Changed Science and Everyday Life (Cambridge University Press). He co-directs the annual MBL Seminar in the History of Biology. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.