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Forthcoming articles
  1. Mirko Farina (forthcoming). On the Active Boundaries of Vision. Biology and Philosophy.
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  2. Thomas Pradeu (forthcoming). Toolbox Murders: Putting Genes in Their Epigenetic and Ecological Contexts: A Review of Griffiths and Stotz, Genetics and Philosophy: An Introduction. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy.
    Griffiths and Stotz’s Genetics and Philosophy: An Introduction offers a very good overview of scientific and philosophical issues raised by present-day genetics. Examining, in particular, the questions of how a “gene” should be defined and what a gene does from a causal point of view, the authors explore the different domains of the life sciences in which genetics has come to play a decisive role, from Mendelian genetics to molecular genetics, behavioural genetics, and evolution. In this review, I highlight what (...)
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  3. Raphael Scholl & Massimo Pigliucci (forthcoming). The Proximate–Ultimate Distinction and Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Causal Irrelevance Versus Explanatory Abstraction. Biology and Philosophy:1-18.
    Mayr’s proximate–ultimate distinction has received renewed interest in recent years. Here we discuss its role in arguments about the relevance of developmental to evolutionary biology. We show that two recent critiques of the proximate–ultimate distinction fail to explain why developmental processes in particular should be of interest to evolutionary biologists. We trace these failures to a common problem: both critiques take the proximate–ultimate distinction to neglect specific causal interactions in nature. We argue that this is implausible, and that the distinction (...)
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  4. Joeri Witteveen (forthcoming). Naming and Contingency: The Type Method of Biological Taxonomy. Biology and Philosophy:1-18.
    Biological taxonomists rely on the so-called ‘type method’ to regulate taxonomic nomenclature. For each newfound taxon, they lay down a ‘type specimen’ that carries with it the name of the taxon it belongs to. Even if a taxon’s circumscription is unknown and/or subject to change, it remains a necessary truth that the taxon’s type specimen falls within its boundaries. Philosophers have noted some time ago that this naming practice is in line with the causal theory of reference and its central (...)
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  5. Daniel Barker (forthcoming). Seeing the Wood for the Trees: Philosophical Aspects of Classical, Bayesian and Likelihood Approaches in Statistical Inference and Some Implications for Phylogenetic Analysis. Biology and Philosophy:1-21.
    The three main approaches in statistical inference—classical statistics, Bayesian and likelihood—are in current use in phylogeny research. The three approaches are discussed and compared, with particular emphasis on theoretical properties illustrated by simple thought-experiments. The methods are problematic on axiomatic grounds (classical statistics), extra-mathematical grounds relating to the use of a prior (Bayesian inference) or practical grounds (likelihood). This essay aims to increase understanding of these limits among those with an interest in phylogeny.
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  6. Sandy C. Boucher (forthcoming). Functionalism and Structuralism as Philosophical Stances: Van Fraassen Meets the Philosophy of Biology. Biology and Philosophy:1-21.
    I consider the broad perspectives in biology known as ‘functionalism’ and ‘structuralism’, as well as a modern version of functionalism, ‘adaptationism’. I do not take a position on which of these perspectives is preferable; my concern is with the prior question, how should they be understood? Adapting van Fraassen’s argument for treating materialism as a stance, rather than a factual belief with propositional content, in the first part of the paper I offer an argument for construing functionalism and structuralism as (...)
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  7. Lindell Bromham (forthcoming). What is a Gene For? Biology and Philosophy:1-21.
    The word “gene” means different things to different people, and can even be used in multiple ways by the same individual. In this review, I follow a particular thread running through Griffith and Stotz’s “Genetics and Philosophy: an introduction”, which is the way that methods of investigation influence the way we define the concept of “gene”, from nineteen century breeding experiments to twenty-first century big data bioinformatics. These different views lead to a set of gene concepts, which only partially overlap (...)
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  8. Nicolas J. Bullot (forthcoming). Agent Tracking: A Psycho-Historical Theory of the Identification of Living and Social Agents. Biology and Philosophy:1-24.
    To explain agent-identification behaviours, universalist theories in the biological and cognitive sciences have posited mental mechanisms thought to be universal to all humans, such as agent detection and face recognition mechanisms. These universalist theories have paid little attention to how particular sociocultural or historical contexts interact with the psychobiological processes of agent-identification. In contrast to universalist theories, contextualist theories appeal to particular historical and sociocultural contexts for explaining agent-identification. Contextualist theories tend to adopt idiographic methods aimed at recording the heterogeneity (...)
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  9. Geoffrey K. Chambers (forthcoming). Understanding Complexity: Are We Making Progress? Biology and Philosophy:1-10.
    In recent years a new conceptual tool called Complexity Theory has come to the attention of scientists and philosophers. This approach is concerned with the emergent properties of interacting systems. It has found wide applicability from cosmology to Social Structure Analysis. However, practitioners are still struggling to find the best way to define complexity and then to measure it. A new book Complexity and the arrow of time by Lineweaver et al. contains contributions from scholars who provide critical reviews of (...)
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  10. W. D. Christensen, J. D. Collier & C. A. Hooker (forthcoming). Adaptiveness and Adaptation: A New Autonomy-Theoretic Analysis and Critique. Biology and Philosophy.
     
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  11. Adrian Currie (forthcoming). Marsupial Lions and Methodological Omnivory: Function, Success and Reconstruction in Paleobiology. Biology and Philosophy:1-23.
    Historical scientists frequently face incomplete data, and lack direct experimental access to their targets. This has led some philosophers and scientists to be pessimistic about the epistemic potential of the historical sciences. And yet, historical science often produces plausible, sophisticated hypotheses. I explain this capacity to generate knowledge in the face of apparent evidential scarcity by examining recent work on Thylacoleo carnifex, the ‘marsupial lion’. Here, we see two important methodological features. First, historical scientists are methodological omnivores, that is, they (...)
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  12. Eugene Earnshaw (forthcoming). Evolutionary Forces and the Hardy–Weinberg Equilibrium. Biology and Philosophy:1-15.
    The Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium has been argued by Sober, Stephens and others to represent the zero-force state for evolutionary biology understood as a theory of forces. I investigate what it means for a model to involve forces, developing an explicit account by defining what the zero-force state is in a general theoretical context. I use this account to show that Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium is not the zero-force state in biology even in the contexts in which it applies, and argue based on this (...)
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  13. Lasse Gerrits & Peter Marks (forthcoming). The Evolution of Wright's (1932) Adaptive Field to Contemporary Interpretations and Uses of Fitness Landscapes in the Social Sciences. Biology and Philosophy:1-21.
    The concepts of adaptation and fitness have such an appeal that they have been used in other scientific domains, including the social sciences. One particular aspect of this theory transfer concerns the so-called fitness landscape models. At first sight, fitness landscapes visualize how an agent, of any kind, relates to its environment, how its position is conditional because of the mutual interaction with other agents, and the potential routes towards improved fitness. The allure of fitness landscapes is first and foremost (...)
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  14. David Haig (forthcoming). Sameness, Novelty, and Nominal Kinds. Biology and Philosophy:1-16.
    Organisms and their genomes are mosaics of features of different evolutionary age. Older features are maintained by ‘negative’ selection and comprise part of the selective environment that has shaped the evolution of newer features by ‘positive’ selection. Body plans and body parts are among the most conservative elements of the environment in which genetic differences are selected. By this process, well-trodden paths of development constrain and direct paths of evolutionary change. Structuralism and adaptationism are both vindicated. Form plays a selective (...)
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  15. Stuart Kauffman & Philip Clayton (forthcoming). Emergence, Autonomous Agents, and Organization. Biology and Philosophy.
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  16. Brian Key (forthcoming). Fish Do Not Feel Pain and its Implications for Understanding Phenomenal Consciousness. Biology and Philosophy:1-17.
    Phenomenal consciousness or the subjective experience of feeling sensory stimuli is fundamental to human existence. Because of the ubiquity of their subjective experiences, humans seem to readily accept the anthropomorphic extension of these mental states to other animals. Humans will typically extrapolate feelings of pain to animals if they respond physiologically and behaviourally to noxious stimuli. The alternative view that fish instead respond to noxious stimuli reflexly and with a limited behavioural repertoire is defended within the context of our current (...)
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  17. Jay Odenbaugh (forthcoming). Semblance or Similarity? Reflections on Simulation and Similarity. Biology and Philosophy:1-15.
    In this essay, I critically evaluate components of Michael Weisberg’s approach to models and modeling in his book Simulation and Similarity. First, I criticize his account of the ontology of models and mathematics. Second, I respond to his objections to fictionalism regarding models arguing that they fail. Third, I sketch a deflationary approach to models that retains many elements of his account but avoids the inflationary commitments.
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  18. Elizabeth O’Neill (forthcoming). Relativizing Innateness: Innateness as the Insensitivity of the Appearance of a Trait with Respect to Specified Environmental Variation. Biology and Philosophy:1-15.
    I object to eliminativism about innateness and André Ariew’s identification of innateness with canalization, and I propose a new treatment of innateness. I first argue that the concept of innateness is serving a valuable function in a diverse set of research contexts, and in these contexts, claims about innateness are best understood as claims about the insensitivity of the appearance of a trait to certain variations in the environment. I then argue that innateness claims, like claims about canalization, should be (...)
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  19. T. Pradeu (forthcoming). Toolbox Murders: Putting Genes in Their Epigenetic and Ecological Contexts. Biology and Philosophy:1-18.
    Griffiths and Stotz’s Genetics and Philosophy: An Introduction offers a very good overview of scientific and philosophical issues raised by present-day genetics. Examining, in particular, the questions of how a “gene” should be defined and what a gene does from a causal point of view, the authors explore the different domains of the life sciences in which genetics has come to play a decisive role, from Mendelian genetics to molecular genetics, behavioural genetics, and evolution. In this review, I highlight what (...)
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  20. Theresa Schilhab (forthcoming). What Mirror Self-Recognition Can Tell Us About Aspects of Self. Biology and Philosophy.
     
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  21. Daniel Shargel (forthcoming). Emotions Without Objects. Biology and Philosophy:1-14.
    It is widely assumed that emotions have particular intentional objects. This assumption is consistent with the way that we talk: when we attribute states of anger, we often attribute anger at someone, or at something. It is also consistent with leading theories of emotion among philosophers and psychologists, according to which emotions are like judgments or appraisals. However, there is evidence from the social psychology literature suggesting that this assumption is actually false. I will begin by presenting a criterion for (...)
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  22. Martin Stuart-Fox (forthcoming). The Origins of Causal Cognition in Early Hominins. Biology and Philosophy:1-20.
    Studies of primate cognition have conclusively shown that humans and apes share a range of basic cognitive abilities. As a corollary, these same studies have also focussed attention on what makes humans unique, and on when and how specifically human cognitive skills evolved. There is widespread agreement that a major distinguishing feature of the human mind is its capacity for causal reasoning. This paper argues that causal cognition originated with the use made of indirect natural signs by early hominins forced (...)
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  23. William J. Talbott (forthcoming). How Could a “Blind” Evolutionary Process Have Made Human Moral Beliefs Sensitive to Strongly Universal, Objective Moral Standards? Biology and Philosophy:1-18.
    The evolutionist challenge to moral realism is the skeptical challenge that, if evolution is true, it would only be by chance, a “happy coincidence” as Sharon Street puts it, if human moral beliefs were true. The author formulates Street’s “happy coincidence” argument more precisely using a distinction between probabilistic sensitivity and insensitivity introduced by Elliott Sober. The author then considers whether it could be rational for us to believe that human moral judgments about particular cases are probabilistically sensitive to strongly (...)
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  24. J. H. Van Hateren (forthcoming). Intrinsic Estimates of Fitness Affect the Causal Structure of Evolutionary Change. Biology and Philosophy:1-18.
    The causal structure of Darwinian evolution by natural selection is investigated. Its basic scheme is reproduction resulting from a feedback loop driven by internal and external causes. Causation internal to the loop connects genotype, development, phenotype, and fitness, with environmental constraints on the latter preventing runaway reproduction. External causes driving the core loop are environmental change and genetic change . This basic causal structure is complicated by modern additions such as control of mutation rate, niche construction, interactions between evolution and (...)
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  25. William C. Wimsatt (forthcoming). Models and Experiments? An Exploration. Biology and Philosophy:1-6.
    Michael Weisberg has given us a lovely book on models. It has very broad coverage of issues intersecting the nature of models and their use, an extensive consideration of long ignored “concrete” models with a rich case study, a discussion and classification of the many diverse kinds of models, and a particularly groundbreaking and innovative discussion of similarity concerning how models relate to the world. Included are insightful discussions of increasingly used “agent based” models, and the conjoint use of multiple (...)
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