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  1. Brett Calcott (2013). Why How and Why Aren't Enough: More Problems with Mayr's Proximate-Ultimate Distinction. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):767-780.
    Like Laland et al., I think Mayr’s distinction is problematic, but I identify a further problem with it. I argue that Mayr’s distinction is a false dichotomy, and obscures an important question about evolutionary change. I show how this question, once revealed, sheds light on some debates in evo-devo that Laland et al.’s analysis cannot, and suggest that it provides a different view about how future integration between biological disciplines might proceed.
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  2. Brett Calcott (2013). Why the Proximate–Ultimate Distinction Is Misleading, and Why It Matters for Understanding the Evolution of Cooperation. In Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott & Ben Fraser (eds.), Cooperation and its Evolution. MIT Press. 249.
  3. Ken Cheng (2001). Generalization and Tinbergen's Four Whys. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (4):660-661.
    Shepard's exponential law provides a functional explanation of generalization. The account complements the more common mechanistic models. The elegant and powerful analyses answer one of Tinbergen's (1963) four whys of behavior: a benefit conferred on the animal by generalizing in this way. A complete account might address evolutionary and developmental questions in addition to mechanistic and functional ones. [Shepard].
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  4. T. E. Dickins & R. A. Barton (2013). Reciprocal Causation and the Proximate–Ultimate Distinction. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):747-756.
    Laland and colleagues have sought to challenge the proximate–ultimate distinction claiming that it imposes a unidirectional model of causation, is limited in its capacity to account for complex biological phenomena, and hinders progress in biology. In this article the core of their argument is critically analyzed. It is claimed that contrary to their claims Laland et al. rely upon the proximate–ultimate distinction to make their points and that their alternative conception of reciprocal causation refers to phenomena that were already accounted (...)
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  5. Philippe Gagnon (2013). An Improbable God Between Simplicity and Complexity: Thinking About Dawkins's Challenge. International Philosophical Quarterly 53 (4):409-433.
    Richard Dawkins has popularized an argument that he thinks sound for showing that there is almost certainly no God. It rests on the assumptions (1) that complex and statistically improbable things are more difficult to explain than those that are not and (2) that an explanatory mechanism must show how this complexity can be built up from simpler means. But what justifies claims about the designer’s own complexity? One comes to a different understanding of order and of simplicity when one (...)
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  6. Claudia Lorena García (2010). Functional Homology and Functional Variation in Evolutionary Cognitive Science. Biological Theory 5 (2):124-135.
    Most cognitive scientists nowadays tend to think that at least some of the mind’s capacities are the product of biological evolution, yet important conceptual problems remain for all of them in order to be able to speak coherently of mental or cognitive systems as having evolved naturally. Two of these important problems concern the articulation of adequate, interesting and empirically useful concepts of homology and variation as applied to cognitive systems. However, systems in cognitive science are usually understood as functional (...)
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  7. Andy Gardner (2013). Ultimate Explanations Concern the Adaptive Rationale for Organism Design. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):787-791.
    My understanding is that proximate explanations concern adaptive mechanism and that ultimate explanations concern adaptive rationale. Viewed in this light, the two kinds of explanation are quite distinct, but they interact in a complementary way to give a full understanding of biological adaptations. In contrast, Laland et al. (2013)—following a literal reading of Mayr (Science 134:1501–1506, 1961)—have characterized ultimate explanations as concerning any and all mechanisms that have operated over the course of an organism’s evolutionary history. This has unfortunate consequences, (...)
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  8. Paul E. Griffiths & John S. Wilkins (forthcoming). When Do Evolutionary Explanations of Belief Debunk Belief? In Darwin in the 21st Century.
    Ever since Darwin people have worried about the sceptical implications of evolution. If our minds are products of evolution like those of other animals, why suppose that the beliefs they produce are true, rather than merely useful? In this chapter we apply this argument to beliefs in three different domains: morality, religion, and science. We identify replies to evolutionary scepticism that work in some domains but not in others. The simplest reply to evolutionary scepticism is that the truth of beliefs (...)
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  9. Paul E. Griffiths & John S. Wilkins (forthcoming). Darwin in the 21st Century.
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  10. Chris Haufe (2008). Perverse Engineering. Philosophy of Science 75 (4):437-446.
    Evolutionary psychologists, among others, have used a method called “reverse engineering” to uncover ( a ) whether a trait was selected for, and ( b ) if so, why that trait was selected for. In this paper I argue that reverse engineering cannot deliver on either ( a ) or ( b ), and tends to pervert, rather than enhance, our knowledge of natural history. In particular, I expose as false a fundamental assumption of reverse engineering—namely, that all traits selected (...)
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  11. Christine James (2008). Evolution and Conservative Christianity: How Philosophy of Science Pedagogy Can Begin the Conversation. Spontaneous Generations 2 (1):185-212.
    I teach Philosophy of Science at a four-year state university located in the southeastern United States with a strong college of education. This means that the Philosophy of Science class I teach attracts large numbers of students who will later become science teachers in Georgia junior high and high schools—the same schools that recently began including evolution "warning" stickers in science textbooks. I am also a faculty member in a department combining Religious Studies and Philosophy. This means Philosophy of Science (...)
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  12. Kevin McCain & Brad Weslake (2013). Evolutionary Theory and the Epistemology of Science. In Kostas Kampourakis (ed.), The Philosophy of Biology: A Companion for Educators. Springer. 101-119.
    Evolutionary theory is a paradigmatic example of a well-supported scientific theory. In this chapter we consider a number of objections to evolutionary theory, and show how responding to these objections reveals aspects of the way in which scientific theories are supported by evidence. Teaching these objections can therefore serve two pedagogical aims: students can learn the right way to respond to some popular arguments against evolutionary theory, and they can learn some basic features of the structure of scientific theories and (...)
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  13. Massimo Pigliucci & Jonathan Kaplan (2006). Making Sense of Evolution: The Conceptual Foundations of Evolutionary Theory. University of Chicago Press.
    Making Sense of Evolution explores contemporary evolutionary biology, focusing on the elements of theories—selection, adaptation, and species—that are complex and open to multiple possible interpretations, many of which are incompatible with one another and with other accepted practices in the discipline. Particular experimental methods, for example, may demand one understanding of “selection,” while the application of the same concept to another area of evolutionary biology could necessitate a very different definition.
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  14. Marco Solinas (2008). Review of Jan-Christoph Heiliger (ed.), Naturgeschichte der Freiheit. [REVIEW] Iride (54):496-498.
  15. Jacob Stegenga (forthcoming). Population Pluralism and Natural Selection. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    I defend a radical interpretation of biological populations—what I call population pluralism—which holds that there are many ways that a particular grouping of individuals can be related such that the grouping satisfies the conditions necessary for those individuals to evolve together. More constraining accounts of biological populations face empirical counter-examples and conceptual difficulties. One of the most intuitive and frequently employed conditions, causal connectivity—itself beset with numerous difficulties—is best construed by considering the relevant causal relations as ‘thick’ causal concepts. I (...)
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  16. Jacob Stegenga (2010). Population is Not a Natural Kind of Kinds. Biological Theory 5 (2):154-160.
    Millstein (2009) argues against conceptual pluralism with respect to the definition of “population,” and proposes her own definition of the term. I challenge both Millstein's negative arguments against conceptual pluralism and her positive proposal for a singular definition of population. The concept of population, I argue, does not refer to a natural kind; populations are constructs of biologists variably defined by contexts of inquiry.
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