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  1. Rachael L. Brown (2013). What Evolvability Really Is. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axt014.
    In recent years, the concept of evolvability has been gaining in prominence both within evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) and the broader field of evolutionary biology. Despite this, there remains considerable disagreement about what evolvability is. This article offers a solution to this problem. I argue that, in focusing too closely on the role played by evolvability as an explanandum in evo-devo, existing philosophical attempts to clarify the evolvability concept have been overly narrow. Within evolutionary biology more broadly, evolvability offers a (...)
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  2. Ferdinand Fellmann (2013). Emotional Selection and Human Personality. Biological Theory 8 (1):64-73.
    This article addresses the emergence of human personality in evolution. The mechanisms of natural and sexual selection developed by Darwin are not sufficient to explain the sense of self. Therefore we attempt to trace the evolutionary process back to a form of selection termed “emotional selection.” This involves reconstructing selection out of subjective qualities and showing how emotions enable human forms of life that are relevant for the cultural level of cooperation that marks our species. We see a paradigm shift (...)
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  3. 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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  4. Stavros Ioannidis (2013). Regulatory Evolution and Theoretical Arguments in Evolutionary Biology. Science and Education 22 (2):279-292.
    The cis-regulatory hypothesis is one of the most important claims of evolutionary developmental biology. In this paper I examine the theoretical argument for cis-regulatory evolution and its role within evolutionary theorizing. I show that, although the argument has some weaknesses, it acts as a useful example for the importance of current scientific debates for science education.
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  5. Hugh LaFollette & Niall Shanks (1994). Animal Experimentation: The Legacy of Claude Bernard. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 8 (3):195 – 210.
    Claude Bernard, the father of scientific physiology, believed that if medicine was to become truly scientiifc, it would have to be based on rigorous and controlled animal experiments. Bernard instituted a paradigm which has shaped physiological practice for most of the twentieth century. ln this paper we examine how Bernards commitment to hypothetico-deductivism and determinism led to (a) his rejection of the theory of evolution; (b) his minima/ization of the role of clinical medicine and epidemiological studies; and (c) his conclusion (...)
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  6. Ehud Lamm (2010). Review Of: Julian Huxley, Evolution: The Modern Synthesis – The Definitive Edition. [REVIEW] Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science.
    The review focuses on Huxley’s debt to Richard Goldschmidt and Cyril Darlington. I discuss the conceptions of the genome developed by Goldschmidt and Darlington and their continuing relevance.
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  7. John Matthewson & Brett Calcott, Mechanistic Explanation Without Mechanisms.
    We provide an account of mechanistic representation and explanation that has several advantages over previous proposals. In our view, explaining mechanistically is not simply giving an explanation of a mechanism. Rather, an explanation is mechanistic because of particular relations that hold between a mechanical representation, or model, and the target of explanation. Under this interpretation, mechanistic explanation is possible even when the explanatory target is not a mechanism. We argue that taking this view is not only coherent and plausible, it (...)
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  8. Erika Milam, Roberta L. Millstein, Angela Potochnik & Joan Roughgarden (2011). Sex and Sensibility: The Role of Social Selection. Metascience 20 (2):253-277.
    Sex and sensibility: The role of social selection Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9464-6 Authors Erika L. Milam, Department of History, University of Maryland, 2115 Francis Scott Key Hall, College Park, MD 20742, USA Roberta L. Millstein, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA Angela Potochnik, Department of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, P.O. Box 210374, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA Joan E. Roughgarden, Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, USA Journal Metascience Online (...)
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  9. Roberta L. Millstein (2012). Darwin's Explanation of Races by Means of Sexual Selection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (3):627-633.
    In Darwin’s Sacred Cause, Adrian Desmond and James Moore contend that ‘‘Darwin would put his utmost into sexual selection because the subject intrigued him, no doubt, but also for a deeper reason: the theory vindicated his lifelong commitment to human brotherhood’’ (2009: p. 360). Without questioning Des- mond and Moore’s evidence, I will raise some puzzles for their view. I will show that attention to the structure of Darwin’s arguments in the Descent of Man shows that they are far from (...)
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  10. Roberta L. Millstein (2000). Chance and Macroevolution. Philosophy of Science 67 (4):603-624.
    When philosophers of physics explore the nature of chance, they usually look to quantum mechanics. When philosophers of biology explore the nature of chance, they usually look to microevolutionary phenomena, such as mutation or random drift. What has been largely overlooked is the role of chance in macroevolution. The stochastic models of paleobiology employ conceptions of chance that are similar to those at the microevolutionary level, yet different from the conceptions of chance often associated with quantum mechanics and Laplacean determinism.
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  11. Marcin Miłkowski (2009). Is Evolution Algorithmic? Minds and Machines 19 (4):465-475.
    In Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Daniel Dennett claims that evolution is algorithmic. On Dennett’s analysis, evolutionary processes are trivially algorithmic because he assumes that all natural processes are algorithmic. I will argue that there are more robust ways to understand algorithmic processes that make the claim that evolution is algorithmic empirical and not conceptual. While laws of nature can be seen as compression algorithms of information about the world, it does not follow logically that they are implemented as algorithms by physical (...)
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  12. Massimo Pigliucci (2012). Landscapes, Surfaces, and Morphospaces: What Are They Good For? In E. Svensson & R. Calsbeek (eds.), The Adaptive Landscape in Evolutionary Biology.
    Few metaphors in biology are more enduring than the idea of Adaptive Landscapes, originally proposed by Sewall Wright (1932) as a way to visually present to an audience of typically non- mathematically savvy biologists his ideas about the relative role of natural selection and genetic drift in the course of evolution. The metaphor, how- ever, was born troubled, not the least reason for which is the fact that Wright presented different diagrams in his original paper that simply can- not refer (...)
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  13. Massimo Pigliucci (2012). Philosophical Reflections on Darwin and Evolutionary Theory. [REVIEW] Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27 (5):258.
    Few scientists are conscious of the distinc- tion between the logic of what they write and the rhetoric of how they write it. This is because we are taught to write scientific papers and books from a third-person per- spective, using as impersonal (and, almost inevitably, boring [1]) a style as possible. The first chapter in Elliott Sober’s new book examines the difference between Darwin’s logic and his rhetoric in The Origin, and manages to teach some interesting and in- sightful (...)
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  14. Massimo Pigliucci (2007). Do We Need an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis? Evolution 61 (12):2743-2749.
    The Modern Synthesis (MS) is the current paradigm in evolutionary biology. It was actually built by expanding on the conceptual foundations laid out by its predecessors, Darwinism and neo-Darwinism. For sometime now there has been talk of a new Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES), and this article begins to outline why we may need such an extension, and how it may come about. As philosopher Karl Popper has noticed, the current evolutionary theory is a theory of genes, and we still lack (...)
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  15. Massimo Pigliucci (2005). Evolution of Phenotypic Plasticity: Where Are We Going Now? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20 (9):481-486.
    The study of phenotypic plasticity has progressed significantly over the past few decades. We have moved from variation for plasticity being considered as a nuisance in evolutionary studies to it being the primary target of investigations that use an array of methods, including quantitative and molecular genetics, as well as of several approaches that model the evolution of plastic responses. Here, I consider some of the major aspects of research on phenotypic plasticity, assessing where progress has been made and where (...)
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  16. Massimo Pigliucci (2003). Genetic Assimilation and a Possible Evolutionary Paradox: Can Macroevolution Sometimes Be so Fast to Pass Us By? Evolution 57 (7):1455-1464.
    The idea of genetic assimilation, that environmentally induced phenotypes may become genetically fixed and no longer require the original environmental stimulus, has had varied success through time in evolutionary biology research. Proposed by Waddington in the 1940s, it became an area of active empirical research mostly thanks to the efforts of its inventor and his collaborators. It was then attacked as of minor importance during the ‘‘hardening’’ of the neo-Darwinian synthesis and was relegated to a secondary role for decades. Recently, (...)
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  17. Massimo Pigliucci (2003). Genetic Assimilation and a Possible Evolutionary Paradox: Can Macroevolution Sometimes Be so Fast to Pass Us By? Evolution 57 (7):1455-1464.
    The idea of genetic assimilation, that environmentally induced phenotypes may become genetically fixed and no longer require the original environmental stimulus, has had varied success through time in evolutionary biology research. Proposed by Waddington in the 1940s, it became an area of active empirical research mostly thanks to the efforts of its inventor and his collaborators. It was then attacked as of minor importance during the ‘‘hardening’’ of the neo-Darwinian synthesis and was relegated to a secondary role for decades. Recently, (...)
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  18. Massimo Pigliucci (2003). Phenotypic Integration: Studying the Ecology and Evolution of Complex Phenotypes. Ecology Letters 6:265-272.
    Phenotypic integration refers to the study of complex patterns of covariation among functionally related traits in a given organism. It has been investigated throughout the 20th century, but has only recently risen to the forefront of evolutionary ecological research. In this essay, I identify the reasons for this late flourishing of studies on integration, and discuss some of the major areas of current endeavour: the interplay of adaptation and constraints, the genetic and molecular bases of integration, the role of phenotypic (...)
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  19. Massimo Pigliucci (2003). From Molecules to Phenotypes? The Promise and Limits of Integrative Biology. Basic and Applied Ecology 4:297-306.
    Is integrative biology a good idea, or even possible? There has been much interest lately in the unifica- tion of biology and the integration of traditionally separate disciplines such as molecular and develop- mental biology on one hand, and ecology and evolutionary biology on the other. In this paper I ask if and under what circumstances such integration of efforts actually makes sense. I develop by example an analogy with Aristotle’s famous four “causes” that one can investigate concerning any object (...)
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  20. Massimo Pigliucci (2001). Phenotypic Plasticity. In C. W. Fox D. A. Roff (ed.), Evolutionary Ecology: Concepts and Case Studies.
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  21. Massimo Pigliucci, Courtney Murren & Carl Schlichting (2006). Phenotypic Plasticity and Evolution by Genetic Assimilation. Journal of Experimental Biology 209:2362-2367.
    In addition to considerable debate in the recent evolutionary literature about the limits of the Modern Synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s, there has also been theoretical and empirical interest in a variety of new and not so new concepts such as phenotypic plasticity, genetic assimilation and phenotypic accommodation. Here we consider examples of the arguments and counter- arguments that have shaped this discussion. We suggest that much of the controversy hinges on several misunderstandings, including unwarranted fears of a general (...)
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  22. Alexander Powell (2011). Book Review Essay of J. Shapiro, Evolution: A View From the 21st Century. [REVIEW] Genomics, Society and Policy 7:35-43.
  23. Carl Schlichting & Massimo Pigliucci (1998). Phenotypic Evolution: A Reaction Norm Perspective. Sinauer.
    Phenotypic Evolution explicitly recognizes organisms as complex genetic-epigenetic systems developing in response to changing internal and external environments. As a key to a better understanding of how phenotypes evolve, the authors have developed a framework that centers on the concept of the Developmental Reaction Norm. This encompasses their views: (1) that organisms are better considered as integrated units than as disconnected parts (allometry and phenotypic integration); (2) that an understanding of ontogeny is vital for evaluating evolution of adult forms (ontogenetic (...)
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  24. Marco Solinas (2012). L'impronta dell'inutilità. Dalla teleologia di Aristotele alle genealogie di Darwin. ETS.
    The book aims to offer a contribution to the historiographical and conceptual reconfiguration of the evolutionary revolution in the light of the centuries-old tenets of the Aristotelian biological tradition. Darwin’s breakthrough constitutes a thorough overturning of the fixist, essentialist and teleological framework created by Aristotle, a framework still dominant in the 17th Century world of Harvey and Ray, as well as Galileo, and then hegemonic until Linnaeus and Cuvier. This change is exemplified in the morphological analysis of useless parts, such (...)
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  25. Marco Solinas (2008). Review of Jan-Christoph Heiliger (ed.), Naturgeschichte der Freiheit. [REVIEW] Iride (54):496-498.