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  1. added 2016-05-03
    Teresa Branch-Smith, Reducing the Emergence of the Gaps: Computation for Weak Emergence.
    This thesis contributes to the growing literature surrounding the importance of weak emergence by showing it can account for more phenomena than originally conceived via the use of computational reduction. Weak emergence refers to unpredictable higher-level phenomena that are reducible to lower-level phenomena. The ability of weak emergence to reduce higher-level phenomena to their lower-level constituents is useful for establishing a mechanistic explanation of emergent features. The tension between holistic higher-level phenomena and lower-level parts is a classic argument in philosophy (...)
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  2. added 2016-04-29
    Angélique Stéphanou & Nicolas Glade (2015). Programming the Emergence in Morphogenetically Architected Complex Systems. Acta Biotheoretica 63 (3):295-308.
    Large sets of elements interacting locally and producing specific architectures reliably form a category that transcends the usual dividing line between biological and engineered systems. We propose to call them morphogenetically architected complex systems. While taking the emergence of properties seriously, the notion of MACS enables at the same time the design of operational means that allow controlling and even, paradoxically, programming this emergence. To demonstrate our claim, we first show that among all the self-organized systems studied in the field (...)
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  3. added 2016-04-28
    Casey Helgeson, Pattern as Observation: Darwin's 'Great Facts' of Geographical Distribution.
    Among philosophical analyses of Darwin’s Origin, a standard view says the theory presented there had no concrete observational consequences against which it might be checked. I challenge this idea with a new analysis of Darwin’s principal geographical distribution observations and how they connect to his common ancestry hypothesis.
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  4. added 2016-04-28
    Sol Neely (forthcoming). On Becoming Human in Lingít Aaní in Advance. Environmental Philosophy.
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  5. added 2016-04-27
    Witzany Guenther (2016). The Biocommunication Method: On the Road to an Integrative Biology. Communicative and Integrative Biology 9:e1164374.
    Although molecular biology, genetics, and related special disciplines represent a large amount of empirical data, a practical method for the evaluation and overview of current knowledge is far from being realized. The main concepts and narratives in these fields have remained nearly the same for decades and the more recent empirical data concerning the role of noncoding RNAs and persistent viruses and their defectives do not fit into this scenario. A more innovative approach such as applied biocommunication theory could (...)
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  6. added 2016-04-27
    James G. Tabery & Paul E. Griffiths (2010). Historical and Philosophical Perspectives on Behavioral Genetics and Developmental Science. In Kathryn Hood, Halpern E., Greenberg Carolyn Tucker, Lerner Gary & M. Richard (eds.), Handbook of Developmental Science, Behavior and Genetics. Wiley-Blackwell 41--60.
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  7. added 2016-04-27
    Paul E. Griffiths & Russell D. Gray (2001). Darwinism and Developmental Systems. In Susan Oyama, Paul Griffiths, Gray E. & D. Russell (eds.), Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution. MIT Press 195--218.
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  8. added 2016-04-26
    Vincenzo De Florio, Interpretations of the Concepts of Resilience and Evolution in the Philosophy of Leibniz.
    In this article I interpret resilience and evolution in view of the philosophy of Leibniz. First, I discuss resilience as a substance’s or a monad’s “quantity of essence” — its “degree of perfection” — which I express as the quality of the Whole with respect to the sum of the qualities of the Parts. Then I discuss evolution, which I interpret here as the autopoietic Principle that sets Itself in motion and creates all reality, including Itself. This Principle may be (...)
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  9. added 2016-04-26
    Massimo Pigliucci & Raphael Scholl (2015). The Proximate–Ultimate Distinction and Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Causal Irrelevance Versus Explanatory Abstraction. Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):653-670.
    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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  10. added 2016-04-26
    J. Hateren (2015). Intrinsic Estimates of Fitness Affect the Causal Structure of Evolutionary Change. Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):729-746.
    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 development, (...)
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  11. added 2016-04-21
    Irene Berra (2014). An Evolutionary Ockham's Razor to Reciprocity. Frontiers in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 5:01258.
    Reciprocal altruism implies delayed payoffs by definition. It might therefore seem logical to assume that limited memory, calculation, and planning capacities have constrained the evolution of reciprocity in non-human animals. Here I will argue that this is not the case. First, I will show that the emotional track of past interactions is enough to motivate and maintain reciprocity over longer timespans. Second, I will propose a developmental pathway of this system of emotional bookkeeping. In particular, the neuropeptide modulation underlying mother-infant (...)
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  12. added 2016-04-18
    Isabella Sarto-Jackson & Richard R. Nelson (2015). A Plea for “Shmeasurement” in the Social Sciences. Biological Theory 10 (3):237-245.
    Suspicion of “physics envy” surrounds the standard statistical toolbox used in the empirical sciences, from biology to psychology. Mainstream methods in these fields, various lines of criticism point out, often fall short of the basic requirements of measurement. Quantitative scales are applied to variables that can hardly be treated as measurable magnitudes, like preferences or happiness; hypotheses are tested by comparing data with conventional significance thresholds that hardly mention effect sizes. This article discusses what I call “shmeasurement.” To “shmeasure” is (...)
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  13. added 2016-04-18
    Isabella Sarto-Jackson & Richard R. Nelson (2015). Quantitative and Qualitative Research in Psychological Science. Biological Theory 10 (3):263-272.
    The field of psychology has emphasized quantitative laboratory research as a defining character of its role as a science, and has generally de-emphasized qualitative research and theorizing throughout its history. This article reviews some of the effects of this emphasis in two areas, intelligence testing, and learning and memory. On one side, quantitative measurement produced the widely used IQ test but shed little light on the construct of intelligence and its role in human cognition. On the other side, reductive quantification (...)
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  14. added 2016-04-16
    Ingo Brigandt (forthcoming). Bodily Parts in the Structure-Function Dialectic. In Scott Lidgard & Lynn K. Nyhart (eds.), Biological Individuality: Integrating Scientific, Philosophical, and Historical Perspectives. University of Chicago Press
    Understanding the organization of an organism by individuating meaningful parts and accounting for organismal properties by studying the interaction of bodily parts is a central practice in many areas of biology. While structures are obvious bodily parts and structure and function have often been seen as antagonistic principles in the study of organismal organization, my tenet is that structures and functions are on a par. I articulate a notion of function (functions as activities), according to which functions are bodily parts (...)
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  15. added 2016-04-16
    Erhan Demircioglu (2015). Recognitional Identification and the Knowledge Argument. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 15 (3):325-340.
    Frank Jackson’s famous Knowledge Argument moves from the premise that complete physical knowledge about experiences is not complete knowledge about experiences to the falsity of physicalism. Some physicalists (e.g., John Perry) have countered by arguing that what Jackson’s Mary, the perfect scientist who acquires all physical knowledge about experiencing red while being locked in a monochromatic room, lacks before experiencing red is merely a piece of recognitional knowledge of an identity, and that since lacking a piece of recognitional knowledge of (...)
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  16. added 2016-04-14
    Uwe Peters (2016). Human Thinking, Shared Intentionality, and Egocentric Biases. Biology and Philosophy 31 (2):299-312.
    The paper briefly summarises and critiques Tomasello’s A Natural History of Human Thinking. After offering an overview of the book, the paper focusses on one particular part of Tomasello’s proposal on the evolution of uniquely human thinking and raises two points of criticism against it. One of them concerns his notion of thinking. The other pertains to empirical findings on egocentric biases in communication.
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  17. added 2016-04-14
    Andre M. Hahn (2016). Can a History of Photosynthesis Be Grand? Philosophy and Theory in Biology 8.
    Kärin Nickelsen’s Explaining Photosynthesis: Models of Biochemical Mechanisms, 1840–1960 gives a much needed historical and philosophical account of one of the major research projects in modern plant sciences. This look at the scientific models of photosynthesis expands upon Nickelsen’s previous work with eighteenth century botanical illustration which she viewed as a type of modeling activity. Weaving between active research and the discourses around it, Nickelsen boldly attempts to find some bridge between the history of science and the philosophy of science (...)
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  18. added 2016-04-13
    Eleonora Severini (forthcoming). Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and the Moral Niche. Philosophia:1-11.
    The so-called Evolutionary Debunking Arguments are arguments that appeal to the evolutionary genealogy of our beliefs to undermine their justification. When applied to morality, such arguments are intended to undermine moral realism. In this paper I will discuss Andreas Mogensen’s recent effort to secure moral realism against EDAs. Mogensen attempts to undermine the challenge provided by EDAs in metaethics through the distinction between proximate and ultimate causes in biology. The problem with this move is that the proximate/ultimate distinction is misconceived. (...)
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  19. added 2016-04-12
    Bernd Rosslenbroich (forthcoming). Alvaro Moreno and Matteo Mossio: Biological Autonomy: A Philosophical and Theoretical Enquiry. Biology and Philosophy:1-11.
    The essay review summarizes the intention as well as some of the major topics from the book of A. Moreno and M. Mossio and discusses them against the background of recent considerations on the general understanding of organisms. The authors see themselves in the organicist tradition in biology and propose that a new understanding of living beings can be developed around the notion of organismic autonomy, which enables biological systems to maintain themselves in an environment through directed behavior.
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  20. added 2016-04-12
    Witzany Guenther (2016). Crucial Steps to Life: From Chemical Reactions to Code Using Agents. Biosystems 140:49-57.
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  21. added 2016-04-10
    Adam Hochman (2016). Race: Deflate or Pop? Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57.
    Neven Sesardic has recently defended his arguments in favour of racial naturalism—the view that race is a valid biological category—in response to my criticism of his work. While Sesardic claims that a strong version of racial naturalism can survive critique, he has in fact weakened his position considerably. He concedes that conventional racial taxonomy is arbitrary and he no longer identifies ‘races’ as human subspecies. Sesardic now relies almost entirely on Theodosius Dobzhansky’s notion of race-as-population. This weak approach to ‘race’—according (...)
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  22. added 2016-04-10
    Edgar Dahl (1994). Die Gene der Liebe: Vom Ewigen Kampf der Geschlechter. Carlsen.
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  23. added 2016-04-10
    Edgar Dahl (1991). Im Anfang War der Egoismus. Econ.
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  24. added 2016-04-07
    James Hatley (forthcoming). Telling Stories in the Company of Buffalo in Advance. Environmental Philosophy.
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  25. added 2016-04-07
    Andre M. Hahn (2016). Can a History of Photosynthesis Be Grand? Philosophy and Theory in Biology 8.
    Kärin Nickelsen’s Explaining Photosynthesis: Models of Biochemical Mechanisms, 1840–1960 gives a much needed historical and philosophical account of one of the major research projects in modern plant sciences. This look at the scientific models of photosynthesis expands upon Nickelsen’s previous work with eighteenth century botanical illustration which she viewed as a type of modeling activity. Weaving between active research and the discourses around it, Nickelsen boldly attempts to find some bridge between the history of science and the philosophy of science (...)
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  26. added 2016-04-07
    Jackson Jr (2016). Cross-Cultural Research, Evolutionary Psychology, and Racialism: Problems and Prospects. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 8.
    This essay is a defense of the social construction of racialism. I follow a standard definition of “racialism” which is the belief that “there are heritable characteristics, possessed by members of our species, that allow us to divide them into a small set of races, in such a way that all the members of these races share certain traits and tendencies with each other that they do not share with other members of any other race”. In particular I want to (...)
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  27. added 2016-04-06
    Michaelis Michael (2016). Evolution by Natural Selection: Confidence, Evidence and The Gap. CRC Press.
  28. added 2016-04-03
    Arnold Berleant (forthcoming). Some Questions for Ecological Aesthetics in Advance. Environmental Philosophy.
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  29. added 2016-04-02
    Hisashi Nakao, Kohei Tamura, Yui Arimatsu, Tomomi Nakagawa, Naoko Matsumoto & Takehiko Matsugi (2016). Violence in the Prehistoric Period of Japan: The Spatio-Temporal Pattern of Skeletal Evidence for Violence in the Jomon Period. Biology Letters 12:20160028.
    Whether man is predisposed to lethal violence, ranging from homicide to warfare, and how that may have impacted human evolution, are among the most controversial topics of debate on human evolution. Although recent studies on the evolution of warfare have been based on various archaeological and ethnographic data, they have reported mixed results: it is unclear whether or not warfare among prehistoric hunter–gatherers was common enough to be a component of human nature and a selective pressure for the evolution of (...)
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  30. added 2016-03-31
    Justin Garson, Anya Plutynski & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.) (2016). The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Biodiversity. Routledge.
    Biological diversity - or ‘biodiversity’ - is the degree of variation of life within an ecosystem. It is a relatively new topic of study but has grown enormously in recent years. Because of its interdisciplinary nature the very concept of biodiversity is the subject of debate amongst philosophers, biologists, geographers and environmentalists. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Biodiversity is an outstanding reference source to the key topics and debates in this exciting subject. Comprising twenty-three chapters by a team of (...)
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  31. added 2016-03-29
    D. J. Bradley, A Priori Causal Laws.
    Sober (2011) and Elgin & Sober (2014) defend the claim that there are a priori causal laws in biology. Lange and Rosenberg (2011) take issue with this on Humean grounds, among others. I will argue that Sober and Elgin don’t go far enough – there are a priori causal laws in many sciences. Furthermore, I will argue that this thesis is compatible with a Humean metaphysics and an empiricist epistemology.
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  32. added 2016-03-28
    Witzany Guenther (2016). Crucial Steps to Life: From Chemical Reactions to Code Using Agents. Biosystems 140:49-57.
    The concepts of the origin of the genetic code and the definitions of life changed dramatically after the RNA world hypothesis. Main narratives in molecular biology and genetics such as the “central dogma,” “one gene one protein” and “non-coding DNA is junk” were falsified meanwhile. RNA moved from the transition intermediate molecule into centre stage. Additionally the abundance of empirical data concerning nonrandom genetic change operators such as the variety of mobile genetic elements, persistent viruses and defectives do not (...)
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  33. added 2016-03-27
    Eric Saidel (2016). Through the Looking Glass, and What We Find There. Biology and Philosophy 31 (3):335-352.
    The conclusions drawn from mirror self-recognition studies, in which nonhuman animals are tested for whether they detect a mark on their bodies which can be observed only in the mirror, are based on several presuppositions. These include that performance on the test is an indication of species wide rather than individual abilities, and that all the animals which pass the test are demonstrating the presence of the same psychological ability. However, further details about the results of (...)
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  34. added 2016-03-26
    Stefan Petkov, Wei Wang & Yi Lei (forthcoming). Explanatory Unification and Natural Selection Explanations. Biology and Philosophy:1-21.
    The debate between the dynamical and the statistical interpretations of natural selection is centred on the question of whether all explanations that employ the concepts of natural selection and drift are reducible to causal explanations. The proponents of the statistical interpretation answer negatively, but insist on the fact that selection/drift arguments are explanatory. However, they remain unclear on where the explanatory power comes from. The proponents of the dynamical interpretation answer positively and try to reduce selection/drift arguments to some of (...)
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  35. added 2016-03-26
    David Spurrett (2016). Does Intragenomic Conflict Predict Intrapersonal Conflict? Biology and Philosophy 31 (3):313-333.
    Parts of the genome of a single individual can have conflicting interests, depending on which parent they were inherited from. One mechanism by which these conflicts are expressed in some taxa, including mammals, is genomic imprinting, which modulates the level of expression of some genes depending on their parent of origin. Imprinted gene expression is known to affect body size, brain size, and the relative development of various tissues in mammals. A high fraction of imprinted gene expression occurs in the (...)
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  36. added 2016-03-23
    H. P. P. [Hennie] Lotter (2016). Humans as Professional Interactants with Elephants in a Global Commons. Journal of Global Ethics 12 (1):87-105.
    All current versions of ethics for human interaction with animals are based on theories originally developed for relationships between humans or for human understanding of the environment. The perceived analogies between relationships among humans those theories were designed for and the relationships between human and animals have led to specifically revised and adapted theories for ethical interaction between humans and animals. In this essay I propose two further analogies that I develop into one core argument to cover specific issues in (...)
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  37. added 2016-03-21
    C. Dyke (1988). The Evolutionary Dynamics of Complex Systems. Oxford U.P..
  38. added 2016-03-20
    Guido K. Tamponi (2016). Homo homini summum bonum. Der zweifache Humanismus des F.C.S. Schiller. Peter Lang.
  39. added 2016-03-17
    Alberto Vanzo (forthcoming). Introduction. Perspectives on Science:255-263.
    The articles in the special issue ‘Experience in natural philosophy and medicine’ discuss the roles and notions of experience in the works of a range of early modern authors, including Galileo Galilei, Francis Bacon, the Dutch atomist David Gorlaeus, William Harvey, and Christian Wolff. The articles extend the evidential basis on which we can rely to identify trends, changes and continuities in the roles and notions of experience in the period of the Scientific Revolution. The articles shed light on the (...)
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  40. added 2016-03-17
    Antoine Danchin & Agnieszka Sekowska (2008). FRUSTRATION: PHYSICO-CHEMICAL PREREQUISITES FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A SYNTHETIC CELL. In Martin G. Hicks and Carsten Kettner (ed.), Proceedings of the International Beilstein Symposium on Systems Chemistry May 26th – 30th, 2008 Bozen, Italy. Beilstein Institute 1-19.
    To construct a synthetic cell we need to understand the rules that permit life. A central idea in modern biology is that in addition to the four entities making reality, matter, energy, space and time, a fifth one, information, plays a central role. As a consequence of this central importance of the management of information, the bacterial cell is organised as a Turing machine, where the machine, with its compartments defining an inside and an outside and its metabolism, reads and (...)
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  41. added 2016-03-16
    Kenneth Liberman (forthcoming). The Reversibilty of Landscapes in Advance. Environmental Philosophy.
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  42. added 2016-03-15
    Richard Burian (2005). The Epistemology of Development, Evolution, and Genetics. Cambridge University Press.
    Collected for the first time in a single volume are essays which examine the developments in three fundamental biological disciplines - embryology, evolutionary biology, and genetics. These disciplines were in conflict for much of the twentieth century and the essays in this collection examine key methodological problems within these disciplines and the difficulties faced in overcoming the conflicts between them. Burian skilfully weaves together historical appreciation of the settings within which scientists work, substantial knowledge of the biological problems at stake (...)
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  43. added 2016-03-14
    Lukas Rieppel (2015). Plaster Cast Publishing in Nineteenth-Century Paleontology. History of Science 53 (4):456-491.
    This article uses the example of Hesperornis regalis, an ancient toothed bird discovered in Kansas during the 1870s, to discuss a practice that became extremely widespread in late-nineteenth-century paleontology: the use of plaster cast replicas to circulate especially noteworthy discoveries. Building upon a growing literature at the intersection of book history and the history of science, I argue that paleontologists developed plaster casts as a compromise medium that combined some features of print with others from original natural history specimens. For (...)
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  44. added 2016-03-14
    Lukas Rieppel (2015). Prospecting for Dinosaurs on The Mining Frontier. Social Studies of Science 45 (2):161-186.
    How much is a dinosaur worth? This essay offers an account of the way vertebrate fossils were priced in late 19th-century America to explore the process by which monetary values are established in science. Examining a long and drawn-out negotiation over the sale of an unusually rich dinosaur quarry in Wyoming, I argue that, on their own, abstract market principles did not suffice to mediate between supply and demand. Rather, people haggling over the price of dinosaur bones looked to social (...)
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  45. added 2016-03-14
    Alexander Mebius (2014). A Weakened Mechanism is Still a Mechanism: On the Causal Role of Absences in Mechanistic Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45:43-48.
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  46. added 2016-03-11
    Donald S. Maier (forthcoming). Taking Nature Seriously in the Anthropocene in Advance. Environmental Philosophy.
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  47. added 2016-03-11
    Paul E. Griffiths & James G. Tabery (2013). Developmental Systems Theory: What Does It Explain, and How Does It Explain It? In Richard M. Lerner & Janette B. Benson (eds.), Embodiment and Epigenesis: Theoretical and Methodological Issues in Understanding the Role of Biology Within the Relational Developmental System Part A: Philosophical, Theoretical, and Biological Dimensions. Elsevier 65--94.
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  48. added 2016-03-10
    Christopher J. Austin (forthcoming). Aristotelian Essentialism: Essence in the Age of Evolution. Synthese:1-18.
    The advent of contemporary evolutionary theory ushered in the eventual decline of Aristotelian Essentialism (Æ) – for it is widely assumed that essence does not, and cannot have any proper place in the age of evolution. This paper argues that this assumption is a mistake: if Æ can be suitably evolved, it need not face extinction. In it, I claim that if that theory’s fundamental ontology consists of dispositional properties, and if its characteristic metaphysical machinery is interpreted within the (...)
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  49. added 2016-03-10
    Robert Booth (forthcoming). Acknowledging the Place of Unrest in Advance. Environmental Philosophy.
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  50. added 2016-03-09
    Marco Piasentier (2016). The Vital Error: Where Evolutionary Biology and Genealogy Meet. Paragraph 39 (1).
    In On the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche sets up an opposition between the ‘naïveté of English biologists’ in their research on the evolution of life and a methodology that records the singularity and the contingency of natural events without introducing any finality: genealogy. Nietzsche shares with these scientists the need to trace the explanation of living beings back to a naturalistic framework liberated from theology, but he questions their linear and progressive conception of the evolution of life. This article explores (...)
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