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Philosophy of Biology

Edited by John Wilkins (University of Sydney, University of Melbourne)
Assistant editor: Justin Bzovy (University of Western Ontario)
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  1. added 2014-07-18
    Michael Baumgartner & Alexander Gebharter (forthcoming). Constitutive Relevance, Mutual Manipulability, and Fat-Handedness. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The first part of this paper argues that if Craver’s ([2007a], [2007b]) popular mutual manipulability account (MM) of mechanistic constitution is embedded within Woodward’s ([2003]) interventionist theory of causation--for which it is explicitly designed--it either undermines the mechanistic research paradigm by entailing that there do not exist relationships of constitutive relevance or it gives rise to the unwanted consequence that constitution is a form of causation. The second part shows how Woodward’s theory can be adapted in such a way that (...)
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  2. added 2014-07-14
    Gal Kober (2014). Richard A. Richards .The Species Problem: A Philosophical Analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pp. X+236. $85.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW] Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 4 (1):169-172.
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  3. added 2014-07-14
    Gal Kober (2010). Biology Without Species: A Solution to the Species Problem. Dissertation, Boston University
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  4. added 2014-07-14
    Gal Kober (2010). Michel J. Behe. In Roger Chapman (ed.), Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices. M.E. Sharpe. 39-40.
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  5. added 2014-07-14
    Gal Kober (2006). Review - Debating Design From Darwin to DNA by William A. Dembski and Michael Ruse (Editors) Cambridge University Press, 2004. [REVIEW] Metapsychology Online Reviews 10 (3).
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  6. added 2014-07-01
    Ehud Lamm & Ohad Kammar (forthcoming). Inferring Co-Evolution. Philosophy of Science.
    We discuss two inference patterns for inferring the coevolution of two characters based on their properties at a single point in time and determine when developmental interactions can be used to deduce evolutionary order. We discuss the use of the inference patterns we present in the biological literature and assess the arguments’ validity, the degree of support they give to the evolutionary conclusion, how they can be corroborated with empirical evidence, and to what extent they suggest new empirically addressable questions. (...)
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  7. added 2014-06-28
    Gábor Holló (forthcoming). Animals Are Both Radially and Bilaterally Symmetrical: Accommodating Seemingly Mutually Exclusive Paradigms. Bioessays:n/a-n/a.
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  8. added 2014-06-24
    John Klasios (2014). The Evolutionary Psychology of Human Mating: A Response to Buller's Critique. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 47:1-11.
    In this paper, I critique arguments made by philosopher David Buller against central evolutionary-psychological explanations of human mating. Specifically, I aim to rebut his criticisms of Evolutionary Psychology regarding (1) women's long-term mating preferences for high-status men; (2) the evolutionary rationale behind men's provisioning of women; (3) men's mating preferences for young women; (4) women's adaptation for extra-pair sex; (5) the sex-differentiated evolutionary theory of human jealousy; and (6) the notion of mate value. In sum, I aim to demonstrate that (...)
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  9. added 2014-06-16
    Bengt Kayser (forthcoming). High Altitude Cachexia: Adaptation Instead of Deterioration? (Comment on DOI 10.1002/Bies.201400042). Bioessays:n/a-n/a.
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  10. added 2014-06-16
    Michal Reichman-Fried & Erez Raz (forthcoming). Small Proteins, Big Roles: The Signaling Protein Apela Extends the Complexity of Developmental Pathways in the Early Zebrafish Embryo. Bioessays:n/a-n/a.
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  11. added 2014-06-16
    Andrew J. Murray & Hugh E. Montgomery (forthcoming). How Wasting is Saving: Weight Loss at Altitude Might Result From an Evolutionary Adaptation. Bioessays:n/a-n/a.
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  12. added 2014-06-10
    Nicolae Morar, Ted Toadvine & Brendan Bohannan (forthcoming). Biodiversity at Twenty-Five Years: Revolution or Red Herring? Ethics, Policy, and Environment.
  13. added 2014-06-10
    Christopher J. Austin (2014). The Dispositional Genome: Primus Inter Pares. Biology and Philosophy:1-20.
    According to the proponents of Developmental Systems Theory and the Causal Parity Thesis, the privileging of the genome as “first among equals” with respect to the development of phenotypic traits is more a reflection of our own heuristic prejudice than of ontology - the underlying causal structures responsible for that specified development no more single out the genome as primary than they do other broadly “environmental” factors. Parting with the methodology of the popular responses to the Thesis, this paper offers (...)
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  14. added 2014-06-10
    Benjamin Smart (2014). On the Classification of Diseases. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 35 (4):251-269.
    Identifying the necessary and sufficient conditions for individuating and classifying diseases is a matter of great importance in the fields of law, ethics, epidemiology, and of course, medicine. In this paper, I first propose a means of achieving this goal, ensuring that no two distinct disease-types could correctly be ascribed to the same disease-token. I then posit a metaphysical ontology of diseases—that is, I give an account of what a disease is. This is essential to providing the most effective means (...)
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  15. added 2014-06-09
    Amy M. Schmitter (2008). How to Engineer a Human Being: Passions and Functional Explanation in Descartes. In Janet Broughton & John Carriero (eds.), A Companion to Descartes. Blackwell. 426-444.
  16. added 2014-06-06
    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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  17. added 2014-06-01
    Ehud Lamm (2014). The Genome as a Developmental Organ. Journal of Physiology 592 (11):2237-2244.
    This paper applies the conceptual toolkit of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (evo‐devo) to the evolution of the genome and the role of the genome in organism development. This challenges both the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, the dominant view in evolutionary theory for much of the 20th century, and the typically unreflective analysis of heredity by evo‐devo. First, the history of the marginalization of applying system‐thinking to the genome is described. Next, the suggested framework is presented. Finally, its application to the evolution of (...)
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  18. added 2014-05-29
    Vidyanand Nanjundiah (forthcoming). Social Groups Go Places. Biological Theory.
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  19. added 2014-05-29
    Sergio Balari & Guillermo Lorenzo (forthcoming). The End of Development. Biological Theory.
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  20. added 2014-05-28
    Dalia Nassar (2014). Romantic Empiricism After the ‘End of Nature’: Contributions to Environmental Philosophy. In , The Relevance of Romanticism: Essays on German Romantic Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    Since Bill McKibben’s 1989 book, The End of Nature, it has become commonplace to pronounce the ‘end’ of that which, for many decades, we called nature. Although in many instances the reiterations of the end of nature do not agree with McKibben’s reasoning, they concur that nature is not a plausible or desirable concept for environmental thought or activism. Alongside this growing trend in environmental philosophy, a number of studies have recently appeared which reconsider the environmental significance of romanticism. While (...)
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  21. added 2014-05-23
    Jun Otsuka (forthcoming). Using Causal Models to Integrate Proximate and Ultimate Causation. Biology and Philosophy:1-19.
    Ernst Mayr’s classical work on the nature of causation in biology has had a huge influence on biologists as well as philosophers. Although his distinction between proximate and ultimate causation recently came under criticism from those who emphasize the role of development in evolutionary processes, the formal relationship between these two notions remains elusive. Using causal graph theory, this paper offers a unified framework to systematically translate a given “proximate” causal structure into an “ultimate” evolutionary response, and illustrates evolutionary implications (...)
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  22. added 2014-05-22
    Hannes Braberg, Erica A. Moehle, Michael Shales, Christine Guthrie & Nevan J. Krogan (forthcoming). Genetic Interaction Analysis of Point Mutations Enables Interrogation of Gene Function at a Residue-Level Resolution. Bioessays:n/a-n/a.
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  23. added 2014-05-21
    Wouter Kalf (forthcoming). Why Solar Radiation Management is (Much) More Likely to Be Morally Permissible. Ethics, Policy and Environment.
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  24. added 2014-05-21
    Austin Booth (forthcoming). Symbiosis, Selection, and Individuality. Biology and Philosophy:1-17.
    A recent development in biology has been the growing acceptance that holobionts, entities comprised of symbiotic microbes and their host organisms, are widespread in nature. There is agreement that holobionts are evolved outcomes, but disagreement on how to characterize the operation of natural selection on them. The aim of this paper is to articulate the contours of the disagreement. I explain how two distinct foundational accounts of the process of natural selection give rise to competing views about evolutionary individuality.
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  25. added 2014-05-21
    John Dupré (1999). On the Impossibility of a Monistic Account of Species. In Robert A. Wilson (ed.), Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays. Bradford Books. 3-22.
  26. added 2014-05-19
    Brent D. Mishler & M. J. Donoghue (1982). Species Concepts: A Case for Pluralism. Systematic Zoology 31:491-503.
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  27. added 2014-05-19
    Gareth Nelson & Norman I. Platnick (1981). Systematics and Biogeography. Harcourt, Brace and World.
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  28. added 2014-05-19
    E. O. Wiley (1979). An Annotated Linnean Hierarchy, with Comments on Natural Taxa and Competing Systems. Systematic Zoology 28:308-337.
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  29. added 2014-05-19
    Leigh Van Valen (1976). Ecological Species, Multispecies, and Oaks. Taxon 25:233-239.
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  30. added 2014-05-17
    Yuval Ramot & Ralf Paus (forthcoming). Harnessing Neuroendocrine Controls of Keratin Expression: A New Therapeutic Strategy for Skin Diseases? Bioessays:n/a-n/a.
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  31. added 2014-05-17
    Mirit I. Aladjem & Haiqing Fu (2014). A New Light on DNA Replication From the Inactive X Chromosome. Bioessays 36 (6):591-597.
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  32. added 2014-05-17
    Anneke Brümmer & Jean Hausser (2014). MicroRNA Binding Sites in the Coding Region of mRNAs: Extending the Repertoire of Post-Transcriptional Gene Regulation. Bioessays 36 (6):617-626.
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  33. added 2014-05-17
    Chang Huang & Bing Zhu (2014). H3.3 Turnover: A Mechanism to Poise Chromatin for Transcription, or a Response to Open Chromatin? Bioessays 36 (6):579-584.
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  34. added 2014-05-17
    Robert Brandon & Leonore Fleming (2014). Drift Sometimes Dominates Selection, and Vice Versa: A Reply to Clatterbuck, Sober and Lewontin. Biology and Philosophy 29 (4):577-585.
    Clatterbuck et al. (Biol Philos 28: 577–592, 2013) argue that there is no fact of the matter whether selection dominates drift or vice versa in any particular case of evolution. Their reasons are not empirically based; rather, they are purely conceptual. We show that their conceptual presuppositions are unmotivated, unnecessary and overly complex. We also show that their conclusion runs contrary to current biological practice. The solution is to recognize that evolution involves a probabilistic sampling process, and that drift is (...)
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  35. added 2014-05-17
    Kay S. Grennan, Chao Chen, Elliot S. Gershon & Chunyu Liu (2014). Molecular Network Analysis Enhances Understanding of the Biology of Mental Disorders. Bioessays 36 (6):606-616.
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  36. added 2014-05-17
    Andrew Moore (2014). On the State of Scientific English and How to Improve It - Part 6: The Route to Much Less Trouble and Many Fewer Problems? Bioessays 36 (6):541-541.
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  37. added 2014-05-17
    Ludovic Orlando (2014). A 400,000-Year-Old Mitochondrial Genome Questions Phylogenetic Relationships Amongst Archaic Hominins. Bioessays 36 (6):598-605.
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  38. added 2014-05-17
    Arcadi Cipponi & David M. Thomas (2014). Stress-Induced Cellular Adaptive Strategies: Ancient Evolutionarily Conserved Programs as New Anticancer Therapeutic Targets. Bioessays 36 (6):552-560.
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  39. added 2014-05-17
    Per Nilsson & Takaomi C. Saido (2014). Dual Roles for Autophagy: Degradation and Secretion of Alzheimer's Disease Aβ Peptide. Bioessays 36 (6):570-578.
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  40. added 2014-05-17
    Ralph A. Nixon (2014). Alzheimer Neurodegeneration, Autophagy, and Abeta Secretion: The Ins and Outs (Comment on DOI 10.1002/Bies.201400002). Bioessays 36 (6):547-547.
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  41. added 2014-05-17
    Günter Seyfried, Lei Pei & Markus Schmidt (2014). European Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Biology: Beyond the Hope, Hype and Horror. Bioessays 36 (6):548-551.
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  42. added 2014-05-12
    Christopher Clarke (forthcoming). Multi-Level Selection and the Explanatory Value of Mathematical Decompositions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Do multi-level selection explanations of the evolution of social traits deepen the understanding provided by single-level explanations? Central to the former is a mathematical theorem, the multi-level Price decomposition. I build a framework through which to understand the explanatory role of such non-empirical decompositions in scientific practice. Applying this general framework to the present case places two tasks on the agenda. The first task is to distinguish the various ways of suppressing within-collective variation in fitness, and moreover to evaluate their (...)
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  43. added 2014-05-10
    Gregory Canning (2014). Invisible Nature: Healing the Destructive Divide Between People and the Environment. By Kenneth Worthy. Environmental Philosophy 11 (1):125-127.
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  44. added 2014-05-10
    Christy Reynolds (2014). Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering and Queer Affect. By Mel Y. Chen. Environmental Philosophy 11 (1):135-137.
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  45. added 2014-05-10
    Ted Geier (2014). Aesth/Ethics in Environmental Change: Hiking Through the Arts, Ecology, Religion and Ethics of the Environment. Edited by Sigurd Bergmann, Irmgard Blindow, and Konrad Ott. Environmental Philosophy 11 (1):131-135.
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  46. added 2014-05-10
    Forrest Clingerman (2014). What's Wrong with Climate Politics and How to Fix It. By Paul G. Harris; Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering. By Clive Hamilton. [REVIEW] Environmental Philosophy 11 (1):127-131.
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  47. added 2014-05-10
    Bob Sandmeyer (2014). A Sand County Almanac and Other Writings on Ecology and Conservation. By Aldo Leopold, Edited by Curt Meine. Environmental Philosophy 11 (1):138-140.
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  48. added 2014-05-10
    Annabelle Dufourcq (2014). Editorial Preface. Environmental Philosophy 11 (1):5-7.
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  49. added 2014-05-09
    Sheena E. B. Tyler (forthcoming). The Work Surfaces of Morphogenesis: The Role of the Morphogenetic Field. Biological Theory.
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  50. added 2014-05-08
    Massimo Pigliucci & Leonard Finkelman (2014). The Extended (Evolutionary) Synthesis Debate: Where Science Meets Philosophy. BioScience:online.
    Recent debates between proponents of the modern evolutionary synthesis (the standard model in evolutionary biology) and those of a possible extended synthesis are a good example of the fascinating tangle among empirical, theoretical, and conceptual or philosophical matters that is the practice of evolutionary biology. In this essay, we briefly discuss two case studies from this debate, highlighting the relevance of philosophical thinking to evolutionary biologists in the hope of spurring further constructive cross-pollination between the two fields.
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