Charles H. Pence Louisiana State University
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  • Faculty, Louisiana State University
  • PhD, University of Notre Dame, 2014.

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About me
I'm Charles Pence, an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at LSU. For more information, see my website.
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  1. Charles H. Pence (2013). Staffan Müller-Wille and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger . A Cultural History of Heredity . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Pp. Xiii+218. $45.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW] Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 3 (1):168-172.
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  2. Charles H. Pence & Grant Ramsey (2013). A New Foundation for the Propensity Interpretation of Fitness. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):851-881.
    The propensity interpretation of fitness (PIF) is commonly taken to be subject to a set of simple counterexamples. We argue that three of the most important of these are not counterexamples to the PIF itself, but only to the traditional mathematical model of this propensity: fitness as expected number of offspring. They fail to demonstrate that a new mathematical model of the PIF could not succeed where this older model fails. We then propose a new formalization of the PIF that (...)
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  3. Grant Ramsey & Charles H. Pence (2013). Fitness: Philosophical Problems. eLS.
    Fitness plays many roles throughout evolutionary theory, from a measure of populations in the wild to a central element in abstract theoretical presentations of natural selection. It has thus been the subject of an extensive philosophical literature, which has primarily centered on the way to understand the relationship between fitness values and reproductive outcomes. If fitness is a probabilistic or statistical quantity, how is it to be defined in general theoretical contexts? How can it be measured? Can a single conceptual (...)
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  4. Charles H. Pence & Lara Buchak (2012). Oyun: A New, Free Program for Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma Tournaments in the Classroom. Evolution Education and Outreach 5 (3):467-476.
    Evolutionary applications of game theory present one of the most pedagogically accessible varieties of genuine, contemporary theoretical biology. We present here Oyun (OY-oon, http://charlespence.net/oyun), a program designed to run iterated prisoner’s dilemma tournaments, competitions between prisoner’s dilemma strategies developed by the students themselves. Using this software, students are able to readily design and tweak their own strategies, and to see how they fare both in round-robin tournaments and in “evolutionary” tournaments, where the scores in a given “generation” directly determine contribution (...)
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  5. Hope Hollocher, Agustin Fuentes, Charles H. Pence, Grant Ramsey, Daniel John Sportiello & Michelle M. Wirth (2011). On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction. [REVIEW] Quarterly Review of Biology 86 (2):137-138.
  6. Charles H. Pence (2011). “Describing Our Whole Experience”: The Statistical Philosophies of W. F. R. Weldon and Karl Pearson. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (4):475-485.
    There are two motivations commonly ascribed to historical actors for taking up statistics: to reduce complicated data to a mean value (e.g., Quetelet), and to take account of diversity (e.g., Galton). Different motivations will, it is assumed, lead to different methodological decisions in the practice of the statistical sciences. Karl Pearson and W. F. R. Weldon are generally seen as following directly in Galton’s footsteps. I argue for two related theses in light of this standard interpretation, based on a reading (...)
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  7. Charles H. Pence (2011). Nietzsche’s Aesthetic Critique of Darwin. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 33 (2):165-190.
    Despite his position as one of the first philosophers to write in the “post- Darwinian” world, the critique of Darwin by Friedrich Nietzsche is often ignored for a host of unsatisfactory reasons. I argue that Nietzsche’s critique of Darwin is important to the study of both Nietzsche’s and Darwin’s impact on philosophy. Further, I show that the central claims of Nietzsche’s critique have been broadly misunderstood. I then present a new reading of Nietzsche’s core criticism of Darwin. An important part (...)
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  8. Charles H. Pence, Hope Hollocher, Ryan Nichols, Grant Ramsey, Edwin Siu & Daniel John Sportiello (2011). Elliott Sober: Did Darwin Write the Origin Backwards? Philosophical Essays on Darwin's Theory. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 78 (4):705-709.
  9. Grant Ramsey, Hope Hollocher, Agustin Fuentes, Charles H. Pence & Edwin Siu (2010). Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection. [REVIEW] Quarterly Review of Biology 85 (4):499-500.
  10. Charles H. Pence, Charles Darwin and Sir John F. W. Herschel: Nineteenth-Century Science and its Methodology.
    In this essay, I review the relationship between Charles Darwin's methodology and the philosophy of science of Sir John F. W. Herschel. Darwin's exposure to Herschel's philosophy was, I argue, significant. Further, when we construct an appropriate reading of Herschel's philosophy of science (a surprisingly difficult feat), we can see that Darwin's three-part argument in the Origin is crafted in order to strictly adhere to Herschel's methodological guidelines.
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  11. Charles H. Pence, It's Okay to Call Genetic Drift a “Force”.
    One hotly debated philosophical question in the analysis of evolutionary theory concerns whether or not evolution and the various factors which constitute it (selection, drift, mutation, and so on) may profitably be considered to be “forces” in the traditional, Newtonian sense. Several compelling arguments assert that the force picture is incoherent, due to the peculiar nature of genetic drift. I consider two of those arguments here – that drift lacks a predictable direction, and that drift is constitutive of evolutionary systems (...)
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