Year:

Forthcoming articles
  1. Kristin Andrews & Brian Huss (forthcoming). Anthropomorphism, Anthropectomy, and the Null Hypothesis. Biology and Philosophy:1-19.
    We examine the claim that the methodology of psychology leads to a bias in animal cognition research against attributing “anthropomorphic” properties to animals (Sober in Thinking with animals: new perspectives on anthropomorphism. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 85–99, 2005; de Waal in Philos Top 27:225–280, 1999). This charge is examined in light of a debate on the role of folk psychology between primatologists who emphasize similarities between humans and other apes, and those who emphasize differences. We argue that while (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  2. Mirko Farina (forthcoming). On the Active Boundaries of Vision. Biology and Philosophy.
    No categories
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  3. Pierre-Luc Germain, Emanuele Ratti & Federico Boem (Forthcoming). Junk or Functional DNA? ENCODE and the Function Controversy. Biology and Philosophy:1-25.
    In its last round of publications in September 2012, the Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements (ENCODE) assigned a biochemical function to most of the human genome, which was taken up by the media as meaning the end of ‘Junk DNA’. This provoked a heated reaction from evolutionary biologists, who among other things claimed that ENCODE adopted a wrong and much too inclusive notion of function, making its dismissal of junk DNA merely rhetorical. We argue that this criticism rests on misunderstandings concerning (...)
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  4. Manolo Martínez (forthcoming). Informationally-Connected Property Clusters, and Polymorphism. Biology and Philosophy:1-19.
    I present and defend a novel version of the homeostatic property cluster (HPC) account of natural kinds. The core of the proposal is a development of the notion of co-occurrence, central to the HPC account, along information-theoretic lines. The resulting theory retains all the appealing features of the original formulation, while increasing its explanatory power, and formal perspicuity. I showcase the theory by applying it to the (hitherto unsatisfactorily resolved) problem of reconciling the thesis that biological species are natural kinds (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  5. Russell Powell & Nicholas Shea (forthcoming). Homology Across Inheritance Systems. Biology and Philosophy:1-26.
    Recent work on inheritance systems can be divided into inclusive conceptions, according to which genetic and non-genetic inheritance are both involved in the development and transmission of nearly all animal behavioral traits, and more demanding conceptions of what it takes for non-genetic resources involved in development to qualify as a distinct inheritance system. It might be thought that, if a more stringent conception is adopted, homologies could not subsist across two distinct inheritance systems. Indeed, it is commonly assumed that homology (...)
    Direct download (5 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  6. Raphael Scholl & Massimo Pigliucci (forthcoming). The Proximate–Ultimate Distinction and Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Causal Irrelevance Versus Explanatory Abstraction. Biology and Philosophy:1-18.
    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 (...)
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  7. Neil Tennant (forthcoming). The Logical Structure of Evolutionary Explanation and Prediction: Darwinism's Fundamental Schema. Biology and Philosophy:1-45.
    We present a logically detailed case-study of Darwinian evolutionary explanation. Special features of Darwin’s explanatory schema made it an unusual theoretical breakthrough, from the point of view of the philosophy of science. The schema employs no theoretical terms, and puts forward no theoretical hypotheses. Instead, it uses three observational generalizations—Variability, Heritability and Differential Reproduction—along with an innocuous assumption of Causal Efficacy, to derive Adaptive Evolution as a necessary consequence. Adaptive Evolution in turn, with one assumption of scale (‘Deep Time’), implies (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  8. Argyris Arnellos, Alvaro Moreno & Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo (forthcoming). Organizational Requirements for Multicellular Autonomy: Insights From a Comparative Case Study. Biology and Philosophy:1-34.
    In this paper we explore the organizational conditions underlying the emergence of organisms at the multicellular level. More specifically, we shall propose a general theoretical scheme according to which a multicellular organism is an ensemble of cells that effectively regulates its own development through collective (meta-cellular) mechanisms of control of cell differentiation and cell division processes. This theoretical result derives from the detailed study of the ontogenetic development of three multicellular systems (Nostoc punctiforme, Volvox carteri and Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) and, in (...)
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  9. Daniel Barker (forthcoming). Seeing the Wood for the Trees: Philosophical Aspects of Classical, Bayesian and Likelihood Approaches in Statistical Inference and Some Implications for Phylogenetic Analysis. Biology and Philosophy:1-21.
    The three main approaches in statistical inference—classical statistics, Bayesian and likelihood—are in current use in phylogeny research. The three approaches are discussed and compared, with particular emphasis on theoretical properties illustrated by simple thought-experiments. The methods are problematic on axiomatic grounds (classical statistics), extra-mathematical grounds relating to the use of a prior (Bayesian inference) or practical grounds (likelihood). This essay aims to increase understanding of these limits among those with an interest in phylogeny.
    No categories
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  10. 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.
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  11. Sandy C. Boucher (forthcoming). Functionalism and Structuralism as Philosophical Stances: Van Fraassen Meets the Philosophy of Biology. Biology and Philosophy:1-21.
    I consider the broad perspectives in biology known as ‘functionalism’ and ‘structuralism’, as well as a modern version of functionalism, ‘adaptationism’. I do not take a position on which of these perspectives is preferable; my concern is with the prior question, how should they be understood? Adapting van Fraassen’s argument for treating materialism as a stance, rather than a factual belief with propositional content, in the first part of the paper I offer an argument for construing functionalism and structuralism as (...)
    No categories
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  12. Nicolas J. Bullot (forthcoming). Agent Tracking: A Psycho-Historical Theory of the Identification of Living and Social Agents. Biology and Philosophy:1-24.
    To explain agent-identification behaviours, universalist theories in the biological and cognitive sciences have posited mental mechanisms thought to be universal to all humans, such as agent detection and face recognition mechanisms. These universalist theories have paid little attention to how particular sociocultural or historical contexts interact with the psychobiological processes of agent-identification. In contrast to universalist theories, contextualist theories appeal to particular historical and sociocultural contexts for explaining agent-identification. Contextualist theories tend to adopt idiographic methods aimed at recording the heterogeneity (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  13. W. D. Christensen, J. D. Collier & C. A. Hooker (forthcoming). Adaptiveness and Adaptation: A New Autonomy-Theoretic Analysis and Critique. Biology and Philosophy.
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  14. 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 (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  15. Matthew H. Haber (forthcoming). In Defense of the Organism. Biology and Philosophy:1-11.
    Thomas Pradeu’s The Limits of the Self provides a precise account of biological identity developed from the central concepts of immunology. Yet the central concepts most relevant to this task (self and nonself) are themselves deemed inadequate, suffering from ambiguity and imprecision. Pradeu seeks to remedy this by proposing a new guiding theory for immunology, the continuity theory. From this, an account of biological identity is provided in terms of uniqueness and individuality, ultimately leading to a defense of the heterogeneous (...)
    No categories
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  16. David Haig (forthcoming). Fighting the Good Cause: Meaning, Purpose, Difference, and Choice. Biology and Philosophy:1-23.
    Concepts of cause, choice, and information are closely related. A cause is a choice that can be held responsible. It is a difference that makes a difference. Information about past causes and their effects is a valuable commodity because it can be used to guide future choices. Information about criteria of choice is generated by choosing a subset from an ensemble for ‘reasons’ and has meaning for an interpreter when it is used to achieve an end. Natural selection evolves interpreters (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  17. David Haig (forthcoming). Sameness, Novelty, and Nominal Kinds. Biology and Philosophy:1-16.
    Organisms and their genomes are mosaics of features of different evolutionary age. Older features are maintained by ‘negative’ selection and comprise part of the selective environment that has shaped the evolution of newer features by ‘positive’ selection. Body plans and body parts are among the most conservative elements of the environment in which genetic differences are selected. By this process, well-trodden paths of development constrain and direct paths of evolutionary change. Structuralism and adaptationism are both vindicated. Form plays a selective (...)
    No categories
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  18. Jonathan Michael Kaplan (forthcoming). Race, IQ, and the Search for Statistical Signals Associated with so-Called “X”-Factors: Environments, Racism, and the “Hereditarian Hypothesis”. Biology and Philosophy:1-17.
    Some authors defending the “hereditarian” hypothesis with respect to differences in average IQ scores between populations have argued that the sorts of environmental variation hypothesized by some researchers rejecting the hereditarian position should leave discoverable statistical traces, namely changes in the overall variance of scores or in variance–covariance matrices relating scores to other variables. In this paper, I argue that the claims regarding the discoverability of such statistical signals are broadly mistaken—there is no good reason to suspect that the hypothesized (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  19. Stuart Kauffman & Philip Clayton (forthcoming). Emergence, Autonomous Agents, and Organization. Biology and Philosophy.
    No categories
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  20. Daniel M. Kraemer (forthcoming). Revisiting Recent Etiological Theories of Functions. Biology and Philosophy:1-13.
    Arguably, the most widely endorsed account of normative functions in philosophy of biology is an etiological theory that holds that the function of current traits is fixed by the past selection history of other traits of that type. The earlier formulations of this “selected-effects” theory had trouble accommodating vestigial traits. In order to remedy these difficulties, the influential recent selection or modern history selected-effects theory was introduced. This paper expands upon and strengthens the argument that this theory has trouble stemming (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  21. Irina Meketa (forthcoming). A Critique of the Principle of Cognitive Simplicity in Comparative Cognition. Biology and Philosophy:1-15.
    A widespread assumption in experimental comparative (animal) cognition is that, barring compelling evidence to the contrary, the default hypothesis should postulate the simplest cognitive ontology (mechanism, process, or structure) consistent with the animal’s behavior. I call this assumption the principle of cognitive simplicity (PoCS). In this essay, I show that PoCS is pervasive but unjustified: a blanket preference for the simplest cognitive ontology is not justified by any of the available arguments. Moreover, without a clear sense of how cognitive ontologies (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  22. Jay Odenbaugh (forthcoming). Semblance or Similarity? Reflections on Simulation and Similarity. Biology and Philosophy:1-15.
    In this essay, I critically evaluate components of Michael Weisberg’s approach to models and modeling in his book Simulation and Similarity. First, I criticize his account of the ontology of models and mathematics. Second, I respond to his objections to fictionalism regarding models arguing that they fail. Third, I sketch a deflationary approach to models that retains many elements of his account but avoids the inflationary commitments.
    No categories
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  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 (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  24. Carlos Santana (forthcoming). Save the Planet: Eliminate Biodiversity. Biology and Philosophy:1-20.
    Recent work in the philosophy of biology has attempted to clarify and defend the use of the biodiversity concept in conservation science. I argue against these views, and give reasons to think that the biodiversity concept is a poor fit for the role we want it to play in conservation biology on both empirical and conceptual grounds. Against pluralists, who hold that biodiversity consists of distinct but correlated properties of natural systems, I argue that the supposed correlations between these properties (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  25. Theresa Schilhab (forthcoming). What Mirror Self-Recognition Can Tell Us About Aspects of Self. Biology and Philosophy.
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  26. Peter Schulte (forthcoming). Perceptual Representations: A Teleosemantic Answer to the Breadth-of-Application Problem. Biology and Philosophy:1-18.
    Teleosemantic theories of representation are often criticized as being “too liberal”, i.e. as categorizing states as representations which are not representational at all. Recently, a powerful version of this objection has been put forth by Tyler Burge. Focusing on perception, Burge defends the claim that all teleosemantic theories apply too broadly, thereby missing what is distinctive about representation. Contra Burge, I will argue in this paper that there is a teleosemantic account of perceptual states that does not fall prey to (...)
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  27. William J. Talbott (forthcoming). How Could a “Blind” Evolutionary Process Have Made Human Moral Beliefs Sensitive to Strongly Universal, Objective Moral Standards? Biology and Philosophy:1-18.
    The evolutionist challenge to moral realism is the skeptical challenge that, if evolution is true, it would only be by chance, a “happy coincidence” as Sharon Street puts it, if human moral beliefs were true. The author formulates Street’s “happy coincidence” argument more precisely using a distinction between probabilistic sensitivity and insensitivity introduced by Elliott Sober. The author then considers whether it could be rational for us to believe that human moral judgments about particular cases are probabilistically sensitive to strongly (...)
    No categories
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  28. William C. Wimsatt (forthcoming). Models and Experiments? An Exploration. Biology and Philosophy:1-6.
    Michael Weisberg has given us a lovely book on models. It has very broad coverage of issues intersecting the nature of models and their use, an extensive consideration of long ignored “concrete” models with a rich case study, a discussion and classification of the many diverse kinds of models, and a particularly groundbreaking and innovative discussion of similarity concerning how models relate to the world. Included are insightful discussions of increasingly used “agent based” models, and the conjoint use of multiple (...)
    No categories
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  29. Joeri Witteveen (forthcoming). Naming and Contingency: The Type Method of Biological Taxonomy. Biology and Philosophy:1-18.
    Biological taxonomists rely on the so-called ‘type method’ to regulate taxonomic nomenclature. For each newfound taxon, they lay down a ‘type specimen’ that carries with it the name of the taxon it belongs to. Even if a taxon’s circumscription is unknown and/or subject to change, it remains a necessary truth that the taxon’s type specimen falls within its boundaries. Philosophers have noted some time ago that this naming practice is in line with the causal theory of reference and its central (...)
    No categories
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  30. John Zerilli (forthcoming). A Minimalist Framework for Comparative Psychology. Biology and Philosophy:1-8.
    Suddendorf explores “the gap” between humans and other animals, with a particular emphasis on our great ape relatives. Both for nonscientists and those scientists or philosophers whose work is not centrally preoccupied with such questions, the book provides a tidy compendium of experimental results organized around a number of precisely defined areas of competence. He takes language, mental time travel, theory of mind, intelligence, culture and morality to be definitive of human cognitive prowess and judiciously evaluates the comparative evidence he (...)
    No categories
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
 Previous issues
  
Next issues