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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 (...)
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  2. Marc Artiga (forthcoming). Signaling Without Cooperation. Biology and Philosophy:1-22.
    Ethological theories usually attribute semantic content to animal signals. To account for this fact, many biologists and philosophers appeal to some version of teleosemantics. However, this picture has recently came under attack: while mainstream teleosemantics assumes that representational systems must cooperate, some biologists and philosophers argue that in certain cases signaling can evolve within systems lacking common interest. In this paper I defend the standard view from this objection.
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  3. Jonathan Birch (forthcoming). How Cooperation Became the Norm. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy:1-12.
    Most of the contributions to Cooperation and Its Evolution grapple with the distinctive challenges presented by the project of explaining human sociality. Many of these puzzles have a ‘chicken and egg’ character: our virtually unparalleled capacity for large-scale cooperation is the product of psychological, behavioural, and demographic changes in our recent evolutionary history, and these changes are linked by complex patterns of reciprocal dependence. There is much we do not yet understand about the timing of these changes, and about the (...)
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  4. Jonathan Birch (forthcoming). Gene Mobility and the Concept of Relatedness. Biology and Philosophy:1-32.
    Cooperation is rife in the microbial world, yet our best current theories of the evolution of cooperation were developed with multicellular animals in mind. Hamilton’s theory of inclusive fitness is an important case in point: applying the theory in a microbial setting is far from straightforward, as social evolution in microbes has a number of distinctive features that the theory was never intended to capture. In this article, I focus on the conceptual challenges posed by the project of extending Hamilton's (...)
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  5. Mirko Farina (forthcoming). On the Active Boundaries of Vision. Biology and Philosophy.
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  6. 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 (...)
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  7. 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 (...)
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  8. Carolyn Price (forthcoming). Teleosemantics Re-Examined: Content, Explanation and Norms. Biology and Philosophy:1-10.
    This essay reviews a collection of thirteen critical essays on the work of Ruth Millikan. The collection covers a broad range of her work, focusing in particular on her account of simple intentionality, her theory of concepts and her metaphysical views. I highlight and briefly discuss three issues that crop up repeatedly though the collection: (1) Millikan’s externalism (and in particular, her emphasis on how intentional states are used, rather than how they are produced); (2) the nature of intentional explanation; (...)
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  9. 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 (...)
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  10. Pierrick Bourrat (forthcoming). From Survivors to Replicators: Evolution by Natural Selection Revisited. Biology and Philosophy:1-22.
    For evolution by natural selection to occur it is classically admitted that the three ingredients of variation, difference in fitness and heredity are necessary and sufficient. In this paper, I show using simple individual-based models, that evolution by natural selection can occur in populations of entities in which neither heredity nor reproduction are present. Furthermore, I demonstrate by complexifying these models that both reproduction and heredity are predictable Darwinian products (i.e. complex adaptations) of populations initially lacking these two properties but (...)
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  11. Brett Calcott (forthcoming). Engineering and Evolvability. Biology and Philosophy:1-21.
    Comparing engineering to evolution typically involves adaptationist thinking, where well-designed artifacts are likened to well-adapted organisms, and the process of evolution is likened to the process of design. A quite different comparison is made when biologists focus on evolvability instead of adaptationism. Here, the idea is that complex integrated systems, whether evolved or engineered, share universal principles that affect the way they change over time. This shift from adaptationism to evolvability is a significant move for, as I argue, we can (...)
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  12. W. D. Christensen, J. D. Collier & C. A. Hooker (forthcoming). Adaptiveness and Adaptation: A New Autonomy-Theoretic Analysis and Critique. Biology and Philosophy.
     
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  13. Milan M. Ćirković (forthcoming). Evolutionary Contingency and SETI Revisited. Biology and Philosophy:1-19.
    The well-known argument against the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) due to George Gaylord Simpson is re-analyzed almost half a century later, in the light of our improved understanding of preconditions for the emergence of life and intelligence brought about by the ongoing “astrobiological revolution”. Simpson’s argument has been enormously influential, in particular in biological circles, and it arguably fueled the most serious opposition to SETI programmes and their funding. I argue that both proponents and opponents of Simpson’s argument have (...)
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  14. W. Ford Doolittle (forthcoming). Natural Selection Through Survival Alone, and the Possibility of Gaia. Biology and Philosophy:1-9.
    Here I advance two related evolutionary propositions. (1) Natural selection is most often considered to require competition between reproducing “individuals”, sometimes quite broadly conceived, as in cases of clonal, species or multispecies-community selection. But differential survival of non-competing and non-reproducing individuals will also result in increasing frequencies of survival-promoting “adaptations” among survivors, and thus is also a kind of natural selection. (2) Darwinists have challenged the view that the Earth’s biosphere is an evolved global homeostatic system. Since there is only (...)
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  15. 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 (...)
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  16. 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 (...)
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  17. Stuart Kauffman & Philip Clayton (forthcoming). Emergence, Autonomous Agents, and Organization. Biology and Philosophy.
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  18. Anton Killin (forthcoming). Musicality in Human Evolution, Archaeology and Ethnography. Biology and Philosophy:1-13.
    This essay reviews Iain Morley’s The Prehistory of Music, an up-to-date and authoritative overview of recent research on evolution and cognition of musicality from an interdisciplinary viewpoint. Given the diversity of the project explored, integration of evidence from multiple fields is particularly pressing, required for any novel evolutionary account to be persuasive, and for the project’s continued progress. Moreover, Morley convincingly demonstrates that there is much more to understanding musicality than is supposed by some theorists. I outline Morley’s review of (...)
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  19. 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 (...)
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  20. Neil Levy (forthcoming). Addiction as a Disorder of Belief. Biology and Philosophy:1-19.
    Addiction is almost universally held to be characterized by a loss of control over drug-seeking and consuming behavior. But the actions of addicts, even of those who seem to want to abstain from drugs, seem to be guided by reasons. In this paper, I argue that we can explain this fact, consistent with continuing to maintain that addiction involves a loss of control, by understanding addiction as involving an oscillation between conflicting judgments. I argue that the dysfunction of the mesolimbic (...)
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  21. Brian McLoone & Rory Smead (forthcoming). The Ontogeny and Evolution of Human Collaboration. Biology and Philosophy:1-18.
    How is the human tendency and ability to collaborate acquired and how did it evolve? This paper explores the ontogeny and evolution of human collaboration using a combination of theoretical and empirical resources. We present a game theoretic model of the evolution of learning in the Stag Hunt game, which predicts the evolution of a built-in cooperative bias. We then survey recent empirical results on the ontogeny of collaboration in humans, which suggest the ability to collaborate is developmentally stable across (...)
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  22. 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 (...)
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  23. 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 (...)
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  24. Roger Sansom (forthcoming). What Are the Implications of Evolvable Molecules? Biology and Philosophy:1-8.
    James Shapiro’s view of evolution is inspired by looking at the molecular mechanisms of mutation. Finding these systems to be intelligent and the mutations non-gradual, Shapiro concludes that neither the role of DNA in development, nor and the role of natural selection in evolution are what we thought them to be. The cases discussed are interesting and may require some modification of theory in biology, but this reviewer finds many of Shapiro’s conclusions unwarranted.
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  25. 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 (...)
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  26. Theresa Schilhab (forthcoming). What Mirror Self-Recognition Can Tell Us About Aspects of Self. Biology and Philosophy.
     
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  27. 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 (...)
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  28. 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 (...)
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  29. Armin W. Schulz (forthcoming). Niche Construction, Adaptive Preferences, and the Differences Between Fitness and Utility. Biology and Philosophy:1-21.
    A number of scholars have recently defended the claim that there is a close connection between the evolutionary biological notion of fitness and the economic notion of utility: both are said to refer to an organism’s success in dealing with its environment, and both are said to play the same theoretical roles in their respective sciences. However, an analysis of two seemingly disparate but in fact structurally related phenomena—‘niche construction’ (the case where organisms change their environment to make it fit (...)
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