David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy 72 (279):133-136 (1997)
Stove's article, 'So you think you are a Darwinian?'[ 1] was essentially an advertisement for his book, Darwinian Fairytales.[ 2] The central argument of the book is that Darwin's theory, in both Darwin's and recent sociobiological versions, asserts many things about the human and other species that are known to be false, but protects itself from refutation by its logical complexity. A great number of ad hoc devices, he claims, are used to protect the theory. If co operation is observed where the theory predicts competition, then competition is referred to the time of the cavemen, or is reinterpreted as competition between some hidden entities like genes or abstract entities like populations. In a characteristic sally, Stove writes of the sociobiologists' oscillation on the meaning of kin altruism: Any discussion of altruism with an inclusive fitness theorist is, in fact, exactly like dealing with a pair of balloons connected by a tube, one balloon being the belief that kin altruism is an illusion, the other being the belief that kin altruism is caused by shared genes. If a critic puts pressure on the illusion balloon - perhaps by ridiculing the selfish theory of human nature - air is forced into the causal balloon. There is then an increased production of earnest causal explanations of why we love our children, why hymenopteran workers look after their sisters, etc., etc. Then, if the critic puts pressure on the causal balloon - perhaps about the weakness of sibling altruism compared with parental, or the absence of sibling altruism in bacteria - then the illusion balloon is forced to expand. There will now be an increased production of cynical scurrilities about parents manipulating their babies for their own advantage, and vice versa, and in general, about the Hobbesian bad times that are had by all. In this way critical pressure, applied to the theory of inclusive fitness at one point, can always be easily absorbed at another point, and the theory as a whole is never endangered.[ 3] Now, it is uncontroversial to assert that Darwinism is a logically complex theory, and that its relation to empirical evidence is distant and multi faceted. One does not directly observe chance genetic variations leading to the development of new species, or even continuous variations in the fossil record, but must rely on subtle arguments to the best explanation, scaling up from varieties to species, and so on..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Alex Rosenberg (2005). Will Genomics Do More for Metaphysics Than Locke>. In P. Achinstein (ed.), Scientific Evidence: Philosophical Theories & Applications. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Bouchard Frédéric (2011). Darwinism Without Populations: A More Inclusive Understanding of the “Survival of the Fittest”. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 42 (1):106-114.
Hector N. Qirko (2009). Altruism in Suicide Terror Organizations. Zygon 44 (2):289-322.
Paul A. M. Dongen & Jo M. H. Vossen (1984). Can the Theory of Evolution Be Falsified? Acta Biotheoretica 33 (1).
Hector N. Qirko (2004). Does Commitment Theory Explain Non-Kin Altruism in Religious Contexts? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):746-747.
Alejandro Rosas (2010). Beyond Inclusive Fitness? On A Simple And General Explanation For The Evolution of Altruism. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 2 (20130604).
Elliott Sober (1992). The Evolution of Altruism: Correlation, Cost, and Benefit. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 7 (2):177-187.
James Franklin (2002). Stove's Discovery of the Worst Argument in the World. Philosophy 77 (4):615-624.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads28 ( #91,331 of 1,696,808 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #346,744 of 1,696,808 )
How can I increase my downloads?