David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Acta Biotheoretica (forthcoming)
Dobzhansky argued that biology only makes sense if life on earth has a shared history. But his dictum is often reinterpreted to mean that biology only makes sense in the light of adaptation. Some philosophers of science have argued in this spirit that all work in ‘proximal’ biosciences such as anatomy, physiology and molecular biology must be framed, at least implicitly, by the selection histories of the organisms under study. Others have denied this and have proposed non-evolutionary ways in which biologists can frame these investigations. This paper argues that an evolutionary perspective is indeed necessary, but that it must be a forward-looking perspective informed by a general understanding of the evolutionary process, not a backward-looking perspective informed by the specific evolutionary history of the species being studied. Interestingly, it turns out that there are aspects of proximal biology that even a creationist cannot study except in the light of a theory of their effect on future evolution.
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Adam Hochman (2013). The Phylogeny Fallacy and the Ontogeny Fallacy. Biology and Philosophy 28 (4):593-612.
Pierre-Olivier Méthot (2011). Research Traditions and Evolutionary Explanations in Medicine. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 32 (1):75-90.
Thomas Pradeu (2011). A Mixed Self: The Role of Symbiosis in Development. Biological Theory 6 (1):80-88.
Thomas Pradeu, Lucie Laplane, Michel Morange, Antonine Nicoglou & Michel Vervoort (2011). The Boundaries of Development. Biological Theory 6 (1):1 - 3.
Sune Holm (2013). Organism and Artifact: Proper Functions in Paley Organisms. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):706-713.
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