David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Acta Biotheoretica 57 (1-2):129-162 (2009)
The dangers of character reification for cladistic inference are explored. The identification and analysis of characters always involves theory-laden abstraction—there is no theory-free “view from nowhere.” Given theory-ladenness, and given a real world with actual objects and processes, how can we separate robustly real biological characters from uncritically reified characters? One way to avoid reification is through the employment of objectivity criteria that give us good methods for identifying robust primary homology statements. I identify six such criteria and explore each with examples. Ultimately, it is important to minimize character reification, because poor character analysis leads to dismal cladograms, even when proper phylogenetic analysis is employed. Given the deep and systemic problems associated with character reification, it is ironic that philosophers have focused almost entirely on phylogenetic analysis and neglected character analysis.
|Keywords||Philosophy Evolutionary Biology Philosophy of Biology|
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Citations of this work BETA
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther (2011). Part-Whole Science. Synthese 178 (3):397-427.
Aleta Quinn (forthcoming). Phylogenetic Inference to the Best Explanation and the Bad Lot Argument. Synthese:1-15.
Sean A. Valles (2013). Validity and Utility in Biological Traits. Biological Theory 8 (1):93-102.
Fabrizzio Mc Manus (2012). The Structure of Explanations and Counter-Explanations of Homosexuality. Open Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):235-243.
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