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Profile: Alex Rosenberg (Duke University)
  1. Alex Rosenberg, Emerging Normative Problems of Genomics.
    The administrators of the human genome project were eager to stimulate public discussion, academic debate, legal and legislative deliberation of how individuals and institutions should respond to the revolution in genomics. Paramount among the issues whose discussion they encouraged are three obvious matters: The threat which access to our genetic information poses for heath insurance, employment, and social discrimination the nefarious consequences for scientific advance of turning basic scientific discoveries about genomes into private property The permissibility of prenatal genetic screening, (...)
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  2. Alex Rosenberg, Comments and Criticism on Multiple Realization and the Special Sciences.
    It is widely held that disciplines are autonomous when their taxonomies are “substrate neutral” and when the events, states and processes that realize their descriptive vocabulary are heterogeneous. This will be particularly true in the case of disciplines whose taxonomy consists largely in terms that individuate by function. Having concluded that the multiple realization of functional kinds is far less widespread than assumed or argued for, Shapiro cannot avail himself of the argument for the autonomy of the special sciences which (...)
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  3. Alex Rosenberg, Darwinism in Contemporary Moral Philosophy and Social Theory.
    Philosophical Darwinism is a species of naturalism. Among philosophers, naturalism is widely treated as the view that contemporary scientific theory is the source of solutions to philosophical problems. Thus, naturalists look to the theory of natural selection as the primary source in coming to solve philosophical problems raised by human affairs. For it combines more strongly than any other theory relevance to human affairs and scientific warrant. Other theories, especially in physics and chemistry, are more strongly confirmed, especially because their (...)
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  4. Alex Rosenberg, Lessons for Cognitive Science From Neurogenomics.
    1. From developmental molecular biology to neurogenomics 2. More than you wanted to know about short term and long term implicit memory 3. How are explicit memories stored? 4. How the brain recalls memories 5. Each explicit memory is just a lot of implicit memories 6. Is ‘knowledge how’ computable? 7. Computationalism and neuroscience..
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  5. Alex Rosenberg, Why Do Temporary Invariances Explain in Biology and the Social Sciences?
    The issue of whether there are laws in biology and the “special science”1 has been of interest owing to the debate about whether scientific explanation requires laws. A well-warn argument goes thus: no laws in social science, no explanations, or at least no scientific explanations, at most explanation-sketches. The conclusion is not just a matter of labeling. If explanations are not scientific they are not epistemically or practically reliable. There are at least three well-known diagnoses of where this argument goes (...)
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  6. Alex Rosenberg & Andrew Jh Clark (forthcoming). La genetique et le holisme debride. Revue Internationale de Philosophie.
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  7. Alexander Rosenberg (forthcoming). ERRATUM TO ROSENBERG Vol. 14, No. 2, P. 127 Bottom: Intentional Psychology and Evolutionary Biology: Part II: The Crucial Disanalogy. [REVIEW] Behaviorism.
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  8. Alexander Rosenberg (forthcoming). Superseding Explanation Versus Understanding: The View From Rorty. Social Research.
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  9. Alex Rosenberg (2014). Reflexivity, Uncertainty and the Unity of Science. Journal of Economic Methodology 20 (4):429-438.
    The paper argues that substantial support for Soros' claims about uncertainty and reflexivity in economics and human affairs generally are provided by the operation of both factors in the biological domain to produce substantially the same processes which have been recognized by ecologists and evolutionary biologists. In particular predator prey relations have their sources in uncertainty – i.e. the random character of variations, and frequency dependent co-evolution – reflexivity. The paper argues that despite Soros' claims, intentionality is not required to (...)
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  10. Karen Neander & Alex Rosenberg (2013). Solving the Circularity Problem for Functions. Journal of Philosophy 109 (10):613-622.
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  11. Alex Rosenberg (2013). 4 Can Naturalism Save the Humanities? In Matthew C. Haug (ed.), Philosophical Methodology: The Armchair or the Laboratory? Routledge. 39.
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  12. Alex Rosenberg (2013). How Jerry Fodor Slid Down the Slippery Slope to Anti-Darwinism, and How We Can Avoid the Same Fate. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (1):1-17.
    There is only one physically possible process that builds and operates purposive systems in nature: natural selection. What it does is build and operate systems that look to us purposive, goal directed, teleological. There really are not any purposes in nature and no purposive processes ether. It is just one vast network of linked causal chains. Darwinian natural selection is the only process that could produce the appearance of purpose. That is why natural selection must have built and must continually (...)
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  13. Alex Rosenberg (2013). 2 Why I Am a Naturalist. In Matthew C. Haug (ed.), Philosophical Methodology: The Armchair or the Laboratory? Routledge. 32.
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  14. Alexander Rosenberg (2013). 2 Disenchanted Naturalism. In Bana Bashour Hans Muller (ed.), Contemporary Philosophical Naturalism and its Implications. Routledge. 13--17.
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  15. Matthew Braddock & Alexander Rosenberg (2012). Reconstruction in Moral Philosophy? Analyse Und Kritik 34 (1):63-80.
    We raise three issues for Philip Kitcher's "Ethical Project" (2011): First, we argue that the genealogy of morals starts well before the advent of altruism-failures and the need to remedy them, which Kitcher dates at about 50K years ago. Second, we challenge the likelihood of long term moral progress of the sort Kitcher requires to establish objectivity while circumventing Hume's challenge to avoid trying to derive normative conclusions from positive ones--'ought' from 'is'. Third, we sketch ways in which Kitcher's metaethical (...)
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  16. Karen Neander & Alex Rosenberg (2012). Solving the Circularity Problem for Functions: A Response to Nanay. Journal of Philosophy 109 (10):613-622.
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  17. Marc Lange & Alexander Rosenberg (2011). Can There Be A Priori Causal Models of Natural Selection? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):591 - 599.
    Sober 2011 argues that, contrary to Hume, some causal statements can be known a priori to be true?notably, some ?would promote? statements figuring in causal models of natural selection. We find Sober's argument unconvincing. We regard the Humean thesis as denying that causal explanations contain any a priori knowable statements specifying certain features of events to be causally relevant. We argue that not every ?would promote? statement is genuinely causal, and we suggest that Sober has not shown that his examples (...)
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  18. Alex Rosenberg (2011). William C. Wimsatt: Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. Biology and Philosophy 26 (2):261-268.
  19. Alex Rosenberg (2009). If Economics is a Science, What Kind of a Science is It? In Harold Kincaid & Don Ross (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Oxford University Press. 55--67.
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  20. Alex Rosenberg (2009). The Biological Justification of Ethics: A Best-Case Scenario. Social Philosophy and Policy 8 (01):86-.
    Social and behavioral scientists - that is, students of human nature - nowadays hardly ever use the term ‘human nature’. This reticence reflects both a becoming modesty about the aims of their disciplines and a healthy skepticism about whether there is any one thing really worthy of the label ‘human nature’.
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  21. Alex Rosenberg (2009). The Political Philosophy of Biological Endowments: Some Considerations. Social Philosophy and Policy 5 (01):1-.
    Is a government required or permitted to redistribute the gains and losses that differences in biol ogical endowments generate In particular, does the fact that individuals possess different biological endowments lead to unfair advantages within a market economy? These are questions on which so me people are apt to have strong intuitions and ready arguments. Egalitarians may say yes and argu e that as unearned, undeserved advantages and disadvantages, biological endowments are never fai r, and that the market simply exacerbates (...)
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  22. Alex Rosenberg & Karen Neander (2009). Are Homologies (Selected Effect or Causal Role) Function Free? Philosophy of Science 76 (3):307-334.
    This article argues that at least very many judgments of homology rest on prior attributions of selected‐effect (SE) function, and that many of the “parts” of biological systems that are rightly classified as homologous are constituted by (are so classified in virtue of) their consequence etiologies. We claim that SE functions are often used in the prior identification of the parts deemed to be homologous and are often used to differentiate more restricted homologous kinds within less restricted ones. In doing (...)
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  23. Alexander Rosenberg, Fitness. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The diversity, complexity and adaptation of the biological realm is evident. Until Darwin, the best explanation for these three features of the biological was the conclusion of the “argument from design.” Darwin's theory of natural selection provides an explanation of all three of these features of the biological realm without adverting to some mysterious designing entity. But this explanation's success turns on the meaning of its central explanatory concept, ‘fitness’. Moreover, since Darwinian theory provides the resources for a purely causal (...)
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  24. Alexander Rosenberg (2008). Philosophy of Biology: A Contemporary Introduction. Routledge.
    EM Music Education /EM is a collection of thematically organized essays that present an historical background of the picture of education first in Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, then Early-Modern Europe. The bulk of the book focuses on American education up to the present. This third edition includes readings by Orff, Kodály, Sinichi Suzuki, William Channing Woodbridge, Allan Britton, and Charles Leonhard. In addition, essays include timely topics on feminism, diversity, cognitive psych, testing (the Praxis exam) and the No (...)
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  25. Stefan Linquist & Alex Rosenberg (2007). The Return of the Tabula Rasa. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):476–497.
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  26. Stefan Linquist & Alex Rosenberg (2007). The Return of the Tabula Rasa by Kim Sterelny. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):476-497.
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  27. Alex Rosenberg (2007). The Return of the "Tabula Rasa". [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):476 - 497.
    Thought in a Hostile World1 has four ostensible aims: …[1] to develop and vindicate a set of analytical tools for thinking about cognition and its evolution… [2] to develop a substantive theory of the evolution of human uniqueness… [3] to explore, from this evolutionary perspective, the relationship between folk psychology and an integrated scientific conception of human cognition… [4] to develop a critique of, and an alternative to, nativist, modular versions of evolutionary psychology (p. viii). Of these four aims, the (...)
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  28. Alex Rosenberg (2007). The Return of the Tabula Rasa by Kim Sterelny. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):476-497.
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  29. Alexander Rosenberg (2007). Reductionism (and Antireductionism) in Biology. In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press. 349--368.
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  30. Alex Rosenberg (2006). Is Epigenetic Inheritance a Counterexample to the Central Dogma? History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 28 (4):549 - 565.
    This paper argues that nothing that has been discovered in the increasingly complex delails of gene regulation has provided any grounds to retract or qualify Crick's version of the central dogma. In particular it defends the role of the genes as the sole bearers of information, and argues that the mechanism of epigenetic modification of the DNA is but another vindication of Crick's version of the central dogma. The paper shows that arguments of C.K. Waters for the distinctive causual role (...)
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  31. Alexander Rosenberg (2006). Darwinian Reductionism, or, How to Stop Worrying and Love Molecular Biology. University of Chicago Press.
    After the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, scientists working in molecular biology embraced reductionism—the theory that all complex systems can be understood in terms of their components. Reductionism, however, has been widely resisted by both nonmolecular biologists and scientists working outside the field of biology. Many of these antireductionists, nevertheless, embrace the notion of physicalism—the idea that all biological processes are physical in nature. How, Alexander Rosenberg asks, can these self-proclaimed physicalists also be antireductionists? With clarity and (...)
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  32. Philip M. Rosoff & Alex Rosenberg (2006). How Darwinian Reductionism Refutes Genetic Determinism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 37 (1):122-135.
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  33. Marc Ereshefsky, Mohan Matthen, Matthew H. Slater, Alex Rosenberg, D. M. Kaplan, Kevin Js Zollman, Peter Vanderschraaf, J. McKenzie Alexander, Andreas Hüttemann & Gordon Belot (2005). 10. The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction (Pp. 188-197). [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 72 (1).
     
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  34. Alex Rosenberg (2005). Defending Information-Free Genocentrism. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 27 (3/4):345 - 359.
    Genocentrism, the thesis that the genes play a special role in the causation of development is often rejected in favor of a 'causal democracy thesis' to the effect that all causally necessary conditions for development are equal. Genocentrists argue that genes play a distinct causal role owing to their informational content and that this content enables them to program the embryo. I show that the special causal role of the genome hinges not on its informational status — it has none, (...)
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  35. Alex Rosenberg (2005). How to Reconcile Physicalism and Antireductionism About Biology. Philosophy of Science 72 (1):43-68.
    Physicalism and antireductionism are the ruling orthodoxy in the philosophy of biology. But these two theses are difficult to reconcile. Merely embracing an epistemic antireductionism will not suffice, as both reductionists and antireductionists accept that given our cognitive interests and limitations, non-molecular explanations may not be improved, corrected or grounded in molecular ones. Moreover, antireductionists themselves view their claim as a metaphysical or ontological one about the existence of facts molecular biology cannot identify, express, or explain. However, this is tantamount (...)
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  36. Alex Rosenberg (2005). Lessons From Biology for Philosophy of the Human Sciences. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35 (1):3-19.
    The social sciences must be biological ones, owing simply to the fact that they focus on the causes and effects of the behavior of members of a biological species, Homo sapiens. Our improved understanding of biology as a science and of the biological realm should enable us therefore to solve several of the outstanding problems of the philosophy of social science. The solution to these problems leaves most of the social and behavioral sciences pretty much as it finds them, though (...)
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  37. 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.
  38. Alex Rosenberg & Frederic Bouchard (2005). Matthen and Ariew's Obituary for Fitness: Reports of its Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):343-353.
    Philosophers of biology have been absorbed by the problem of defining evolutionary fitness since Darwin made it central to biological explanation. The apparent problem is obvious. Define fitness as some biologists implicitly do, in terms of actual survival and reproduction, and the principle of natural selection turns into an empty tautology: those organisms which survive and reproduce in larger numbers, survive and reproduce in larger numbers. Accordingly, many writers have sought to provide a definition for ‘fitness’ which avoid this outcome. (...)
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  39. Alex Rosenberg & Stefan Linquist (2005). On the Original Contract: Evolutionary Game Theory and Human Evolution. Analyse and Kritik 27:136157.
  40. Alexander Rosenberg (2005). Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction. Routledge.
    Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction introduces all the main themes in the philosophy of science, including the nature of causation, explanation, laws, theory, models, evidence, reductionism, probability, teleology, realism and instrumentalism. This substantially revised and updated second edition of a highly successful, accessible and user-friendly text will be of value to any student getting to grips with the nature, methods and justification of science. Alex Rosenberg includes new material on a number of subjects, including: · The theory of natural (...)
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  41. Frédéric Bouchard & Alex Rosenberg (2004). Fitness, Probability and the Principles of Natural Selection. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):693-712.
    We argue that a fashionable interpretation of the theory of natural selection as a claim exclusively about populations is mistaken. The interpretation rests on adopting an analysis of fitness as a probabilistic propensity which cannot be substantiated, draws parallels with thermodynamics which are without foundations, and fails to do justice to the fundamental distinction between drift and selection. This distinction requires a notion of fitness as a pairwise comparison between individuals taken two at a time, and so vitiates the interpretation (...)
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  42. Alon Brav, J. B. Heaton & Alexander Rosenberg (2004). The Rational-Behavioral Debate in Financial Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 11 (4):393-409.
    The contest between rational and behavioral finance is poorly understood as a contest over 'testability' and 'predictive success.' In fact, neither rational nor behavioral finance offer much in the way of testable predictions of improving precision. Researchers in the rational paradigm seem to have abandoned testability and prediction in favor of a scheme of ex post 'rationalizations' of observed price behavior. These rationalizations, however, have an unemphasized relevance for behavioral finance. While behavioral finance advocates may justly criticize rationalizations as unlikely (...)
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  43. Alex Rosenberg (2004). Fitness, Probability and the Principles of Natural Selection. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):693 - 712.
    We argue that a fashionable interpretation of the theory of natural selection as a claim exclusively about populations is mistaken. The interpretation rests on adopting an analysis of fitness as a probabilistic propensity which cannot be substantiated, draws parallels with thermodynamics which are without foundations, and fails to do justice to the fundamental distinction between drift and selection. This distinction requires a notion of fitness as a pairwise comparison between individuals taken two at a time, and so vitiates the interpretation (...)
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  44. Alex Rosenberg (2004). On the Priority of Intellectual Property Rights, Especially in Biotechnology. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 3 (1):77-95.
    This article argues that considerations about the role and predictability of intellectual innovation make the protection of intellectual property morally obligatory even when it greatly reduces short-term welfare. Since the provision of good new ideas is the only productive input not subject to decreasing marginal productivity, welfarist considerations require that no impediment to its maximal provision be erected and the potentially substantial welfare losses imposed by a patent system be mitigated by taxation of other sources of wealth and income. Key (...)
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  45. Robert Brandon & Alexander Rosenberg (2003). Philosophy of Biology. In Peter Clark & Katherine Hawley (eds.), Philosophy of Science Today. Oxford University Press. 147--180.
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  46. Alex Rosenberg (2003). 13 Darwinism in Moral Philosophy and Social Theory. In J. Hodges & Gregory Radick (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Darwin. Cambridge University Press. 310.
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  47. Alex Rosenberg (2003). Darwin's Nihilistic Idea: Evolution and the Meaninglessness of Life. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):653-668.
    No one has expressed the destructive power of Darwinian theory more effectively than Daniel Dennett. Others have recognized that the theory of evolution offers us a universal acid, but Dennett, bless his heart, coined the term. Many have appreciated that the mechanism of random variation and natural selection is a substrate-neutral algorithm that operates at every level of organization from the macromolecular to the mental, at every time scale from the geological epoch to the nanosecond. But it took Dennett to (...)
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  48. Tamler Sommers & Alex Rosenberg (2003). Darwin's Nihilistic Idea: Evolution and the Meaninglessness of Life. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):653-668.
    No one has expressed the destructive power of Darwinian theory more effectively than Daniel Dennett. Others have recognized that the theory of evolution offers us a universal acid, but Dennett, bless his heart, coined the term. Many have appreciated that the mechanism of random variation and natural selection is a substrate-neutral algorithm that operates at every level of organization from the macromolecular to the mental, at every time scale from the geological epoch to the nanosecond. But it took Dennett to (...)
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  49. Yuri Balashov & Alexander Rosenberg (eds.) (2002). Philosophy of Science: Contemporary Readings. Routledge.
    Philosophy of Science: Contemporary Readings is a comprehensive anthology that draws together leading philosophers writing on the major themes in the philosophy of science. Sections are: Science and Philosophy; Explanation; Causation and Laws; Scientific Theories and Conceptual Change; Scientific Realism; Testing and Confirmation of Theories; and Science in Context. Each section is prefaced by an introductory essay by the editors. The readings are designed to complement Philosophy of Science: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge 2000), though the anthology can also be used (...)
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