In evolutionary biology changes in population structure are explained by citing trait fitness distribution. I distinguish three interpretations of fitness explanations—the Two‐Factor Model, the Single‐Factor Model, and the Statistical Interpretation—and argue for the last of these. These interpretations differ in their degrees of causal commitment. The first two hold that trait fitness distribution causes population change. Trait fitness explanations, according to these interpretations, are causal explanations. The last maintains that trait fitness distribution correlates with population change but does not cause (...) it. My defense of the Statistical Interpretation relies on a distinctive feature of causation. Causes conform to the Sure Thing Principle. Trait fitness distributions, I argue, do not. *Received July 2009; revised October 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy/Institute for the History, Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto, Victoria College, 91 Charles Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1K7, Canada; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
The Modern Philosophical Revolution breaks new ground by demonstrating the continuity of European philosophy from Kant to Derrida. Much of the literature on European philosophy has emphasized the breaks that have occurred in the course of two centuries of thinking. But as David Walsh argues, such a reading overlooks the extent to which Kant, Hegel, and Schelling were already engaged in the turn toward existence as the only viable mode of philosophizing. Where many similar studies summarize individual thinkers, this (...) book provides a framework for understanding the relationships between them. Walsh thus dispels much of the confusion that assails readers when they are only exposed to the bewildering range of positions taken by the philosophers he examines. His book serves as an indispensable guide to a philosophical tradition that continues to have resonance in the post-modern world. (shrink)
According to Aristotelian essentialism, the nature of an organism is constituted of a particular goal-directed disposition to produce an organism typical of its kind. This paper argues—against the prevailing orthodoxy—that essentialism of this sort is indispensable to evolutionary biology. The most powerful anti-essentialist arguments purport to show that the natures of organisms play no explanatory role in modern synthesis biology. I argue that recent evolutionary developmental biology provides compelling evidence to the contrary. Developmental biology shows that one must appeal to (...) the capacities of organisms to explain what makes adaptive evolution adaptive. Moreover, the specific capacities in question are precisely those that, according to Aristotle, constitute the nature of an organism. Essentialism 1.1 Aristotelian biological kinds Evolutionary anti-essentialism 2.1 Taxonomic anti-essentialism 2.2 Explanatory anti-essentialism Adaptation 3.1 Stability 3.2 Mutability 3.3 Phenotypic plasticity and adaptive evolution The natures of organisms Conclusion. (shrink)
We distinguish dynamical and statistical interpretations of evolutionary theory. We argue that only the statistical interpretation preserves the presumed relation between natural selection and drift. On these grounds we claim that the dynamical conception of evolutionary theory as a theory of forces is mistaken. Selection and drift are not forces. Nor do selection and drift explanations appeal to the (sub-population-level) causes of population level change. Instead they explain by appeal to the statistical structure of populations. We briefly discuss the implications (...) of the statistical interpretation of selection for various debates within the philosophy of biologythe `explananda of selection' debate and the `units of selection' debate. (shrink)
Synaesthesia is considered a rare perceptual capacity, and one that is not capable of cultivation. However, meditators report the experience quite commonly, and in questionnaire surveys, respondents claimed to experience synaesthesia in 35% of meditation retreatants, in 63% of a group of regular meditators, and in 86% of advanced teachers. These rates were significantly higher than in nonmeditator controls, and displayed significant correlations with measures of amount of meditation experience. A review of ancient texts found reports suggestive of synaesthesia in (...) advanced meditators from India and China. These findings suggest that synaesthesia may be cultivated by meditation, and that laboratory studies of meditators could be rewarding. (shrink)
There are two competing interpretations of the modern synthesis theory of evolution: the dynamical (also know as ‘traditional’) and the statistical. The dynamical interpretation maintains that explanations offered under the auspices of the modern synthesis theory articulate the causes of evolution. It interprets selection and drift as causes of population change. The statistical interpretation holds that modern synthesis explanations merely cite the statistical structure of populations. This paper offers a defense of statisticalism. It argues that a change in trait frequencies (...) in a population can be attributed only to selection or drift against the background of a particular statistical description of the population. The traditionalist supposition that selection and drift are description‐independent causes of population change leads the dynamical interpretation into a dilemma: it must face a contradiction or accept the loss of explanatory power. (shrink)
According to a prominent view of evolutionary theory, natural selection and the processes of development compete for explanatory relevance. Natural selection theory explains the evolution of biological form insofar as it is adaptive. Development is relevant to the explanation of form only insofar as it constrains the adaptation-promoting effects of selection. I argue that this view of evolutionary theory is erroneous. I outline an alternative, according to which natural selection explains adaptive evolution by appeal to the statistical structure of populations, (...) and development explains the causes of adaptive evolution at the level of individuals. Only together can a statistical theory of selection and a mechanical theory of development explain why populations of organisms comprise individuals that are adapted to their conditions of existence. (shrink)
According to historical theories of biological function, a trait's function is determined by natural selection in the past. I argue that, in addition to historical functions, ahistorical functions ought to be recognized. I propose a theory of biological function which accommodates both. The function of a trait is the way it contributes to fitness and fitness can only be determined relative to a selective regime. Therefore, the function of a trait can only be specified relative to a selective regime. Apart (...) from its desirable pluralism, only this view of relational function can support the function/accident and function/malfunction distinctions commonly thought to be part of the concept of function. Furthermore, only relational function correctly characterizes the explanatory consequences of function attributions in evolutionary biology. (shrink)
We outline our central reasons for pursuing the project of equality studies and some of the thinking we have done within an equality studies framework. We try to show that a multi-dimensional conceptual framework, applied to a set of key social contexts and articulating the concerns of subordinate social groups, can be a fruitful way of putting the idea of equality into practice. Finally, we address some central questions about how to bring about egalitarian social change.
The Units of Selection debate is a dispute about the causes of population change. I argue that it is generated by a particular `dynamical'' interpretation of natural selection theory, according to which natural selection causes differential survival and reproduction of individuals and natural selection explanations cite these causes. I argue that the dynamical interpretation is mistaken and offer in outline an alternative, `statistical'' interpretation, according to which natural selection theory is a fancy kind of `bookkeeping''. It explains by citing the (...) statistical structure of a population and not by citing the causes of survival and reproduction. From the perspective of the statistical interpretation there is no substantive Units of Selection issue. (shrink)
Two puzzles with regard to the Kritik der reinen Vernunft (KrV) are incongruent counterparts and causality. In De mundi sensibilis atque intelligibilis forma et principiis (MSI), Kant indicates that the experience of things like left and right hands, so-called incongruent counterparts, involve certain pure intuitions, and hence constitute one line of evidence for the claim that the concept of space itself is a pure intuition. In KrV, Kant again argues that the concept of space itself is a pure intuition, but (...) does not cite the experience of incongruent counterparts as evidence for this claim. Since there is ostensibly nothing in KrV which tells against the existence of the experiences of incongruent counterparts, the natural question is: “Why, in KrV, does Kant not cite the experience of incongruent counterparts as evidence for the claim that the concept of space is a pure intuition?” The problem with causality is as follows. One of the most primary and basic claims of KrV is that empirical experience is structured by non-empirical concepts, such as substantiality and causality. In a portion of KrV entitled the Transcendental Deduction, Kant gives section 20 the heading “All sensible intuitions stand under the categories, as conditions under which alone their the manifold can come together in one consciousness”. Since categories are those concepts which structure empirical experience, section 20 has demonstrated that all sensible intuitions are subject to substantiality and causality. However, there is a later portion of KrV entitled the Second Analogy with the heading “Principle of temporal sequence according to the law of causality: All alterations occur in accordance with the law of the connection of cause and effect”. Thus, the natural question is: “What does the Second Analogy demonstrate about causality which the Transcendental Deduction did not already demonstrate about causality?”. (shrink)
In this paper I draw on the French philosopher Michel Foucault for a viewpoint on aspects of EBM. This means that I develop his idea of the spaces occupied by disease. I give much of the paper to only one of these spaces, the space of perception of disease, in order to major on the medical gaze, one of Foucault’s best-known contributions to the philosophy of medicine. As I explain what I mean by each of the spaces of disease, I (...) configure EBM into this space. The conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. Evidence-based clinical practice requires integration of individual clinical expertise and patient preferences with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research and consideration of available resources. EBM can be considered a subcategory of evidence-based healthcare, which also includes other branches of health-care practice such as evidence-based nursing or evidence-based physiotherapy. EBM subcategories include evidence-based surgery and evidence-based cardiology (Guyatt et al. 2008 , 783). (shrink)
Recently among analytic political philosophers there has been a considerable revival of interest in the normative evaluation of the market and of economic processes more generally. While not rejecting markets in toto , philosophers such as Elizabeth Anderson and Amartya Sen have raised questions about the proper range of the market, explored the role of normative considerations in economic decision-making and raised doubts about the view that normative constraints are never legitimately placed on economic activity. In this article I experience (...) the relevance to such explorations of the economic casuistry of the medieval schoolmen. Key Words: Just Price medieval philosophy usury distributive justice Aquinas. (shrink)
Wide content and individualist approaches to the individuation of thoughts appear to be incompatible; I think they are not. I propose a criterion for the classification of thoughts which captures both. Thoughts, I claim, should be individuated by their teleological functions. Where teleological function is construed in the standard way - according to the aetiological theory - individuating thoughts by their function cannot produce a classification which is both individualistic and consistent with the principle that sameness of wide content is (...) sufficient for sameness of psychological state. There is, however, an alternative approach to function, the relational theory, which is preferable on independent grounds. A taxonomy of thoughts based on these functions reconciles wide content with individualism. One consequence of individuating thoughts in this way is that intentional content is context sensitive. I discuss some of the implications of context sensitive content. (shrink)
The axiom of comparability has been a fundamental part of mathematical choice theory from its beginnings. This axiom was a natural first assumption for a theory of choice originally constructed to explain decision making where other assumptions such as continuous divisibility of choice spaces could legitimately also be made. Once the generality of application of formal choice theory becomes apparent, it also becomes apparent that both continuity assumptions and the axiom of comparability may be unduly restrictive and lead to the (...) neglect of decision situations which are important and which can be handled on a modified axiom set. These considerations bear on the philosophical analysis of the concept of rational decision. (shrink)
Much of the Mill-Whewell dispute was purely verbal, but much was not. Mill did not understand Whewell; the true character of the non-verbal aspect of the controversy emerges only upon adequate analysis of Whewell's actual position. Such analysis shows that Mill's objections to Whewell were misdirected, although suggestive of other which might, if prosecuted, carry. Ultimately, the dispute has to do with the given; neither man gives an adequate account of it. For this reason, the controversy cannot be resolved definitively (...) in favor of either of them. (shrink)
: This essay discusses the implications of Irigaray's readings of the Antigone in the construction of a feminist ethics. By focusing on the gaps and intersections between Lacanian psychoanalysis and Hegelian phenomenology as formulative of Irigaray's eventual call for an ethics of sexual difference, I emphasize the inevitability of rethinking the functions of historicity, femininity, and maternity in the formation of new models of intersubjectivity.
Psychological individualism is motivated by two taxonomic principles: (i) that psychological states are individuated by their causal powers, and (ii) that causal powers supervene upon intrinsic physiological state. I distinguish two interpretations of individualism--the 'orthodox' and the 'alternative'--each of which is consistent with these motivating principles. I argue that the alternative interpretation is legitimately individualistic on the grounds that it accurately reflects the actual taxonomic practices of bona fide individualistic sciences. The classification of homeobox genes in developmental genetics provides an (...) illustration. When applied to the taxonomy of psychological kinds, alternative individualism has some surprising consequences. In particular, externalist taxonomies of thought are consistent with the alternative interpretation, and hence consistent with individualism. I conclude, on this basis, that the individualism/externalism dispute which has long preoccupied philosophy of psychology is an empty one. (shrink)
We reply to discussions of Equality: From Theory to Action by Harry Brighouse, Joanne Conaghan, Cillian McBride and Stuart White. We find many of their points helpful and treat them as a useful contribution to a continuing dialogue on egalitarianism.
It is generally not recognized that Whewell's conception of necessary truth evolved only gradually; his early statements are misleading. For this reason, and because of certain peculiarities in his expository style over his publishing history, he is commonly thought to have used the term "necessary" in the sense of "absolutely necessary". I argue that, on the contrary, the term is essentially relational in his mature view. This conclusion leads, in turn, to a re-interpretation of his doctrine of "fundamental ideas". Here (...) I argue that the crux of his position is that cognitive principles which are initially regulative become, through invention, repeated employment, and stipulative definition, constitutive ones. (shrink)
Lea & Webley (L&W) provide two alternative biological accounts of human monetary motivations, the Tool Theory and the Drug Theory. They argue that both are required for an adequate explanation. I explore the applicability of these models to philosophical discussions of how we might justify such motivations. I argue their approach is not entirely satisfactory for normative questions, since it precludes the possibility of rational non-instrumental attitudes towards money. (Published Online April 5 2006).
John Dupr argues that 'scientific imperialism' can result in 'misguided' science being considered acceptable. 'Misguided' is an explicitly normative term and the use of the pejorative 'imperialistic' is implicitly normative. However, Dupr has not justified the normative dimension of his critique. We identify two ways in which it might be justified. It might be justified if colonisation prevents a discipline from progressing in ways that it might otherwise progress. It might also be justified if colonisation prevents the expression of important (...) values in the colonised discipline. This second concern seems most pressing in the human sciences. (shrink)
Evolutionary Biology has two principal explananda, fit and diversity (Lewontin 1978). Natural selection theory stakes its claim to being the central unifying concept in biology on the grounds that it demonstrates both phenomena to be the consequence of a single process. By now the standard story hardly needs reiterating: Natural selection is a force that operates over a population, preserving the better fit, culling the less fit, and along the way promoting novel solutions to adaptive problems. Amundson’s historical survey of (...) the concept of adaptation captures the idea succinctly: The phenomenon of adaptation is at the core of modern evolutionary biology. Natural selection, the mechanism universally regarded as the primary causal influence on phenotypic evolutionary change, is first and foremost an explanation of adaptation. (1996: 11) At the same time, it appears that the capacity of natural selection to cause adaptations cannot account for every feature of the nature and distribution of biological form. Reason to believe this devolves from the simple fact that the bearers of biological form are organisms and a salient fact about organisms is that each faces the tribunal of the environment as a corporate entity, not as a loose aggregate of independent traits. One consequence of this fact is that at each stage of its development from egg to adult an organism must be an integrated, functioning whole. Another is that for any form to arise in an organism at a time, it must develop from the materials and processes at the organism’s disposal. The requirement of integration and the processes of development that produce it leave their distinctive marks on form. It seems reasonable, then, to suppose that one might appeal to the processes of development and the principles by which they operate in explaining the nature and distribution of biological form. (See here Gould 1977; Rose and Lauder 1996). (shrink)
When people think about how a situation might have turned out differently, they tend to imagine counterfactual alternatives to their actions. We report the results of three experiments which show that people imagine alternatives to actions differently when they know about a reason for the action. The first experiment ( n = 36) compared reason - action sequences to cause - effect sequences. It showed that people do not imagine alternatives to reasons in the way they imagine alternatives to causes: (...) they imagine an alternative to an action more than an effect, and to a cause more than a reason. The second experiment ( n = 214) and the third experiment ( n = 190) both show that different sorts of reasons have different sorts of effects on how people imagine alternatives to actions. People imagine an alternative to an action (the protagonist went to a ball) less often when they know the reason for the action was an obligation (he had to participate in fundraising) compared to when they know about a weaker reason (he wanted to meet a famous violinist) or no reason. The second experiment shows the effect for a social obligation and the third experiment replicates and extends it to a health obligation. We interpret the results in terms of the possibilities that people keep in mind about actions and their reasons. (shrink)
The process of ?logical differentiation? was introduced by Peirce in 1870. Directly analogous to mathematical differentiation, it uses logical terms instead of mathematical variables. Here, this mysterious process receives new interpretations which serve to clarify Peirce?s use of logical terms. I introduce the logical terms, the operation of multiplication, the logical analogy to the binomial theorem, infinitesimal relatives, the concepts of numerical coefficients and the number associated with each term. I also analyse the algebraic development of ?logical differentiation? and consider (...) in depth one application of the process. (shrink)
Nathan Houser, Don D. Roberts and James Van Evra (eds), Studies in the Logic of Charles Sanders Peirce, In:Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 1997, xiii + 653 pp. £41.95. ISBN 0-253-33020-3.
Over a long career of teaching and writing in the area of moral theology Charles E. Curran has experienced large areas of agreement with John Paul II on issues of social justice even while in other areas of personal and sexual issues the two are in serious disagreement. This phenomenon of agreement/disagreement has suggested to Curran that the pope is guilty of using a double methodology in his moral theological writing. Curran's book, The Moral Theology of Pope John Paul II, (...) seeks to uncover and substantiate the root of their agreements and disagreements. This article seeks to evaluate Curran's theory. This analysis is done in two parts: first, an examination of the evidence that Curran presents to support his charge against the pope, and second, an examination of the alternative possibility that it is Curran who has the double methodology rather than the pope. (shrink)