In our target article, we discussed the standards of evidence that could be used to identify adaptations, and argued that building an empirical case that certain features of a trait are best explained by exaptation, spandrel, or constraint requires the consideration, testing, and rejection of adaptationist hypotheses. We are grateful to the 31 commentators for their thoughtful insights. They raised important issues, including the meaning of “exaptation”; whether Gould and Lewontin's critique of adaptationism was primarily epistemological or ontological; the necessity, (...) sufficiency, or utility of design evidence, phylogenetic analyses, homology, and molecular genetics in distinguishing exaptations from adaptations; whether adaptationists accept adaptationist hypotheses too quickly; and the real utility of adaptationism to human behavioral science. We organize our response along the major points of the target article, in some situations defending our original claims and in others modifying them. While debate on these issues will undoubtedly continue, we are cautiously optimistic that the main points of the target article (as modified by our response) will help move the debate in a positive direction. (shrink)
1 Adaptationism is a research strategy that seeks to identify adaptations and the specific selective forces that drove their evolution in past environments. Since the mid-1970s, paleontologist Stephen J. Gould and geneticist Richard Lewontin have been critical of adaptationism, especially as applied toward understanding human behavior and cognition. Perhaps the most prominent criticism they made was that adaptationist explanations were analogous to Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories (outlandish explanations for questions such as how the elephant got its trunk). Since storytelling (...) (through the generation of hypotheses and the making of inferences) is an inherent part of science, the criticism refers to the acceptance of stories without sufficient empirical evidence. In particular, Gould, Lewontin, and their colleagues argue that adaptationists often use inappropriate evidentiary standards for identifying adaptations and their functions, and that they often fail to consider alternative hypotheses to adaptation. Playing prominently in both of these criticisms are the concepts of constraint, spandrel, and exaptation. In this article we discuss the standards of evidence that could be used to identify adaptations and when and how they may be appropriately used. Moreover, building an empirical case that certain features of a trait are best explained by exaptation, spandrel, or constraint requires demonstrating that the trait's features cannot be better accounted for by adaptationist hypotheses. Thus, we argue that the testing of alternatives requires the consideration, testing, and systematic rejection of adaptationist hypotheses. Where possible, we illustrate our points with examples taken from human behavior and cognition. Key Words: adaptation; ADHD; brain allometry; constraint; epistemology; evolutionary psychology; exaptation; female orgasm; optimization; special design; waist-hip ratio (WHR). Footnotes1 The authors contributed equally to this paper. Order of authorship was determined alphabetically. Correspondence may be addressed to any of the authors. (shrink)
History, Philosophy and Science Teaching argues that science teaching and science teacher education can be improved if teachers know something of the history and philosophy of science and if these topics are included in the science curriculum. The history and philosophy of science have important roles in many of the theoretical issues that science educators need to address: the goals of science education; what constitutes an appropriate science curriculum for all students; how science should be taught in traditional cultures; what (...) integrated science is; how scientific literacy can be promoted; and the conflict which can occur between science curriculum and deep-seated religious or cultural values and knowledge. In part, answers to these questions hinge on views about the nature of science, views that are best informed by historical and philosophical study. Outlining the history of liberal, or contextual, approaches to the teaching of science, Michael Matthews elaborates contemporary curriculum developments that explicitly address questions about the nature and the history of science. He provides examples of classroom teaching and develops useful arguments on constructivism, multicultural science education and teacher education. The book will appeal to school and university science teachers, educators of science teachers, and historians and philosophers of science. (shrink)
Philosophy plays an integral role in French society, affecting its art, drama, politics, and culture. In this accessible, chronological survey, Matthews offers some explanations for the enduring popularity of the subject and traces the developments that French philosophy has taken in the twentieth century, from its roots in the thought of Descartes to key figures such as Bergson, Sartre, Marcel, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Derrida, and the recent French Feminists.
Gareth Matthews suggests that we can better understand the nature of philosophical inquiry if we recognize the central role played by perplexity. The seminal representation of philosophical perplexity is in Plato's dialogues; Matthews examines the intriguing shifts in Plato's attitude to perplexity and suggests that these may represent a course of philosophical development that philosophers follow even today.
One challenge to the concept of human dignity is that it is a rootless notion invoked simply to mask inequalities that inevitably exist between human beings. This privileging of humans is speciesist and its weak point is the profoundly disabled human being. This article argues that far from being a weak point, the profoundly disabled person is a source of strength and witness to the intrinsic dignity that all human beings have by virtue of being human. The disabled represent the (...) reality of human existence that is both strong and fragile. Although human dignity can be understood philosophically its depth is rooted in Christian theological insights. The profoundly disabled occupy a privileged position and share in a theology of mission since they testify to the interdependence of every human being and human dependence on God to a myopic world that only values strength, autonomy and independence . Content Type Journal Article Category Article Pages 185-203 DOI 10.1558/hrge.v17i2.185 Authors Pia Matthews, Theology, Philosophy, and History, St Mary’s University College, Waldegrave Road, Strawberry Hill, TW1 4SX Journal Human Reproduction & Genetic Ethics Online ISSN 2043-0469 Print ISSN 1028-7825 Journal Volume Volume 17 Journal Issue Volume 17, Number 2 / 2011. (shrink)
The project that Dan Lloyd has undertaken is admirable and audacious. He has tried to boil down the substrate of information-processing that underlies conscious experience to some very simple elements, in order to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon. Some people will suspect that by considering a model as simple as a connectionist network, Dan has thrown away everything that is interesting about consciousness. Perhaps there is something to that complaint, but I will take a different tack. It seems (...) to me that if we apply his own reasoning, we can see that Dan has not taken things far _enough_. When we have boiled things down to a system as simple as a connectionist network, it seems faint-hearted to stop there, and perhaps a little arbitrary as well. So I will take things further, and ask what seems to be the really interesting question in the vicinity: what is it like to be a thermostat? (shrink)
Taking Ourselves Seriously and Getting It Right is written in a manner that is accessible to all. Frankfurt’s arguments are, as usual, clear and persuasive. Korsgaard’s, Bratman’s, and Dan-Cohen’s comments are thought provoking. There are, however, two main areas in which Frankfurt’s arguments need clarification (the notion of wholehearted identification, and the concept of ambivalence), and there are misunderstandings of Frankfurt at work in Korsgaard’s (relationship between the self and the will, and concept of the will for Frankfurt) and Bratman’s (...) (meaning of "necessity" for Frankfurt) comments. (shrink)
ABSTRACT. The following is an email interchange that took place between Dan Dennett and myself in the period 14th to 28th June, 2001. The discussion tries to clarify some essential features of the "heterophenomenology" developed in his book Consciousness Explained (1996), and how this differs from a form of "critical phenomenology" implicit in my own book Understanding Consciousness (2000), and developed in my edited Investigating Phenomenal Consciousness: new methodologies and maps (2000). The departure point for the discussion is a paper (...) posted on Dan's website that summarises a related debate between Dan, David Chalmers and Alvin Goldman (Dennett, 2001). To make the discussion easier to follow, the multiple embeddings have been removed (restoring the sequence in which the comments were written). I have also corrected a few typos and grammatical errors. However, the text of the emails remains exactly the same. In Round 1, I suggest that scientific investigations of consciousness are better described as a form of "critical phenomenology" that accepts conscious experiences to be real rather than as a "heterophenomenology" which remains neutral about or denies their existence. Dan replies that I have misunderstood his position - he doesn't deny that conscious experiences exist. Conscious experiences just don't have the first-person phenomenal properties that they are commonly thought to have and, in his view, science remains neutral about the nature of such properties. In Round 2, I agree with Dan that science initially remains neutral about how to understand the nature of conscious experiences. Nevertheless, the phenomenology of consciousness provides the data that scientists are trying to understand. A better understanding of data does not, in general, make the data disappear. I also ask, "if you remove the phenomena from phenomenal consciousness, in what sense is whatever remains "consciousness"? And, if one removes all the phenomenal content from what one takes consciousness to be, doesn't this amount to a denial of the existence of "consciousness" in any ordinary sense of this term? Dan's reply likens beliefs in phenomenal properties to the belief in evil spirits causing disease. He has no doubts that diseases such as whooping cough and tuberculosis are real, but this doesn't require him to believe in evil spirits. And, what's left, once one removes phenomenal properties, is what a zombie and a so-called conscious person have in common: a given set of functional properties that enable them to carry out the tasks we normally think of as conscious. In Round 3, I summarise our similarities and differences. We agree that first-person reports are not incorrigible and that third-person information may throw light on how to interpret them. We also agree that first-person reports are reports of "something", although we disagree about the nature of that something. I suggest that Dan is sceptical about first-person reports rather than heterophenomenologically "neutral" (e.g. when he likens belief in phenomenal properties to belief in evil spirits). While we agree that science is likely to deepen our understanding of consciousness, I repeat that, unlike the replacement of old theories by better theories, a deeper understanding of phenomena does not in general replace the phenomena themselves. Rather than third-person data replacing first-person reports, the former are required to make sense of the latter, making their relationship complementary and mutually irreducible. In fact, there are many cases where science takes the reality of first-person phenomenology seriously, for example in the extensive literature on pain and its alleviation. If this can't be squeezed into an exclusively third-person view of science, then we will just have to adjust our view of science - something that a "critical phenomenology" achieves at little cost. At the time of this editing, Dan has not replied. . Reference. Dennett, D. (2001) The fantasy of first-person science. http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/pubpage.htm. (shrink)
Upshot: Is lived experience always the experience of a self? The central thesis of Dan Zahavi’s book is that there is a “minimal” or “core” self, according to which a quality of “self-givenness” is a constitutive feature of experience. The adoption of a dynamic phenomenological perspective leads us to call this thesis into question.
This article highlights Gareth Matthews's contributions to the field of philosophy for young children, noting especially the inventiveness of his style of engagement with children and his confidence in children's ability to analyze perplexing issues, from cosmology to death and dying. I relate here my experiences in introducing philosophical topics to adolescents, to show how Matthews's work can be successfully extended to older students, and I recommend taking philosophy outside the university as a way to foster critical thinking (...) in young students and to improve the public status of the profession. (shrink)
Abstract In the first section of the paper I present Alan Turing?s notion of effective memory, as it appears in his 1936 paper ?On Computable Numbers, With an Application to The Entscheidungsproblem?. This notion stands in surprising contrast with the way memory is usually thought of in the context of contemporary computer science. Turing?s view (in 1936) is that for a computing machine to remember a previously scanned string of symbols is not to store an internal symbolic image of this (...) string. Rather, memory consists in the fact that the past scanning of the string affects the behavior of the computer in the face of potential future inputs. In the second, central section of the paper I begin exploring how this view of Turing?s bears upon contemporary discussions in the philosophy of mind. In particular, I argue that Turing?s approach can be used to lend support to dispositional conceptions of the propositional attitudes, like the one recently presented by Matthews (2007), and that his effective memory manifests some of the characteristics of Millikan?s (1996) pushmepullyou mental states. (shrink)
Reply to Dan Robins’s Review Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11712-012-9275-0 Authors Ian Johnston, GPO Box 811, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 7001 Journal Dao Online ISSN 1569-7274 Print ISSN 1540-3009.