We argue that the analysis of cognitive attitudes should play a central role in developing more sophisticated accounts of the proper roles for values in science. First, we show that the major recent efforts to delineate appropriate roles for values in science would be strengthened by making clearer distinctions among cognitive attitudes. Next, we turn to a specific example and argue that a more careful account of the distinction between the attitudes of belief and acceptance can contribute to a better (...) understanding of the proper roles for values in a case study from paleoanthropology. (shrink)
In this commentary, the formation of “pre-iconic” visual-prime persistence is described in the context of prime-specific, independent-component activation at prefrontal and posterior EEG-recording sites. Although this activity subserves neural systems that are near identical to those described by Ruchkin and colleagues, we consider priming to be a dynamic process, identified with patterns of coherence and temporal structure of very high precision.
Elliot Eisner has spent the last 40 years researching, thinking and writing about some of the key and enduring issues in Arts Education, Curriculum Studies and Qualitative Research. He has contributed over 20 books and 500 articles to the field. In this book, Professor Eisner has compiled a career-long collection of his finest pieces-extracts from books, key articles, salient research findings and major theoretical contributions-so the world can read them in a single manageable volume. Starting with a specially written Introduction, (...) which gives an overview of Professor Eisner's career and contextualizes his selection, the chapters cover a wide range of issues, including: · Children and art · The use of educational connoisseurship · Aesthetic modes of knowing · Absolutism and relativism in curriculum theory · Education reform and the ecology of schooling · The future of education research This is a must-have book for anyone wishing to know more about the development of Arts Education, Curriculum Studies and Qualitative Research over the last four decades, and about Elliot Eisner's contribution to these exciting fields. This book is part of the World Library of Educationalists series, which celebrates the contributions made to education by leading figures. Each scholar has selected his or her own key writings from across numerous books and journal articles, and often spread across two or more decades to be presented in a single volume. Through these books, readers can chase up the themes and strands that have been lodged in a lifetime's work, and so follow the development of these scholars' contributions to the field, as well as the development of the fields themselves. Other scholars included in the series: Richard Aldrich, Stephen J. Ball, John Elliott, Howard Gardner, John Gilbert, Ivor F. Goodson, David Hargreaves, David Labaree, E.C. Wragg, John White. (shrink)
No matter what we do, however kind or generous our deeds may seem, a hidden motive of selfishness lurks--or so science has claimed for years. This book, whose publication promises to be a major scientific event, tells us differently. In Unto Others philosopher Elliott Sober and biologist David Sloan Wilson demonstrate once and for all that unselfish behavior is in fact an important feature of both biological and human nature. Their book provides a panoramic view of altruism throughout (...) the animal kingdom--from self-sacrificing parasites to insects that subsume themselves in the superorganism of a colony to the human capacity for selflessness--even as it explains the evolutionary sense of such behavior. (shrink)
Causalists about explanation claim that to explain an event is to provide information about the causal history of that event. Some causalists also endorse a proportionality claim, namely that one explanation is better than another insofar as it provides a greater amount of causal information. In this chapter I consider various challenges to these causalist claims. There is a common and influential formulation of the causalist requirement – the ‘Causal Process Requirement’ – that does appear vulnerable to these anti-causalist challenges, (...) but I argue that they do not give us reason to reject causalism entirely. Instead, these challenges lead us to articulate the causalist requirement in an alternative way. This alternative articulation incorporates some of the important anti-causalist insights without abandoning the explanatory necessity of causal information. For example, proponents of the ‘equilibrium challenge’ argue that the best available explanations of the behaviour of certain dynamical systems do not appear to provide any causal information. I respond that, contrary to appearances, these equilibrium explanations are fundamentally causal, and I provide a formulation of the causalist thesis that is immune to the equilibrium challenge. I then show how this formulation is also immune to the ‘epistemic challenge’ – thus vindicating (a properly formulated version of) the causalist thesis. (shrink)
In his "Discussion" (1984), Elliott Sober offers some criticisms of the view about species--pluralistic realism--advocated in my 1984. Sober's comments divide into three parts. He attempts to show that species are not sets; he responds to my critique of David Hull's thesis that species are individuals; and he offers some arguments for the claim that species are "chunks of the genealogical nexus." I consider each of these objections in turn, arguing that each of them fails. I attempt to (...) use Sober's insightful critique to explain and defend pluralistic realism more fully. (shrink)
This volume offers a critical appreciation of the work of 16 leading curriculum theorists through critical expositions of their writings. Written by a leading name in Curriculum Studies, the book includes a balance of established curriculum thinkers and contemporary curriculum analysts from education as well as philosophy, sociology and psychology. With theorists from the UK, the US and Europe, there is also a spread of political perspectives from radical conservatism through liberalism to socialism and libertarianism. Theorists included are: John Dewey, (...) Lev Vygotsky, Ralph Tyler, Joseph Schwab, Jerome Bruner, Maxine Greene, Basil Bernstein, Micheal Foucault, Paul Hirst, Donald Schon, Lawrence Stenhouse, Elliott Eisner, John White, Michael Apple, Henry Giroux and Robin Usher. This book is ideal for students looking for an introduction to some of the key educational thinkers of our time. It can also be used as a companion volume to the Routledge four-volume set on Curriculum Theory , 2003, which is also edited by David Scott. (shrink)
In a recent paper in Science and Engineering Ethics (SEE) Elliott proposed an ethics of expertise, providing its theoretical foundation along with its application in a case study devoted to the topic of hormesis. The application is based on a commentary in the journal Nature, and it includes assertions of ethical breaches. Elliott concludes that the authors of the commentary failed to promote the informed consent of decision makers by not providing representative information about alternative frequency estimates of (...) hormesis in the literature, thereby hindering the capacity of the scientific community to promote informed consent relating to chemical regulation. This paper argues that Elliott should have incorporated due process into his system of evaluation. His argument is also seriously deficient technically, in that it misinterprets the toxicological issues, misrepresents the scientific literature with respect to the frequency of hormesis, and incorrectly assesses the extent to which the Nature paper revealed opposing/alternative views on hormesis. Given the seriousness of assertions of noncompliance to ethical norms, there must be procedures to protect those whose ethics were called into question, to fairly evaluate the technical justification for an assertion, and to enable corrections in the event of errors. If a journal is willing to publish assertions that individuals acted in an ethically questionable way, it should be guided by a documented code of ethics and meet a standard of responsibility far greater than normal peer-review processes for papers that do not entail such ethical judgments. (shrink)
Roughly, psychological egoism is the thesis that all of a person's intentional actions are ultimately self-interested in some sense; psychological altruism is the thesis that some of a person's intentional actions are not ultimately self-interested, since some are ultimately other-regarding in some sense. C. Daniel Batson and other social psychologists have argued that experiments provide support for a theory called the "empathy-altruism hypothesis" that entails the falsity of psychological egoism. However, several critics claim that there are egoistic explanations of the (...) data that are still not ruled out. One of the most potent criticisms of Batson comes from Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson. I argue for two main theses in this paper: (1) we can improve on Sober and Wilson’s conception of psychological egoism and altruism, and (2) this improvement shows that one of the strongest of Sober and Wilson's purportedly egoistic explanations is not tenable. A defense of these two theses goes some way toward defending Batson‘s claim that the evidence from social psychology provides sufficient reason to reject psychological egoism. (shrink)
The hypothesis of group selection fell victim to a seemingly devastating critique in 1960s evolutionary biology. In Unto Others (1998), we argue to the contrary, that group selection is a conceptually coherent and empirically well documented cause of evolution. We suggest, in addition, that it has been especially important in human evolution. In the second part of Unto Others, we consider the issue of psychological egoism and altruism -- do human beings have ultimate motives concerning the well-being of others? We (...) argue that previous psychological and philosophical work on this question has been inconclusive. We propose an evolutionary argument for the claim that human beings have altruistic ultimate motives. (shrink)
In the second half of their recent, critically acclaimed book Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior , Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson discuss psychological hedonism. This is the view that avoiding our own pain and increasing our own pleasure are the only ultimate motives people have. They argue that none of the traditional philosophical arguments against this view are good, and they go on to present theirownevolutionary biological argument against it. Interestingly, the first half (...) of their book, which is a defense of group selectionism, has received almost all of the attention of those people who have published reactions to the book. No one has published a detailed reaction to the argument of the latter half of the book. In this article, the author explains and critically discusses their evolutionary biological argument against psychological hedonism, concluding that in its current form it is not strong enough to support its conclusion. However, the author goes on to argue that despite recent criticisms of Robert Nozick’s experience-machine argument, it is still a good argument against psychological hedonism. In support of the latter point, the author responds to the objections of Sober and Wilson and to the more recent criticisms offered by Matthew Silverstein. Key Words: hedonism • psychological egoism • evolution • Robert Nozick • Elliott Sober. (shrink)
Philosophy of biology is a vibrant and growing field. From initial roots in the metaphysics of species (Ghiselin, Hull), questions about whether biology has laws of nature akin to those of physics (Ruse, Hull), and discussions of teleology and function (Grene 1974, Brandon 1981), the field has grown since the 1970s to include a vast range of topics. Over the last few decades, philosophy has had an important impact on biology, partly through following the model of engagement with science that (...) was set by first-wave philosophers of biology like Marjorie Grene, Morton Beckner, David Hull, William Wimsatt and others. Today some parts of philosophy of biology are indistinguishable from theoretical biology. This is due in part to the impetus provided by second-wave philosophers of biology like James Griesemer, John Beatty, William Bechtel, Robert Brandon, Elisabeth Lloyd, and Elliott Sober. Indeed, philosophers have been instrumental in establishing theoretical biology as a field by collaborating with scientists, publishing in science journals, and by taking up conceptual questions at the heart of the biological enterprise. (shrink)
Our knowledge of the human brain and the influence of pharmacological substances on human mental functioning is expanding. This creates new possibilities to enhance personality and character traits. Psychopharmacological enhancers, as well as other enhancement technologies, raise moral questions concerning the boundary between clinical therapy and enhancement, risks and safety, coercion and justice. Other moral questions include the meaning and value of identity and authenticity, the role of happiness for a good life, or the perceived threats to humanity. Identity and (...) authenticity are central in the debate on psychopharmacological enhancers. In this paper, I first describe the concerns at issue here as extensively propounded by Carl Elliott. Next, I address David DeGrazia’s theory, which holds that there are no fundamental identity-related and authenticity-related arguments against enhancement technologies. I argue, however, that DeGrazia’s line of reasoning does not succeed in settling these concerns. His conception of identity does not seem able to account for the importance we attach to personal identity in␣cases where personal identity is changed through enhancement technology. Moreover, his conception of authenticity does not explain the reason why we find inauthentic values objectionable. A broader approach to authenticity can make sense of concerns about changes in personal identity by means of enhancement technologies. (shrink)
In their recent book, Elliott Sober and David Wilson (1998) argue that evolutionary biologists have wrongly regarded kinship as the exclusive means by which altruistic behavior can evolve, at the expense of other mechanisms. I argue that Sober and Wilson overlook certain genetical considerations which suggest that kinship is likely to be a more powerful means for generating complex altruistic adaptations than the alternative mechanisms they propose.
We address the following issues raised by the commentators of our target article and book: (1) the problem of multiple perspectives; (2) how to define group selection; (3) distinguishing between the concepts of altruism and organism; (4) genetic versus cultural group selection; (5) the dark side of group selection; (6) the relationship between psychological and evolutionary altruism; (7) the question of whether the psychological questions can be answered; (8) psychological experiments. We thank the contributors for their commentaries, which provide a (...) diverse agenda for future study of evolution and morality. Our response will follow the organization of our book, distinguishing between evolutionary issues that concern fitness effects and psychological issues that concern motives. (shrink)
This chapter offers a review of standard views about the requirements for natural selection to shape evolution and for the sorts of ‘units’ on which selection might operate. It then summarizes traditional arguments for genic selectionism, i.e., the view that selection operates primarily on genes (e.g., those of G. C. Williams, Richard Dawkins, and David Hull) and traditional counterarguments (e.g., those of William Wimsatt, Richard Lewontin, and Elliott Sober, and a diffuse group based on life history strategies). It (...) then offers a series of responses to the arguments, based on more contemporary considerations from molecular genetics, offered by Carmen Sapienza. A key issue raised by Sapienza concerns the degree to which a small number of genes might be able to control much of the variation relevant to selection operating on such selectively critical organs as hearts. The response to these arguments suggests that selection acts on many levels at once and that sporadic selection, acting with strong effects, can act successively on different key traits (and genes) while maintaining a balance among many potentially conflicting demands faced by organisms within an evolving lineage. (shrink)
We have two main objections to Kerr and Godfrey-Smith's (2002) meticulous analysis. First, they misunderstand the position we took in Unto Others – we do not claim that individual-level statements about the evolution of altruism are always unexplanatory and always fail to capture causal relationships. Second, Kerr and Godfrey-Smith characterize the individual and the multi-level perspectives in terms of different sets of parameters. In particular, they do not allow the multi-level perspective to use the individual fitness parameters i and i. (...) We don't see why the multi-level perspective prevents one from thinking in these terms. Kerr and Godfrey-Smith's argument that Uyenoyama and Feldman's (1980, 1992) definition of altruism belongs more to the individualist perspective than it does to the multi-level perspective is an artifact of their choice of parameters; the same point applies to their argument about the individualism inherent in the idea of Class I and Class II fitness structures. (shrink)
Four principal papers and a total of 43 peer commentaries on the evolutionary origins of morality. To what extent is human morality the outcome of a continuous development from motives, emotions and social behaviour found in nonhuman animals? Jerome Kagan, Hans Kummer, Peter Railton and others discuss the first principal paper by primatologists Jessica Flack and Frans de Waal. The second paper, by cultural anthropologist Christopher Boehm, synthesizes social science and biological evidence to support his theory of how our hominid (...) ancestors became moral. In the third paper philosopher Elliott Sober and evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson argue that an evolutionary understanding of human nature allows sacrifice for others and ultimate desires for another's good. Finally Brian Skyrms argues that game theory based on adaptive dynamics must join the social scientist's use of rational choice and classical game theory to explain cooperation. (shrink)
Ethical mysticism, by S. Coit.--The ethical import of history, by D. S. Muzzey.--The tragic and heroic in life, by W. M. Salter.--Distinctive features of the ethical movement, by A. W. Martin.--Ethical experience as the basis of religious education, by H. Neumann.--"All men are created equal," by G. E. O'Dell.--How far is art an aid to religion? by P. Chubb.--Evolution and the uniqueness of man, by H. J. Bridges.--The spiritual outlook on life, by H. J. Golding.--The ethics of Abu'l Ala al (...) Ma'arri, by N. Schmidt.--Life's unused moral force, by H. Snell.--Is the ideal real? by G. A. Smith.--Some ethical tendencies in the professions, by R. D. Kohn.--On the art of living, by W. Boerner.--The relation of the ethical ideal to social reform, by J. L. Elliott.--Concerning tolerance, by R. F. Dewey.--Ethical culture in Germany after the war, by R. Penzig.--A confession of faith, by S. B. Weston.--"Hearing the witnesses," by J. Gutmann. (shrink)
Preface, by N. Foerster.--The pretensions of science, by L. T. More.--Humanism: an essay at definition, by I. Babbitt.--The humility of common sense, by P. E. More.--The pride of modernity, by G. R. Elliott.--Religion without humanism, by T. S. Eliot.--The plight of our arts, by F. J. Mather, Jr.--The dilemma of modern tragedy, by A. R. Thompson.--An American tragedy, by R. Shafer.--Pandora's box in American fiction, by H. H. Clark.--Dionysus in dismay, by S. P. Chase.--Our critical spokesmen, by G. B. (...) Munson.--Behaviour and continuity, by B. Bandler, II.--The well of discipline, by S. B. Gass.--Courage and education, by R. L. Brown.--A list of books (p. 291-294). (shrink)
Valéry, P. The idea of art.--Sartre, J.-P. The work of art.--Ingarden, R. Artistic and aesthetic values.--Merleau-Ponty, M. Eye and mind.--Moore, G. E. Wittgenstein's lectures in 1930-33.--Findlay, J. N. The perspicuous and the poignant.--Hungerland, I. C. Once again, aesthetic and non-aesthetic.--Wollheim, R. On drawing an object.--Elliott, R. K. Aesthetic theory and the experience of art.--Savile, A. The place of invention in the concept of art.--Bibliography (p. -184).
Reductionism is often understood to include two theses: (1) every singular occurrence that the special sciences can explain also can be explained by physics; (2) every law in a higher-level science can be explained by physics. These claims are widely supposed to have been refuted by the multiple realizability argument, formulated by Putnam (1967, 1975) and Fodor (1968, 1975). The present paper criticizes the argument and identifies a reductionistic thesis that follows from one of the argument's premises.
Elliott Sober is among the leading contemporary contributors to the philosophy of biology. He also has an exceptional ability to explain difficult ideas clearly. He is therefore very well equipped to provide an accessible yet state-of-the-art introduction to the philosophy of biology, and in most respects this optimistic prognosis is justified by the present volume. Focussing on evolutionary biology, Sober provides a general overview of evolutionary theory; a chapter on creationism that serves as a vehicle for the discussion of (...) the evidence for evolution; and chapters on fitness, the units of selection, adaptationism, systematics, and sociobiology. Sober displays a thorough mastery of both the biological issues and the recent philosophical controversies that have surrounded them, and the presentation is always lucid and free from unnecessary technicalities. Anyone not thoroughly conversant with contemporary discussions of evolutionary theory could learn from this book. (shrink)
Elliott Sober (1987, 1993) and Orzack and Sober (forthcoming) argue that adaptationism is a very general hypothesis that can be tested by testing various particular hypotheses that invoke natural selection to explain the presence of traits in populations of organisms. In this paper, I challenge Sobers claim that adaptationism is an hypothesis and I argue that it is best viewed as a heuristic (or research strategy). Biologists would still have good reasons for employing this research strategy even if it (...) turns out that natural selection is not the most important cause of evolution. (shrink)
Biological knowledge has increased exponentially in the last century or so, and it would be surprising if some of this knowledge did not have implications for philosophy. In contrast with a good deal of Elliott Sober's best known work, which aims to bring philosophical methods to bear on issues within biology, the theme of this collection of essays is to explore some ways in which biological ideas, or more specifically evolutionary ideas, may be brought to bear on philosophical issues. (...) Sober notes in his Introduction that there is no systematic theme beyond the attempt to explore the philosophical implications of taking evolutionary biology seriously. And certainly this is a diverse collection, especially with regard to the extent to which the various arguments of these papers depend on any particular content to evolutionary claims. (shrink)
A correct analysis of hierarchical selection processes must specify 1) the objects that succeed differentially as units, and 2) the properties that provide the causal bases for differential success. Here I illustrate how failing to recognize the units/bases distinction creates a contradiction in Elliott Sober's recent account of selection. A revised criterion for units of selection is developed and applied to examples at several biological levels. Criteria for bases of selection are discussed in terms of the degree of context-dependence (...) and directness of a property's effect on the success of units. The significance of previous work by Sober, Wimsatt and Brandon is thereby clarified. (shrink)
This paper locates the contributions of Kauffman and Ayala to this symposium in the context of recent discussions of the adequacy of the Modern Synthesis. The neglect of morphology and development described by Kauffman is understandable in view of the belief that selection is the most powerful evolutionary force. His idea that properties of order may be explained by nonselective mechanisms is also examined. The paper subsequently takes up Ayala's criticism of S.J. Gould's view that macroevolution is a process "decoupled" (...) from microevolution. It is argued that the idea of species selection makes Gould's antireductionism ontological in character; this contrasts with Ayala's contention that the decoupling is merely epistemological. (shrink)