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Profile: Derek D. Turner (Connecticut College)
  1. Derek D. Turner (2014). Philosophical Issues in Recent Paleontology. Philosophy Compass 9 (7):494-505.
    The distinction between idiographic science, which aims to reconstruct sequences of particular events, and nomothetic science, which aims to discover laws and regularities, is crucial for understanding the paleobiological revolution of the 1970s and 1980s. Stephen Jay Gould at times seemed conflicted about whether to say (a) that idiographic science is fine as it is or (b) that paleontology would have more credibility if it were more nomothetic. Ironically, one of the lasting results of the paleobiological revolution was a new (...)
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  2. Derek D. Turner (2011). Paleontology: A Philosophical Introduction. Cambridge University Press.
    Machine generated contents note: 1. Paleontology and evolutionary theory; 2. A new way of looking at the fossil record; 3. Punctuated equilibria: provocations and problems; 4. The emergence of a hierarchical evolutionary theory; 5. The case for species selection; 6. Real trends; 7. The dynamics of evolutionary trends; 8. Is evolution contingent?; 9. Diversity and disparity; 10. Are genes the new fossils?.
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  3. Derek D. Turner (2009). How Much Can We Know About the Causes of Evolutionary Trends? Biology and Philosophy 24 (3):341-357.
    One of the first questions that paleontologists ask when they identify a large-scale trend in the fossil record (e.g., size increase, complexity increase) is whether it is passive or driven. In this article, I explore two questions about driven trends: (1) what is the underlying cause or source of the directional bias? and (2) has the strength of the directional bias changed over time? I identify two underdetermination problems that prevent scientists from giving complete answers to these two questions.
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  4. Derek D. Turner (2007). Making Prehistory: Historical Science and the Scientific Realism Debate. Cambridge University Press.
    Scientists often make surprising claims about things that no one can observe. In physics, chemistry, and molecular biology, scientists can at least experiment on those unobservable entities, but what about researchers in fields such as paleobiology and geology who study prehistory, where no such experimentation is possible? Do scientists discover facts about the distant past or do they, in some sense, make prehistory? Derek Turner argues that this problem has surprising and important consequences for the scientific realism debate. His discussion (...)
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  5. Derek D. Turner (2006). Monkeywrenching, Perverse Incentives and Ecodefence. Environmental Values 15 (2):213 - 232.
    By focusing too narrowly on consequentialist arguments for ecosabotage, environmental philosophers such as Michael Martin (1990) and Thomas Young (2001) have tended to overlook two important facts about monkeywrenching. First, advocates of monkeywrenching see sabotage above all as a technique for counteracting perverse economic incentives. Second, their main argument for monkeywrenching – which I will call the ecodefence argument – is not consequentialist at all. After calling attention to these two under-appreciated aspects of monkeywrenching, I go on to offer a (...)
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  6. Kenneth J. Sufka & Derek D. Turner (2005). An Evolutionary Account of Chronic Pain: Integrating the Natural Method in Evolutionary Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 18 (2):243-257.
    This paper offers an evolutionary account of chronic pain. Chronic pain is a maladaptive by-product of pain mechanisms and neural plasticity, both of which are highly adaptive. This account shows how evolutionary psychology can be integrated with Flanagan's natural method, and in a way that avoids the usual charges of panglossian adaptationism and an uncritical commitment to a modular picture of the mind. Evolutionary psychology is most promising when it adopts a bottom-up research strategy that focuses on basic affective and (...)
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  7. Derek D. Turner (2005). Are We at War with Nature? Environmental Values 14 (1):21 - 36.
    A number of people, from William James to Dave Foreman and Vandana Shiva, have suggested that humans are at war with nature. Moreover, the analogy with warfare figures in at least one important argument for strategic monkeywrenching. In general, an analogy can be used for purposes of (1) justification; (2) persuasion; or (3) as a tool for generating novel hypotheses and recommendations. This paper argues that the analogy with warfare should not be used for justificatory or rhetorical purposes, but that (...)
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  8. Derek D. Turner (2005). Misleading Observable Analogues in Paleontology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 36 (1):175-183.
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  9. Derek D. Turner (2004). The Past Vs. The Tiny: Historical Science and the Abductive Arguments for Realism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (1):1-17.
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