Sober (1992) has recently evaluated Brandon's (1982, 1990; see also 1985, 1988) use of Salmon's (1971) concept of screening-off in the philosophy of biology. He critiques three particular issues, each of which will be considered in this discussion.
Two conditions for internal peace : absolutism and identification --Four approaches to Leviathan -- Outline of a new approach -- Reason, natural law, and absolutism -- The role of part 1 in Leviathan -- The metaphysical conception of human nature -- The state of nature -- The argument for absolutism -- Criteria for the identification of the sovereign -- Natural law -- Reason, revelation, and the interpretation of scripture -- Historical background : sola scriptura and biblical criticism -- Hobbes and (...) sola scriptura -- Sola scriptura and revelation -- Principles of biblical interpretation -- Metaphysics and eschatology -- Metaphysics : body and spirit -- The kingdom of God -- Eschatology -- Church and state -- Politics and the problem of double vision -- Politics and metaphysics -- Case A and the kingdom of God -- Case B and the argument for the identification of the true sovereign according to scripture -- The theological-philosophical argument for absolutism -- Hobbes and the kingdom of darkness -- The kingdom of darkness -- Misinterpretations of Scripture -- The false foundations of church tradition -- The kingdom of fairies -- The religious sincerity of Thomas Hobbes. (shrink)
This note discusses the implications of an incorrect quotation that appeared in Ted H. Miller's article, 'Thomas Hobbes and the Constraints that Enable the Imitation of God', from Inquiry 42.2 (1999). Although surely inadvertent, this error is significant because the author uses it to support the thesis that Hobbes envisions philosophers imitating God by creating order out of chaos. The correct quotation from Leviathan does not support such a thesis, and the paragraph in Leviathan from which it is (...) taken actually runs counter to it. The correct quotation, taken in its context, and a passage from De Corpore cited by Professor Miller reveal that Hobbes encourages philosophers to imitate God by following the order of creation in contemplation. In other words, philosophers imitate God by imitating the creation. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that we can best make sense of the practice of experimental evolutionary biology if we see it as investigating contingent, rather than lawlike, regularities. This understanding is contrasted with the experimental practice of certain areas of physics. However, this presents a problem for those who accept the Logical Positivist conception of law and its essential role in scientific explanation. I address this problem by arguing that the contingent regularities of evolutionary biology have a limited range (...) of nomic necessity and a limited range of explanatory power even though they lack the unlimited projectibility that has been seen by some as a hallmark of scientific laws. (shrink)
Universals are a class of mind independent entities, usually contrasted with individuals, postulated to ground and explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals. Individuals are said to be similar in virtue of sharing universals. An apple and a ruby are both red, and their common redness results from sharing a universal. If they are both red at the same time, the universal, red, must be in two places at once. This makes universals quite different from individuals, and controversial. (...) Whether universals are in fact required to explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals has engaged metaphysicians for two thousand years. Disputants fall into one of three broad camps. Realists endorse universals. Conceptualists and Nominalists, on the other hand, refuse to accept universals and deny that they are needed. Conceptualists explain similarity among individuals by appealing to general concepts or ideas, things that exist only in minds. Nominalists, in contrast, are content to leave relations of qualitative resemblance brute and ungrounded. Numerous versions of Nominalism have been proposed, some with a great deal of sophistication. Contemporary philosophy has seen the rise of a new form of Nominalism, one that makes use of a special class of individuals, known as tropes. Familiar individuals have many properties, but tropes are single property instances. Whether Trope Nominalism improves on earlier Nominalist theories is the subject of much recent debate. In general, questions surrounding universals touch upon some of the oldest, deepest, and most abstract of philosophical issues. (shrink)
In this paper we first briefly review Bell's (1964, 1966) Theorem to see how it invalidates any deterministic "hidden variable" account of the apparent indeterminacy of quantum mechanics (QM). Then we show that quantum uncertainty, at the level of DNA mutations, can "percolate" up to have major populational effects. Interesting as this point may be it does not show any autonomous indeterminism of the evolutionary process. In the next two sections we investigate drift and natural selection as the locus of (...) autonomous biological indeterminacy. Here we conclude that the population-level indeterminacy of natural selection and drift are ultimately based on the assumption of a fundamental indeterminacy at the level of the lives and deaths of individual organisms. The following section examines this assumption and defends it from the determinists' attack. Then we show that, even if one rejects the assumption, there is still an important reason why one might think evolutionary theory (ET) is autonomously indeterministic. In the concluding section we contrast the arguments we have mounted against a deterministic hidden variable account of ET with the proof of the impossibility of such an account of QM. (shrink)
Richard Lewontin's (1970) early work on the units of selection initiated the conceptual and theoretical investigations that have led to the hierarchical perspective on selection that has reached near consensus status today. This paper explores other aspects of his work, work on what he termed continuity and quasi-independence, that connect to contemporary explorations of modularity in development and evolution. I characterize such modules and argue that they are the true units of selection in that they are what evolution by natural (...) selection individuates, selects among, and transforms. (shrink)
The concept of individuality as applied to species, an important advance in the philosophy of evolutionary biology, is nevertheless in need of refinement. Four important subparts of this concept must be recognized: spatial boundaries, temporal boundaries, integration, and cohesion. Not all species necessarily meet all of these. Two very different types of pluralism have been advocated with respect to species, only one of which is satisfactory. An often unrecognized distinction between grouping and ranking components of any species concept is necessary. (...) A phylogenetic species concept is advocated that uses a (monistic) grouping criterion of monophyly in a cladistic sense, and a (pluralistic) ranking criterion based on those causal processes that are most important in producing and maintaining lineages in a particular case. Such causal processes can include actual interbreeding, selective constraints, and developmental canalization. The widespread use of the biological species concept is flawed for two reasons: because of a failure to distinguish grouping from ranking criteria and because of an unwarranted emphasis on the importance of interbreeding as a universal causal factor controlling evolutionary diversification. The potential to interbreed is not in itself a process; it is instead a result of a diversity of processes which result in shared selective environments and common developmental programs. These types of processes act in both sexual and asexual organisms, thus the phylogenetic species concept can reflect an underlying unity that the biological species concept can not. (shrink)
Millstein [Bio. Philos. 17 (2002) 33] correctly identies a serious problem with the view that natural selection and random drift are not conceptually distinct. She offers a solution to this problem purely in terms of differences between the processes of selection and drift. I show that this solution does not work, that it leaves the vast majority of real biological cases uncategorized. However, I do think there is a solution to the problem she raises, and I offer it here. My (...) solution depends on solving the biological analogue of the reference class problem in probability theory and on the reality of individual fitnesses. (shrink)
Genic selectionists (Williams 1966; Dawkins 1976) defend the view that genes are the (unique) units of selection and that all evolutionary events can be adequately represented at the genic level. Pluralistic genic selectionists (Sterelny and Kitcher 1988; Waters 1991; Dawkins 1982) defend the weaker view that in many cases there are multiple equally adequate accounts of evolutionary events, but that always among the set of equally adequate representations will be one at the genic level. We describe a range of cases (...) all involving stable equilibria actively maintained by selection. In these cases genotypic models correctly show that selection is active at the equilibrium point. In contrast, the genic models have selection disappearing at equilibrium. For deterministic models this difference makes no difference. However, once drift is added in, the two sets of models diverge in their predicted evolutionary trajectories. Thus, contrary to received wisdom on this matter, the two sets of models are not empirically equivalent. Moreover, the genic models get the facts wrong. (shrink)
This paper is divided into three sections. In the first section we offer a retooling of some traditional concepts, namely icons and symbols, which allows us to describe an evolutionary continuum of communication systems. The second section consists of an argument from theoretical biology. In it we explore the advantages and disadvantages of phenotypic plasticity. We argue that a range of the conditions that selectively favor phenotypic plasticity also favor a nongenetic transmission system that would allow for the inheritance of (...) acquired characters. The first two sections are independent, the third depends on both of them. In it we offer an argument that human natural languages have just the features required of an ideal transmission mechanism under the conditions described in section 2. (shrink)
Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection provided the first, and only, causal-mechanistic account of the existence of adaptations in nature. As such, it provided the first, and only, scientific alternative to the “argument from design”. That alone would account for its philosophical significance. But the theory also raises other philosophical questions not encountered in the study of the theories of physics. Unfortunately the concept of natural selection is intimately intertwined with the other basic concepts of evolutionary theory—such as the (...) concepts of fitness and adaptation —that are themselves philosophically controversial. Fortunately we can make considerable headway in getting clear on natural selection without solving all of those outstanding problems. (shrink)
Kary (1990) defends the view that evolution by natural selection can be adequately explained in terms of a theory incorporating only a single level of selection. Here I point out some of the inherent inadequacies of such a theory.
These days 'evolution' is usually defined as any change in the relative frequencies of genes in a population over time. This definition and some obvious alternatives are examined and rejected. The criticism of these definitions points out the need for a more holistic analysis of genotypes. I attempt such analysis by introducing measures of similarity of whole genotypes and then by grouping genotypes into similarity classes. Three sorts of measures of similarity are examined: a measure of structural similarity, a measure (...) of functional similarity and one of relational or historical similarity. The functional approach is shown to be superior and a definition of 'evolution' is suggested. (shrink)
Christopher Hitchcocks discussion of my use of screening-off in analyzing the causal process of natural selection raises some interesting issues to which I am pleased to reply. The bulk of his article is devoted to some fairly general points in the theory of explanation. In particular, he questions whether or not my point that phenotype screens off genotype from reproductive success (in cases of organismic selection) supports my claim that the explanation of differential reproductive success should be in terms of (...) phenotypic differences, not genotypic differences. I will respond to this and show why the two supposed counter-examples to my position fail. (shrink)
Este artigo quer mostrar que Kant descobriu, segundo Eric Weil, o problema do sentido. Entretanto, Eric Weil observa que Kant não encontrou uma linguagem apropriada para falar do sentido. A linguagem de Kant era ainda uma linguagem ontológica. Malgrado isso, Kant conseguiu fechar, na terceira Crítica, o abismo que separava natureza e liberdade.
'Hobbes and the Imitation of God' ( Inquiry , 44, 223-6) is EricBrandon's criticism of my article, 'Thomas Hobbes and the Constraints that Enable the Imitation of God' ( Inquiry , 42, 149-76). Brandon's criticisms are rooted in a misunderstanding of what is argued. Observations made concerning Hobbes's claims about prudence - a form of thinking Hobbes distinguishes from philosophic practice - are erroneously described by Brandon as a part of arguments concerning Hobbes's claims about (...) philosophy. Brandon's own account reaffirms a conventional interpretation by claiming that Hobbes envisioned philosophers discovering order, an interpretation challenged in the original argument. Hobbes privileged the creation of order over attempts to discover the order of the world, and this is reflected in his affinity for geometry over physics. (shrink)
McShea and Brandon propose that in the absence of constraint, biological diversity increases spontaneously. While heuristically useful, the thesis is unclear and of dubious empirical validity. The authors have no natural way to distinguish entropic decrease of diversity from the kind of increase that they are interested in. They make unsupported claims about how to explain dramatic increases of diversity and increases of functional complexity.
In this paper I offer three main challenges to James (2011). All three turn on the nature of philosophy and secure knowledge in Spinoza. First, I criticize James's account of the epistemic role that experience plays in securing adequate ideas for Spinoza. In doing so I criticize her treatment of what is known as the ‘conatus doctrine’ in Spinoza in order to challenge her picture of the relationship between true religion and philosophy. Second, this leads me into a criticism of (...) her account of the nature of philosophy in Spinoza. I argue it is less piecemeal and less akin to what we would recognize as ‘science’ than she suggests. Third, I argue against James's core commitment that Spinoza's three kinds of knowledge differ in degree; I claim they differ in kind. My argument will offer a new interpretation of Spinoza's conception of ‘common notions’. Moreover, I argue that Spinozistic adequate knowledge involves something akin to angelic disembodiment. (shrink)
In their 2010 book, Biology’s First Law, D. McShea and R. Brandon present a principle that they call ‘‘ZFEL,’’ the zero force evolutionary law. ZFEL says (roughly) that when there are no evolutionary forces acting on a population, the population’s complexity (i.e., how diverse its member organisms are) will increase. Here we develop criticisms of ZFEL and describe a different law of evolution; it says that diversity and complexity do not change when there are no evolutionary causes.
I respond to Brandon's (2005) criticisms of my earlier (2002) essay. I argue that (1) biologists are inconsistent in their use of the terms 'selection' and 'drift' -- vacillating between 'process' and 'outcome' -- but that the process-oriented definitions I defend make better sense of the neutralist/selectionist debate; (2) Brandon's purported demonstration that there is no qualitative difference between drift and selection as processes begs the question against my account; and (3) biologists (e.g., Kimura) have argued for genuinely (...) neutral variants. Whether any such variants actually exist is an empirical question. However, the philosophical question at hand is conceptual, not empirical. (shrink)
Was sind wir? Wie immer man sich zu dieser Frage stellt, eines scheint offenkundig: Wir sind Tiere, genauer gesagt: menschliche Tiere, Mitglieder der Art Homo sapiens. Dabei mag es überraschen, daß viele Philosophen diese vermeintlich banale Tatsache abstreiten. Plato, Augustinus, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant und Hegel, um nur einige herausragende zu nennen, waren alle der Meinung, wir seien keine Tiere. Es mag zwar sein, daß unsere Körper Tiere sind. Doch sind wir nicht mit unseren Körpern gleichzusetzen. Wir sind etwas (...) anderes als Tiere. Kaum anderer Meinung sind Denker nicht-westlicher Traditionen. Und rund neun von zehn Philosophen, die heutzutage über Probleme der personalen Identität nachdenken, vertreten Ansichten, die ausschließen, daß wir Tiere sind. (shrink)
Roger Sansom and Robert N. Brandon (eds.): Integrating Evolution and Development: From Theory to Practice Content Type Journal Article Pages 81-86 DOI 10.1007/s10441-010-9121-x Authors Thomas A. C. Reydon, Institute of Philosophy & Center for Philosophy and Ethics of Science (ZEWW), Leibniz Universität Hannover, Im Moore 21, 30167 Hannover, Germany Journal Acta Biotheoretica Online ISSN 1572-8358 Print ISSN 0001-5342 Journal Volume Volume 59 Journal Issue Volume 59, Number 1.
Eric R. Scerri: selected papers on the periodic table Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10698-010-9089-2 Authors Pieter Thyssen, Ph.D. Fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), Department of Chemistry, Laboratory of Coordination Chemistry, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200F bus 2404, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238 Journal Volume Volume 12 Journal Issue Volume 12, Number 3.
Following its determination of a finding of scientific misconduct the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) will seek redress for any injury sustained. Several remedies both administrative and statutory may be available depending on the strength of the evidentiary findings of the misconduct investigation. Pursuant to federal regulations administrative remedies are primarily remedial in nature and designed to protect the integrity of the affected research program, whereas statutory remedies including civil fines and criminal penalties are designed to deter and punish wrongdoers. (...) This commentary discusses the available administrative and statutory remedies in the context of a specific case, that of former University of Vermont nutrition researcher Eric Poehlman, and supplies a possible rationale for the legal result. (shrink)
O presente artigo tem como finalidade a investigação do pensamento filósofo alemão Eric Weil (1904-1977), em especial a sua ideia de socialização e universalização, presente na obra Filosofia Política (1956). Primeiramente será investigado o problema da maldade ou violência naturais, herdadas, portanto, naturalmente pelo homem, chegando depois ao estudo da necessidade de superação dessa violência, que se manifesta ao indivíduo particular e que é manifestada também na sociedade. Por último, será estudado o dever do filósofo político, a saber, a (...) superação e efetivação de uma sociedade cada vez mais universalizada, dever esse que torna a filosofia imprescindível para a sociedade globalizada do século XXI. (shrink)
The enigma of Eric Hoffer -- The migrant worker -- On the waterfront -- Intimate friendships -- The true believer -- Hoffer as a public figure -- The literary life -- America and the intellectuals -- God, Jehovah, and the Jews -- The longshoreman philosopher.
Eric Voegelin and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy provide an interesting and important contrast in their Augustinian diagnoses of modernity and the role of revolution and faith in salvation in history. For Eric Voegelin the desolation of modern humanity springs from its unreal elevation of the self – its Gnostic inheritance – and its immanentization of God and the eschaton into history and progress. In keeping with this is the moderns’ failure to appreciate that the symbolic order required for a fulfilling (...) human community and experience relies upon the necessity of maintaining God as a beyond in relation to society, man and world. Rosenstock-Huessy is also concerned that the failure of the moderns to understand the sign and significance of God is disastrous. And like Voegelin he is deeply opposed to modern Gnosticism and the pathologies that emerge from it, but Rosenstock-Huessy is also interested in something that is not Voegelin’s primary concern – mainly the role of providence in history. (shrink)
Este artículo se propone analizar la crítica de Eric Voegelin a Max Weber acerca de la relación entre ciencia y valores, para ver sus implicaciones en la historia del concepto de política en Occidente. A comienzos del XX, Weber rompe con el concepto clásico de política aristotélico al señalar que lo específico de la política no son los fines que busca, imposibles de definir objetivamente, sino los medios con que opera (violencia). Voegelin verá en ese postulado una expresión del (...) positivismo dominante hacia la segunda posguerra, y se propondrá restaurar la noción clásica de política, afincada la reunión de lo que Weber había separado, verdad y política. Según Voegelin, Weber fracasa en su intento de edificar una ciencia libre de valores, y ello lo vuelve recuperable para su proyecto de elaborar una ciencia del orden. (shrink)