In “Spandrels,” Gould and Lewontin criticized what they took to be an all-too-common conviction, namely, that adaptation to current environments determines organic form. They stressed instead the importance of history . In this paper, we elaborate upon their concerns by appealing to other writings in which those issues are treated in greater detail. Gould and Lewontin’s combined emphasis on history was three-fold. First, evolution by natural selection does not start from scratch, but always refashions preexisting forms. Second, preexisting forms are (...) refashioned by the selection of whatever mutational variations happen to arise: the historical order of mutations needs to be taken into account. Third, the order of environments and selection pressures also needs to be taken into account. (shrink)
Biologists in the last 50 years have increasingly emphasized the role of historical contingency in explaining the distribution and dynamics of biological systems. However, recent work in philosophy of biology has shown that historical contingency carries various interpretations and that we are still lacking a general understanding of historicity, i.e., a framework from which to interpret why and to what extent history matters in biological processes. Building from examples and analyses of the long-term experimental evolution (LTEE) project, this paper argues (...) that historicity possess three essential conditions: (1) multiple possible pasts, (2) multiple possible outcomes at a given instant, and (3) a relationship of causal dependence between these two sets. These criteria can be further specified in two general forms of historicity: dependence on initial conditions and path dependence. More attention is devoted to developing a rigorous account of the latter, which captures the type of historicity displayed by stochastic processes. This paper also highlights that it is often more productive to adopt an instant-relative approach and think in terms of degree of historicity instead of trying to maintain a rigid and absolute dichotomy between historical and ahistorical (completely convergent) processes. (shrink)
This paper offers directions for the continuing dialogue between business ethicists and environmental philosophers. I argue that a theory of corporate social responsibility must be consistent with, if not derived from, a model of sustainable economics rather than the prevailing neoclassical model of market economics. I use environmental examples to critique both classical and neoclassical models of corporate social responsibility and sketch the alternative model of sustainable development. After describing some implications of this model at the level of individual firms (...) and industries, I offer an ethical justification of the sustainability alternative that is derived from the same values that underlie traditional market economics. (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)
Sustainability informs the framework for a seminar that we teach for junior and senior undergraduates entitled "The Ethics and Economics of Sustainable Societies." One of the class requirements has each student research and write a life-cycle case study, an exercise in which they trace the full, or partial, life-cycle of some product with which they are familiar. Students are expected to examine the economic, ethical, and ecological implications along each step in the life-cycle of the product. We believe that life-cycle (...) cases in general are very helpful in revealing the full economic, ethical, and ecological consequences of product development, marketing, use, and disposal. We also believe that asking students to research the product themselves provides additional pedagogical benefits. After a brief review of the philosophical case for our alternative view of corporate social responsibility, we will describe the life-cycle case method, offer several examples from our own classes, and make the case for the pedagogical benefits of this approach. (shrink)
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)
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)
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.
The subject of this paper is an introduction to my assessment of the work of the late American anthropologist, Eric Wolf (1923–1999), whom I consider to be one of the greatest American anthropologist. I plan a monograph on his total work from a point of view, largely overlooked, emphasizing his sensitive, path-breaking, and poetic insights. I see Wolf’s work as having three interpenetrating periods, which I call (1) Eric Wolf, the poet, focusing primarily on his work on Mexico, (...) (2) the study of peasantry world-wide, emphasizing history, context, power, etc. (from the very beginning Wolf demolished the idea of static isolated cultures that anthropologists so loved to study; and in this respect, Eric Wolf changed anthropology forever), and (3) the third period, reaching to his death and never really finished, was Wolf the philosopher and crosser of boundaries. (shrink)
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)
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 Olson argues in The Human Animal that thought-experiments involving body-swapping do not in the end offer any support to psychological continuity theories, nor do they pose any threat to his Biological View. I argue that he is mistaken in at least the second claim.
Refusing to pursue recent and possible future developments in medical research is itself a morally momentous decision—and that inaction has consequences Cohen and other right-wing thinkers refuse to acknowledge. -/- .
In this paper I focus on the central role faith plays in the thought of Polanyi and Voegelin. I begin by indicating how both find the modern conception of scientific knowing seriously wanting. What Polanyi terms "objectivism" and Voegelin calls "scientism" is the modern tendency to reduce knowledge to only that which can be scientifically demonstrated. This errant view of knowledge does not occur in a vacuum, though, and both men draw a connection between this and the political pathologies of (...) the twentieth century. I then show the complementary ways in which these two thinkers believe recovery is possible: an epistemological solution encompassed in Polanyi's personal knowledge and an ontological reorientation that is the core of Voegelin's insistence that we must recover an awareness of human participation in transcendent reality. (shrink)
Eric Mack’s “Inside Public Reason” is thorough and fair-minded review of The Order of Public Reason. My deep thanks to him for his insights, as well as his judiciousness. In these remarks I cannot take up all the important matters he raises; in particular I put aside two important issues—the analysis of the political and discussion of how contingent social processes play a fundamental role in public justification (Fred D’Agostino focuses on this second feature of The Order of Public (...) Reason in his “The Orders of Public Reason,” Analytical Philosophy, forthcoming.). I plan to take up the latter on another occasion. (shrink)