One way to understand science is as a selection process. David Hull, one of the dominant figures in contemporary philosophy of science, sets out in this volume a general analysis of this selection process that applies equally to biological evolution, the reaction of the immune system to antigens, operant learning, and social and conceptual change in science. Hull aims to distinguish between those characteristics that are contingent features of selection and those that are essential. Science and Selection brings (...) together many of David Hull's most important essays on selection (some never before published) in one accessible volume. (shrink)
I teach Philosophy of Science at a four-year state university located in the southeastern United States with a strong college of education. This means that the Philosophy of Science class I teach attracts large numbers of students who will later become science teachers in Georgia junior high and high schools—the same schools that recently began including evolution "warning" stickers in science textbooks. I am also a faculty member in a department combining Religious Studies and Philosophy. This (...) means Philosophy of Science is often expected to provide dialogue, debate, and bridge-building on the issues of creationism and evolution. I am expected to provide a welcoming atmosphere to all the religious perspectives that the students bring to class, but at the same time I feel responsible for giving them a serious respect for evolution. This tension between religious tolerance and secular science education has had important consequences in American schools, most notably with the issue of Intelligent Design Theory (ID) in the classroom. (shrink)
In the middle period of the century of American thought with which our symposium is concerned, there was one idea which so far overshadowed all others that we may fairly confine our attention to it. That idea was evolution.
I examine John McDowell's attitude towards naturalism in general, and evolutionary theory in particular, by distinguishing between "transcendental descriptions" and "empirical explanations". With this distinction in view we can understand why McDowell holds that there is both continuity and discontinuity between humans qua rational animals and other animals -- there is continuity with regards to empirical explanations and discontinuity with regards to transcendental descriptions. The result of this examination is a clearer assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of McDowell's contribution (...) to philosophical naturalism. (shrink)
The idea of the élan vital is crucial for an understanding of Bergson’s metaphysical method, underpinning the way in which philosophy stands with other forms of creative activity as an endeavour of “self-overcoming,” the self or subject no longer being at the centre of thought, but understood rather as a product of the process of thinking. In placing a special emphasis on Bergson’s 1907 work, Creative Evolution, the present essay is both an acknowledgement and challenge to the shift (...) from early interpretations of Bergson in which comparisons were made with thinkers such as Schelling and Schopenhauer, to more recent engagements centred on the theories of perception and memory. The aim of this essay is to formulate a response to the marginalized status of Creative Evolution in the “perception-based” strands of Bergson scholarship, by emphasising how Bergson’s theories of memory and consciousness are a means for understanding his definition of evolutionary “creativity.” Bergson suggests that the analysis of consciousness or “will” can provide us with a way of thinking about this creative movement of life, which is not a concept of a “cause” or “origin” in the sense of a “state of nature” (substance, essence, or “being”), but rather the operation of pure tendency. (shrink)
Michael Ruse’s new anthology Philosophy After Darwin provides great history and background in the major impacts Darwinism has had on philosophy, especially in ethics and epistemology. This review focuses on epistemology understood through the lens of evolution by natural selection. I focus on one of Ruse’s own articles in the collection, which responds to two classic articles by Konrad Lorenz and David Hull on the two major forms of evolutionary epistemology. I side with Ruse against Lorenz’s account (...) of the necessity we think our principles of reasoning have, though I disagree with Ruse’s particular example. I also argue that Ruse’s alternative explanation is lacking. Against Hull, I side with Ruse in his doubts that a sociobiological approach to science will prove fruitful, though I point out that it has certain advantages other approaches do not have. Although I side with Ruse on the issue, I conclude that the two views do not really come into direct conflict and so one needs not reject either. Finally, I discuss Ruse’s positive view and raise questions for his conception of evolutionary epistemology. I conclude that his arguments are insufficient to overcome opposing views and his view has at least as many unintuitive conclusions as the alternatives. (shrink)
Evolutionary thinking has expanded in the last decades, spreading from its traditional stronghold - the explanation of speciation and adaptation in Biology - to new domains including the human sciences. The essays in this collection attest to the illuminating power of evolutionary thinking when applied to the understanding of the human mind. The contributors to Cognition, Evolution and Rationality use an evolutionary standpoint to approach the nature of the human mind, including both cognitive and behavioral functions. Cognitive science is (...) by its nature an interdisciplinary subject and the essays use a variety of disciplines including the Philosophy of Science, the Philosophy of Mind, Game Theory, Robotics and Computational Neuroanatomy to investigate the workings of the mind. The topics covered by the essays range from general methodological issues to long-standing philosophical problems such as how rational human beings actually are. This book will be of interest across a number of fields, including philosophy, evolutionary theory and cognitive science. (shrink)
Debates about evolution and creation inevitably raise philosophical issues about the nature of scientific knowledge. What is a theory? What is an explanation? How is science different from non- science? How should theories be evaluated? Does science achieve truth? The aim of this chapter is to give a concise and accessible introduction to the philosophy of science, focusing on questions relevant to understanding evolution by natural selection, creation, and intelligent design. For the questions just listed, I state (...) what I think is the best available answer and show how it applies to debates about evolution and creationism. I also indicate alternative answers that are preferred by other philosophers. I hope that the result will be useful for science educators and anyone else involved in controversies about evolution and creation. (shrink)
Comprised of essays by top scholars in the field, this volume offers concise overviews of philosophical issues raised by biology. Brings together a team of eminent scholars to explore the philosophical issues raised by biology Addresses traditional and emerging topics, spanning molecular biology and genetics, evolution, developmental biology, immunology, ecology, mind and behaviour, neuroscience, and experimentation Begins with a thorough introduction to the field Goes beyond previous treatments that focused only on evolution to give equal attention to other (...) areas, such as molecular and developmental biology Represents both an authoritative guide to philosophy of biology, and an accessible reference work for anyone seeking to learn about this rapidly-changing field. (shrink)
Independent narration in Chinese philosophy has gone through the process of interpretation, critical differentiation, dialogue, and original thought, and so is a creative activity that surpasses the conjunctive pattern of universality and particularity. In modern Confucian studies, there has always been a tension between philosophical and historical explanations, which suggests a tension between ecumenical and indigenous experiences. Critical differentiation itself only has methodological significance, and is not a goal in itself. China’s development and strength has encouraged China to engage (...) in philosophical dialogue with the West. It is the task and direction of future philosophical creativity to face the contemporary existence, re-construct Confucianism’s relationship with modern life, and respond in a metaphysical and positive manner to the challenges imposed by modernity. (shrink)
No other scientific theory has had as tremendous an impact on our understanding of the world as Darwin's theory as outlined in his Origin of Species, yet from the very beginning the theory has been subject to controversy. The Evolution of Darwinism focuses on three issues of debate - the nature of selection, the nature and scope of adaptation, and the question of evolutionary progress. It traces the varying interpretations to which these issues were subjected from the beginning and (...) the fierce contemporary debates that still rage on and explores their implications for the greatest questions of all: Where we come from, who we are and where we might be heading. Written in a clear and non-technical style, this book will be of use as a textbook for students in the philosophy of science who need to become familiar with the background to the debates about evolution. (shrink)
The influence of Darwinism on philosophy.--Nature and its good: a conversation.--Intelligence and morals.--The experimental theory of knowledge.--The intellectualist criterion for truth.--A short catechism concerning truth.--Beliefs and existences.--Experience and objective idealism.--The postulate of immediate empiricism.--"Consciousness" and experience.--The significance of the problem of knowledge.
Introduction -- Defending a socio-biological account of morality -- Non-objectivist evolutionary ethics -- Recent objectivist approaches to evolutionary ethics -- Sketch of an Aristotelian evolutionary ethics -- Evolutionary biology and the moral status of animals -- Faith, reason, and evolutionary epistemology -- Psychological egoism and evolutionary biology -- Evolution and free will : darwinian non-naturalism defended -- Recent developments in philosophy of evolution.
Nietzsche, Biology and Metaphor explores the German philosopher's response to the intellectual debates sparked by the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. By examining the abundance of biological metaphors in Nietzsche's writings, Gregory Moore questions his recent reputation as an eminently subversive and (post) modern thinker, and shows how deeply Nietzsche was immersed in late nineteenth-century debates on evolution, degeneration and race. The first part of the book provides a detailed study and new interpretation of Nietzsche's much disputed (...) relationship to Darwinism. Uniquely, Moore also considers the importance of Nietzsche's evolutionary perspective for the development of his moral and aesthetic philosophy. The second part analyzes key themes of Nietzsche's cultural criticism - his attack on the Judaeo-Christian tradition, his diagnosis of the nihilistic crisis afflicting modernity and his anti-Wagnerian polemics - against the background of fin-de-siècle fears about the imminent biological collapse of Western civilization. (shrink)
The theory of evolution: The rise and impact of evolutionary ideas, by R. Scoon. Evolution in its relation to the philosophy of nature and the philosophy of culture, by F.S.C. Northrop. The genetic nature of differences among men, by T. Dobzhansky. Evolutionary thought in America: Evolution and American sociology by R.E.L. Faris. The impact of the idea of evolution on the American political and constitutional tradition, by E.S. Corwin. Evolutionism in American economics, 1800-1946, by (...) J.J. Spengler. The influence of evolutionary theory upon American psychological thought, by E.G. Boring. Naturalism in American literature, by M. Cowley. The idea of organic expression and American architecture, by D.D. Egbert. Evolution and moral theory in America, W.F. Quillian, Jr. Evolution and theology in America, by S. Persons. (shrink)
Of the many translators who carried the Buddhist doctrine to China, Paramartha, a missionary-monk who arrived in China in AD 546, ranks as the translator par excellence of the sixth century. Introducing philosophical ideas that would subsequently excite the Chinese imagination to develop the great schools of Sui and T'ang Buddhism, Paramartha's translations are almost exclusively of Yogacara Buddhist texts on the nature of the mind and consciousness. This first study of Paramartha in a Western language focuses on the Chuan (...) shih lun (Evolution of Consciousness), a text that reveals the outline of Paramartha's Yogacara thought. The study begins with a discussion of Paramartha's life, the historical and political context of the time in India and south China, and the roles of his main disciples in disseminating his work. It then describes Paramartha's treatment of Yogacarin views on language and the process of cognition, both central to this system of thought. The final chapter analyzes the history and content of the Chuan shih lun, and the book concludes with a new translation of the text, with extensive annotations. (shrink)
Growing suspicions were raised however that an exclusively language-oriented view of the mind, focussing on the characterization of anhistorical, static mental states through their propositional contents, was hardly compatible with what is currently known of brain architecture and did not fare well when confronted with results from many behavioral studies of mental functions. My aim in what follows is to show that these forms of dissatisfaction stem from the fact that brain evolution and development were either entirely ignored, or (...) insufficiently taken into account in inquiries about the structure of mental contents. I will discuss how evolutionary and developmental approaches to human cognition are now in a position to substantially alter the central paradigms currently used in cognitive science. (shrink)
Computation and philosophy intersect three times in this essay. Computation is considered as an object, as a method, and as a model used in a certain line of philosophical inquiry concerning the relation of mind to matter. As object, the question considered is whether computation and related notions of mental representation constitute the best ways to conceive of how physical systems give rise to mental properties. As method and model, the computational techniques of artificial life and embodied evolutionary connectionism (...) are used to conduct prosthetically enhanced thought experiments concerning the evolvability of mental representations. Central to this essay is a discussion of the computer simulation and evolution of three-dimensional synthetic animals with neural network controllers. The minimally cognitive behavior of finding food by exhibit- ing positive chemotaxis is simulated with swimming and walking creatures. These simulations form the basis of a discussion of the evolutionary and neurocomputa- tional bases of the incremental emergence of more complex forms of cognition. Other related work has been used to attack computational and representational theories of cognition. In contrast, I argue that the proper understanding of the evolutionary emergence of minimally cognitive behaviors is computational and representational through and through. (shrink)
Over the past four decades, software engineering has emerged as a discipline in its own right, though it has roots both in computer science and in classical engineering. Its philosophical foundations and premises are not yet well understood. In recent times, members of the software engineering community have started to search for such foundations. In particular, the philosophies of Kuhn and Popper have been used by philosophically-minded software engineers in search of a deeper understanding of their discipline. It seems, however, (...) that professional philosophers of science are not yet aware of this new discourse within the field of software engineering. Therefore, this article aims to reflect critically upon recent software engineers’ attempts towards a philosophy of software engineering and to introduce our own philosophical thoughts in this context. Finally, we invite the professional philosophers of science to participate in this interesting new discourse. (shrink)