Legal contracts and litigation documents common to the American legal system were encoded in the eXtensible Markup Language (XML). XML also represents rules about the contracts and litigation procedure. In addition to an expert system tool that allows one to make inferences with that engine, a Graphical User Interface (GUI) generates the XML representing the rules. A rulebase is developed by marking up examples of the XML to be interpreted and the XML to be generated, analogously to Query By Example. (...) This article provides a broader context of the synergy between XML and artificial intelligence by including discussions of: (1) the role of Artificial Intelligence in handling routine litigation; (2) how the use of XML enables legal expert systems to get their `input' without the user having to enter the same information again for the expert system;(3) the advantages of XML markup over other forms of markup for documents; (4) the relationship between XML and ontologies; (5) other projects using XML with rules or legal affairs. (shrink)
In the area of the foundations of quantum mechanics a true industry appears to have developed in the last decades, with the aim of proving as many results as possible concerning what there cannot be in the quantum realm. In principle, the significance of proving ‘no-go’ results should consist in clarifying the fundamental structure of the theory, by pointing out a class of basic constraints that the theory itself is supposed to satisfy. In the present paper I will discuss some (...) more recent no-go claims and I will argue against the deep significance of these results, with a two-fold strategy. First, I will consider three results concerning respectively local realism, quantum covariance and predictive power in quantum mechanics, and I will try to show how controversial the main conditions of the negative theorem turn out to be—something that strongly undermines the general relevance of these theorems. Second, I will try to discuss what I take to be a common feature of these theoretical enterprises, namely that of aiming at establishing negative results for quantum mechanics in absence of a deeper understanding of the overall ontological content and structure of the theory. I will argue that the only way toward such an understanding may be to cast in advance the problems in a clear and well-defined interpretational framework—which in my view means primarily to specify the ontology that quantum theory is supposed to be about—and after to wonder whether problems that seemed worth pursuing still are so in the framework. (shrink)
We present a syntactic proof of cut-elimination for weak Grzegorczyk logic Go. The logic has a syntactically similar axiomatisation to Gödel–Löb logic GL (provability logic) and Grzegorczyk’s logic Grz. Semantically, GL can be viewed as the irreflexive counterpart of Go, and Grz can be viewed as the reflexive counterpart of Go. Although proofs of syntactic cut-elimination for GL and Grz have appeared in the literature, this is the first proof of syntactic cut-elimination for Go. The proof is technically interesting, requiring (...) a deeper analysis of the derivation structures than the proofs for GL and Grz. New transformations generalising the transformations for GL and Grz are developed here. (shrink)
Previous research using neuroimaging methods proposed a link between mechanisms controlling motor response inhibition and suppression of unwanted memories. The present study investigated this hypothesis behaviorally by combining the think-no-think paradigm (TNT) with a go/no-go motor inhibition task. Participants first learned unpleasant cue-target pairs. Cue words were then presented as go or no-go items in the TNT. Participants’ task was to respond to the cues and think of the target word aloud or to inhibit their response to the cue and (...) the target word from coming to mind. Cued recall assessed immediately after the TNT revealed reduced recall performance for no-go targets compared to go targets or baseline cues, not presented in the TNT. The results demonstrate that doing the no-think and no-go task concurrently leads to memory suppression of unpleasant items during later recall. Results are discussed in line with recent empirical research and theoretical positions. (shrink)
We present a counterexample to Krasnikov's (2002) much discussed time machine no-go result. In addition, we prove a positive statement: a time machine existence theorem under a modest "no holes" assumption.
Can some films be genuine thought experiments that challenge our commonsense intuitions? Certain filmic narratives and their mise-en-scène details reveal rigorous reasoning and counterintuitive outcomes on philosophical issues, such as skepticism or personal identity. But this philosophical façade may hide a mundane concern for entertainment. Unfamiliar narratives drive spectator entertainment, and every novel cinematic situation could be easily explained as part of a process that lacks motives of philosophical elucidation. -/- The paper inverses the above objection, and proposes that when (...) the main cinematic character resists spectator engagement (a crucial source of cinematic entertainment), emotionally challenged spectators also question their commonsensical beliefs about his/her actions, and detect a conceptually novel situation as such. -/- A case study is Mike Leigh’s film Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), in which the main female character presents an unrelenting but eccentric version of 'feel good' happiness. Spectators gradually detect that the previously unexamined, commonsensical version of subjective happiness comes at the price of individual eccentricity, and that the choice of a subjective theory of happiness leads to consequences hitherto unacknowledged. (shrink)
A step towards constructing an ethics of international activism is proposed by formulating a series of constraints on what would constitute morally permissible agency in the context that involves delivering services abroad, directly or indirectly. Perhaps surprisingly, in this effort the author makes use of the concept of ‘force multiplier’. This idea and its official applications have explanatory importance in considering the correlation between the post-Cold War phenomenal growth in the number of international non-governmental organizations and the emergence of the (...) US as the sole, unchallenged superpower. Four moral constraints useful for morally assessing international activism are formulated and defended. The final outcome is an argument in favor of an overarching duty for any activist-minded Westerner to go local, while developing nations are urged to closely regulate, even criminalize, activities by international activists and ‘human rights organizations’ on their territory when not in solidarity or in support of local movements. The position defended, urging the normative primacy of local over international activism, also finds support in Immanuel Kant’s Third Definitive Article for A Perpetual Peace. (shrink)
The view that lying is morally worse than merely misleading is a very natural one, which has had many prominent defenders. Nonetheless, here I will argue that it is misguided: holding all else fixed, acts of mere misleading are not morally preferable to acts of lying, and successful lying is not morally worse than merely deliberately misleading. In fact, except in certain very special contexts, I will suggest that – when faced with a felt need to deceive – we might (...) as well just go ahead and lie. (shrink)
Our conscious minds exist in the Universe, therefore they should be identified with physical states that are subject to physical laws. In classical theories of mind, the mental states are identified with brain states that satisfy the deterministic laws of classical mechanics. This approach, however, leads to insurmountable paradoxes such as epiphenomenal minds and illusionary free will. Alternatively, one may identify mental states with quantum states realized within the brain and try to resolve the above paradoxes using the standard Hilbert (...) space formalism of quantum mechanics. In this essay, we first show that identification of mind states with quantum states within the brain is biologically feasible, and then elaborating on the mathematical proofs of two quantum mechanical no-go theorems, we explain why quantum theory might have profound implications for the scientific understanding of one’s mental states, self identity, beliefs and free will. (shrink)
Derek Parfit’s long-awaited work On What Matters is a very ambitious, very strange production seeking to defend both a nonreductive and nonnaturalistic but nonmetaphysical and nonontological form of cognitive intuitionism or rationalism and an ethical theory (the Triple Theory) reflecting the convergence of Kantian universalizability, Scanlonian contractualism, and rule utilitarianism. Critics have already countered that Parfit’s metaethics is unbelievable and his convergence thesis unconvincing, but On What Matters is a truly Sidgwickian work, the implications of which largely remain to be (...) worked out. Parfit does not go far enough in spelling out exactly what matters and why, what normative reasons we actually have, and where we should go from here, if we take him seriously. (shrink)
We begin by considering two principles, each having the form causal completeness ergo screening-off. The first concerns a common cause of two or more effects; the second describes an intermediate link in a causal chain. They are logically independent of each other, each is independent of Reichenbach's principle of the common cause, and each is a consequence of the causal Markov condition. Simple examples show that causal incompleteness means that screening-off may fail to obtain. We derive a stronger result: in (...) a rather general setting, if the composite cause C1 & C2 & … & Cn screens-off one event from another, then each of the n component causes C1, C2, …, Cn must fail to screen-off. The idea that a cause may be ordinally invariant in its impact on different effects is defined; it plays an important role in establishing this no-go theorem. Along the way, we describe how composite and component causes can all screen-off when ordinal invariance fails. We argue that this theorem is relevant to assessing the plausibility of the two screening-off principles. The discovery of incomplete causes that screen-off is not evidence that causal completeness must engender screening-off. Formal and epistemic analogies between screening-off and determinism are discussed. 1 Introduction2 Influence and Non-degeneracy Conditions3 A No-Go Theorem for Two Dichotomous Causes and its Limitations4 A More General No-Go Theorem: Allowing Several Causes, Possibly Non-dichotomous5 Examples Illustrating Corollary 3 and Theorem 5a6 Determinism and Screening-Off: Disanalogy and AnalogyAppendix. (shrink)
Modeling and simulation clearly have an upside. My discussion here will deal with the inevitable downside of modeling — the sort of things that can go wrong. It will set out a taxonomy for the pathology of models — a catalogue of the various ways in which model contrivance can go awry. In the course of that discussion, I also call on some of my past experience with models and their vulnerabilities.
Within the framework of general relativity, in some cases at least, it is a delicate and interesting question just what it means to say that an extended body is or is not "rotating". It is so for two reasons. First, one can easily think of different criteria of rotation. Though they agree if the background spacetime structure is sufficiently simple, they do not do so in general. Second, none of the criteria fully answers to our classical intuitions. Each one exhibits (...) some feature or other that violates those intuitions in a significant and interesting way. The principal goal of the paper is to make the second claim precise in the form of a modest no-go theorem. (shrink)
Abstract I consider Paul Thompson’s Agrarian Vision from the perspective of the philosophy of technology, especially as it relates to certain questions about public engagement and deliberative democracy around food issues. Is it able to promote an attitudinal shift or reorientation in values to overcome the view of “food as device” so that conscientious engagement in the food system by consumers can become more the norm? Next, I consider briefly, some questions to which it must face up in order to (...) move closer in dismantling the barriers that inhibit the capacity for virtuous caretaking of the food system at various levels. Lastly, and more deeply, how successful might agrarianism be in inculcating citizenship values (ones that go beyond food ethics as a private affair), for the democratization of agricultural technologies? Might the Jeffersonian foundation to which the agrarianism (a la) Thompson appeals need something like a contemporary theory of justice in order to facilitate the reconstitution of our politico-moral selves? How can it help guide appropriate ruminations on the intra and intergenerational question, “What do we want the shape of our current and future social and political institutions to look like in relation to food?” Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9339-x Authors Raymond Anthony, Department of Philosophy, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
We adventure becomings-Merry Pranksters with Félix Guattari on Ken Kesey's magic bus to resonate the group's transversality that we already affect subjunctively, individually and plurally from which our subjectivities crystallise collectively and independently with intensive-extensions to go viscerallectric and fractalactic. Yet in-process, before our consciousnesses go motored, we swim with jet streams of both Guattari and transversal poetics to navigate subjective affects by which wilful parameterisations achieve desirable eventualisations.
Modal interpretations take quantum mechanics as a theory which assigns at all times definite values to magnitudes of quantum systems. In the case of single systems, modal interpretations manage to do so without falling prey to the Kochen and Specker no-go theorem, because they assign values only to a limited set of magnitudes. In this paper I present two further no-go theorems which prove that two modal interpretations become nevertheless problematic when applied to more than one system. The first theorem (...) proves that the modal interpretation proposed by Kochen and by Dieks cannot correlate the values simultaneously assigned to three systems. The second and new theorem proves that the atomic modal interpretation proposed by Bacciagaluppi and Dickson and by Dieks cannot correlate the values simultaneously and sequentially assigned to two systems if one assumes that these correlations are uniquely related to the dynamics of the state of the systems. (shrink)
Current debates regarding justice in university admissions most often approach the question of access to university from a technical, policy-focussed perspective. Despite the attention that access to university receives in the press and policy literature, ethical discussion tends to focus on technical matters such as who should pay for university or which schemes of selection are allowable, not the question of who should go to university in the first place. We address the question of university admissions—the question of who should (...) go to university—from an ethical perspective. We find that most discussions draw on a generic conception of what the university is good for that is too thin to provide deliberative guidance and hold that a full account of the ethics of admissions needs to take into account the distinctive good that the university provides—knowledge and understanding. This view, we hold, does not imply that measures should not be taken to widen access to university; however, the basis for such measures should be grounded in that distinctive good in the first instance. (shrink)
IÂ’m only talking about commercial big time music in the United States. Of course music is gloriously seething in odd corners of the planet as it should. I can team up with some compatible friends and we can go find or make our own music in any of a number of accommodating environments- on the net, in the forest, or in some dank club late at night.
There is a growing trend in Australia to require lawyers to certify reasonable prospects of success for the cases they bring and defend. New South Wales has led the way with the Legal Profession Act 2004 (NSW) Pt 3.2 Division 10 requiring legal practitioners to certify reasonable prospects of success in all claims for damages. The requirement places a significant onus on lawyers to make a judgment about the merits of a case before it is begun, yet the common law (...) has long provided mechanisms to ensure that cases without prospects of success do not go to trial. This article considers Australian legislative provisions requiring lawyers to certify reasonable prospects of success of cases. It examines the application of the NSW legislation by the courts highlighting the difficulties of interpretation of what constitute 'reasonable prospects of success' and the application of the legislation in the context of the dynamic litigation process. It is argued that these legislated obligations on lawyers will have a detrimental effect on access to justice by denying parties, in particular plaintiffs, the opportunity to have their cases properly and fully determined in the courts. This article examines common law mechanisms for dissuading cases without prospects and argues that the general law is an effective system for ensuring that cases without prospects of success are not maintained. The Australian experience is instructive for consideration of optimal reform packages for the administration of justice and to evaluate the role of any litigation lawyer within the judicial and court process. (shrink)
On 11 March 2011, Japan experienced a major disaster brought about by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and a massive tsunami that followed. This disaster caused extensive damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant with the release of a large amount of radiation, leading to a crisis level 7 on the International Atomic Energy Agency scale. In this report, we discuss the obligations of physicians to provide care during the initial weeks after the disaster. We appeal to the obligation of general (...) beneficence and argue that physicians should go to disaster zones only if there is no significant risk, cost or burden associated with doing so. We conclude that physicians were not obligated to go to Fukushima given the high risk of radiation exposure and physical and psychological harm. However, we must acknowledge that there were serious epistemic difficulties in accurately assessing the risks or benefits of travelling to Fukushima at the time. The discussion that follows is highly pertinent to all countries that rely on nuclear energy. (shrink)
Uncertainty about the actual orientation of the measurement device has been claimed to open a loophole for hidden variable models of quantum mechanics. In this paper I describe the statistics of inaccurate spin measurements by unsharp spin observables. A no‐go theorem for hidden variable models of the inaccurate measurement statistics follows: There is a finite set of directions for which not all results of inaccurate spin measurements can be predetermined in a non‐contextual way. In contrast to an earlier theorem (Breuer (...) 2002) this result does not rely on the assigment of approximate truth values, and it holds under weaker assumptions on the measurement inaccuracy. (shrink)
Uncertainty about the actual orientation of the measurement device has been claimed to open a loophole for hidden variable models of quantum mechanics. In this paper I describe the statistics of inaccurate spin measurements by unsharp spin observables. A no-go theorem for hidden variable models of the inaccurate measurement statistics follows: There is a finite set of directions for which not all results of inaccurate spin measurements can be predetermined in a non-contextual way. In contrast to an earlier theorem [Breuer, (...) Phys. Rev. Lett. 88(2002), 240402] this result does not rely on the assigment of approximate truth values, and it holds under weaker assumptions on the measurement inaccuracy. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider the question of where illegal immigrants should go once their lives have been saved in hospitals and they are ready to be transferred to long-term care situations. I highlight three recent cases in which such a decision was made. In one case, the patient was kept at the hospital, in another the patient was repatriated to his home country, and in the third, the patient was discharged to his family. I consider the relevant moral values (...) and argue that for reasons of fairness we must develop a policy that treats similar cases in similar ways. In order to best uphold patient well-being and minimize costs, the plan proposed here calls for illegal immigrants to be covered by insurance for long-term care. (shrink)
If biologists are going to incorporate learning into theories of animal behavior, why not go all the way and incorporate the enormous literatures on Pavlovian conditioning, plus those on operant and observational learning?
It is said you can trap a monkey by putting a nut through a small hole in a gourd. The monkey reaches in and grabs the nut, but then his fist won’t fit back through the hole. Greedy monkeys will literally let themselves be caught rather than let go of the nut. So far, no commenter on my essay seems willing to let go of the nut of effective medicine, held in the gourd of the second half of medical spending.
Sensitivity to incentive motivation has a formative influence on extraversion. Mesoamygdaloid dopamine (DA) activity may, at one level, act as a micro-gate permitting an incentive to influence behavioral organization – “Go/No-Go” in this scheme. Data on function elsewhere in the mesocorticolimbic DA system are taken to support this particular function. At another level of analysis, the data in Depue & Collins's review, along with those on the rest of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) system, may fit better with a “switching” (...) function in information processing. This link is supported by correlations between measures of extraversion, learned inattention, and overall DA activity. The point is extended to the novelty-seeking feature of the extraverted personality. (shrink)
Resumo Este artigo tem como objetivo divulgar os resultados da pesquisa realizada no mestrado em Ciências da Religião da UCG/GO (2004). O objeto desta pesquisa foi o de compreender os motivos que levaram as trabalhadoras em educação portadoras da síndrome de burnout e de depressão que atuam na educação pública no município de Goiânia a buscarem tratamento espiritual no espiritismo. Que papel a religião desempenha na busca da saúde? Por que as trabalhadoras em educação buscam o espiritismo como forma de (...) tratamento da síndrome de burnout e de depressão? A metodologia que aplicamos na pesquisa partiu do olhar das entrevistadas, dos pesquisadores e do espiritismo, por meio de uma abordagem qualitativa e fenomenológica. Palavras-chave: Educação; Burnout; Depressão; Tratamento espiritual; Espiritismo.This article aims at divulging the results of the research carried out in the Master’s Degree program of Sciences of Religion of UCG / GO (2004). The research focused on the reasons why professionals in education, working in public schools in the municipal district of Goiânia and bearers of the burnout and depression syndrome, searched spiritual treatment in Spiritism. What part does religion play in the search for health? Why do professionals in education seek Spiritism as a form of treatment of the burnout and depression syndrome? The applied methodology was based on the interviewees’, investigators’ and Spiritism’s perspectives, making use of a qualitative and phenomenological approach. Key words: Education; Burnout sundrome; Depression; Spiritual treatment; Spiritism. (shrink)
Reflection on personal choices and climate change can lead to the thought that nothing an individual does can possibly make a difference to the planet’s future. So why bother going green? This is a version of the problem of causal inefficacy, and it is a particular problem for those with consequentialist leanings. Voters and vegetarians are consulted for help, and a suggestive thought about consistency is pursued. Consequentialist arguments for governmental action are shored up with reflection on consistency, and, hopefully, (...) the result is a solution to the problem: a nearly-consequentialist argument for individual action on climate change. (shrink)
Wittgenstein is not primarily concerned with anything mysterious going on inside people's heads, but with us simply going on with each other; that is, with us being able to inter-relate our everyday, bodily activities in unproblematic ways in with those of others, in practice. Learning to communicate with clear and unequivocal meanings; to send messages; to fully understand each other; to be able to reach out, so to speak, from within language-game entwined forms of life, and to talk in theoretical (...) terms of the contacts one has made., as an individual, with what is out there; and so on — all these abilities are, or can be, later developments. Wittgenstein's investigations into our pre-individual, pre-theoretical, embodied, compulsive activities are utterly revolutionary. They open up a vast new realm for empirical study to do with the detailed and subtle nature of the bodily activities in the background to everything that we do. The relational character of such pre-theoretical, Ur-linguistic, spontaneous bodily activities—and the way in which they display us as seeing connections from within a synopsis of trivialities — is explored through the paradigm of currently fashionable 3–13 random dot autostereograms. (shrink)
At first glance, this is an entirely unremarkable kind of sentence. It is easy to find naturally occuring exponents. Its meaning is also clear: taking the A train is a necessary condition for going to Harlem. Hence the term “anankastic conditional”, Ananke being the Greek protogonos of inevitability, compulsion and necessity.
A certain pupil with the vaguely Kafkaesque name B has mastered the series of natural numbers. B's new task is to learn how to write down other series of cardinal numbers and right now, we're working on the series "+2." After a bit, B seems to catch on, but we are unusually thorough teachers and keep him at it. Things are going just fine until he reaches 1000. Then, quite confounding us, he writes 1004, 1008, 1012."We say to him: 'Look (...) what you've done!'—He doesn't understand. We say: 'You were meant to add two: look how you began the series!'—He answers: 'Yes, isn't it right? I thought that was how I was meant to do it.'"1B may be an "abnormal learner," but he's not unique among learners in literature. Another .. (shrink)
Ladyman, Ross and their collaborators (Spurrett is a co-author of two chapters, Collier of one) begin their book with a ferocious attack on "analytic metaphysics", as it is currently practiced. Their opening blast claims that contemporary analytic metaphysics 'contributes nothing to human knowledge': its practitioners are 'wasting their talents', and the whole enterprise, although 'engaged in by some extremely intelligent and morally serious people, fails to qualify as part of the enlightened pursuit of objective truth, and should be discontinued' (vii). (...) They set out on a 'mission of disciplinary rescue' in the spirit of Hume and the logical positivists, in which a fair proportion of philosophy as currently practiced -- as they realize, their critique applies far beyond the boundaries of metaphysics proper -- will be consigned to the flames. (shrink)
The maturation of the cognitive neurosciences will throw light on many central philosophical issues. Among them: semantic theory, perception, learning, social and moral knowledge, and practical reasoning and decision making. As contemporary medicine cannot do without the achievements of modern biology, philosophy would be pitiful if it disregarded the achievements of brain research.
It is common for contemporary metaphysical realists to adopt Quine's criterion of ontological commitment while at the same time repudiating his ontological pragmatism. 2 Drawing heavily from the work of others—especially Joseph Melia and Stephen Yablo—I will argue that the resulting approach to meta-ontology is unstable. In particular, if we are metaphysical realists, we need not accept ontological commitment to whatever is quantified over by our best first-order theories.
Recent attempts to resolve the truthmaker objection to presentism employ a fundamentally tensed account of the relationship between truth and being. On this view, the truth of a proposition concerning the past supervenes on how things are, in the present, along with how things were, in the past. This tensed approach to truthmaking arises in response to pressure placed on presentists to abandon the standard response to the truthmaker objection, whereby one invokes presently existing entities as the supervenience base for (...) the truth of past-directed propositions. In this paper, I argue that a fundamentally tensed approach to truthmaking is implausible because it requires the existence of cross-temporal supervenience relations, which are anathema to presentism. (shrink)
Current psychology of human reasoning is divided into several different approaches. For instance, there is a major dispute over the question whether human beings are able to apply norms of the formal models of rationality such as rules of logic, or probability and decision theory, correctly. While researchers following the “heuristics and biases” approach argue that we deviate systematically from these norms, and so are perhaps deeply irrational, defenders of the “bounded rationality” approach think not only that the evidence for (...) this conclusion is problematic but also that we should not, at least not very often, use formal norms in reasoning. I argue that while the evidence for heuristics and biases is indeed questionable, the bounded rationality approach has its limits too. Most especially, we should not infer that formal norms play no role in a comprehensive theory of rationality. Instead, formal and bounded rules of reasoning might even be connected in a more comprehensive theory of rationality. (shrink)
Compositionality is the idea that the meanings of complex expressions (or concepts) are constructed from the meanings of the less complex expressions (or concepts) that are their constituents.1 Over the last few years, we have just about convinced ourselves that compositionality is the sovereign test for theories of lexical meaning.2 So hard is this test to pass, we think, that it filters out practically all of the theories of lexical meaning that are current in either philosophy or cognitive science. Among (...) the casualties are, for example, the theory that lexical meanings are statistical structures (like stereotypes); the theory that the meaning of a word is its use; the theory that knowing the meaning of (at least some) words requires having a recognitional capacity for (at least some) of the things that it applies to; and the theory that knowing the meaning of a word requires knowing criteria for applying it. Indeed, we think that only two theories of the lexicon survive the compositionality constraint: viz., the theory that all lexical meanings are primitive and the theory that some lexical meanings are primitive and the rest are definitions. So compositionality does a lot of work in lexical semantics, according to our lights. (shrink)
Parfit has argued for the revolutionary thesis that personal identity does not matter in ordinary survival, only the R-relation does. “Reconciliationists,” such as Lewis, have tried to stop this revolution, arguing that both personal identity and the R-relation matter. The disagreement has been between those who hold that only the R-relation matters and those who hold that, in addition, personal identity matters. But there is a third option. I argue that Parfit is right that personal identity does not matter but (...) he is wrong that the R-relation matters, and the reconciliationists are wrong to think both matter since neither does. (shrink)
The group selection controversy is about whether natural selection ever operates at the level of groups, rather than at the level of individual organisms. Traditionally, group selection has been invoked to explain the existence of altruistic behaviour in nature. However, most contemporary evolutionary biologists are highly sceptical of the hypothesis of group selection, which they regard as biologically implausible and not needed to explain the evolution of altruism anyway. But in their recent book, Elliot Sober and David Sloan Wilson  (...) argue that the widespread opposition to group selection is founded on conceptual confusion. The theories that have been propounded as alternatives to group selection are actually group selection in disguise, they maintain. I examine their arguments for this claim, and John Maynard Smith's arguments against it. I argue that Sober and Wilson arrive at a correct position by faulty reasoning. In the final section, I examine the issue of how to apply the principle of natural selection at different levels of the biological hierarchy, which underlies the dispute between Sober and Wilson and Maynard Smith. (shrink)