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Profile: Ingo Brigandt (University of Alberta)
  1. Ingo Brigandt, Scientific Practice, Conceptual Change, and the Nature of Concepts.
    The theory of concepts advanced in the present discussion aims at accounting for a) how a concept makes successful practice possible, and b) how a scientific concept can be subject to rational change in the course of history. To this end, I suggest that each scientific concept consists of three components of content: 1) the concept.
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  2. Ingo Brigandt, Reductionism in the Philosophy of Science.
    Reductionism in the Philosophy of Science develops a novel account of reduction in science and applies it to the relationship between classical and molecular genetics. However, rather than addressing the epistemological issues that have been essential to the reductionism debate in philosophy of biology, the discussion primarily pursues ontological questions, as they are known, about reducing the mental to the physical. For Sachse construes reductionism as a purely philosophical endeavor and defends the possibility of reduction in principle, which may not (...)
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  3. Ingo Brigandt, An Alternative to Kitcher's Theory of Conceptual Progress and His Account of the Change of the Gene Concept.
    The present paper discusses Kitcher’s framework for studying conceptual change and progress. Kitcher’s core notion of reference potential is hard to apply to concrete cases. In addition, an account of conceptual change as change in reference potential misses some important aspects of conceptual change and conceptual progress. I propose an alternative framework that focuses on the inferences and explanations supported by scientific concepts. The application of my approach to the history of the gene concept offers a better account of the (...)
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  4. Ingo Brigandt, Reference Determination and Conceptual Change.
    The paper discusses reference determination from the point of view of conceptual change in science. The first part of the discussion uses the homology concept, a natural kind term from biology, as an example. It is argued that the causal theory of reference gives an incomplete account of reference determination even in the case of natural kind terms. Moreover, even if descriptions of the referent are taken into account, this does not yield a satisfactory account of reference in the case (...)
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  5. Ingo Brigandt, The Role a Concept Plays in Science: The Case of Homology.
    The present paper gives a philosophical analysis of the conceptual variation in the homology concept. It is argued that different homology concepts are used in evolutionary and comparative biology, in evolutionary developmental biology, and in molecular biology. The study uses conceptual role semantics, focusing on the inferences and explanations supported by concepts, as a heuristic tool to explain conceptual change. The differences between homology concepts are due to the fact that these concepts play different theoretical roles for different biological fields. (...)
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  6. Ingo Brigandt (forthcoming). Evolutionary Developmental Biology and the Limits of Philosophical Accounts of Mechanistic Explanation. In P.-A. Braillard and C. Malaterre (ed.), Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer.
    Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) is considered a ‘mechanistic science,’ in that it causally explains morphological evolution in terms of changes in developmental mechanisms. Evo-devo is also an interdisciplinary and integrative approach, as its explanations use contributions from many fields and pertain to different levels of organismal organization. Philosophical accounts of mechanistic explanation are currently highly prominent, and have been particularly able to capture the integrative nature of multifield and multilevel explanations. However, I argue that evo-devo demonstrates the need for a (...)
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  7. Ingo Brigandt (2015). From Developmental Constraint to Evolvability: How Concepts Figure in Explanation and Disciplinary Identity. In Alan C. Love (ed.), Conceptual Change in Biology: Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives on Evolution and Development. Springer. 305-325.
    The concept of developmental constraint was at the heart of developmental approaches to evolution of the 1980s. While this idea was widely used to criticize neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, critique does not yield an alternative framework that offers evolutionary explanations. In current Evo-devo the concept of constraint is of minor importance, whereas notions as evolvability are at the center of attention. The latter clearly defines an explanatory agenda for evolutionary research, so that one could view the historical shift from ‘developmental constraint’ (...)
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  8. Maureen O'Malley, Ingo Brigandt, Alan C. Love, John W. Crawford, Jack A. Gilbert, Rob Knight, Sandra D. Mitchell & Forest Rohwer (2014). Multilevel Research Strategies and Biological Systems. Philosophy of Science 81:811-828.
    Multilevel research strategies characterize contemporary molecular inquiry into biological systems. We outline conceptual, methodological, and explanatory dimensions of these multilevel strategies in microbial ecology, systems biology, protein research, and developmental biology. This review of emerging lines of inquiry in these fields suggests that multilevel research in molecular life sciences has significant implications for philosophical understandings of explanation, modeling, and representation.
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  9. Ingo Brigandt (2013). A Critique of David Chalmers' and Frank Jackson's Account of Concepts. Protosociology 30:63–88.
    David Chalmers and Frank Jackson have promoted a strong program of conceptual analysis, which accords a significant philosophical role to the a priori analysis of (empirical) concepts. They found this methodological program on an account of concepts using two-dimensional semantics. This paper argues that Chalmers and Jackson’s account of concepts, and the related approach by David Braddon-Mitchell, is inadequate for natural kind concepts as found in biology. Two-dimensional semantics is metaphysically faulty as an account of the nature of concepts and (...)
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  10. Ingo Brigandt (2013). Explanation in Biology: Reduction, Pluralism, and Explanatory Aims. Science and Education 22 (1):69-91.
    This essay analyzes and develops recent views about explanation in biology. Philosophers of biology have parted with the received deductive-nomological model of scientific explanation primarily by attempting to capture actual biological theorizing and practice. This includes an endorsement of different kinds of explanation (e.g., mathematical and causal-mechanistic), a joint study of discovery and explanation, and an abandonment of models of theory reduction in favor of accounts of explanatory reduction. Of particular current interest are philosophical accounts of complex explanations that appeal (...)
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  11. Ingo Brigandt (2013). Intelligent Design and the Nature of Science: Philosophical and Pedagogical Points. In Kostas Kampourakis (ed.), The Philosophy of Biology: A Companion for Educators. Springer. 205-238.
    This chapter offers a critique of intelligent design arguments against evolution and a philosophical discussion of the nature of science, drawing several lessons for the teaching of evolution and for science education in general. I discuss why Behe’s irreducible complexity argument fails, and why his portrayal of organismal systems as machines is detrimental to biology education and any under-standing of how organismal evolution is possible. The idea that the evolution of complex organismal features is too unlikely to have occurred by (...)
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  12. Ingo Brigandt (2013). Integration in Biology: Philosophical Perspectives on the Dynamics of Interdisciplinarity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):461-465.
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  13. Ingo Brigandt (2013). Systems Biology and the Integration of Mechanistic Explanation and Mathematical Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):477-492.
    The paper discusses how systems biology is working toward complex accounts that integrate explanation in terms of mechanisms and explanation by mathematical models—which some philosophers have viewed as rival models of explanation. Systems biology is an integrative approach, and it strongly relies on mathematical modeling. Philosophical accounts of mechanisms capture integrative in the sense of multilevel and multifield explanations, yet accounts of mechanistic explanation (as the analysis of a whole in terms of its structural parts and their qualitative interactions) have (...)
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  14. Ingo Brigandt (2012). Evidence and Evolution. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):159-186.
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  15. Ingo Brigandt (2012). The Dynamics of Scientific Concepts: The Relevance of Epistemic Aims and Values. In Uljana Feest & Friedrich Steinle (eds.), Scientific Concepts and Investigative Practice. de Gruyter. 3--75.
    The philosophy of science that grew out of logical positivism construed scientific knowledge in terms of set of interconnected beliefs about the world, such as theories and observation statements. Nowadays science is also conceived of as a dynamic process based on the various practices of individual scientists and the institutional settings of science. Two features particularly influence the dynamics of scientific knowledge: epistemic standards and aims (e.g., assumptions about what issues are currently in need of scientific study and explanation). While (...)
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  16. Ingo Brigandt & Alan C. Love (2012). Conceptualizing Evolutionary Novelty: Moving Beyond Definitional Debates. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution 318:417-427.
    According to many biologists, explaining the evolution of morphological novelty and behavioral innovation are central endeavors in contemporary evolutionary biology. These endeavors are inherently multidisciplinary but also have involved a high degree of controversy. One key source of controversy is the definitional diversity associated with the concept of evolutionary novelty, which can lead to contradictory claims (a novel trait according to one definition is not a novel trait according to another). We argue that this diversity should be interpreted in light (...)
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  17. Ingo Brigandt (2011). Critical Notice of Evidence and Evolution: The Logic Behind the Science by Elliott Sober, Cambridge University of Press, 2008. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41:159–186.
    This essay discusses Elliott Sober’s Evidence and Evolution: The Logic Behind the Science. Valuable to both philosophers and biologists, Sober analyzes the testing of different kinds of evolutionary hypotheses about natural selection or phylogenetic history, including a thorough critique of intelligent design. Not at least because of a discussion of different schools of hypothesis testing (Bayesianism, likelihoodism, and frequentism), with Sober favoring a pluralism where different inference methods are appropriate in different empirical contexts, the book has lessons for philosophy of (...)
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  18. Ingo Brigandt (2011). Critical Notice. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):159-189.
    As Elliott Sober acknowledges in the preface, the title of his latest book, Evidence and Evolution, is potentially confusing, for his discussion does not present various known empirical facts that support the theory of common ancestry, such as fossil data and genetic and anatomical features of extant species. Rather, it is an epistemological study of scientific inference and the confirmation of hypotheses in the context of evolutionary biology. Sober targets a dual audience. Philosophers will obtain from his detailed and convincing (...)
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  19. Ingo Brigandt (2011). Review of Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection by Peter Godfrey-Smith, Oxford University Press, 2009. Philosophical Review 120 (1):140-143.
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  20. Ingo Brigandt, Essay: Homology. The Embryo Project Encyclopedia.
    Homology is a central concept of comparative and evolutionary biology, referring to the presence of the same bodily parts (e.g., morphological structures) in different species. The existence of homologies is explained by common ancestry, and according to modern definitions of homology, two structures in different species are homologous if they are derived from the same structure in the common ancestor. Homology has traditionally been contrasted with analogy, the presence of similar traits in different species not necessarily due to common ancestry (...)
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  21. Ingo Brigandt (2011). Natural Kinds and Concepts: A Pragmatist and Methodologically Naturalistic Account. In Jonathan Knowles & Henrik Rydenfelt (eds.), Pragmatism, Science and Naturalism. Peter Lang Publishing.
    The central aim of this essay is to put forward a notion of naturalism that broadly aligns with pragmatism. I do so by outlining my views on natural kinds and my account of concepts, which I have defended in recent publications (Brigandt 2009, in press-b). Philosophical accounts of both natural kinds and concepts are usually taken to be metaphysical endeavours, which attempt to develop a theory of the nature of natural kinds (as objectively existing entities of the world) or of (...)
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  22. Ingo Brigandt (2011). Philosophy of Biology. In Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Science. Continuum Press. 246--267.
    This overview of philosophy of biology lays out what implications biology and recent philosophy of biology have for general philosophy of science. The following topics are addressed in five sections: natural kinds, conceptual change, discovery and confirmation, explanation and reduction, and naturalism.
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  23. Ingo Brigandt (2010). Beyond Reduction and Pluralism: Toward an Epistemology of Explanatory Integration in Biology. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 73 (3):295-311.
    The paper works towards an account of explanatory integration in biology, using as a case study explanations of the evolutionary origin of novelties-a problem requiring the integration of several biological fields and approaches. In contrast to the idea that fields studying lower level phenomena are always more fundamental in explanations, I argue that the particular combination of disciplines and theoretical approaches needed to address a complex biological problem and which among them is explanatorily more fundamental varies with the problem pursued. (...)
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  24. Ingo Brigandt (2010). Review of Being Reduced: New Essays on Reduction, Explanation, and Causation – Jakob Hohwy and Jesper Kallestrup (Eds). [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 60 (241):873-875.
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  25. Ingo Brigandt (2010). Scientific Reasoning Is Material Inference: Combining Confirmation, Discovery, and Explanation. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):31-43.
    Whereas an inference (deductive as well as inductive) is usually viewed as being valid in virtue of its argument form, the present paper argues that scientific reasoning is material inference, i.e., justified in virtue of its content. A material inference is licensed by the empirical content embodied in the concepts contained in the premises and conclusion. Understanding scientific reasoning as material inference has the advantage of combining different aspects of scientific reasoning, such as confirmation, discovery, and explanation. This approach explains (...)
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  26. Ingo Brigandt (2010). The Epistemic Goal of a Concept: Accounting for the Rationality of Semantic Change and Variation. Synthese 177 (1):19-40.
    The discussion presents a framework of concepts that is intended to account for the rationality of semantic change and variation, suggesting that each scientific concept consists of three components of content: 1) reference, 2) inferential role, and 3) the epistemic goal pursued with the concept’s use. I argue that in the course of history a concept can change in any of these components, and that change in the concept’s inferential role and reference can be accounted for as being rational relative (...)
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  27. Leandro Assis & Ingo Brigandt (2009). Homology: Homeostatic Property Cluster Kinds in Systematics and Evolution. Evolutionary Biology 36:248-255.
    Taxa and homologues can in our view be construed both as kinds and as individuals. However, the conceptualization of taxa as natural kinds in the sense of homeostatic property cluster kinds has been criticized by some systematists, as it seems that even such kinds cannot evolve due to their being homeostatic. We reply by arguing that the treatment of transformational and taxic homologies, respectively, as dynamic and static aspects of the same homeostatic property cluster kind represents a good perspective for (...)
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  28. Ingo Brigandt (2009). Accounting for Vertebrate Limbs: From Owen's Homology to Novelty in Evo-Devo. [REVIEW] Philosophy & Theory in Biology 1 (20130604):e004.
    This article reviews the recent reissuing of Richard Owen’s On the Nature of Limbs and its three novel, introductory essays. These essays make Owen’s 1849 text very accessible by discussing the historical context of his work and explaining how Owen’s ideas relate to his larger intellectual framework. In addition to the ways in which the essays point to Owen’s relevance for contemporary biology, I discuss how Owen’s unity of type theory and his homology claims about fins and limbs compare with (...)
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  29. Ingo Brigandt (2009). Natural Kinds in Evolution and Systematics: Metaphysical and Epistemological Considerations. Acta Biotheoretica 57:77-97.
    Despite the traditional focus on metaphysical issues in discussions of natural kinds in biology, epistemological considerations are at least as important. By revisiting the debate as to whether taxa are kinds or individuals, I argue that both accounts are metaphysically compatible, but that one or the other approach can be pragmatically preferable depending on the epistemic context. Recent objections against construing species as homeostatic property cluster kinds are also addressed. The second part of the paper broadens the perspective by considering (...)
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  30. Ingo Brigandt & Alan Love, Reductionism in Biology. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Reductionism encompasses a set of ontological, epistemological, and methodological claims about the relation of different scientific domains. The basic question of reduction is whether the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from one scientific domain (typically at higher levels of organization) can be deduced from or explained by the properties, concepts, explanations, or methods from another domain of science (typically one about lower levels of organization). Reduction is germane to a variety of issues in philosophy of science, including the structure of (...)
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  31. Alan C. Love, Ingo Brigandt, Karola Stotz, Daniel Schweitzer & Alexander Rosenber (2008). More Worry and Less Love? Metascience 17 (2):327-327.
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  32. Ingo Brigandt (2007). Review of Reductionism in the Philosophy of Science by Christian Sachse, Ontos Verlag, 2007. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 200709.
    Reductionism in the Philosophy of Science develops a novel account of reduction in science and applies it to the relationship between classical and molecular genetics. However, rather than addressing the epistemological issues that have been essential to the reductionism debate in philosophy of biology, the discussion primarily pursues ontological questions, as they are known, about reducing the mental to the physical. For Sachse construes reductionism as a purely philosophical endeavor and defends the possibility of reduction in principle, which may not (...)
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  33. Ingo Brigandt (2007). Review of Christian Sachse, Reductionism in the Philosophy of Science. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 200709.
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  34. Ingo Brigandt (2007). Typology Now: Homology and Developmental Constraints Explain Evolvability. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):709-725.
    By linking the concepts of homology and morphological organization to evolvability, this paper attempts to (1) bridge the gap between developmental and phylogenetic approaches to homology and to (2) show that developmental constraints and natural selection are compatible and in fact complementary. I conceive of a homologue as a unit of morphological evolvability, i.e., as a part of an organism that can exhibit heritable phenotypic variation independently of the organism’s other homologues. An account of homology therefore consists in explaining how (...)
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  35. Ingo Brigandt (2007). When Traditional Essentialism Fails. Philosophical Topics 35 (1/2):189-215.
  36. Ingo Brigandt & Paul Griffiths (2007). The Importance of Homology for Biology and Philosophy. Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):633-641.
    Editors' introduction to the special issue on homology (Biology and Philosophy Vol. 22, Issue 5, 2007).
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  37. Robert A. Wilson, Matthew J. Barker & Ingo Brigandt (2007). When Traditional Essentialism Fails. Philosophical Topics 35 (1-2):189-215.
    Essentialism is widely regarded as a mistaken view of biological kinds, such as species. After recounting why (sections 2-3), we provide a brief survey of the chief responses to the “death of essentialism” in the philosophy of biology (section 4). We then develop one of these responses, the claim that biological kinds are homeostatic property clusters (sections 5-6) illustrating this view with several novel examples (section 7). Although this view was first expressed 20 years ago, and has received recent discussion (...)
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  38. Ingo Brigandt (2006). A Theory of Conceptual Advance: Explaining Conceptual Change in Evolutionary, Molecular, and Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    The theory of concepts advanced in the dissertation aims at accounting for a) how a concept makes successful practice possible, and b) how a scientific concept can be subject to rational change in the course of history. Traditional accounts in the philosophy of science have usually studied concepts in terms only of their reference; their concern is to establish a stability of reference in order to address the incommensurability problem. My discussion, in contrast, suggests that each scientific concept consists of (...)
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  39. Ingo Brigandt (2006). Philosophical Issues in Experimental Biology. Biology and Philosophy 21 (3):423–435.
    Review essay of The Philosophy of Experimental Biology by Marcel Weber (Cambridge University Press, 2005).
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  40. Ingo Brigandt (2006). Homology and Heterochrony: The Evolutionary Embryologist Gavin Rylands de Beer (1899-1972). Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 306:317–328.
    The evolutionary embryologist Gavin Rylands de Beer can be viewed as one of the forerunners of modern evolutionary developmental biology in that he posed crucial questions and proposed relevant answers about the causal relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny. In his developmental approach to the phylogenetic phenomenon of homology, he emphasized that homology of morphological structures is to be identified neither with the sameness of the underlying developmental processes nor with the homology of the genes that are in involved in the (...)
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  41. Ingo Brigandt (2005). The Early Theoretical Development of Konrad Lorenz and the Motivating Factors Behind His Instinct Concept [La Prima Fase Dello Sviluppo Teorico di Konrad Lorenz E I Fattori Motivanti Del Suo Concetto di Istinto]. In M. Celentano & M. Stanzione (eds.), Konrad Lorenz cent'anni dopo: L'eredità scientifica del padre dell'etologia.
    The present study discusses the early theoretical development of Konrad Lorenz in the period from 1930 to 1937. In this period Lorenz developed his position on instinct in the first place, and thus his theoretical views were subject to change. Despite this change, the paper points to relatively stable features of Lorenz’s approach, which emerged relatively soon in his scientific career and guided his theoretical development in this and beyond this early phase.
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  42. Ingo Brigandt (2005). The Instinct Concept of the Early Konrad Lorenz. Journal of the History of Biology 38 (3):571–608..
    Peculiar to Konrad Lorenz’s view of instinctive behavior is his strong innate-learned dichotomy. He claimed that there are neither ontogenetic nor phylogenetic transitions between instinctive and experience-based behavior components, thus contradicting all former accounts of instinct. The present study discusses how Lorenz came to hold this controversial position by examining the history of Lorenz’s early theoretical development in the crucial period from 1931 to 1937, taking relevant influences into account. Lorenz’s intellectual development is viewed as being guided by four theoretical (...)
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  43. Ingo Brigandt (2005). Embryology, Epigenesis, and Evolution. Philosophy of Science 72 (4):650-653.
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  44. Ingo Brigandt (2004). Biological Kinds and the Causal Theory of Reference. In J. C. Marek & M. E. Reicher (eds.), Experience and Analysis: Papers of the 27th International Wittgenstein Symposium. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society.
    This paper uses an example from biology, the homology concept, to argue that current versions of the causal theory of reference give an incomplete account of reference determination. It is suggested that in addition to samples and stereotypical properties, the scientific use of concepts and the epistemic interests pursued with concepts are important factors in determining the reference of natural kind terms.
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  45. Ingo Brigandt (2004). Conceptual Role Semantics, the Theory Theory, and Conceptual Change. In Proceedings First Joint Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology and the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Barcelona, Spain.
    The purpose of the paper is twofold. I first outline a philosophical theory of concepts based on conceptual role semantics. This approach is explicitly intended as a framework for the study and explanation of conceptual change in science. Then I point to the close similarities between this philosophical framework and the theory theory of concepts, suggesting that a convergence between psychological and philosophical approaches to concepts is possible. An underlying theme is to stress that using a non-atomist account of concepts (...)
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  46. Ingo Brigandt (2004). Holism, Concept Individuation, and Conceptual Change. In M. Hernandez Iglesias (ed.), Proceedings of the 4th Congress of the Spanish Society for Analytic Philosophy.
    The paper discusses concept individuation in the context of scientific concepts and conceptual change in science. It is argued that some concepts can be individuated in different ways. A particular term may be viewed as corresponding to a single concept (which is ascribed to every person from a whole scientific field). But at the same time, we can legitimately individuate in a more fine grained manner, i.e., this term can also be considered as corresponding to two or several concepts (so (...)
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  47. Ingo Brigandt (2004). Proceedings First Joint Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology and the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology, Barcelona, Spain.
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  48. Ingo Brigandt (2003). Gestalt Experiments and Inductive Observations: Konrad Lorenz's Early Epistemological Writings and the Methods of Classical Ethology. Evolution and Cognition 9:157–170.
    Ethology brought some crucial insights and perspectives to the study of behavior, in particular the idea that behavior can be studied within a comparative-evolutionary framework by means of homologizing components of behavioral patterns and by causal analysis of behavior components and their integration. Early ethology is well-known for its extensive use of qualitative observations of animals under their natural conditions. These observations are combined with experiments that try to analyze behavioral patterns and establish specific claims about animal behavior. Nowadays, there (...)
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