Debates over adaptationism can be clarified and partially resolved by careful consideration of the ‘grain’ at which evolutionary processes are described. The framework of ‘adaptive landscapes’ can be used to illustrate and facilitate this investigation. We argue that natural selection may have special status at an intermediate grain of analysis of evolutionary processes. The cases of sickle-cell disease and genomic imprinting are used as case studies.
All 24 secondary schools in a West Midlands local education authority were visited and a structured interview was conducted with the head or another senior teacher. An interview schedule was used to record details concerning the rule structure which had been established to control the conduct of the pupils. Information was also gathered about the sanctions and rewards used to maintain this behaviour and from most schools copies of the rules were available. It was found that almost all schools had (...) rule systems that were in written form and that these were made available to staff and students, chiefly through booklets or other material given to pupils when they first enrolled. All schools backed up their rules, whether written or not by a series of sanctions, most of which related to non?conforming behaviour. Some sanctions were applied to poor work but this was usually treated by special provision or special tutoring. Most also used rewards but these tended to be reserved for good performance. There were few cases where good behaviour was found to be rewarded systematically in any way. (shrink)
Part I includes pieces by Phillip Sloan on how Darwin theorized evolution, Jon Hodge on the Notebooks and the years Darwin spent in London after the voyage of the Beagle , and essays on Darwin’s views on heredity (Jim Endersby), on mind and the emotions (Robert Richards) and the argument structure of the Origin (Ken Waters). All of these are excellent and nuanced, and well referenced, written by leading specialists on each topic. Endersby’s essay in particular introduced me to material (...) I hadn’t previously encountered. (shrink)
John F. X. Knasas has issued a series of philosophical and exegetical critiques of what he presents as the Cartesian subjectivism of “transcendental Thomism” in general and Bernard Lonergan in particular. But Professor Knasas’s spontaneous assumptions about knowing, objectivity, and reality are those of Descartes and Kant, not St. Thomas. He thus misinterprets St. Thomas and Fr. Lonergan and misconstrues the nature of knowing. The roots of the differences between Professor Knasas and Fr. Lonergan are exposed by contrasting two radically (...) opposed accounts of knowing, two correlative meanings of the term ‘real’, and two correspondingly divergent interpretations of St. Thomas. In the process, Professor Knasas’s repeated misrepresentation of Fr. Lonergan is corrected. (shrink)
Over the years I have written a number of articles critiquing Transcendental Thomism both from philosophical and from textual points of view. In the course of these articles, I have made comments on Bernard J. F. Lonergan’s epistemology. These comments have caught the eye of Jeremy D. Wilkins, and have provoked his article, “A Dialectic of ‘Thomist’ Realisms: John Knasas and Bernard Lonergan.” The violence of Wilkins’s reaction leads me to believe that despite the passing nature of my (...) comments, they are sufficiently incisive to have cut a nerve. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that no reader of Wilkins would come away with any accurate grasp of my understanding of Lonergan, my reasons for it, and the precise point of contention between us. So, both for the record and the benefit of calm discussion of this influential figure, I would like to provide my hermeneutic of Lonergan and to pinpoint my trouble with him. To this end, I will repeat some descriptions of Lonergan from a recently published monograph, Being and Some Twentieth-Century Thomists (New York: Fordham University Press, 2003), and then address the criticisms of Wilkins. (shrink)
The debate between the “Transcendental” and “Neo-” Thomists is an ongoing concern. Specifically, Jeremy Wilkins and John F.X. Knasas differ sharply over the correct interpretation of St. Thomas, Bernard Lonergan, and the very nature of cognition itself (ACPQ 78 ). This debate is clouded, however, due to a lack of appreciation for key terms, specifically, “sensation” and Lonergan’s own phrase “the notion of being.” Using the distinction between precisive and non-precisive abstraction, the author clarifies the relevant sense of “sensation” (...) and its related concepts. The clarification reveals that Wilkins and Knasas use such terms in markedly different, though compatible ways. Second, the notion of being as it is presented in various texts of Lonergan is examined. Contrary to what is supposed by Knasas, the notion of being, for Lonergan, contributes no formal or constitutive element to human knowing, and is in fact a pure potency with respect to intelligibility. Accordingly, any concerns or charges of crypto-Kantianism with respect to Lonergan are unfounded. (shrink)
Wilkins & Wakefield are clearly right to separate linguistic capacity from communicative ability, if only because other animal species have one without the other. But I question the abruptness of the demarcation they make between a period when hominids evolved enriched conceptual representation for other reasons entirely, and a subsequent later stage when language use became an adaptation.