The goal of this paper is to encourage a reconfiguration of the discussion about typology in biology away from the metaphysics of essentialism and toward the epistemology of classifying natural phenomena for the purposes of empirical inquiry. First, I briefly review arguments concerning ‘typological thinking’, essentialism, species, and natural kinds, highlighting their predominantly metaphysical nature. Second, I use a distinction between the aims, strategies, and tactics of science to suggest how a shift from metaphysics to epistemology might be accomplished. Typological (...) thinking can be understood as a scientific tactic that involves representing natural phenomena using idealizations and approximations, which facilitates explanation, investigation, and theorizing via abstraction and generalization. Third, a variety of typologies from different areas of biology are introduced to emphasize the diversity of this representational reasoning. One particular example is used to examine how there can be epistemological conflict between typology and evolutionary analysis. This demonstrates that alternative strategies of typological thinking arise due to the divergent explanatory goals of researchers working in different disciplines with disparate methodologies. I conclude with several research questions that emerge from an epistemological reconfiguration of typology. (shrink)
Model organisms are central to contemporary biology and studies of embryogenesis in particular. Biologists utilize only a small number of species to experimentally elucidate the phenomena and mechanisms of development. Critics have questioned whether these experimental models are good representatives of their targets because of the inherent biases involved in their selection (e.g., rapid development and short generation time). A standard response is that the manipulative molecular techniques available for experimental analysis mitigate, if not counterbalance, this concern. But the most (...) powerful investigative techniques and molecular methods are applicable to single-celled organisms (‘microbes’). Why not use unicellular rather than multicellular model organisms, which are the standard for developmental biology? To claim that microbes are not good representatives takes us back to the original criticism leveled against model organisms. Using empirical case studies of microbes modeling ontogeny, we break out of this circle of reasoning by showing: (a) that the criterion of representation is more complex than earlier discussions have emphasized; and, (b) that different aspects of manipulability are comparable in importance to representation when deciding if a model organism is a good model. These aspects of manipulability harbor the prospect of enhancing representation. The result is a better understanding of how developmental biologists conceptualize research using experimental models and suggestions for underappreciated avenues of inquiry using microbes. More generally, it demonstrates how the practical aspects of experimental biology must be scrutinized in order to understand the associated scientific reasoning. (shrink)
The allure of perennial questions in biology: temporary excitement or substantive advance? Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9533-5 Authors Alan C. Love, Department of Philosophy, Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Minnesota, 831 Heller Hall, 271 19th Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0310, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
What mechanisms underlie children’s language production? Structural priming—the repetition of sentence structure across utterances—is an important measure of the developing production system. We propose its mechanism in children is the same as may underlie analogical reasoning: structure-mapping. Under this view, structural priming is the result of making an analogy between utterances, such that children map semantic and syntactic structure from previous to future utterances. Because the ability to map relationally complex structures develops with age, younger children are less successful than (...) older children at mapping both semantic and syntactic relations. Consistent with this account, 4-year-old children showed priming only of semantic relations when surface similarity across utterances was limited, whereas 5-year-olds showed priming of both semantic and syntactic structure regardless of shared surface similarity. The priming of semantic structure without syntactic structure is uniquely predicted by the structure-mapping account because others have interpreted structural priming as a reflection of developing syntactic knowledge. (shrink)
Many biologists and philosophers have worried that importing models of reasoning from the physical sciences obscures our understanding of reasoning in the life sciences. In this paper we discuss one example that partially validates this concern: part-whole reductive explanations. Biology and physics tend to incorporate different models of temporality in part-whole reductive explanations. This results from differential emphases on compositional and causal facets of reductive explanations, which have not been distinguished reliably in prior philosophical analyses. Keeping these two facets distinct (...) facilitates the identifi cation of two further aspects of reductive explanation: intrinsicality and fundamentality. Our account provides resources for discriminating between different types of reductive explanation and suggests a new approach to comprehending similarities and differences in the explanatory reasoning found in biology and physics. (shrink)
The inapplicability of variations on theory reduction in the context of genetics and their irrelevance to ongoing research has led to an anti-reductionist consensus in philosophy of biology. One response to this situation is to focus on forms of reductive explanation that better correspond to actual scientific reasoning (e.g. part–whole relations). Working from this perspective, we explore three different aspects (intrinsicality, fundamentality, and temporality) that arise from distinct facets of reductive explanation: composition and causation. Concentrating on these aspects generates new (...) forms of reductive explanation and conditions for their success or failure in biology and other sciences. This analysis is illustrated using the case of protein folding in molecular biology, which demonstrates its applicability and relevance, as well as illuminating the complexity of reductive reasoning in a specific biological context. (shrink)
John Norton’s argument that all formal theories of induction fail raises substantive questions about the philosophical analysis of scientific reasoning. What are the criteria of adequacy for philosophical theories of induction, explanation, or theory structure? Is more than one adequate theory possible? Using a generalized version of Norton’s argument, I demonstrate that the competition between formal and material theories in philosophy of science results from adhering to different criteria of adequacy. This situation encourages an interpretation of “formal” and “material” as (...) indicators of divergent criteria that accompany different philosophical methodologies. I characterize another criterion of adequacy associated with material theories, the avoidance of imported problems, and conclude that one way to negotiate between conflicting criteria is to adopt a pluralist stance toward philosophical theories of scientific reasoning. (shrink)
In this paper the authors explore the association between student predispositions to be either deontological or utilitarian and issue involvement. The suggestion is made that those who are more utilitarian/outcome driven will tend to be less involved with issues overall, but more likely to be persuaded by strong argument, than those who are more deontological/values driven. The results of an empirical examination into this conjecture are offered and discussed.
Preface -- Prologue: A man in love with beauty -- First son of a first son -- Kali Mudra -- Tantrik nights -- Downfall and disgrace -- What is this man? -- Yoga at large -- Partners -- Expansion -- For love & money -- The Promised Land -- Welcome to Nyack -- Interrogation -- Body and mind -- Enter Sir Paul -- Bach, baseball & Buddha -- The Vanderbilt knot -- The show goes on -- Blue skies, big plans (...) -- A leap of faith -- Good times, bad times -- Citizen oom -- The message gets out -- Change in the air -- Running out of tricks -- The cosmic punch -- A Nazi in Nyack -- Family man -- Final days -- Epilogue: Genius or fraud? (shrink)
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 (...) scientific theories, the relations between different scientific disciplines, the nature of explanation, the diversity of methodology, and the very idea of theoretical progress, as well as to numerous topics in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, such as emergence, mereology, and supervenience. (shrink)
It is a common complaint that antireductionist arguments are primarily negative. Here I describe an alternative nonreductionist epistemology based on considerations taken from multidisciplinary research in biology. The core of this framework consists in seeing investigation as coordinated around sets of problems (problem agendas) that have associated criteria of explanatory adequacy. These ideas are developed in a case study, the explanation of evolutionary innovations and novelties, which demonstrates the applicability and fruitfulness of this nonreductionist epistemological perspective. This account also bears (...) on questions of conceptual change and theory structure in philosophy of science. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota, 831 Heller Hall, 271 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
Alain Badiou argues in “Rancière and Apolitics” that Rancière has appropriated his central idea of equality from Badiou’s own work. We argue that Badiou’s characterisation of Rancière’s project is correct, but that his self-characterisation is mistaken. What Badiou’s ontology of events opens out onto is not necessarily equality, but instead universality. Equality is only one form of universality, but there is nothing in Badiou’s thought that prohibits the (multiple) universality he positsfrom being hierarchical. In the end, then, Badiou’s thought moves (...) in a Maoist direction while Rancière’s in an anarchist one. (shrink)
It is well documented that the application of business models to the higher education sector has precipitated a managerialistic approach to organisational structures ( Preston, 2001 ). Less well documented is the impact of this business ideal on the student-teacher encounter. It is argued that this age-old relation is now being configured (conceptually and organisationally) in terms peculiar to the business sector: as a customer-product relation. It is the applicability and suitability of such a configuration that specifically concerns this contribution. (...) The paper maintains that the move to describe the student-teacher relation in these terms is indeed inappropriately reductive, but not straightforwardly so. The problem arises in that we remain unsure of the contemporary purpose of education. We lack any firm educational ideals that, in themselves, cannot be encompassed by the business paradigm. Indeed, the pedagogical critique of education (broadly, that education is only of use in as much as it is of use to society) extends further than has yet been intimated and prevents one securing any educational ideal that does not immediately succumb to critique. This pedagogical logic is unassailable in any linear way but, when pressed, precipitates an aporetic moment that prevents it from assuming any totalising hold over education. We draw on the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida to consider whether one might yet imagine an educational 'quasi-ideal' that will enable practitioners and institutions to counter the effects of customerisation. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the empirical schema of corporate philanthropy research. Whilst significant pieces of work have been produced of late, I argue the field could expand its empirical range. Drawing on novel contemplations in management research, I suggest narrative methodology as a style for the discovery of meaning.
Kohler's experiments with inverting goggles are often thought to support enactivism by showing that visual re-inversion occurs simultaneous with the return of sensorimotor skill. Closer examination reveals that Kohler's work does not show this. Recent work by Linden et al. shows that re-inversion, if it occurs at all, does not occur when the enactivist predicts. As such, the empirical evidence weighs against enactivism.
“Functional homology” appears regularly in different areas of biological research and yet it is apparently a contradiction in terms—homology concerns identity of structure regardless of form and function. I argue that despite this conceptual tension there is a legitimate conception of ‘homology of function’, which can be recovered by utilizing a distinction from pre-Darwinian physiology (use versus activity) to identify an appropriate meaning of ‘function’. This account is directly applicable to molecular developmental biology and shares a connection to the theme (...) of hierarchy in homology. I situate ‘homology of function’ within existing definitions and criteria for structural assessments of homology, and introduce a criterion of ‘organization’ for judging function homologues, which focuses on hierarchically interconnected interdependencies (similar to relative position and connection for skeletal elements in structural homology). This analysis of biological concepts has at least three broad philosophical consequences: (1) it provides the grounds for the study of behavior and psychological categories as homologues; (2) it demonstrates that philosophers who take selected effect function as primary effectively ignore large portions of comparative, structural, and experimental research, thereby misconstruing biological reasoning and knowledge; and, (3) it underwrites causal generalizations, which illuminates inferences made from model organisms in experimental biology. (shrink)
This article surveys the themes of six nineteenth-century Christian leaders—Frederick Denison Maurice, LaRue Thompson, William Bacon Stevens, John Henry Newman, Flodoardo Howard, and Henry Parry Liddon—in their preaching to medical students and physicians. Usually delivered at the behest of the medical students and medical schools, these sermons to the medical community clearly illustrate the impact of religious thought on medical training in Western Europe and the United States, shed important light on the historical dialogue between the worlds of science and (...) religion, and offer an eloquent apologia of why virtue and ethics are important in medicine. (shrink)
Teachers frequently find that their teaching is unsuccessful with a particular group of students. This paper describes how Heidegger’s ontology was useful to teachers as they developed a distance education platform to teach astronomy to culturally diverse Aotearoa New Zealand secondary school students. Māori students do not perform well within their State’s model of normalising education, and academic authors ascribe this “failure” to the effects of cultural difference and imperialism. This paper conjectures that Māori are not merely “culturally different” but (...) that they represent a metaphysical heritage that is akin to that described as Greek metaphysics by Heidegger. There are cultural artefacts and practices that serve for modern Māori in a way that parallels Heidegger’s account of the ancient Greeks. Māori may represent an ontological tradition that stands completely outside of Western metaphysics. If the conjecture is correct, normalising education is unlikely to ever to be satisfactory for Māori. (shrink)
In this paper I examine a dispositional property that has been receiving increased attention in biology, evolvability. First, I identify three compatible but distinct investigative approaches, distinguish two interpretations of evolvability, and treat the difference between dispositions of individuals versus populations. Second, I explore the relevance of philosophical distinctions about dispositions for evolvability, isolating the assumption that dispositions are intrinsically located. I conclude that some instances of evolvability cannot be understood as purely intrinsic to populations and suggest alternative strategies for (...) resolving this difficulty. (shrink)
One foundational question in contemporarybiology is how to `rejoin evolution anddevelopment. The emerging research program(evolutionary developmental biology or`evo-devo) requires a meshing of disciplines,concepts, and explanations that have beendeveloped largely in independence over the pastcentury. In the attempt to comprehend thepresent separation between evolution anddevelopment much attention has been paid to thesplit between genetics and embryology in theearly part of the 20th century with itscodification in the exclusion of embryologyfrom the Modern Synthesis. This encourages acharacterization of evolutionary developmentalbiology as the marriage (...) of evolutionary theoryand embryology via developmental genetics. Butthere remains a largely untold story about thesignificance of morphology and comparativeanatomy (also minimized in the ModernSynthesis). Functional and evolutionarymorphology are critical for understanding thedevelopment of a concept central toevolutionary developmental biology,evolutionary innovation. Highlighting thediscipline of morphology and the concepts ofinnovation and novelty provides an alternativeway of conceptualizing the `evo and the `devoto be synthesized. (shrink)
Phillip Sloan has thoroughly documented the importance of Darwin's general invertebrate research program in the period from 1826 to 1836 and demonstrated how it had an impact on his conversion to transformism. Although Darwin later spent eight years of his life (1846-1854) investigating barnacles, this period has received less treatment in studies of Darwin and the development of his thought. The most prominent question for the barnacle period that has been attended to is why Darwin "delayed" in publishing his (...) theory of evolution. A related but distinct question concerns the variety of earlier events and influences that led Darwin to the study of "Cirripedia" in 1846, apart from its role in the trajectory that led to "On the Origin of Species" (1859). In this paper I focus on four specific episodes prior to 1846 that inform a picture of why Darwin had an antecedent interest in barnacles: (1) the orientation to collecting strange and curious invertebrate organisms, as well as the strong affinities of Darwin's invertebrate collecting on the Beagle voyage with the work of John Vaughan Thompson; (2) the critical role of marine invertebrate fossils in Darwin's geological reasoning aboard the Beagle and exemplified in his "Geological Observations of South America;" (3) the strange absence of a "Zoology of the Beagle" volume on invertebrates and Darwin's original intent to publish some of the descriptions himself; and (4) the noteworthy presence of barnacles in Darwin's transformation theorizing between 1837 and 1839. There is a wealth of support for the thesis that Darwin had a strong interest in cirripedes prior to the formal barnacle research, blunting arguments that it was psychological aversion or a feeling of inferiority about his taxonomic abilities that drove Darwin to the cirripedes. (shrink)
: Although democratic theorists often employ musical metaphors to describe their politics, musical practices are seldom analyzed as forms of political communication. In this article, I explore how the music of social movements, what is called "movement music," supplements deliberative democrats' concept of public discourse as rational argument. Invoking energies, motions, and voices beyond established identities and institutions anticipates a different, more musical democracy. I argue that the "women's music" of Holly Near, founder of Redwood Records and Redwood Cultural Work, (...) exemplifies this transformative power of musical sound. (shrink)
One foundational question in contemporary biology is how to integrate evolution and development. The emerging synthesis (evolutionary developmental biology or ‘evo-devo’) requires a meshing of disciplines, concepts, and explanations (inter alia) that have been developed largely in independence over the past century. The nature of the hoped for synthesis is not wholly agreed upon due to divergent viewpoints resulting from this disciplinary independence and, consequently, the mechanics for accomplishing the task are not clearly specified. This paper utilizes historical investigation for (...) philosophical purposes in order to explore the question of synthesizing evolutionary and developmental biology. In the attempt to comprehend the present separation between evolution and development much attention has been paid to the split between genetics and embryology in the early part of the century with its codification in the exclusion of embryology from the Modern Synthesis. This encourages a characterization of "evo-devo" as the integration of developmental genetics with Neo-Darwinism. But there is a largely untold story about the significance of morphology and comparative anatomy (also minimized in the Modern Synthesis). I will attempt to reconstruct part of this story, focusing on the rebirth of functional (and evolutionary) morphology after the 1950s. Functional morphology is critical for understanding the development of a concept central to "evo-devo", evolutionary innovation. Understanding the story about morphology and innovation reveals a different conception of the foundational problem, providing alternative ways of conceptualizing the "evo" and the "devo" to be synthesized. (shrink)
Tenenbaum and Griffiths's article continues three disturbing trends that typify category learning modeling: (1) modelers tend to focus on a single induction task; (2) the drive to create models that are formally elegant has resulted in a gross simplification of the phenomena of interest; (3) related research is generally ignored when doing so is expedient. [Tenenbaum & Griffiths].
Smokers and nonsmokers possess equal rights but those rights conflict with each other in the use of shared facilities. Medical research has established that smoking harms not only those who use the product but also those who are passively exposed to it. Laws and private regulation of smoking in shared facilities have resulted in the segregation of smokers from nonsmokers to an outright ban of tobacco use. Such controls have provided unsatisfactory results to both groups. An acceptable ethical solution, based (...) on reduction of harm and compensation, can be derived by applying Moral Audit principles, supported by economic analysis, which does not unduly curtail the rights of both parties as to the use of tobacco products. (shrink)
This paper examines the ideas of Communication and Accountability in relation to professional discourse and the teaching of Professionals. Language does not merely express values, but embodies values, without which it could not function as a medium of communication — Grice''s Cooperative Principle. In practice communication and accountability have become separated, as have ethics and communication in the schools, and this is reflected in assumptions about science and scientific language which characterise professional discourses.The modern professions exist on a continuum between (...) two extremes of collegiate and corporate values, with a trend toward the latter. The place on this continuum determines what stance an organisation takes in its attempts to communicate with its publics. An analysis of the assumptions which underlie the discourses of academic economics and public relations shows how the dissociation of values and communication works in practice. (shrink)
The paper examines the legal, ethical, and public policy issues involved in the Union Carbide gas leak in India which caused the deaths of over 3000 people and injury to thousands of people. The paper begins with a historical perspective on the operating environment in Bhopal, the events surrounding the accident, then discusses an international situation audit examining internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats faced by Union Carbide at the time of the accident. There is a (...) discussion of management of the various interests involved in international public relations and ethical issues. A review of the financial ratio analysis of the company prior and subsequent to the accident follows, then an examination of the second tragedy of Bhopal — the tragic failure of the international legal system to adequately and timely compensate victims of the accident.The paper concludes with recommendations towards public policy, as well as a call for congressional action regarding international safety of U.S. based multinational operations. (shrink)