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Profile: Massimo Pigliucci (CUNY Graduate Center, City College of New York)
  1. Massimo Pigliucci (2015). Dying (Every Day) with Dignity: Lessons From Stoicism. The Human Prospect 5 (1).
    Stoicism is an ancient Greco-Roman practical philosophy focused on the ethics of everyday living. It is a eudaemonistic (i.e., emphasizing one’s flourishing) approach to life, as well as a type of virtue ethics (i.e., concerned with the practice of virtues as central to one’s existence). This paper summarizes the basic tenets of Stoicism and discusses how it tackles the issues of death and suicide. It presents a number of exercises that modern Stoics practice in order to prepare for death (one’s (...)
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  2. Jonathan Kaplan, Massimo Pigliucci & Joshua Banta (2015). Gould on Morton, Redux: What Can the Debate Reveal About the Limits of Data? Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:22-31.
    Lewis et al. (2011) attempted to restore the reputation of Samuel George Morton, a 19th century physician who reported on the skull sizes of different folk-races. Whereas Gould (1978) claimed that Morton’s conclusions were invalid because they reflected unconscious bias, Lewis et al. alleged that Morton’s findings were, in fact, supported, and Gould’s analysis biased. We take strong exception to Lewis et al.’s thesis that Morton was “right.” We maintain that Gould was right to reject Morton’s analysis as inappropriate and (...)
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  3.  70
    Massimo Pigliucci & Gerd Muller (eds.) (2010). Evolution – the Extended Synthesis. MIT Press.
    In the six decades since the publication of Julian Huxley's Evolution: The Modern Synthesis, spectacular empirical advances in the biological sciences have been accompanied by equally significant developments within the core theoretical framework of the discipline. As a result, evolutionary theory today includes concepts and even entire new fields that were not part of the foundational structure of the Modern Synthesis. In this volume, sixteen leading evolutionary biologists and philosophers of science survey the conceptual changes that have emerged since Huxley's (...)
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  4. Maarten Boudry, Fabio Paglieri & Massimo Pigliucci (2015). The Fake, the Flimsy, and the Fallacious: Demarcating Arguments in Real Life. Argumentation 2015 (4):10.1007/s10503-015-9359-1.
    Philosophers of science have given up on the quest for a silver bullet to put an end to all pseudoscience, as such a neat formal criterion to separate good science from its contenders has proven elusive. In the literature on critical thinking and in some philosophical quarters, however, this search for silver bullets lives on in the taxonomies of fallacies. The attractive idea is to have a handy list of abstract definitions or argumentation schemes, on the basis of which one (...)
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  5. Massimo Pigliucci (2013). New Atheism and the Scientistic Turn in the Atheism Movement. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 37 (1):142-153.
    The so-called “New Atheism” is a relatively well-defined, very recent, still unfold- ing cultural phenomenon with import for public understanding of both science and philosophy. Arguably, the opening salvo of the New Atheists was The End of Faith by Sam Harris, published in 2004, followed in rapid succession by a number of other titles penned by Harris himself, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Victor Stenger, and Christopher Hitchens.
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  6. Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (2013). Prove It! The Burden of Proof Game in Science Vs. Pseudoscience Disputes. Philosophia 42 (2):487-502.
    The concept of burden of proof is used in a wide range of discourses, from philosophy to law, science, skepticism, and even in everyday reasoning. This paper provides an analysis of the proper deployment of burden of proof, focusing in particular on skeptical discussions of pseudoscience and the paranormal, where burden of proof assignments are most poignant and relatively clear-cut. We argue that burden of proof is often misapplied or used as a mere rhetorical gambit, with little appreciation of the (...)
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  7. Massimo Pigliucci (2001). Phenotypic Plasticity. In C. W. Fox D. A. Roff (ed.), Evolutionary Ecology: Concepts and Case Studies.
  8. Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke & Massimo Pigliucci (2014). What Makes Weird Beliefs Thrive? The Epidemiology of Pseudoscience. Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1177-1198.
    What makes beliefs thrive? In this paper, we model the dissemination of bona fide science versus pseudoscience, making use of Dan Sperber's epidemiological model of representations. Drawing on cognitive research on the roots of irrational beliefs and the institutional arrangement of science, we explain the dissemination of beliefs in terms of their salience to human cognition and their ability to adapt to specific cultural ecologies. By contrasting the cultural development of science and pseudoscience along a number of dimensions, we gain (...)
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  9. Massimo Pigliucci (2013). What Hard Problem? Philosophy Now (99).
    The philosophical study of consciousness is chock full of thought experiments: John Searle’s Chinese Room, David Chalmers’ Philosophical Zombies, Frank Jackson’s Mary’s Room, and Thomas Nagel’s ‘What is it like to be a bat?’ among others. Many of these experiments and the endless discussions that follow them are predicated on what Chalmers famously referred as the ‘hard’ problem of consciousness: for him, it is ‘easy’ to figure out how the brain is capable of perception, information integration, attention, reporting on mental (...)
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  10. Massimo Pigliucci (2013). The Demarcation Problem: A (Belated) Response to Laudan. In Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (eds.), Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University of Chicago Press 9.
    The “demarcation problem,” the issue of how to separate science from pseu- doscience, has been around since fall 1919—at least according to Karl Pop- per’s (1957) recollection of when he first started thinking about it. In Popper’s mind, the demarcation problem was intimately linked with one of the most vexing issues in philosophy of science, David Hume’s problem of induction (Vickers 2010) and, in particular, Hume’s contention that induction cannot be logically justified by appealing to the fact that “it works,” (...)
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  11. Massimo Pigliucci (2009). An Extended Synthesis for Evolutionary Biology. Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1168:218-228.
    Evolutionary theory is undergoing an intense period of discussion and reevaluation. This, contrary to the misleading claims of creationists and other pseudoscientists, is no harbinger of a crisis but rather the opposite: the field is expanding dramatically in terms of both empirical discoveries and new ideas. In this essay I briefly trace the conceptual history of evolutionary theory from Darwinism to neo-Darwinism, and from the Modern Synthesis to what I refer to as the Extended Synthesis, a more inclusive conceptual framework (...)
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  12. Massimo Pigliucci (2014). Mind Uploading: A Philosophical Counter-Analysis. In Russell Blackford & Damien Broderick (eds.), Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds. Wiley 119-130.
    A counter analysis of David Chalmers' claims about the possibility of mind uploading within the context of the Singularity event.
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  13. Massimo Pigliucci (2008). What, If Anything, is an Evolutionary Novelty? Philosophy of Science 75 (5):887-898.
    The idea of phenotypic novelty appears throughout the evolutionary literature. Novelties have been defined so broadly as to make the term meaningless and so narrowly as to apply only to a limited number of spectacular structures. Here I examine some of the available definitions of phenotypic novelty and argue that the modern synthesis is ill equipped at explaining novelties. I then discuss three frameworks that may help biologists get a better insight of how novelties arise during evolution but warn that (...)
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  14. Maarten Boudry & Massimo Pigliucci (2013). The Mismeasure of Machine: Synthetic Biology and the Trouble with Engineering Metaphors. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (4):660-668.
    The scientific study of living organisms is permeated by machine and design metaphors. Genes are thought of as the ‘‘blueprint’’ of an organism, organisms are ‘‘reverse engineered’’ to discover their func- tionality, and living cells are compared to biochemical factories, complete with assembly lines, transport systems, messenger circuits, etc. Although the notion of design is indispensable to think about adapta- tions, and engineering analogies have considerable heuristic value (e.g., optimality assumptions), we argue they are limited in several important respects. In (...)
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  15. Massimo Pigliucci (2007). Do We Need an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis? Evolution 61 (12):2743-2749.
    The Modern Synthesis (MS) is the current paradigm in evolutionary biology. It was actually built by expanding on the conceptual foundations laid out by its predecessors, Darwinism and neo-Darwinism. For sometime now there has been talk of a new Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES), and this article begins to outline why we may need such an extension, and how it may come about. As philosopher Karl Popper has noticed, the current evolutionary theory is a theory of genes, and we still lack (...)
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  16. Massimo Pigliucci (2012). Is Science All You Need? [REVIEW] The Philosophers' Magazine 57 (2nd Quarter):111-112.
    Why Rosenberg's bland of nihilistic atheism is problematic.
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  17. Massimo Pigliucci (2005). Evolution of Phenotypic Plasticity: Where Are We Going Now? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20 (9):481-486.
    The study of phenotypic plasticity has progressed significantly over the past few decades. We have moved from variation for plasticity being considered as a nuisance in evolutionary studies to it being the primary target of investigations that use an array of methods, including quantitative and molecular genetics, as well as of several approaches that model the evolution of plastic responses. Here, I consider some of the major aspects of research on phenotypic plasticity, assessing where progress has been made and where (...)
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  18. Massimo Pigliucci (2013). Between Holism and Reductionism: A Philosophical Primer on Emergence. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 112 (2):261-267.
    Ever since Darwin a great deal of the conceptual history of biology may be read as a struggle between two philosophical positions: reductionism and holism. On the one hand, we have the reductionist claim that evolution has to be understood in terms of changes at the fundamental causal level of the gene. As Richard Dawkins famously put it, organisms are just ‘lumbering robots’ in the service of their genetic masters. On the other hand, there is a long holistic tradition that (...)
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  19. Massimo Pigliucci (2013). What Are We to Make of the Concept of Race? Thoughts of a Philosopher–Scientist. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):272-277.
    Discussions about the biological bases (or lack thereof) of the concept of race in the human species seem to be never ending. One of the latest rounds is represented by a paper by Neven Sesardic, which attempts to build a strong scientific case for the existence of human races, based on genetic, morphometric and behavioral characteristics, as well as on a thorough critique of opposing positions. In this paper I show that Sesardic’s critique falls far short of the goal, and (...)
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  20. Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (2013). Why the Demarcation Problem Matters. In Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (eds.), Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem.
    Ever since Socrates, philosophers have been in the business of asking ques- tions of the type “What is X?” The point has not always been to actually find out what X is, but rather to explore how we think about X, to bring up to the surface wrong ways of thinking about it, and hopefully in the process to achieve an increasingly better understanding of the matter at hand. In the early part of the twentieth century one of the most (...)
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  21.  35
    Massimo Pigliucci & Jonathan Kaplan (2006). Making Sense of Evolution: The Conceptual Foundations of Evolutionary Theory. University of Chicago Press.
    Making Sense of Evolution explores contemporary evolutionary biology, focusing on the elements of theories—selection, adaptation, and species—that are complex and open to multiple possible interpretations, many of which are incompatible with one another and with other accepted practices in the discipline. Particular experimental methods, for example, may demand one understanding of “selection,” while the application of the same concept to another area of evolutionary biology could necessitate a very different definition.
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  22. Massimo Pigliucci (2011). Mathematical Platonism. Philosophy Now 84:47-47.
    Are numbers and other mathematical objects "out there" in some philosophically meaningful sense?
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  23. Massimo Pigliucci (2013). Pseudoscience. In Byron Kaldis (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences. SAGE
    The term pseudoscience refers to a highly heterogeneous set of practices, beliefs, and claims sharing the property of appearing to be scientific when in fact they contradict either scientific findings or the methods by which science proceeds. Classic examples of pseudoscience include astrology, parapsychology, and ufology; more recent entries are the denial of a causal link between the HIV virus and AIDS or the claim that vaccines cause autism. To distinguish between science and pseudoscience is part of what the philosopher (...)
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  24. Massimo Pigliucci (2014). Philosophy and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Edited by Nicholas Joll. [REVIEW] Philosophy Now 104 (104):42-43.
    Years ago I was set to spend a full weekend in my apartment, as it was forecast to snow outside. I decided that I needed some good reading to keep me company. I had heard of something called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979), which was supposed to be clever and funny. It was, and I’ve never traveled without a towel since. ...
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  25. Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (2011). Why Machine-Information Metaphors Are Bad for Science and Science Education. Science and Education 20 (453):471.
    Genes are often described by biologists using metaphors derived from computa- tional science: they are thought of as carriers of information, as being the equivalent of ‘‘blueprints’’ for the construction of organisms. Likewise, cells are often characterized as ‘‘factories’’ and organisms themselves become analogous to machines. Accordingly, when the human genome project was initially announced, the promise was that we would soon know how a human being is made, just as we know how to make airplanes and buildings. Impor- tantly, (...)
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  26. Massimo Pigliucci (2014). 5 Questions on Science & Religion. In Gregg D. Caruso (ed.), 5 Questions on Science & Religion. Automatic Press 163-170.
    Are science and religion compatible when it comes to understanding cosmology (the origin of the universe), biology (the origin of life and of the human species), ethics, and the human mind (minds, brains, souls, and free will)? Do science and religion occupy non-overlapping magisteria? Is Intelligent Design a scientific theory? How do the various faith traditions view the relationship between science and religion? What, if any, are the limits of scientific explanation? What are the most important open questions, problems, or (...)
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  27. Massimo Pigliucci (2003). Species as Family Resemblance Concepts: The (Dis-)Solution of the Species Problem? Bioessays 25 (6):596-602.
    The so-called ‘‘species problem’’ has plagued evolution- ary biology since before Darwin’s publication of the aptly titled Origin of Species. Many biologists think the problem is just a matter of semantics; others complain that it will not be solved until we have more empirical data. Yet, we don’t seem to be able to escape discussing it and teaching seminars about it. In this paper, I briefly examine the main themes of the biological and philosophical liter- atures on the species problem, (...)
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  28. Massimo Pigliucci (2003). Phenotypic Integration: Studying the Ecology and Evolution of Complex Phenotypes. Ecology Letters 6:265-272.
    Phenotypic integration refers to the study of complex patterns of covariation among functionally related traits in a given organism. It has been investigated throughout the 20th century, but has only recently risen to the forefront of evolutionary ecological research. In this essay, I identify the reasons for this late flourishing of studies on integration, and discuss some of the major areas of current endeavour: the interplay of adaptation and constraints, the genetic and molecular bases of integration, the role of phenotypic (...)
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  29. Massimo Pigliucci & Jonathan Kaplan (2000). The Fall and Rise of Dr. Pangloss: Adaptationism and the Spandrels Paper 20 Years Later. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 15 (2):66-77.
    Twenty years have passed since Gould and Lewontin published their critique of ‘the adaptationist program’ – the tendency of some evolutionary biologists to assume, rather than demonstrate, the operation of natural selection. After the ‘Spandrels paper’, evolutionists were more careful about producing just-so stories based on selection, and paid more attention to a panoply of other processes. Then came reactions against the excesses of the anti-adaptationist movement, which ranged from a complete dismissal of Gould and Lewontin’s contribution to a positive (...)
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  30.  63
    Massimo Pigliucci (2015). Scientism and Pseudoscience: A Philosophical Commentary. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 12 (4):569-575.
    The term “scientism” is used in a variety of ways with both negative and positive connotations. I suggest that some of these uses are inappropriate, as they aim simply at dismissing without argument an approach that a particular author does not like. However, there are legitimate negative uses of the term, which I explore by way of an analogy with the term “pseudoscience.” I discuss these issues by way of a recent specific example provided by a controversy in the field (...)
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  31. Massimo Pigliucci (2014). A Muddled Defense of New Atheism: On Stenger's Response. Science, Religion and Culture 1 (1):10-14.
    Victor Stenger (this issue) has responded to my recent criticism of the so-called New Athe- ism movement (2013). Here I endeavor to counter Stenger’s note and highlight several of the ways in which it goes astray. To begin with, however, let me summarize the main points of my earlier paper.
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  32. Massimo Pigliucci (2008). Is Evolvability Evolvable? Nature Reviews Genetics 9:75-82.
    In recent years, biologists have increasingly been asking whether the ability to evolve — the evolvability — of biological systems, itself evolves, and whether this phenomenon is the result of natural selection or a by-product of other evolutionary processes. The concept of evolvability, and the increasing theoretical and empirical literature that refers to it, may constitute one of several pillars on which an extended evolutionary synthesis will take shape during the next few years, although much work remains to be done (...)
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  33. Massimo Pigliucci (2010). Genotype–Phenotype Mapping and the End of the ‘Genes as Blueprint’ Metaphor. Philosophical Transactions Royal Society B 365:557–566.
    In a now classic paper published in 1991, Alberch introduced the concept of genotype–phenotype (G!P) mapping to provide a framework for a more sophisticated discussion of the integration between genetics and developmental biology that was then available. The advent of evo-devo first and of the genomic era later would seem to have superseded talk of transitions in phenotypic space and the like, central to Alberch’s approach. On the contrary, this paper shows that recent empirical and theoretical advances have only sharpened (...)
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  34. Massimo Pigliucci (2012). Nonsense on Stilts About Science: Field Adventures of a Scientist- Philosopher. In J. Goodwin (ed.), Between Scientists and Citizens. CreateSpace
    Public discussions of science are often marred by two pernicious phenomena: a widespread rejection of scientific findings (e.g., the reality of anthropogenic climate change, the conclusion that vaccines do not cause autism, or the validity of evolutionary theory), coupled with an equally common acceptance of pseudoscientific notions (e.g., homeopathy, psychic readings, telepathy, tall tales about alien abductions, and so forth). The typical reaction by scientists and science educators is to decry the sorry state of science literacy among the general public, (...)
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  35. Massimo Pigliucci (2013). ‘On the Different Ways of ‘‘Doing Theory’’ in Biology‘. Biological Theory 7 (4): 287-297.
    ‘‘Theoretical biology’’ is a surprisingly heter- ogeneous field, partly because it encompasses ‘‘doing the- ory’’ across disciplines as diverse as molecular biology, systematics, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Moreover, it is done in a stunning variety of different ways, using anything from formal analytical models to computer sim- ulations, from graphic representations to verbal arguments. In this essay I survey a number of aspects of what it means to do theoretical biology, and how they compare with the allegedly much more restricted (...)
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  36. Massimo Pigliucci (2006). Genetic Variance–Covariance Matrices: A Critique of the Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics Research Program. Biology and Philosophy 21 (1):1-23.
    This paper outlines a critique of the use of the genetic variance–covariance matrix (G), one of the central concepts in the modern study of natural selection and evolution. Specifically, I argue that for both conceptual and empirical reasons, studies of G cannot be used to elucidate so-called constraints on natural selection, nor can they be employed to detect or to measure past selection in natural populations – contrary to what assumed by most practicing biologists. I suggest that the search for (...)
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  37. Massimo Pigliucci & Jonathan Kaplan (2003). On the Concept of Biological Race and its Applicability to Humans. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1161-1172.
    Biological research on race has often been seen as motivated by or lending credence to underlying racist attitudes; in part for this reason, recently philosophers and biologists have gone through great pains to essentially deny the existence of biological human races. We argue that human races, in the biological sense of local populations adapted to particular environments, do in fact exist; such races are best understood through the common ecological concept of ecotypes. However, human ecotypic races do not in general (...)
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  38. Carl Schlichting & Massimo Pigliucci (1995). Gene Regulation, Quantitative Genetics and the Evolution of Reaction Norms. Evolutionary Ecology 9:154-168.
    A discussion of plasticity genes and the genetic architecture of gene-environment interactions.
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  39. Raphael Scholl & Massimo Pigliucci (2014). The Proximate–Ultimate Distinction and Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Causal Irrelevance Versus Explanatory Abstraction. Biology and Philosophy 2014 (5):DOI: 10.1007/s10539-014-9427-1.
    Mayr’s proximate–ultimate distinction has received renewed interest in recent years. Here we discuss its role in arguments about the relevance of developmental to evolutionary biology. We show that two recent critiques of the proximate–ultimate distinction fail to explain why developmental processes in particular should be of interest to evolutionary biologists. We trace these failures to a common problem: both critiques take the proximate–ultimate distinction to neglect specific causal interactions in nature. We argue that this is implausible, and that the distinction (...)
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  40. Massimo Pigliucci (2013). When Science Studies Religion: Six Philosophy Lessons for Science Classes. Science and Education 22 (1):49-67.
    It is an unfortunate fact of academic life that there is a sharp divide between science and philosophy, with scientists often being openly dismissive of philosophy, and philosophers being equally contemptuous of the naivete ́ of scientists when it comes to the philosophical underpinnings of their own discipline. In this paper I explore the possibility of reducing the distance between the two sides by introducing science students to some interesting philosophical aspects of research in evolutionary biology, using biological theories of (...)
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  41. Massimo Pigliucci (2012). Landscapes, Surfaces, and Morphospaces: What Are They Good For? In E. Svensson & R. Calsbeek (eds.), The Adaptive Landscape in Evolutionary Biology.
    Few metaphors in biology are more enduring than the idea of Adaptive Landscapes, originally proposed by Sewall Wright (1932) as a way to visually present to an audience of typically non- mathematically savvy biologists his ideas about the relative role of natural selection and genetic drift in the course of evolution. The metaphor, how- ever, was born troubled, not the least reason for which is the fact that Wright presented different diagrams in his original paper that simply can- not refer (...)
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  42. Carl Schlichting & Massimo Pigliucci (1998). Phenotypic Evolution: A Reaction Norm Perspective. Sinauer.
    Phenotypic Evolution explicitly recognizes organisms as complex genetic-epigenetic systems developing in response to changing internal and external environments. As a key to a better understanding of how phenotypes evolve, the authors have developed a framework that centers on the concept of the Developmental Reaction Norm. This encompasses their views: (1) that organisms are better considered as integrated units than as disconnected parts (allometry and phenotypic integration); (2) that an understanding of ontogeny is vital for evaluating evolution of adult forms (ontogenetic (...)
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  43. Massimo Pigliucci (1998). Developmental Phenotypic Plasticity: Where Internal Programming Meets the External Environment. Current Biology 1:87-91.
    Developmental plasticity as the nexus between genetics and ecology.
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  44. Massimo Pigliucci (2008). The Proper Role of Population Genetics in Modern Evolutionary Theory. Biological Theory 3 (4):316-324.
    Evolutionary biology is a field currently animated by much discussion concerning its conceptual foundations. On the one hand, we have supporters of a classical view of evolutionary theory, whose backbone is provided by population genetics and the so-called Modern Synthesis (MS). On the other hand, a number of researchers are calling for an Extended Synthe- sis (ES) that takes seriously both the limitations of the MS (such as its inability to incorporate developmental biology) and recent empirical and theoretical research on (...)
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  45. Massimo Pigliucci, Courtney Murren & Carl Schlichting (2006). Phenotypic Plasticity and Evolution by Genetic Assimilation. Journal of Experimental Biology 209:2362-2367.
    In addition to considerable debate in the recent evolutionary literature about the limits of the Modern Synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s, there has also been theoretical and empirical interest in a variety of new and not so new concepts such as phenotypic plasticity, genetic assimilation and phenotypic accommodation. Here we consider examples of the arguments and counter- arguments that have shaped this discussion. We suggest that much of the controversy hinges on several misunderstandings, including unwarranted fears of a general (...)
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  46.  98
    Massimo Pigliucci (2010). Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science From Bunk. University of Chicago Press.
    Introduction : science versus pseudoscience and the "demarcation problem" -- Hard science, soft science -- Almost science -- Pseudoscience -- Blame the media? -- Debates on science : the rise of think tanks and the decline of public intellectuals -- Science and politics : the case of global warming -- Science in the courtroom : the case against intelligent design -- From superstition to natural philosophy -- From natural philosophy to modern science -- The science wars I : do we (...)
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  47. Carl Schlichting & Massimo Pigliucci (1993). Control of Phenotypic Plasticity Via Regulatory Genes. American Naturalist 142 (2):366-370.
    A response to Via about the existence (or not) and role of plasticity genes in evolution.
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  48.  69
    Massimo Pigliucci (2001). Phenotypic Plasticity: Beyond Nature and Nurture. Johns Hopkins University Press.
    Phenotypic plasticity integrates the insights of ecological genetics, developmental biology, and evolutionary theory. Plasticity research asks foundational questions about how living organisms are capable of variation in their genetic makeup and in their responses to environmental factors. For instance, how do novel adaptive phenotypes originate? How do organisms detect and respond to stressful environments? What is the balance between genetic or natural constraints (such as gravity) and natural selection? The author begins by defining phenotypic plasticity and detailing its history, including (...)
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  49. Massimo Pigliucci (2008). The Borderlands Between Science and Philosophy. Quarterly Review of Biology 83 (1):7-15.
    Science and philosophy have a very long history, dating back at least to the 16th and 17th centuries, when the first scientist-philosophers, such as Bacon, Galilei, and Newton, were beginning the process of turning natural philosophy into science. Contemporary relationships between the two fields are still to some extent marked by the distrust that maintains the divide between the so-called “two cultures.” An increasing number of philosophers, however, are making conceptual contributions to sciences ranging from quantum mechanics to evolutionary biology, (...)
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  50. Massimo Pigliucci (2014). Are There ‘Other’ Ways of Knowing? Philosophy Now (102):52-52.
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