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  1.  38
    Patrick Forber (2010). Confirmation and Explaining How Possible. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (1):32-40.
    Confirmation in evolutionary biology depends on what biologists take to be the genuine rivals. Investigating what constrains the scope of biological possibility provides part of the story: explaining how possible helps determine what counts as a genuine rival and thus informs confirmation. To clarify the criteria for genuine rivalry I distinguish between global and local constraints on biological possibility, and offer an account of how-possibly explanation. To sharpen the connection between confirmation and explaining how possible I discuss the view that (...)
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  2.  42
    Kenneth Reisman & Patrick Forber (2005). Manipulation and the Causes of Evolution. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1113-1123.
    Evolutionary processes such as natural selection and random drift are commonly regarded as causes of population-level change. We respond to a recent challenge that drift and selection are best understood as statistical trends, not causes. Our reply appeals to manipulation as a strategy for uncovering causal relationships: if you can systematically manipulate variable A to bring about a change in variable B, then A is a cause of B. We argue that selection and drift can be systematically manipulated to produce (...)
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  3.  38
    Patrick Forber & Rory Smead (2014). An Evolutionary Paradox for Prosocial Behavior. Journal of Philosophy 111 (3):151-166.
    We investigate how changes to the payoffs of cooperative behavior affect the evolutionary dynamics. Paradoxically, the larger the benefits of cooperation, the less likely it is to evolve. This holds true even in cases where cooperation is strictly dominant. Increasing the benefits from prosocial behavior has two effects: first, in some circumstances it promotes the evolution of spite; and second, it can decrease the strength of selection leading to nearly neutral evolution of strategies. In light of these results we must (...)
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  4.  48
    Patrick Forber (2005). On the Explanatory Roles of Natural Selection. Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):329-342.
    Can selection explain why individuals have the traits they do? This question has generated significant controversy. I will argue that the debate encompasses two separable aspects, to detrimental effect: (1) the role of selection in explaining the origin and evolution of biological traits and (2) the implications this may have for explaining why individuals have the traits they do. (1) can be settled on the basis of evolutionary theory while (2) requires additional, extra-scientific assumptions. By making a distinction between traits (...)
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  5.  48
    Patrick Forber (2011). Historical Reconstruction: Gaining Epistemic Access to the Deep Past. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 3 (20130604).
    Of the many tasks undertaken in science, one is striking both in its scope and the epistemic difficulties it faces: the reconstruction of the deep past. Such reconstruction provides the resources to successfully explain puzzling extant traces, from fossils to radiation signatures, often in the absence of extensive and repeatable observations—the hallmark of good epistemic support. Yet good explanations do not come for free. Evidence can fail, in practice or in principle, to support one hypothesis over another (underdetermination). And when (...)
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  6.  65
    John Basl, Ronald Sandler, Rory Smead & Patrick Forber (2014). A Bargaining Game Analysis of International Climate Negotiations. Nature Climate Change 4:442-445.
    Climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have so far failed to achieve a robust international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Game theory has been used to investigate possible climate negotiation solutions and strategies for accomplishing them. Negotiations have been primarily modelled as public goods games such as the Prisoner’s Dilemma, though coordination games or games of conflict have also been used. Many of these models have solutions, in the form of equilibria, corresponding to possible (...)
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  7. Patrick Forber (2008). Forever Beyond Our Grasp? Biology and Philosophy 23 (1):135-141.
    Does science successfully uncover the deep structure of the natural world? Or are the depths forever beyond our epistemic grasp? Since the decline of logical positivism and logical empiricism, scientific realism has become the consensus view: of course our scientific theories apprehend the deep structure of the world. What else could explain the remarkable success of science? This is the explanationist defense of scientific realism, the “ultimate argument.” Kyle Stanford starts here and, using the history of theorizing about biological inheritance (...)
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  8.  14
    Brian Epstein & Patrick Forber (2013). The Perils of Tweaking: How to Use Macrodata to Set Parameters in Complex Simulation Models. Synthese 190 (2):203-218.
    When can macroscopic data about a system be used to set parameters in a microfoundational simulation? We examine the epistemic viability of tweaking parameter values to generate a better fit between the outcome of a simulation and the available observational data. We restrict our focus to microfoundational simulations—those simulations that attempt to replicate the macrobehavior of a target system by modeling interactions between microentities. We argue that tweaking can be effective but that there are two central risks. First, tweaking (...)
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  9.  10
    Patrick Forber (2011). Reconceiving Eliminative Inference. Philosophy of Science 78 (2):185-208.
  10.  29
    Patrick Forber & Kenneth Reisman (2007). Can There Be Stochastic Evolutionary Causes? Philosophy of Science 74 (5):616-627.
    Do evolutionary processes such as selection and random drift cause evolutionary change, or are they merely convenient ways of describing or summarizing it? Philosophers have lined up on both sides of this question. One recent defense (Reisman and Forber 2005) of the causal status of selection and drift appeals to a manipulability theory of causation. Yet, even if one accepts manipulability, there are still reasons to doubt that genetic drift, in particular, is genuinely causal. We will address two challenges to (...)
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  11.  40
    Patrick Forber (2009). Spandrels and a Pervasive Problem of Evidence. Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):247-266.
  12.  17
    Patrick Forber (2012). Conjecture and Explanation: A Reply to Reydon. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):298-301.
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  13.  20
    Patrick Forber (2011). Reconceiving Eliminative Inference. Philosophy of Science 78 (2):185-208.
  14.  45
    Patrick Forber (2009). Introduction: A Primer on Adaptationism. Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):155-159.
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  15.  23
    Patrick Forber (2007). Nietzsche Was No Darwinian. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):369–382.
    John Richardson (2002, 2004) argues that Nietzsche’s use of teleological notions, such as the “will to power” and psychological “drives,” can be naturalized within the Darwinian framework of natural selection. Although this ambitious project has merit, the Darwinian framework does not provide the strong teleology necessary to interpret Nietzsche’s explanatory project. Examining the logic of selection, the conceptual limitations on biological functions, and the evidential demands that must be met to deploy evolutionary theory show that Nietzsche’s explanatory project does not (...)
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  16. Patrick Forber (2010). Confirmation and Explaining How Possible. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (1):32-40.
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  17. Cristina Bicchieri, Jason McKenzie Alexander, Kevin T. Kelly, Kevin Js Zollman, Malcolm R. Forster, Predrag Šustar, Patrick Forber, Kenneth Reisman, Jay Odenbaugh & Yoichi Ishida (2007). 10. Philosophy of Chemistry. Philosophy of Science 74 (5).
     
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  18.  55
    Patrick Forber, Testing the Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution.
    MacDonald and Kreitman (1991) propose a test of the neutral mutationrandom drift (NM-RD) hypothesis, the central claim of the neutral theory of molecular evolution. The test involves generating predictions from the NM-RD hypothesis about patterns of molecular substitutions. Alternative selection hypotheses predict that the data will deviate from the predictions of the NM-RD hypothesis in specifiable ways. To conduct the test Mac- Donald and Kreitman examine the evolutionary dynamics of the alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) gene in three species of Drosophila. The (...)
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  19.  6
    Patrick Forber & Rory Smead (2015). Evolution and the Classification of Social Behavior. Biology and Philosophy 30 (3):405-421.
    Recent studies in the evolution of cooperation have shifted focus from altruistic to mutualistic cooperation. This change in focus is purported to reveal new explanations for the evolution of prosocial behavior. We argue that the common classification scheme for social behavior used to distinguish between altruistic and mutualistic cooperation is flawed because it fails to take into account dynamically relevant game-theoretic features. This leads some arguments about the evolution of cooperation to conflate dynamical scenarios that differ regarding the basic conditions (...)
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  20.  45
    Patrick Forber (2012). Modeling Scientific Evidence: The Challenge of Specifying Likelihoods. In Henk W. de Regt (ed.), Epsa Philosophy of Science: Amsterdam 2009. Springer 55--65.
    Evidence is an objective matter. This is the prevailing view within science, and confirmation theory should aim to capture the objective nature of scientific evidence. Modeling an objective evidence relation in a probabilistic framework faces two challenges: the probabilities must have the right epistemic foundation, and they must be specifiable given the hypotheses and data under consideration. Here I will explore how Sober's approach to confirmation handles these challenges of foundation and specification. In particular, I will argue that the specification (...)
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  21.  15
    Patrick Forber (2013). Biological Inheritance and Cultural Evolution in Nietzsche's Genealogy. Journal of Nietzsche Studies 44 (2):329-341.
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  22.  18
    Melinda Fagan, Patrick Forber, Vivette GarcÍa Deister, Matthew H. Haber, Andrew Hamilton & Grant Yamashita (2005). Meeting Report: First ISHPSSB Off-Year Workshop. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):927-929.
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  23.  14
    Patrick Forber (2005). Grounding the Big Picture. Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):913-923.
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  24. Patrick Forber (2012). Conjecture and Explanation: A Reply to Reydon. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):298-301.
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