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Profile: Paul Edmund Griffiths (University of Sydney)
  1.  76
    Paul E. Griffiths (1997). What Emotions Really Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories. University of Chicago Press.
    Paul E. Griffiths argues that most research on the emotions has been as misguided as Aristotelian efforts to study "superlunary objects" - objects...
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  2. Kim Sterelny & Paul E. Griffiths (2002). Sex and Death. An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology (M. Matthen). Philosophical Books 43 (1):78-78.
     
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  3. John S. Wilkins & Paul E. Griffiths (forthcoming). Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Three Domains: Fact, Value, and Religion. In James Maclaurin Greg Dawes (ed.), A New Science of Religion. Routledge
    Ever since Darwin people have worried about the sceptical implications of evolution. If our minds are products of evolution like those of other animals, why suppose that the beliefs they produce are true, rather than merely useful? We consider this problem for beliefs in three different domains: religion, morality, and commonsense and scientific claims about matters of empirical fact. We identify replies to evolutionary scepticism that work in some domains but not in others. One reply is that evolution can be (...)
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  4. Paul E. Griffiths (2001). Genetic Information: A Metaphor in Search of a Theory. Philosophy of Science 68 (3):394-412.
    John Maynard Smith has defended against philosophical criticism the view that developmental biology is the study of the expression of information encoded in the genes by natural selection. However, like other naturalistic concepts of information, this ‘teleosemantic’ information applies to many non-genetic factors in development. Maynard Smith also fails to show that developmental biology is concerned with teleosemantic information. Some other ways to support Maynard Smith’s conclusion are considered. It is argued that on any definition of information the view that (...)
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  5. Paul E. Griffiths (1993). Functional Analysis and Proper Functions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):409-422.
    The etiological approach to ‘proper functions’ in biology can be strengthened by relating it to Robert Cummins' general treatment of function ascription. The proper functions of a biological trait are the functions it is assigned in a Cummins-style functional explanation of the fitness of ancestors. These functions figure in selective explanations of the trait. It is also argued that some recent etiological theories include inaccurate accounts of selective explanation in biology. Finally, a generalization of the notion of selective explanation allows (...)
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  6. Paul E. Griffiths & John S. Wilkins (forthcoming). When Do Evolutionary Explanations of Belief Debunk Belief? In Darwin in the 21st Century.
    Ever since Darwin people have worried about the sceptical implications of evolution. If our minds are products of evolution like those of other animals, why suppose that the beliefs they produce are true, rather than merely useful? In this chapter we apply this argument to beliefs in three different domains: morality, religion, and science. We identify replies to evolutionary scepticism that work in some domains but not in others. The simplest reply to evolutionary scepticism is that the truth of beliefs (...)
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  7. Paul E. Griffiths & Karola Stotz (2006). Genes in the Postgenomic Era. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (6):499-521.
    We outline three very different concepts of the gene—instrumental, nominal, and postgenomic. The instrumental gene has a critical role in the construction and interpretation of experiments in which the relationship between genotype and phenotype is explored via hybridization between organisms or directly between nucleic acid molecules. It also plays an important theoretical role in the foundations of disciplines such as quantitative genetics and population genetics. The nominal gene is a critical practical tool, allowing stable communication between bioscientists in a wide (...)
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  8.  66
    Paul E. Griffiths (2006). Function, Homology, and Character Individuation. Philosophy of Science 73 (1):1-25.
    I defend the view that many biological categories are defined by homology against a series of arguments designed to show that all biological categories are defined, at least in part, by selected function. I show that categories of homology are `abnormality inclusive'—something often alleged to be unique to selected function categories. I show that classifications by selected function are logically dependent on classifications by homology, but not vice-versa. Finally, I reject the view that biologists must use considerations of selected function (...)
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  9.  61
    Paul E. Griffiths (1990). Modularity, and the Psychoevolutionary Theory of Emotion. Biology and Philosophy 5 (2):175-196.
    It is unreasonable to assume that our pre-scientific emotion vocabulary embodies all and only those distinctions required for a scientific psychology of emotion. The psychoevolutionary approach to emotion yields an alternative classification of certain emotion phenomena. The new categories are based on a set of evolved adaptive responses, or affect-programs, which are found in all cultures. The triggering of these responses involves a modular system of stimulus appraisal, whose evoluations may conflict with those of higher-level cognitive processes. Whilst the structure (...)
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  10.  34
    Paul E. Griffiths (1996). The Historical Turn in the Study of Adaptation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (4):511-532.
    A number of philosophers and ‘evolutionary psychologists’ have argued that attacks on adaptationism in contemporary biology are misguided. These thinkers identify anti-adaptationism with advocacy of non-adaptive modes of explanation. They overlook the influence of anti-adaptationism in the development of more rigorous forms of adaptive explanation. Many biologists who reject adaptationism do not reject Darwinism. Instead, they have pioneered the contemporary historical turn in the study of adaptation. One real issue which remains unresolved amongst these methodological advances is the nature of (...)
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  11. Kim Sterelny, Paul E. Griffiths, David L. Hull, Michael Ruse & Jane Maienschein (2000). Sex and Death: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Biology. Journal of the History of Biology 33 (1):181-187.
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  12.  26
    Paul E. Griffiths, Arnaud Pocheville, Brett Calcott, Karola Stotz, Hyunju Kim & Rob Knight (2015). Measuring Causal Specificity. Philosophy of Science 82 (4):529-555.
    Several authors have argued that causes differ in the degree to which they are ‘specific’ to their effects. Woodward has used this idea to enrich his influential interventionist theory of causal explanation. Here we propose a way to measure causal specificity using tools from information theory. We show that the specificity of a causal variable is not well defined without a probability distribution over the states of that variable. We demonstrate the tractability and interest of our proposed measure by measuring (...)
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  13.  86
    Paul E. Griffiths & Edouard Machery (2008). Innateness, Canalization, and 'Biologicizing the Mind'. Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):397 – 414.
    This article examines and rejects the claim that 'innateness is canalization'. Waddington's concept of canalization is distinguished from the narrower concept of environmental canalization with which it is often confused. Evidence is presented that the concept of environmental canalization is not an accurate analysis of the existing concept of innateness. The strategy of 'biologicizing the mind' by treating psychological or behavioral traits as if they were environmentally canalized physiological traits is criticized using data from developmental psychobiology. It is concluded that (...)
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  14. Paul E. Griffiths & Russell D. Gray (2005). Discussion: Three Ways to Misunderstand Developmental Systems Theory. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):417-425.
    Developmental systems theory (DST) is a general theoretical perspective on development, heredity and evolution. It is intended to facilitate the study of interactions between the many factors that influence development without reviving `dichotomous' debates over nature or nurture, gene or environment, biology or culture. Several recent papers have addressed the relationship between DST and the thriving new discipline of evolutionary developmental biology (EDB). The contributions to this literature by evolutionary developmental biologists contain three important misunderstandings of DST.
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  15.  52
    Paul E. Griffiths (2007). The Phenomena of Homology. Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):643-658.
    Philosophical discussions of biological classification have failed to recognise the central role of homology in the classification of biological parts and processes. One reason for this is a misunderstanding of the relationship between judgments of homology and the core explanatory theories of biology. The textbook characterisation of homology as identity by descent is commonly regarded as a definition. I suggest instead that it is one of several attempts to explain the phenomena of homology. Twenty years ago the ‘new experimentalist’ movement (...)
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  16.  59
    Karola Stotz, Paul E. Griffiths & Rob Knight (2004). How Biologists Conceptualize Genes: An Empirical Study. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 35 (4):647-673.
    Philosophers and historians of biology have argued that genes are conceptualized differently in different fields of biology and that these differences influence both the conduct of research and the interpretation of research by audiences outside the field in which the research was conducted. In this paper we report the results of a questionnaire study of how genes are conceptualized by biological scientists at the University of Sydney, Australia. The results provide tentative support for some hypotheses about conceptual differences between different (...)
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  17. Mark Colyvan, William Grey, Paul E. Griffiths, Jay Odenbaugh & Stefan Linquist (2009). Philosophical Issues in Ecology: Recent Trends and Future Directions. Ecology and Society 14 (2).
    A good philosophical understanding of ecology is important for a number of reasons. First, ecology is an important and fascinating branch of biology, with distinctive philosophical issues. Second, ecology is only one small step away from urgent political, ethical, and management decisions about how best to live in an apparently fragile and increasingly-degraded environment. Third, philosophy of ecology, properly conceived, can contribute directly to both our understanding of ecology and help with its advancement. Philosophy of ecology can thus be seen (...)
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  18. Paul E. Griffiths (2004). Emotions as Natural and Normative Kinds. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):901-911.
    In earlier work I have claimed that emotion and some emotions are not `natural kinds'. Here I clarify what I mean by `natural kind', suggest a new and more accurate term, and discuss the objection that emotion and emotions are not descriptive categories at all, but fundamentally normative categories.
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  19. Paul E. Griffiths & Robin D. Knight (1998). What is the Developmentalist Challenge? Philosophy of Science 65 (2):253-258.
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  20. Paul E. Griffiths & Karola Stotz (2008). Experimental Philosophy of Science. Philosophy Compass 3 (3):507–521.
    Experimental philosophy of science gathers empirical data on how key scientific concepts are understood by particular scientific communities. In this paper we briefly describe two recent studies in experimental philosophy of biology, one investigating the concept of the gene, the other the concept of innateness. The use of experimental methods reveals facts about these concepts that would not be accessible using the traditional method of intuitions about possible cases. It also contributes to the study of conceptual change in science, which (...)
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  21. Paul E. Griffiths (1996). Darwinism, Process Structuralism, and Natural Kinds. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):9.
    Darwinists classify biological traits either by their ancestry (homology) or by their adaptive role. Only the latter can provide traditional natural kinds, but only the former is practicable. Process structuralists exploit this embarrassment to argue for non-Darwinian classifications in terms of underlying developmental mechanisms. This new taxonomy will also explain phylogenetic inertia and developmental constraint. I argue that Darwinian homologies are natural kinds despite having historical essences and being spatio-temporally restricted. Furthermore, process structuralist explanations of biological form require an unwarranted (...)
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  22. Jay Odenbaugh, Mark Colyvan, Stefan Linquist, William Grey, Paul E. Griffiths & and Hugh P. Possingham, A Field Guide to the Philosophy of Ecology.
    Mark Colyvan (University of Sydney)∗ Stefan Linquist (University of Queensland) William Grey (University of Queensland) Paul E. Griffiths (University of Sydney) Jay Odenbaugh (Lewis and Clark College).
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  23.  58
    Paul E. Griffiths & Karola Stotz (2007). Gene. In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press
    The historian Raphael Falk has described the gene as a ‘concept in tension’ (Falk 2000) – an idea pulled this way and that by the differing demands of different kinds of biological work. Several authors have suggested that in the light of contemporary molecular biology ‘gene’ is no more than a handy term which acquires a specific meaning only in a specific scientific context in which it occurs. Hence the best way to answer the question ‘what is a gene’, and (...)
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  24.  75
    Paul E. Griffiths & Karola Stotz (2000). How the Mind Grows: A Developmental Perspective on the Biology of Cognition. Synthese 122 (1-2):29-51.
  25.  47
    Paul E. Griffiths & Russell D. Gray (1997). Replicator II – Judgement Day. Biology and Philosophy 12 (4):471-492.
    The Developmental Systems approach to evolution is defended against the alternative extended replicator approach of Sterelny, Smith and Dickison (1996). A precise definition is provided of the spatial and temporal boundaries of the life-cycle that DST claims is the unit of evolution. Pacé Sterelny et al., the extended replicator theory is not a bulwark against excessive holism. Everything which DST claims is replicated in evolution can be shown to be an extended replicator on Sterelny et al.s definition. Reasons are given (...)
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  26. Paul E. Griffiths & Andrea Scarantino (2005). Emotions in the Wild: The Situated Perspective on Emotion. In P. Robbins & Murat Aydede (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition. Cambridge University Press
    Paul E Griffiths Biohumanities Project University of Queensland St Lucia 4072 Australia paul.griffiths@uq.edu.au.
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  27.  7
    Paul E. Griffiths (1999). Squaring the Circle: Natural Kinds with Historical Essences. In Robert A. Wilson (ed.), Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays. MIT Press 209-228.
  28.  45
    Paul E. Griffiths (2006). The Fearless Vampire Conservator: Philip Kitcher, Genetic Determinism and the Informational Gene. In Christoph Rehmann-Sutter & Eva M. Neumann-Held (eds.), Genes in Development: Rethinking the Molecular Paradigm. Duke University Press 175--198.
    Genetic determinism is the idea that many significant human characteristics are rendered inevitable by the presence of certain genes. The psychologist Susan Oyama has famously compared arguing against genetic determinism to battling the undead. Oyama suggests that genetic determinism is inherent in the way we currently represent genes and what genes do. As long as genes are represented as containing information about how the organism will develop, they will continue to be regarded as determining causes no matter how much evidence (...)
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  29.  27
    Karola Stotz, Adam Bostanci & Paul E. Griffiths (2006). Tracking the Shift to 'Postgenomics'. Community Genetics 9 (3).
    Current knowledge about the variety and complexity of the processes that allow regulated gene expression in living organisms calls for a new understanding of genes. A ‘postgenomic’ understanding of genes as entities constituted during genome expression is outlined and illustrated with specific examples that formed part of a survey research instrument developed by two of the authors for an ongoing empirical study of conceptual change in contemporary biology.
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  30.  68
    Paul E. Griffiths (2004). Is Emotion a Natural Kind? In Robert C. Solomon (ed.), Thinking About Feeling: Contemporary Philosophers on Emotions. Oxford University Press
    In _What Emotions Really Are: The problem of psychological categories_ I argued that it is unlikely that all the psychological states and processes that fall under the vernacular category of emotion are sufficiently similar to one another to allow a unified scientific psychology of the emotions. In this paper I restate what I mean by ?natural kind? and my argument for supposing that emotion is not a natural kind in this specific sense. In the following sections I discuss the two (...)
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  31.  32
    Karola Stotz & Paul E. Griffiths (2008). Biohumanities: Rethinking the Relationship Between Biosciences, Philosophy and History of Science, and Society. Quarterly Review of Biology 83 (1):37--45.
    We argue that philosophical and historical research can constitute a ‘Biohumanities’ which deepens our understanding of biology itself; engages in constructive 'science criticism'; helps formulate new 'visions of biology'; and facilitates 'critical science communication'. We illustrate these ideas with two recent 'experimental philosophy' studies of the concept of the gene and of the concept of innateness conducted by ourselves and collaborators.
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  32.  4
    Paul E. Griffiths & Russell D. Cray (2004). The Developmental Systems Perspective. In Massimo Pigliucci & Katherine Preston (eds.), Phenotypic Integration: Studying the Ecology and Evolution of Complex Phenotypes. Oxford University Press 409.
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  33.  39
    Paul E. Griffiths (2005). Review of 'Niche Construction'. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):11-20.
  34.  39
    Paul E. Griffiths (2004). Instinct in the '50s: The British Reception of Konrad Lorenz's Theory of Instinctive Behavior. Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):609-631.
    At the beginning of the 1950s most students of animal behavior in Britain saw the instinct concept developed by Konrad Lorenz in the 1930s as the central theoretical construct of the new ethology. In the mid 1950s J.B.S. Haldane made substantial efforts to undermine Lorenz''s status as the founder of the new discipline, challenging his priority on key ethological concepts. Haldane was also critical of Lorenz''s sharp distinction between instinctive and learnt behavior. This was inconsistent with Haldane''s account of the (...)
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  35.  49
    Paul E. Griffiths (1989). The Degeneration of the Cognitive Theory of Emotions. Philosophical Psychology 2 (3):297-313.
    The type of cognitive theory of emotion traditionally espoused by philosophers of mind makes two central claims. First, that the occurrence of propositional attitudes is essential to the occurrence of emotions. Second, that the identity of a particular emotional state depends upon the propositional attitudes that it involves. In this paper I try to show that there is little hope of developing a theory of emotion which makes these claims true. I examine the underlying defects of the programme, and show (...)
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  36.  96
    Paul E. Griffiths (2003). Basic Emotions, Complex Emotions, Machiavellian Emotions. In A. Hatimoysis (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. Cambridge University Press 39-67.
    The current state of knowledge in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and behavioral ecology allows a fairly robust characterization of at least some, so-called ‘basic emotions’ - short-lived emotional responses with homologues in other vertebrates. Philosophers, however are understandably more focused on the complex emotion episodes that figure in folk-psychological narratives about mental life, episodes such as the evolving jealousy and anger of a person in an unraveling sexual relationship. One of the most pressing issues for the philosophy of emotion is the (...)
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  37.  21
    Paul E. Griffiths (2002). Lost: One Gene Concept. Reward to Finder. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 17 (2):271-283.
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  38.  56
    K. C. Stotz & Paul E. Griffiths (2002). Dancing in the Dark: Evolutionary Psychology and the Argument From Design. In S. J. Scher & F. Rauscher (eds.), Evolutionary Psychology: Alternative Approaches. Kluwer 135--160.
    The Narrow Evolutionary Psychology Movement represents itself as a major reorientation of the social/behavioral sciences, a group of sciences previously dominated by something called the ‘Standard Social Science Model’. Narrow Evolutionary Psychology alleges that the SSSM treated the mind, and particularly those aspects of the mind that exhibit cultural variation, as devoid of any marks of its evolutionary history. Adherents of Narrow Evolutionary Psychology often suggest that the SSSM owed more to ideology than to evidence. It was the child of (...)
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  39.  48
    Paul Edmund Griffiths (2006). Function, Homology, and Character Individuation. Philosophy of Science 73 (1):1-25.
    Many philosophers believe that 1) most uses of functional language in biology make implicit reference to natural selection and 2) the fundamental way in which biologists identify parts and processes in organisms is by their selected function(s). Both these claims are mistaken. Much functional language in biology refers to actual causal roles, and if this were not so, biology would be impossible. The extensive biological literature on the ‘character concept’ focuses on another principle of biological identity, namely homology. I outline (...)
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  40.  70
    Paul E. Griffiths (2004). Toward a "Machiavellian" Theory of Emotional Appraisal. In D. Evans & Pierre Cruse (eds.), Emotion, Evolution, and Rationality. Oxford University Press
    The aim of appraisal theory in the psychology of emotion is to identify the features of the emotion-eliciting situation that lead to the production of one emotion rather than another2. A model of emotional appraisal takes the form of a set of dimensions against which potentially emotion-eliciting situations are assessed. The dimensions of the emotion hyperspace might include, for example, whether the eliciting situation fulfills or frustrates the subject’s goals or whether an actor in the eliciting situation has violated a (...)
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  41.  49
    Paul E. Griffiths (2006). The Fearless Vampire Conservator: Phillip Kitcher and Genetic Determinism. In C. Rehmann-Sutter & E. M. Neumann-Held (eds.), Genes in Development: Rethinking the Molecular Paradigm. Duke University Press 175-198.
    Genetic determinism is the idea that many significant human characteristics are rendered inevitable by the presence of certain genes. The psychologist Susan Oyama has famously compared arguing against genetic determinism to battling the undead. Oyama suggests that genetic determinism is inherent in the way we currently represent genes and what genes do. As long as genes are represented as containing information about how the organism will develop, they will continue to be regarded as determining causes no matter how much evidence (...)
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  42. Paul E. Griffiths (2006). Evolutionary Psychology. In Jessica Pfeifer & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Routledge 263--268.
    The development of evolutionary approaches to psychology from Classical Ethology through Sociobiology to Evolutionary Psychology is outlined and the main tenets of today's Evolutionary Psychology briefly examined: the heuristic value of evolutionary thinking for psychology, the massive modularity thesis and the monomorphic mind thesis.
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  43. Paul E. Griffiths (2008). Jesse Prinz Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):559-567.
  44. Paul E. Griffiths & Peter Goldie (1998). Reviews-What Emotions Really Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (4):642-648.
     
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  45. Paul Edmund Griffiths, Ethology, Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology.
    In the years leading up to the Second World War the ethologists Konrad Lorenz and Nikolaas Tinbergen, created the tradition of rigorous, Darwinian research on animal behavior that developed into modern behavioral ecology. At first glance, research on specifically human behavior seems to exhibit greater discontinuity that research on animal behavior in general. The 'human ethology' of the 1960s appears to have been replaced in the early 1970s by a new approach called ‘sociobiology’. Sociobiology in its turn appears to have (...)
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  46.  3
    Paul E. Griffiths (2008). Biology, Philosophy Of. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  47.  69
    Sahotra Sarkar & Paul E. Griffiths, Evolutionary Psychology: History and Current Status.
    The evolutionary study of the mind in the twentieth century has been marked by three self-conscious movements: classical ethology, sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology (capitalized to indicate that it functions here as a proper name). Classical ethology was established in the years immediately before the Second World War, primarily by Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen (Burckhardt, 1983). Interrupted by the war, the movement blossomed in the early 1950s, when ethologists established major research institutes in most developed countries and developed a successful (...)
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  48.  27
    Paul E. Griffiths (1989). Folk, Functional and Neurochemical Aspects of Mood. Philosophical Psychology 2 (1):17-32.
    It has been suggested that moods are higher order-dispositions. This proposal is considered, and various shortcomings uncovered. The notion of a higher-order disposition is replaced by the more general notion of a higher-order functional state. An account is given in which moods are higher-order functional states, and the overall system of moods is a higher-order functional description of the mind. This proposal is defended in two ways. First, it is shown to capture some central features of our pre-scientific conception of (...)
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  49.  60
    Paul E. Griffiths (2002). Review: Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. [REVIEW] Mind 111 (441):178-182.
  50.  54
    Paul E. Griffiths (1995). The Cronin Controversy. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (1):122-138.
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