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  1.  194 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2003). Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. University of Chicago Press.
    How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality , Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science. Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory and (...)
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  2.  172 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2008). Recurrent Transient Underdetermination and the Glass Half Full. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 137 (1):141 - 148.
    Kyle Stanford’s arguments against scientific realism are assessed, with a focus on the underdetermination of theory by evidence. I argue that discussions of underdetermination have neglected a possible symmetry which may ameliorate the situation.
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  3.  134 DLs
    Carl T. Bergstrom & Peter Godfrey-Smith (1998). On the Evolution of Behavioral Complexity in Individuals and Populations. Biology and Philosophy 13 (2):205-31.
    A wide range of ecological and evolutionary models predict variety in phenotype or behavior when a population is at equilibrium. This heterogeneity can be realized in different ways. For example, it can be realized through a complex population of individuals exhibiting different simple behaviors, or through a simple population of individuals exhibiting complex, varying behaviors. In some theoretical frameworks these different realizations are treated as equivalent, but natural selection distinguishes between these two alternatives in subtle ways. By investigating an increasingly (...)
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  4.  124 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2009). Triviality Arguments Against Functionalism. Philosophical Studies 145 (2):273 - 295.
    “Triviality arguments” against functionalism in the philosophy of mind hold that the claim that some complex physical system exhibits a given functional organization is either trivial or has much less content than is usually supposed. I survey several earlier arguments of this kind, and present a new one that overcomes some limitations in the earlier arguments. Resisting triviality arguments is possible, but requires functionalists to revise popular views about the “autonomy” of functional description.
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  5.  114 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2009). Causal Pluralism. In Helen Beebee, Peter Menzies & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Causation. Oxford University Press 326--337.
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  6.  111 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (1991). Signal, Decision, Action. Journal of Philosophy 88 (12):709-22.
  7.  105 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith, What Darwinism Explains.
    Did Darwin really do what Kant said was impossible, and serve as a Newton for the biological world? In assessing this question we need to look at both the structure of evolutionary theory and the structure of our explanation-seeking minds. The short answer to the question is yes. Both underestimates and overestimates of the significance of Darwinian explanations derive from psychological habits which may stem from our own evolutionary history.
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  8.  103 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (1993). Functions: Consensus Without Unity. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 74 (3):196-208.
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  9.  103 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2006). The Strategy of Model-Based Science. Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):725-740.
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  10.  101 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2005). Folk Psychology as a Model. Philosophers' Imprint 5 (6):1-16.
    I argue that everyday folk-psychological skill might best be explained in terms of the deployment of something like a model, in a specific sense drawn from recent philosophy of science. Theoretical models in this sense do not make definite commitments about the systems they are used to understand; they are employed with a particular kind of flexibility. This analysis is used to dissolve the eliminativism debate of the 1980s, and to transform a number of other questions about the status and (...)
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  11.  100 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith, Why Octopuses Matter to Philosophy.
    Why do octopuses matter to philosophy? They matter to the part of philosophy concerned with the mind. To see why, we step back and think about the evolutionary connections between all living things. Biologists think of these relationships in terms of a tree of life. This is a huge tree-like pattern, marking which species are close relatives and which are distantly connected. The vertebrates form one branch of the tree, and that is where we find nearly all the animals with (...)
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  12.  98 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2009). Models and Fictions in Science. Philosophical Studies 143 (1):101 - 116.
    Non-actual model systems discussed in scientific theories are compared to fictions in literature. This comparison may help with the understanding of similarity relations between models and real-world target systems. The ontological problems surrounding fictions in science may be particularly difficult, however. A comparison is also made to ontological problems that arise in the philosophy of mathematics.
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  13.  93 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2012). Metaphysics and the Philosophical Imagination. Philosophical Studies 160 (1):97-113.
    Methods and goals in philosophy are discussed by first describing an ideal, and then looking at how the ideal might be approached. David Lewis’s work in metaphysics is critically examined and compared to analogous work by Mackie and Carnap. Some large-scale philosophical systematic work, especially in metaphysics, is best treated as model-building, in a sense of that term that draws on the philosophy of science. Models are constructed in a way that involves deliberate simplification, or other imaginative modification of reality, (...)
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  14.  91 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2007). Conditions for Evolution by Natural Selection. Journal of Philosophy 104 (10):489-516.
    Both biologists and philosophers often make use of simple verbal formulations of necessary and sufficient conditions for evolution by natural selection (ENS). Such summaries go back to Darwin's Origin of Species (especially the "Recapitulation"), but recent ones are more compact.1 Perhaps the most commonly cited formulation is due to Lewontin.2 These summaries tend to have three or four conditions, where the core requirement is a combination of variation, heredity, and fitness differences. The summaries are employed in several ways. First, they (...)
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  15.  85 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2003). Goodman's Problem and Scientific Methodology. Journal of Philosophy 100 (11):573 - 590.
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  16.  77 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2002). Environmental Complexity and the Evolution of Cognition. In Robert J. Sternberg & J. Kaufman (eds.), The Evolution of Intelligence. Lawrence Erlbaum 233--249.
    One problem faced in discussions of the evolution of intelligence is the need to get a precise fix on what is to be explained. Terms like "intelligence," "cognition" and "mind" do not have simple and agreed-upon meanings, and the differences between conceptions of intelligence have consequences for evolutionary explanation. I hope the papers in this volume will enable us to make progress on this problem. The present contribution is mostly focused on these basic and foundational issues, although the last section (...)
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  17.  76 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2000). Explanatory Symmetries, Preformation, and Developmental Systems Theory. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):331.
    Some central ideas associated with developmental systems theory (DST) are outlined for non-specialists. These ideas concern the nature of biological development, the alleged distinction between "genetic" and "environmental" traits, the relations between organism and environment, and evolutionary processes. I also discuss some criticisms of the DST approach.
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  18.  74 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (1999). Adaptationism and the Power of Selection. Biology and Philosophy 14 (2):181-194.
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  19.  71 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (1996). Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature. Cambridge University Press.
    This book explains the relationship between intelligence and environmental complexity, and in so doing links philosophy of mind to more general issues about the relations between organisms and environments, and to the general pattern of 'externalist' explanations. The author provides a biological approach to the investigation of mind and cognition in nature. In particular he explores the idea that the function of cognition is to enable agents to deal with environmental complexity. The history of the idea in the work of (...)
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  20.  71 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith, Representation and Integration in Animal Minds.
    I will sketch, but not argue for here, a hypothesis about its origins and structure. What philosophers think of as folk psychology has dual origins. One is a genuine "intuitive psychology." This is an evolved predictive tool seen also in some nonhuman animals and very young children. It is "peripheral" in what it recognizes and describes. Primarily, it recognizes seeing and acting (including trying) as activities of others. This is common element in how human and non-human animals deal with each (...)
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  21.  70 DLs
    Matthew Barrett & Peter Godfrey-smith (2002). Group Selection, Pluralism, and the Evolution of Altruism. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (3):685–691.
  22.  70 DLs
    Benjamin Kerr & Peter Godfrey-Smith (2002). Individualist and Multi-Level Perspectives on Selection in Structured Populations. Biology and Philosophy 17 (4):477-517.
    Recent years have seen a renewed debate over the importance of groupselection, especially as it relates to the evolution of altruism. Onefeature of this debate has been disagreement over which kinds ofprocesses should be described in terms of selection at multiple levels,within and between groups. Adapting some earlier discussions, we presenta mathematical framework that can be used to explore the exactrelationships between evolutionary models that do, and those that donot, explicitly recognize biological groups as fitness-bearing entities.We show a fundamental set (...)
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  23.  70 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2009). Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection. OUP Oxford.
    The book presents a new way of understanding Darwinism and evolution by natural selection, combining work in biology, philosophy, and other fields.
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  24.  60 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith, Three Kinds of Adaptationism.
    Debate about adaptationism in biology continues, in part because within “the” problem of assessing adaptationism, three distinct problems are mixed together. The three problems concern the assessment of three distinct adaptationist positions, each of which asserts the central importance of adaptation and natural selection to the study of evolution, but conceives this importance in a different way. As there are three kinds of adaptationism, there are three distinct "anti-adaptationist" positions as well. Or putting it more formally, there are three different (...)
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  25.  59 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith & Benjamin Kerr (2002). Group Fitness and Multi-Level Selection: Replies to Commentaries. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 17 (4):539-549.
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  26.  59 DLs
    Benjamin Kerr, Peter Godfrey-Smith & Marcus W. Feldman, What is Altruism?
    Altruism is generally understood to be behavior that benefits others at a personal cost to the behaving individual. However, within evolutionary biology, different authors have interpreted the concept of altruism differently, leading to dissimilar predictions about the evolution of altruistic behavior. Generally, different interpretations diverge on which party receives the benefit from altruism and on how the cost of altruism is assessed. Using a simple trait-group framework, we delineate the assumptions underlying different interpretations and show how they relate to one (...)
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  27.  57 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2011). Agents and Acacias: Replies to Dennett, Sterelny, and Queller. Biology and Philosophy 26 (4):501-515.
    The commentaries by Dennett, Sterelny, and Queller on Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection (DPNS) are so constructive that they make it possible to extend and improve the book’s framework in several ways. My replies will focus on points of disagreement, and I will pick a small number of themes and develop them in detail. The three replies below are mostly self-contained, except that all my comments about genes, discussed by all three critics, are in the reply to Queller. Agential views (...)
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  28.  56 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2002). On the Evolution of Representational and Interpretive Capacities. The Monist 85 (1):50-69.
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  29.  56 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2000). Niche Construction in Biological and Philosophical Theories. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):153-154.
    I distinguish different versions of the “niche construction” idea. Some are primarily scientific, while others are more philosophical. Laland, Odling-Smee & Feldman's is mostly scientific, but given that fact, there are some changes they could make to their account. I also compare the target article to Lewontin's classic 1983 paper.
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  30.  53 DLs
    Jon F. Wilkins & Peter Godfrey-Smith (2009). Adaptationism and the Adaptive Landscape. Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):199-214.
    Debates over adaptationism can be clarified and partially resolved by careful consideration of the ‘grain’ at which evolutionary processes are described. The framework of ‘adaptive landscapes’ can be used to illustrate and facilitate this investigation. We argue that natural selection may have special status at an intermediate grain of analysis of evolutionary processes. The cases of sickle-cell disease and genomic imprinting are used as case studies.
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  31.  52 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2006). Theories and Models in Metaphysics. The Harvard Review of Philosophy 14 (1):4-19.
    Metaphysics is once again a thriving subdiscipline within philosophy, despite a long tradition of challenges to the very viability of the metaphysical enterprise. The criticisms have not so much been satisfactorily answered, as shouldered aside by the vigorous development of the field. Some focused meta-theoretic discussion has recently arisen within mainstream metaphysics.1 The present paper is written more from an outsider's vantage point. I attempt to give a new meta-theory for some parts of metaphysics. The central claim is that much (...)
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  32.  51 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2011). Senders, Receivers, and Genetic Information: Comments on Bergstrom and Rosvall. Biology and Philosophy 26 (2):177-181.
  33.  51 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2010). David Hull. Biology and Philosophy 25 (5):749-753.
  34.  50 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2007). Information in Biology. In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press 103--119.
    The concept of information has acquired a strikingly prominent role in contemporary biology. This trend is especially marked within genetics, but it has also become important in other areas, such as evolutionary theory and developmental biology, particularly where these fields border on genetics. The most distinctive biological role for informational concepts, and the one that has generated the most discussion, is in the description of the relations between genes and the various structures and processes that genes play a role in (...)
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  35.  50 DLs
    Benjamin Kerr & Peter Godfrey-Smith (2002). On Price's Equation and Average Fitness. Biology and Philosophy 17 (4):551-565.
    A number of recent discussions have argued that George Price's equationfor representing evolutionary change is a powerful and illuminatingtool, especially in the context of debates about multiple levels ofselection. Our paper dissects Price's equation in detail, and comparesit to another statistical tool: the calculation and comparison ofaverage fitnesses. The relations between Price's equation and equationsfor evolutionary change using average fitness are closer than issometimes supposed. The two approaches achieve a similar kind ofstatistical summary of one generation of change, and they (...)
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  36.  50 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-smith (2009). Knowledge, Trade-Offs, and Tracking Truth. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (1):231-239.
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  37.  48 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith, Popper's Philosophy of Science: Looking Ahead.
    Is Popper's philosophy alive or dead? If we make a judgment based on recent discussion in academic philosophy of science, he definitely seems to be fading. Popper is still seen as an important historical figure, a key part of the grand drama of 20th century thinking about science. He is associated with an outlook, a mindset, and a general picture of scientific work. His name has bequeathed us an adjective, "Popperian," that is well established. But the adjective is used for (...)
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  38.  48 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith, Information and the Argument From Design.
    William Dembski holds that "the origin of information is best sought in intelligent causes" ("Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information", 1997). In particular, Dembski argues that Darwinism is not able to explain the existence of biological structures that contain a certain kind of information – "complex specified information" (CSI). To explain these informational features of living systems, we must instead appeal to the choices made by an intelligent designer.
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  39.  48 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2011). 2 Induction, Samples, and Kinds. In Michael O'Rourke, Joseph Keim Campbell & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints. MIT Press 33.
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  40.  48 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2004). Mental Representation, Naturalism, and Teleosemantics. In David Papineau & Graham MacDonald (eds.), Teleosemantics: New Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press
    The "teleosemantic" program is part of the attempt to give a naturalistic explanation of the semantic properties of mental representations. The aim is to show how the internal states of a wholly physical agent could, as a matter of objective fact, represent the world beyond them. The most popular approach to solving this problem has been to use concepts of physical correlation with some kinship to those employed in information theory (Dretske 1981, 1988; Fodor 1987, 1990). Teleosemantics, which tries to (...)
     
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  41.  46 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (1992). Indication and Adaptation. Synthese 92 (2):283-312.
    This paper examines the relationship between a family of concepts involving reliable correlation, and a family of concepts involving adaptation and biological function, as these concepts are used in the naturalistic semantic theory of Dretske's "Explaining Behavior." I argue that Dretske's attempt to marry correlation and function to produce representation fails, though aspects of his failure point the way forward to a better theory.
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  42.  44 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (1994). A Modern History Theory of Functions. Noûs 28 (3):344-362.
    Biological functions are dispositions or effects a trait has which explain the recent maintenance of the trait under natural selection. This is the "modern history" approach to functions. The approach is historical because to ascribe a function is to make a claim about the past, but the relevant past is the recent past; modern history rather than ancient.
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  43.  43 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith, The Evolution of the Individual.
    Sometimes themes can be found in common across very different systems in which change occurs. Imre Lakatos developed a theory of change in science, and one involving entities visible at different levels. There are theories defended at a particular time, and there are also research programs, larger units that bundle together a sequence of related theories and within which many scientists may work. Research programs are competing higher-level units within a scientific field. Scientific change involves change within research programs, and (...)
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  44.  40 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-smith (2008). Explanation in Evolutionary Biology: Comments on Fodor. Mind and Language 23 (1):32–41.
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  45.  37 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith, Philosophy of Biology.
    • "Conditions for Evolution by Natural Selection " (2007) . Evolution by natural selection is usually said to require three ingredients: variation, heredity, and fitness differences. But things are not so simple. Here I discuss various problem cases and their consequences.
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  46.  36 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (1989). Misinformation. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 19 (4):533-50.
  47.  34 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2000). On the Theoretical Role of "Genetic Coding". Philosophy of Science 67 (1):26-44.
    The role played by the concept of genetic coding in biology is discussed. I argue that this concept makes a real contribution to solving a specific problem in cell biology. But attempts to make the idea of genetic coding do theoretical work elsewhere in biology, and in philosophy of biology, are probably mistaken. In particular, the concept of genetic coding should not be used (as it often is) to express a distinction between the traits of whole organisms that are coded (...)
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  48.  34 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (1986). Why Semantic Properties Won't Earn Their Keep. Philosophical Studies 50 (September):223-36.
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  49.  33 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2002). Dewey on Naturalism, Realism and Science. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S25-S35.
    An interpretation of John Dewey’s views about realism, science, and naturalistic philosophy is presented. Dewey should be seen as an unorthodox realist, with respect to both general metaphysical debates about realism and with respect to debates about the aims and achievements of science.
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  50.  32 DLs
    Peter Godfrey-Smith (2007). Is It a Revolution? Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):429-437.
    Jablonka and Lamb's claim that evolutionary biology is undergoing a ‘revolution’ is queried. But the very concept of revolutionary change has uncertain application to a field organized in the manner of contemporary biology. The explanatory primacy of sequence properties is also discussed.
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