According to a once influential view of selection, it consists of repeated cycles of replication and interaction. It has been argued that this view is wrong: replication is not necessary for evolution by natural selection. I analyze the nine most influential arguments for this claim and defend the replication–interaction conception of selection against these objections. In order to do so, however, the replication–interaction conception of selection needs to be modified significantly. My proposal is that replication (...) is not the copying of an entity, the replicator, but the copying of a property. Thus, we can have a replication process without there being a replicator that is being copied. (shrink)
Abstract Scientists and philosophers generally agree that the replication of experiments is a key ingredient of good and successful scientific practice. “One-offs“ are not significant; experiments must be replicable to be considered valid and important. But the term “replication“ has been used in a number of ways, and it is therefore quite difficult to appraise the meaning and significance of replications. I consider how history may help - and has helped - with this task. I propose that: 1) (...) Studies of past scientific episodes in historical context and of recent philosophical contributions to the discussion are heuristic tools for exploring and clarifying the meaning of that concept. 2) The analysis of the development of the methodological imperative of replication sheds light on the significance scientists have attached to it, thereby contributing further to the clarification of the concept. 3) The analysis of the history of philosophical thought about methods and scientific methodology helps understand why philosophers have not paid much attention to the analysis of the concept of replication. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to outline a typologyof selection processes, and show that differentsub-categories have different explanatorypower. The basis of this typology of selectionprocesses is argued to be the difference ofreplication processes involved in them. Inorder to show this, I argue that: 1.Replication is necessary for selection and 2.Different types of replication lead todifferent types of selection. Finally, it isargued that this typology is philosophicallysignificant, since it contrasts cases ofselection (on the basis of the replicationprocesses involved (...) in them) whereby selectioncauses adaptation – and, therefore, can beused in explanations of the (real or apparent)teleology of Nature – and cases in whichselection lacks such explanatory power. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to outline a typology of selection processes, and show that different sub-categories have different explanatory power. The basis of this typology of selection processes is argued to be the difference of replication processes involved in them. In order to show this, I argue that: 1. Replication is necessary for selection and 2. Different types of replication lead to different types of selection. Finally, it is argued that this typology is philosophically signiﬁcant, (...) since it contrasts cases of selection (on the basis of the replication processes involved in them) whereby selection causes adaptation – and, therefore, can be used in explanations of the (real or apparent) teleology of Nature – and cases in which selection lacks such explanatory power. (shrink)
The crowd within effect shows that the average of two estimates from one person is more accurate than a single estimate of that person. The effect implies that the well documented wisdom of the crowd effect - the crowd's average estimate tends to be more accurate than the individual estimates - can be obtained within a single individual. The crowd within effect has important theoretical and practical implications, resulting in a widespread attention in both academic and non-academic reports. Despite its (...) appeal, the crowd within effect has only been replicated a few times. Therefore, we propose a replication attempt of the effect, carefully considering the statistical power of the experiment, with a planned power of at least .95. (shrink)
To increase replication and accountability, it is proposed that researchers make audio/video recordings of laboratory protocols using currently available technologies, such as smart-phones. A detailed record of the procedure representing each experimental condition of the study design with simulated participants could then be posted on the internet and made accessible to researchers wanting more information about the procedures described in the research publication. Making recordings of all research participants a standard practice would be a greater challenge because of threats (...) to internal validity and ethical concerns, however is feasible and merits a broad discussion among researchers, professional societies, IRB’s and funding organizations. (shrink)
In their joint paper entitled The Replication of the Hard Problem of Consciousness in AI and BIO-AI (Boltuc et al. Replication of the hard problem of conscious in AI and Bio- AI: An early conceptual framework 2008), Nicholas and Piotr Boltuc suggest that machines could be equipped with phenomenal consciousness, which is subjective consciousness that satisfies Chalmer’s hard problem (We will abbreviate the hard problem of consciousness as H-consciousness ). The claim is that if we knew the inner (...) workings of phenomenal consciousness and could understand its’ precise operation, we could instantiate such consciousness in a machine. This claim, called the extra-strong AI thesis, is an important claim because if true it would demystify the privileged access problem of first-person consciousness and cast it as an empirical problem of science and not a fundamental question of philosophy. A core assumption of the extra-strong AI thesis is that there is no logical argument that precludes the implementation of H-consciousness in an organic or in-organic machine provided we understand its algorithm. Another way of framing this conclusion is that there is nothing special about H-consciousness as compared to any other process. That is, in the same way that we do not preclude a machine from implementing photosynthesis, we also do not preclude a machine from implementing H-consciousness. While one may be more difficult in practice, it is a problem of science and engineering, and no longer a philosophical question. I propose that Boltuc’s conclusion, while plausible and convincing, comes at a very high price; the argument given for his conclusion does not exclude any conceivable process from machine implementation. In short, if we make some assumptions about the equivalence of a rough notion of algorithm and then tie this to human understanding, all logical preconditions vanish and the argument grants that any process can be implemented in a machine. The purpose of this paper is to comment on the argument for his conclusion and offer additional properties of H-consciousness that can be used to make the conclusion falsifiable through scientific investigation rather than relying on the limits of human understanding. (shrink)
This fascinating study in the sociology of science explores the way scientists conduct, and draw conclusions from, their experiments. The book is organized around three case studies: replication of the TEA-laser, detecting gravitational rotation, and some experiments in the paranormal. "In his superb book, Collins shows why the quest for certainty is disappointed. He shows that standards of replication are, of course, social, and that there is (...) consequently no outside standard, no Archimedean point beyond society from which we can lever the intellects of our fellows."--Donald M. McCloskey, Journal of Economic Psychology "Collins is one of the genuine innovators of the sociology of scientific knowledge. . . . Changing Order is a rich and entertaining book."-- Isis "The book gives a vivid sense of the contingent nature of research and is generally a good read."--Augustine Brannigan, Nature "This provocative book is a review of [Collins's] work, and an attempt to explain how scientists fit experimental results into pictures of the world. . . . A promising start for new explorations of our image of science, too often presented as infallibly authoritative."--Jon Turney, New Scientist. (shrink)
If selection is interpreted as involving repeated cycles of replication, variation, and environmental interaction so structured that environmental interaction causes replication to be differential, then selection in gene-based biological evolution and the reaction of the immune system to antigens are relatively unproblematic examples of selection processes. Operant learning and cultural evolution pose more serious problems. In this response we deal with operant learning as a selection process. Footnotes1 The authors regretfully inform readers that since the publication of our (...) target article in 2001, one of our coauthors, Rod Langman, has died. (shrink)
When one takes the evolution of operant behavior as prototype, one sees that the term replication is too tied to the peculiarities of genetic evolution. A more general term is recurrence. The important problem raised by recurrence is not “information” but relationship: deciding when two occurrences belong to the same lineage. That is solved by looking at common environmental effects.
The established definition of replication in terms of the conditions of causality, similarity and information transfer is very broad. We draw inspiration from the literature on self-reproducing automata to strengthen the notion of information transfer in replication processes. To the triple conditions of causality, similarity and information transfer, we add a fourth condition that defines a “generative replicator” as a conditional generative mechanism, which can turn input signals from an environment (...) into developmental instructions. Generative replication must have the potential to enhance complexity, which in turn requires that developmental instructions are part of the information that is transmitted in replication. Demonstrating the usefulness of the generative replicator concept in the social domain, we identify social generative replicators that satisfy all of the four proposed conditions. (shrink)
A published simulation model Riolo et al. 2001 ) was replicated in two independent implementations so that the results as well as the conceptual design align. This double replication allowed the original to be analysed and critiqued with confidence. In this case, the replication revealed some weaknesses in the original model, which otherwise might not have come to light. This shows that unreplicated simulation models and their results can not be trusted - as with other kinds of experiment, (...) simulations need to be independently replicated. (shrink)
Hull et al. argue that information and replication are both essential ingredients in any selection process. But both information and replication are found in only some selection processes, and should not be included in abstract descriptions of selection intended to help researchers discover and describe selection processes in new domains.
Wigner's quantum mechanical formulation of the problem of biological replication is examined with special reference to DNA. His necessary condition for replication is that the number of independent equations in his formulation should not exceed the number of unknowns. Explicit hypotheses concerning the relevant collision matrix are proposed without assuming biotonic modifications of quantum mechanics. Schrödinger's description of the gene as a low-temperature solid, combined with the concept of template, is given mathematical expression which fails to satisfy Wigner's (...) necessary condition. The condition is satisfied by a further specialization of the collision matrix, which also implies metabolic stability of the replicating unit. Such metabolic stability is in fact a distinguishing feature of the DNA molecule. (shrink)
This commentary takes issue with the idea that replication is a “fundamental element” in natural selection. Such an assumption is based on a traditional, mechanistic view of evolution. A symbiogenetic theory of evolution offers an alternative to traditional theories, emphasizing reproduction and qualitative development rather than replication and quantitative development. The issues raised by the symbiogenetic alternative may be extended to discussions of behavioral development.
An analysis of biological selection aimed at deriving a mechanism-independent definition removes Hull et al.'s obligatory requirement for replication of the carriers of information, under conditions, such as those obtaining in the nervous system, where the information content of a carrier can be modified without duplication by an amount controlled by the outcome of interactions with the environment.
The major merit of Rose's book is the elaboration of the idea of multilevel causation in different explanatory languages. Yet Rose's critique of “ultra-Darwinism” is not convincing. Rose argues that activity and self-replication are properties of organisms rather than genes, which contradicts his idea of multilevel causation. Also, Rose fails to develop the concept of multilevel selection.
Aquinas is often presented as following Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics" when treating moral virtue. Less often do philosophers consider that Aquinas's conception of the highest good and its relation to the functional character of human activity led him to break with Aristotle by replicating each of the acquired moral virtues on an infused level. The author suggests that we can discern reasons for this move by examining Aquinas's commentary on the "Sententiae" of Peter the Lombard and the "Summa theologiae" within their (...) historical context. The author's thesis is that Dominican pastoral and intellectual concerns led Aquinas to argue that moral virtue must necessarily be ordered toward the highest good. Understanding this purpose helps to explain his presentation of moral virtue and its implications for standard philosophical interpretations of his work. (shrink)
In 1984 we reported the results of surveying a nationwide sample of college students about selected business ethics issues. We concluded that (a) college students were in general concerned about the issues investigated and (b) female students were relatively more concerned than were male students. The present study replicated our earlier study and not only corroborated both of its conclusions, but also found a higher level of concern than had been observed previously.
An idea is not a replicator because it does not consist of coded self-assembly instructions. It may retain structure as it passes from one individual to another, but does not replicate it. The cultural replicator is not an idea but an associatively-structured network of them that together form an internal model of the world, or worldview. A worldview is a primitive, uncoded replicator, like the autocatalytic sets of polymers widely believed to be the earliest form of life. Primitive replicators generate (...) self-similar structure, but because the process happens in a piecemeal manner, through bottom-up interactions rather than a top-down code, they replicate with low fidelity, and acquired characteristics are inherited. Just as polymers catalyze reactions that generate other polymers, the retrieval of an item from memory can in turn trigger other items, thus cross-linking memories, ideas, and concepts into an integrated conceptual structure. Worldviews evolve idea by idea, largely through social exchange. An idea participates in the evolution of culture by revealing certain aspects of the worldview that generated it, thereby affecting the worldviews of those exposed to it. If an idea influences seemingly unrelated fields this does not mean that separate cultural lineages are contaminating one another, because it is worldviews, not ideas, that are the basic unit of cultural evolution. (shrink)
I reappraise in detail Hertz's cathode ray experiments. I show that, contrary to Buchwald's (1995) evaluation, the core experiment establishing the electrostatic properties of the rays was successfully replicated by Perrin (probably) and Thomson (certainly). Buchwald's discussion of 'current purification' is shown to be a red herring. My investigation of the origin of Buchwald's misinterpretation of this episode reveals that he was led astray by a focus on what Hertz 'could do'-his experimental resources. I argue that one (...) should focus instead on what Hertz wanted to achieve-his experimental goals. Focusing on these goals, I find that his explicit and implicit requirements for a successful investigation of the rays' properties are met by Perrin and Thomson. Thus, even by Hertz's standards, they did indeed replicate his experiment. (shrink)
The topic of cognitive foresight in non-human animals has received considerable attention in the last decade. The main questions concern whether the animals can prepare for upcoming situations which are, to various degrees, contextually or sensorially detached from the situation in which the preparations are made. Studies on great apes have focused on tool-related tasks, e.g. the ability to select a tool which is functional only in the future. Dufour and Sterck (2008), however, investigated whether chimpanzees were also able to (...) prepare for a future exchange with a human: an object exchanged for a food item. The study included extensive training on the exchangeable item, which is traditionally not compatible with methods for studying planning abilities, as associative learning cannot be precluded. Nevertheless, despite this training, the chimpanzees could not solve the deferred exchange task. Given that great apes can plan for tool use, these results are puzzling. In addition, claims that great ape foresight is highly limited has been based on this study (Suddendorf and Corballis, 2010). Here we partly replicated Dufour and Sterck’s study to discern whether temporally deferred and spatially displaced exchange tasks are beyond the capabilities of great apes. In addition to chimpanzees we tested orangutans. One condition followed the one used by Dufour and Sterck, in which the exchange items, functional only in the future, are placed at a location that freely allows for selections by the subjects. In order to test the possibility that the choice set-up could explain the negative results in Dufour and Sterck’s study, our second condition followed a method used in the planning study by Osvath and Osvath (2008), where the subjects make a forced one-item-choice from a tray. We found that it is within the capabilities of chimpanzees and orangutans to perform deferred exchange in both conditions. (shrink)
Mindreading is the ability to attribute mental states to other individuals. According to the simulation theory (ST), mindreading is based on the ability the mind has of replicating others' mental states and processes. Mirror neurons (MNs) are a class of neurons that fire both when an agent performs a goal-directed action and when she observes the same type of action performed by another individual. Since MNs appear to form a replicative mechanism in which a portion of the observer's brain replicates (...) the agent's brain, MNs have been considered evidence in favor of ST. Jacob (2008), however, has maintained that the recent discovery of so-called logically related MNs refutes the hypothesis that MNs form a replicative mechanism. In this paper, I argue that, contrary to what is claimed by Jacob, one can accept the existence of logically related MNs and, at the same time, still maintain that the activity of MNs is replicative. It follows that MNs still support ST. (shrink)
In a publication of 1831 later seen as a milestone in the development of chemistry, Justus Liebig announced a new apparatus for the analysis of organic compounds and provided analytical results for fifteen substances. In this paper we used the detailed descriptions published by Liebig in 1837 to reconstruct his apparatus and methods for hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen analysis. Our replications of his analyses of racemic acid, cinchonine, narcotine, and urea reveal that his two pieces of apparatus give excellent results (...) for carbon and hydrogen content, but erratic results for nitrogen. The results corroborate the assessments of Liebig and his contemporaries, and show that the analytical method for carbon and hydrogen analysis was remarkably accurate. We offer this case, with its convincing replicability, not only to clarify the nature of Liebig's innovations, but also as a new model for understanding broader contested issues in the philosophy and sociology of science. Our analysis suggests that the great shift in science from gentlemanly avocation to professional vocation was tightly linked to laboratory practice, and not just to social networks and context. It also provides the basis for a critique of H. M. Collins's theory of the 'experimenters' regress'. (shrink)
This research replicates Weber's 1995 study of a large financial services firm that found that ethical subclimates exist within multi-departmental organizations, are influenced by the function of the department and the stakeholders served, and are relatively stable over time. Relying upon theoretical models developed by Thompson (1967) and Victor and Cullen (1998), hypotheses are developed that predict the ethical subclimate decision-making dimensions and type for diverse departments within a large steel manufacturing firm and that these ethical subclimate types will be (...) stable across the two periods of time when the data were collected. Employees were surveyed in 1995 and again in 1999 using Victor and Cullen's Ethical Climate Questionnaire. Response rates of 88 and 94 percent were achieved. Contrary to Weber's findings, our results imply that, in both samples, ethical subclimates may be determined by the strength of an organization's overall ethical climate, rather than the department's function. However, we did find support for Weber's earlier contention that these subclimates are relatively stable. Our results also suggest that differences may exist across industries, that is when comparing a large steel manufacturer, as we did in our study, with a large financial services organization, as Weber did in his 1995 study. (shrink)
Robert Rosen has proposed several characteristics to distinguish “simple” physical systems (or “mechanisms”) from “complex” systems, such as living systems, which he calls “organisms”. The Memory Evolutive Systems (MES) introduced by the authors in preceding papers are shown to provide a mathematical model, based on category theory, which satisfies his characteristics of organisms, in particular the merger of the Aristotelian causes. Moreover they identify the condition for the emergence of objects and systems of increasing complexity. As an application, the cognitive (...) system of an animal is modeled by the “MES of cat-neurons” obtained by successive complexifications of his neural system, in which the emergence of higher order cognitive processes gives support to Mario Bunge’s “emergentist monism.”. (shrink)
Authors frequently refer to gene-based selection in biological evolution, the reaction of the immune system to antigens, and operant learning as exemplifying selection processes in the same sense of this term. However, as obvious as this claim may seem on the surface, setting out an account of “selection” that is general enough to incorporate all three of these processes without becoming so general as to be vacuous is far from easy. In this target article, we set out such a general (...) account of selection to see how well it accommodates these very different sorts of selection. The three fundamental elements of this account are replication, variation, and environmental interaction. For selection to occur, these three processes must be related in a very specific way. In particular, replication must alternate with environmental interaction so that any changes that occur in replication are passed on differentially because of environmental interaction. One of the main differences among the three sorts of selection that we investigate concerns the role of organisms. In traditional biological evolution, organisms play a central role with respect to environmental interaction. Although environmental interaction can occur at other levels of the organizational hierarchy, organisms are the primary focus of environmental interaction. In the functioning of the immune system, organisms function as containers. The interactions that result in selection of antibodies during a lifetime are between entities (antibodies and antigens) contained within the organism. Resulting changes in the immune system of one organism are not passed on to later organisms. Nor are changes in operant behavior resulting from behavioral selection passed on to later organisms. But operant behavior is not contained in the organism because most of the interactions that lead to differential replication include parts of the world outside the organism. Changes in the organism's nervous system are the effects of those interactions. The role of genes also varies in these three systems. Biological evolution is gene-based (i.e., genes are the primary replicators). Genes play very different roles in operant behavior and the immune system. However, in all three systems, iteration is central. All three selection processes are also incredibly wasteful and inefficient. They can generate complexity and novelty primarily because they are so wasteful and inefficient. Key Words: evolution; immunology; interaction; operant behavior; operant learning; replication; selection; variation. (shrink)
We should eventually understand how exactly first person phenomenal consciousness is generated. When we do, we should be able to enginner one for robots. This is the engineering thesis in machine consciousness.
Approaching science by considering the epistemological virtues which scientists see as constitutive of good science, and the way these virtues trade-off against one another, makes it possible to capture action that may be lost by approaches which focus on either the theoretical or institutional level. Following Wimsatt (1984) I use the notion of heuristics and biases to help explore a case study from the history of biology. Early in the 20th century, mutation theorists and natural historians fought over the role (...) that isolation plays in evolution. This debate was principally about whether replication was the central scientific virtue (and hence the ultimate goal of science to replace non-experimental evidence with experimental evidence) or whether consilience of inductions was the central virtue (and hence, as many kinds of evidence as possible should be pursued). (shrink)
As capitalist economies have shifted their primary focus from providing goods and services for all, to concentrating wealth at the top echelons of societies, social entrepreneurs have been one source of re-capturing the original intent of capitalism. Social entrepreneurs have combined the efficiency and effectiveness of business organizations with the social concerns of many non-profit and governmental agencies. As a result, social entrepreneurship is viewed as having significant potential for alleviating many of the social ills we now face. To accomplish (...) this mission, however, will require expansion of social enterprises beyond their current footprints. We explore alternate methods of expansion, scaling and replication, and then examine potential catalysts, which can enable social entrepreneurs to attain their goals of social improvement. The catalysts we identify are effectual logic, enhanced legitimacy through appropriate reporting metrics, and information technology. We conclude with two brief case studies that exemplify how these catalysts are currently working to enhance the effectiveness of social start-ups. (shrink)