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  1. Thomas W. Polger & Robert A. Skipper, Naturalism, Explanation, and Identity.
    Some people believe that there is an “explanatory gap” between the facts of physics and certain other facts about the world—for example, facts about consciousness. The gap is presented as a challenge to any thoroughgoing naturalism or physicalism. We believe that advocates of the explanatory gap have some reasonable expectations that cannot be merely dismissed. We also believe that naturalistic thinkers have the resources to close the explanatory gap, but that they have not adequately explained how and why these resources (...)
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  2. Robert A. Skipper & Thomas W. Polger, Naturalism, Explanation, and Identity.
    Some people believe that there is an “explanatory gap” between the facts of physics and certain other facts about the world—for example, facts about consciousness. The gap is presented as a challenge to any thoroughgoing naturalism or physicalism. We believe that advocates of the explanatory gap have some reasonable expectations that cannot be merely dismissed. We also believe that naturalistic thinkers have the resources to close the explanatory gap, but that they have not adequately explained how and why these resources (...)
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  3. Michael R. Dietrich & Robert A. Skipper Jr (2012). A Shifting Terrain: A Brief History of the Adaptive Landscape. In E. Svensson & R. Calsbeek (eds.), The Adaptive Landscape in Evolutionary Biology. Oup Oxford.
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  4. Roberta L. Millstein, Robert A. Skipper Jr & Michael R. Dietrich (2009). (Mis)Interpreting Mathematical Models: Drift as a Physical Process. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 1 (20130604):e002.
    Recently, a number of philosophers of biology (e.g., Matthen and Ariew 2002; Walsh, Lewens, and Ariew 2002; Pigliucci and Kaplan 2006; Walsh 2007) have endorsed views about random drift that, we will argue, rest on an implicit assumption that the meaning of concepts such as drift can be understood through an examination of the mathematical models in which drift appears. They also seem to implicitly assume that ontological questions about the causality (or lack thereof) of terms appearing in the models (...)
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  5. Michael R. Dietrich & Robert A. Skipper (2007). Manipulating Underdetermination in Scientific Controversy: The Case of the Molecular Clock. Perspectives on Science 15 (3):295-326.
    : Where there are cases of underdetermination in scientific controversies, such as the case of the molecular clock, scientists may direct the course and terms of dispute by playing off the multidimensional framework of theory evaluation. This is because assessment strategies themselves are underdetermined. Within the framework of assessment, there are a variety of trade-offs between different strategies as well as shifting emphases as specific strategies are given more or less weight in assessment situations. When a strategy is underdetermined, scientists (...)
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  6. Roberta L. Millstein & Robert A. Skipper (2007). Population Genetics. In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press.
    Population genetics attempts to measure the influence of the causes of evolution, viz., mutation, migration, natural selection, and random genetic drift, by understanding the way those causes change the genetics of populations. But how does it accomplish this goal? After a short introduction, we begin in section (2) with a brief historical outline of the origins of population genetics. In section (3), we sketch the model theoretic structure of population genetics, providing the flavor of the ways in which population genetics (...)
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  7. Robert A. Skipper Jr (2006). Stochastic Evolutionary Dynamics: Drift Versus Draft. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):655-665.
    In a small handful of papers in theoretical population genetics, John Gillespie (2000a, 2000b, 2001) argues that a new stochastic process he calls "genetic draft" is evolutionarily more significant than genetic drift. This case study of chance in evolution explores Gillespie's proposed stochastic evolutionary force and sketches the implications of Gillespie's argument for philosophers' explorations of genetic drift.
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  8. Robert A. Skipper & Roberta L. Millstein (2005). Thinking About Evolutionary Mechanisms: Natural Selection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (2):327-347.
    This paper explores whether natural selection, a putative evolutionary mechanism, and a main one at that, can be characterized on either of the two dominant conceptions of mechanism, due to Glennan and the team of Machamer, Darden, and Craver, that constitute the new mechanistic philosophy'. The results of the analysis are that neither of the dominant conceptions of mechanism adequately captures natural selection. Nevertheless, the new mechanistic philosophy possesses the resources for an understanding of natural selection under the rubric.
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  9. Robert A. Skipper Jr (2004). The Heuristic Role of Sewall Wright's 1932 Adaptive Landscape Diagram. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1176-1188.
    Sewall Wright's adaptive landscape is the most influential heuristic in evolutionary biology. Wright's biographer, Provine, criticized Wright's adaptive landscape, claiming that its heuristic value is dubious because of deep flaws. Ruse has defended Wright against Provine. Ruse claims Provine has not shown Wright's use of the landscape is flawed, and that, even if it were, it is heuristically valuable. I argue that both Provine's and Ruse's analyses of the adaptive landscape are defective and suggest a more adequate understanding of it.
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  10. Robert A. Skipper (2004). Calibration of Laboratory Models in Population Genetics. Perspectives on Science 12 (4):369-393.
    : This paper explores the calibration of laboratory models in population genetics as an experimental strategy for justifying experimental results and claims based upon them following Franklin (1986, 1990) and Rudge (1996, 1998). The analysis provided undermines Coyne et al.'s (1997) critique of Wade and Goodnight's (1991) experimental study of Wright's (1931, 1932) Shifting Balance Theory. The essay concludes by further demonstrating how this analysis bears on Diamond's (1986) claims regarding the weakness of laboratory experiments as evidence, and further how (...)
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  11. Robert A. Skipper (2004). Perspectives on the Animal Mind. Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):483-487.
    Charles Darwin was one of the first to propose a unified framework with which to understand human and animal behavior. The foundation of Darwin’s framework is his theory of descent with modification. What Darwin was convinced that theory allowed him to say about human and animal behavior is exemplified in the ‘continuity thesis.’ As Darwin put it, ‘there is a much wider interval in mental power between one of the lowest fishes, as a lamprey or lancelet, and one of the (...)
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  12. Robert A. Skipper (2002). The Persistence of the R.A. Fisher-Sewall Wright Controversy. Biology and Philosophy 17 (3):341-367.
    This paper considers recent heated debates led by Jerry A. Coyne andMichael J. Wade on issues stemming from the 1929–1962 R.A. Fisher-Sewall Wrightcontroversy in population genetics. William B. Provine once remarked that theFisher-Wright controversy is central, fundamental, and very influential.Indeed,it is also persistent. The argumentative structure of therecent (1997–2000) debates is analyzed with the aim of eliminating a logicalconflict in them, viz., that the two sides in the debates havedifferent aims and that, as such, they are talking past each other. (...)
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  13. Robert Alan Skipper (2001). The Causal Crux of Selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (3):556-556.
    Hull et al. make a direct connection between selection and replication. My view is that selection, at its causal crux, is not inherently connected to replication. I make plain the causal crux of selection, distinguishing it from replication. I discuss implications of my results for Hull et al.'s critique of Darden and Cain (1989).
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  14. Robert A. Skipper Jr (1999). Selection and the Extent of Explanatory Unification. Philosophy of Science 66 (3):209.
    According to Philip Kitcher, scientific unification is achieved via the derivation of numerous scientific statements from economies of argument schemata. I demonstrate that the unification of selection phenomena across domains in which it is claimed to occur--evolutionary biology, immunology and, speculatively, neurobiology--is unattainable on Kitcher's view. I then introduce an alternative method for rendering the desired unification based on the concept of a mechanism schema. I conclude that the gain in unification provided by the alternative account suggests that Kitcher's view (...)
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