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Profile: Stephen Downes (University of Utah)
Profile: Stephen Downes (National Research Council Canada)
  1. Stephen M. Downes, Evolutionary Psychology, Adaptation and Design.
    People do lots of things and we have thousands of resources to explain our behavior. The social sciences, widely construed, include explanations of human behavior that invoke culture, religion, beliefs, desires, social institutions, race, gender and so on. In this paper I ignore all such explanations of human behavior. This is not because such explanations are all invalid or inferior, it is because they are not my current focus. A complete account of many components of human behavior will doubtless include (...)
     
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  2. Stephen M. Downes (2013). No Magic Bullet Explains the Evolution of Unique Human Traits. Biological Theory 8 (1):15-19.
    Here I outline the argument in Kim Sterelny’s book The Evolved Apprentice. I present some worries for Sterelny from the perspective of modelers in behavioral ecology. I go on to discuss Sterelny’s approach to moral psychology and finally introduce some potential new applications for his evolved apprentice view.
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  3. Stephen M. Downes & Edouard Machery (eds.) (2013). Arguing About Human Nature: Contemporary Debates. Routledge.
    Arguing About Human Nature covers recent debates--arising from biology, philosophy, psychology, and physical anthropology--that together systematically examine what it means to be human. Thirty-five essays--several of them appearing here for the first time in print--were carefully selected to offer competing perspectives on 12 different topics related to human nature. The context and main threads of the debates are highlighted and explained by the editors in a short, clear introduction to each of the 12 topics. Authors include Louise Anthony, Patrick Bateson, (...)
     
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  4. Elizabeth Cashdan & Stephen M. Downes (2012). Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Aggression. Human Nature 23 (1):1-4.
    The papers in this volume present varying approaches to human aggression, each from an evolutionary perspective. The evolutionary studies of aggression collected here all pursue aspects of patterns of response to environmental circumstances and consider explicitly how those circumstances shape the costs and benefits of behaving aggressively. All the authors understand various aspects of aggression as evolved adaptations but none believe that this implies we are doomed to continued violence, but rather that variation in aggression has evolutionary roots. These papers (...)
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  5. Stephen M. Downes (2012). How Much Work Do Scientific Images Do? Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):115-130.
    In this paper, I defend the view that there are many scientific images that have a serious epistemic role in science but this role is not adequately accounted for by the going view of representation and its attendant theoretical commitments. The relevant view of representation is Laura Perini’s account of representation for scientific images. I draw on Adina Roskies’ work on scientific images as well as work on models in science to support my conclusion.
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  6. Stephen M. Downes, Marshall Abrams, Matthew H. Haber, Joel D. Velasco, Bruce S. Weir, Rachel A. Ankeny, Sharon Crasnow, Mary S. Morgan, Anna Alexandrova & Hasok Chang (2012). 3.“Author TBD”: Radical Collaboration in Contemporary Biomedical Research “Author TBD”: Radical Collaboration in Contemporary Biomedical Research (Pp. 845-858). [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 79 (5).
     
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  7. Stephen M. Downes (2011). Scientific Models. Philosophy Compass 6 (11):757-764.
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  8. Stephen M. Downes (2010). Are You Experienced? What You Don't Know About Your Climbing Experience. In Stephen E. Schmid (ed.), Climbing - Philosophy for Everyone: Because It's There. Wiley-Blackwell.
     
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  9. Stephen M. Downes (2010). Evolutionary Psychology. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  10. Stephen M. Downes (2010). Heritability. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  11. Stephen M. Downes (2010). Moving Past the Levels of Selection Debates: Review of Samir Okasha's Evolution and the Levels of Selection. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):417-423.
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  12. Stephen M. Downes (2010). The Basic Components of the Human Mind Were Not Solidified During the Pleistocene Epoch. In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology. Wiley-Blackwell Pub..
    There are a number of competing hypotheses about human evolution. For example, Homo habilis and Homo erectus could have existed together, or one could have evolved from the other, and paleontological evidence may allow us to decide between these two hypotheses (see, e.g., Spoor et al., 2007). For most who work on the biology of human behavior, there is no question that human behavior is in some large part a product of evolution. But, there are competing hypotheses in this area (...)
     
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  13. Stephen M. Downes (2009). Models, Pictures, and Unified Accounts of Representation: Lessons From Aesthetics for Philosophy of Science. Perspectives on Science 17 (4):417-428.
    Several prominent philosophers of science, most notably Ron Giere, propose that scientific theories are collections of models and that models represent the objects of scientific study. Some, including Giere, argue that models represent in the same way that pictures represent. Aestheticians have brought the picturing relation under intense scrutiny and presented important arguments against the tenability of particular accounts of picturing. Many of these arguments from aesthetics can be used against accounts of representation in philosophy of science. I rely on (...)
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  14. Stephen M. Downes (2009). Moving Past the Levels of Selection Debates. Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):703-709.
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  15. Stephen M. Downes, Heredity and Heritability. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  16. Stephen M. Downes (2007). Life After Evolutionary Psychology. Metascience 16 (1):1-24.
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  17. Stephen M. Downes (2006). From Philosophy of Biology to Social Philosophy. Biology and Philosophy 21 (2):299-307.
  18. Stephen M. Downes (2005). Integrating the Multiple Biological Causes of Human Behavior. Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):177-190.
    I introduce a range of examples of different causal hypotheses about human mate selection. The hypotheses I focus on come from evolutionary psychology, fluctuating asymmetry research and chemical signaling research. I argue that a major obstacle facing an integrated biology of human behavior is the lack of a causal framework that shows how multiple proximate causal mechanisms can act together to produce components of our behavior.
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  19. Stephen M. Downes (2005). Pushing Pluralism in the Biology of Human Behaviour. Metascience 14 (2):269-271.
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  20. Stephen M. Downes, Biological Information.
    This paper discussses various concepts of biological information with particular attention being paid to genetic information.
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  21. Stephen M. Downes (2002). A Review of David Hull, Science and Selection: Essays on Biological Evolution and the Philosophy of Science. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 17 (5):739-742.
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  22. Stephen M. Downes (2002). Some Recent Developments in Evolutionary Approaches to the Study of Human Cognition and Behavior. Biology and Philosophy 16 (5):575-94.
    In this paper I review some theoretical exchanges and empiricalresults from recent work on human behavior and cognition in thehope of indicating some productive avenues for critical engagement.I focus particular attention on methodological debates between Evolutionary Psychologists and behavioral ecologists. I argue for a broader and more encompassing approach to the evolutionarily based study of human behavior and cognition than either of these two rivals present.
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  23. Stephen M. Downes (2001). Agents and Norms in the New Economics of Science. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (2):224-238.
    In this article, the author focuses on Philip Kitcher's and Alvin Goldman's economic models of the social character of scientific knowledge production. After introducing some relevant methodological issues in the social sciences and characterizing Kitcher's and Goldman's models, the author goes on to show that special problems arise directly from the concept of an agent invoked in the models. The author argues that the two distinct concepts of agents, borrowed from economics and cognitive psychology, are inconsistent. Finally, the author discusses (...)
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  24. Stephen M. Downes (2001). Getting Over Science Wars. Social Epistemology 15 (4):384-387.
     
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  25. Stephen M. Downes (2001). The Ontogeny of Information: Developmental Systems and Evolution (Review). Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 44 (3):464-469.
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  26. Stephen M. Downes (2000). Truth, Selection and Scientific Inquiry. Biology and Philosophy 15 (3):425-442.
    In this paper I examine various ways in whichphilosophers have made connections between truth andnatural selection. I introduce several versions ofthe view that mechanisms of true belief generationarise as a result of natural selection and argue thatthey fail to establish a connection between truth andnatural selection. I then turn to scientific truthsand argue that evolutionary accounts of the origin ofscientific truth generation mechanisms also fail. Iintroduce David Hull's selectionist model ofscientific development and argue that his account ofscientific success does not (...)
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  27. Stephen M. Downes (1999). Can Scientific Development and Children's Cognitive Development Be the Same Process? Philosophy of Science 66 (4):565-578.
    In this paper I assess Gopnik and Meltzoff's developmental psychology of science as a contribution to the understanding of scientific development. I focus on two specific aspects of Gopnik and Meltzoff's approach: the relation between their views and recapitulationist views of ontogeny and phylogeny in biology, and their overall conception of cognition as a set of veridical processes. First, I discuss several issues that arise from their appeal to evolutionary biology, focusing specifically on the role of distinctions between ontogeny and (...)
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  28. Stephen M. Downes (1993). Socializing Naturalized Philosophy of Science. Philosophy of Science 60 (3):452-468.
    I propose an approach to naturalized philosophy of science that takes the social nature of scientific practice seriously. I criticize several prominent naturalistic approaches for adopting "cognitive individualism", which limits the study of science to an examination of the internal psychological mechanisms of scientists. I argue that this limits the explanatory capacity of these approaches. I then propose a three-level model of the social nature of scientific practice, and use the model to defend the claim that scientific knowledge is socially (...)
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  29. Stephen M. Downes (1992). The Importance of Models in Theorizing: A Deflationary Semantic View. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:142 - 153.
    I critically examine the semantic view of theories to reveal the following results. First, models in science are not the same as models in mathematics, as holders of the semantic view claim. Second, when several examples of the semantic approach are examined in detail no common thread is found between them, except their close attention to the details of model building in each particular science. These results lead me to propose a deflationary semantic view, which is simply that model construction (...)
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  30. Stephen M. Downes (1991). Empirical Investigation or Rational Reconstruction? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (4):742-743.
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