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  1. William C. Wimsatt (forthcoming). Models and Experiments? An Exploration. Biology and Philosophy:1-6.
    Michael Weisberg has given us a lovely book on models. It has very broad coverage of issues intersecting the nature of models and their use, an extensive consideration of long ignored “concrete” models with a rich case study, a discussion and classification of the many diverse kinds of models, and a particularly groundbreaking and innovative discussion of similarity concerning how models relate to the world. Included are insightful discussions of increasingly used “agent based” models, and the conjoint use of multiple (...)
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  2. William C. Wimsatt (2013). Articulating Babel: An Approach to Cultural Evolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):563-571.
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  3. William C. Wimsatt (2013). Evolution and the Stability of Functional Architectures. In. In Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. Springer. 19--41.
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  4. William C. Wimsatt (2010). Memetics Does Not Provide a Useful Way of Understanding Cultural Evolution : A Developmental Perspective. In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology. Wiley-Blackwell Pub..
     
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  5. William C. Wimsatt (2007). On Building Reliable Pictures with Unreliable Data: An Evolutionary and Developmental Coda for the New Systems Biology. In Fred C. Boogerd, Frank J. Bruggeman, Jan-Hendrik S. Hofmeyr & Hans V. Westerhoff (eds.), Systems Biology: Philosophical Foundations. Elsevier. 103--20.
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  6. William C. Wimsatt (2007). Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. Harvard University Press.
    This book offers a philosophy for error-prone humans trying to understand messy systems in the real world.
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  7. William C. Wimsatt (2006). Commentary: Reengineering the Darwinian Sciences in Social Context. Biological Theory 1 (4):338-341.
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  8. William C. Wimsatt (2006). Aggregate, Composed, and Evolved Systems: Reductionistic Heuristics as Means to More Holistic Theories. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):667-702.
    Richard Levins’ distinction between aggregate, composed and evolved systems acquires new significance as we recognize the importance of mechanistic explanation. Criteria for aggregativity provide limiting cases for absence of organization, so through their failure, can provide rich detectors for organizational properties. I explore the use of failures of aggregativity for the analysis of mechanistic systems in diverse contexts. Aggregativity appears theoretically desireable, but we are easily fooled. It may be exaggerated through approximation, conditions of derivation, and extrapolating from some conditions (...)
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  9. William C. Wimsatt (2006). Generative Entrenchment and an Evolutionary Developmental Biology for Culture. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):364-366.
    Mesoudi et al.'s new synthesis for cultural evolution closely parallels the evolutionary synthesis of Neo-Darwinism. It too draws inspiration from population genetics, recruits other fields, and, unfortunately, also ignores development. Enculturation involves many serially acquired skills and dependencies that allow us to build a rich cumulative culture. The newer synthesis, evolutionary developmental biology, provides a key tool, generative entrenchment, to analyze them. (Published Online November 9 2006).
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  10. William C. Wimsatt (2006). Reductionism and its Heuristics: Making Methodological Reductionism Honest. [REVIEW] Synthese 151 (3):445 - 475.
    Methodological reductionists practice ‘wannabe reductionism’. They claim that one should pursue reductionism, but never propose how. I integrate two strains in prior work to do so. Three kinds of activities are pursued as “reductionist”. “Successional reduction” and inter-level mechanistic explanation are legitimate and powerful strategies. Eliminativism is generally ill-conceived. Specific problem-solving heuristics for constructing inter-level mechanistic explanations show why and when they can provide powerful and fruitful tools and insights, but sometimes lead to erroneous results. I show how traditional metaphysical (...)
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  11. William C. Wimsatt (2002). Using False Models to Elaborate Constraints on Processes: Blending Inheritance in Organic and Cultural Evolution. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S12-S24.
  12. William C. Wimsatt (2001). Richard Levins as Philosophical Revolutionary. Biology and Philosophy 16 (1):103-108.
  13. William Wimsatt, Richard Levins as Philosophical & Christopher di Carlo (2001). Manfred D. Laubichler and Günter P. Wagner. Biology and Philosophy 16:757-760.
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  14. William C. Wimsatt (2000). Emergence as Non-Aggregativity and the Biases of Reductionisms. Foundations of Science 5 (3):269-297.
    Most philosophical accounts of emergence are incompatible with reduction. Most scientists regard a system property as emergent relative to properties of its parts if it depends upon their mode of organization-a view consistent with reduction. Emergence is a failure of aggregativity, in which ``the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts''. Aggregativity requires four conditions, giving powerful tools for analyzing modes of organization. Differently met for different decompositions of the system, and in different degrees, the structural conditions (...)
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  15. William C. Wimsatt (2000). Heuristics Refound. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (5):766-767.
    Gigerenzer et al.'s is an extremely important book. The ecological validity of the key heuristics is strengthened by their relation to ubiquitous Poisson processes. The recognition heuristic is also used in conspecific cueing processes in ecology. Three additional classes of problem-solving heuristics are proposed for further study: families based on near-decomposability analysis, exaptive construction of functional structures, and robustness.
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  16. William C. Wimsatt (1999). Generativity, Entrenchment, Evolution, and Innateness: Philosophy, Evolutionary Biology, and Conceptual Foundations of Science. In V. Harcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology. 137--179.
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  17. William C. Wimsatt (1999). Genes, Memes, and Cultural Heredity. Biology and Philosophy 14 (2):279-310.
  18. William C. Wimsatt (1998). Simple Systems and Phylogenetic Diversity. Philosophy of Science 65 (2):267-275.
    The simple systems methodology is a powerful reductionistic research strategy. It has problems as implemented in developmental genetics because the organisms studied are few and unrepresentative. Stronger inferences require independent arguments that key traits are widely distributed phylogenetically. Evolutionary and developmental mechanisms of generative entrenchment and self-organization provide possible support, and are also necessary components of a developmental systems approach.
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  19. William C. Wimsatt (1997). Aggregativity: Reductive Heuristics for Finding Emergence. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):372-84.
    Most philosophical accounts of emergence are incompatible with reduction. Most scientists regard a system property as emergent relative to properties of the system's parts if it depends upon their mode of organization--a view consistent with reduction. Emergence can be analyzed as a failure of aggregativity--a state in which "the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts." Aggregativity requires four conditions, giving tools for analyzing modes of organization. Differently met for different decompositions of the system, and in different (...)
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  20. William C. Wimsatt (1994). The Ontology of Complex Systems: Levels of Organization, Perspectives, and Causal Thickets. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 24 (sup1):207-274.
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  21. William C. Wimsatt (1990). Taming the Dimensions-Visualizations in Science. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:111 - 135.
    The role of pictures and visual modes of presentation of data in science is a topic of increasing interest to workers in artificial intelligence, problem solving, and scientists in all fields who must deal with large quantities of complex multidimensional data. Drawing on studies of animal motion, aerodynamics, morphological transformations, the history of linkage mapping, and the analysis of deterministic chaos, I focus on the strengths and limitations of our visual system, the analysis of problems particularly suited to visualization-the analysis (...)
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  22. Jeffrey C. Schank & William C. Wimsatt (1986). Generative Entrenchment and Evolution. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:33 - 60.
    The generative entrenchment of an entity is a measure of how much of the generated structure or activity of a complex system depends upon the presence or activity of that entity. It is argued that entities with higher degrees of generative entrenchment are more conservative in evolutionary changes of such systems. A variety of models of complex structures incorporating the effects of generative entrenchment are presented and we demonstrate their relevance in analyzing and explaining a variety of developmental and evolutionary (...)
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  23. William C. Wimsatt (1986). Developmental Constraints, Generative Entrenchment, and the Innate-Acquired Distinction. In William Bechtel (ed.), Integrating Scientific Disciplines. 185--208.
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  24. William C. Wimsatt (1980). Randomness and Perceived-Randomness in Evolutionary Biology. Synthese 43 (2):287 - 329.
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  25. William C. Wimsatt (1980). The Units of Selection and the Structure of the Multi-Level Genome. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:122 - 183.
    The reductionistic vision of evolutionary theory, "the gene's eye view of evolution" is the dominant view among evolutionary biologists today. On this view, the gene is the only unit with sufficient stability to act as a unit of selection, with individuals and groups being more ephemeral units of function, but not of selection. This view is argued to be incorrect, on several grounds. The empirical and theoretical bases for the existence of higher-level units of selection are explored, and alternative analyses (...)
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  26. William C. Wimsatt (1976). Reductionism, Levels of Organization, and the Mind-Body Problem. In Gordon G. Globus (ed.), Consciousness and the Brain. Plenum Press.
  27. William C. Wimsatt, G. G. Globus, G. Maxwell & I. Savodnik (1976). Consciousness and the Brain: A Scientific and Philo-Sophical Inquiry. In G. Gordon, Grover Maxwell & I. Savodnik (eds.), Consciousness and the Brain: A Scientific and Philosophical Inquiry. Plenum.
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  28. William C. Wimsatt (1972). Complexity and Organization. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1972:67-86.
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  29. William C. Wimsatt (1972). Reductive Explanation: A Functional Account. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1974:671-710.
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  30. William C. Wimsatt (1972). Teleology and the Logical Structure of Function Statements. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 3 (1):1-80.
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  31. William C. Wimsatt (1971). Function, Organization, and Selection. Zygon 6 (2):168-172.
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  32. William C. Wimsatt (1970). Book Review:Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought George C. Williams. [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 37 (4):620-.
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  33. William C. Wimsatt (1970). Some Problems with the Concept of 'Feedback'. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1970:241 - 256.
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  34. William K. Wimsatt (1950). Symbol and Metaphor. Review of Metaphysics 4 (2):279-290.
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