Philosophy of Biology

Edited by Manolo Martínez (Universitat de Barcelona)
Assistant editor: Wiseley Wong (University of Western Ontario)
210 found
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1 — 50 / 210
  1. added 2020-09-21
    Towards Mechanism 2.1: A Dynamic Causal Approach.W. Fang - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    I propose a dynamic causal approach to characterizing the notion of a mechanism. Levy and Bechtel, among others, have pointed out several critical limitations of the new mechanical philosophy, and pointed in a new direction to extend this philosophy. Nevertheless, they have not fully fleshed out what that extended philosophy would look like. Based on a closer look at neuroscientific practice, I propose that a mechanism is a dynamic causal system that involves various components interacting, typically nonlinearly, with one another (...)
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  2. added 2020-09-21
    Reduction and Progress in Biology.Sun Kyeong Yu - 2007 - International Journal of the Humanities 5:133-139.
    The historical development of debates about reduction testifies to us that reductionism in biology must proceed by providing a precise and complete causal explanation for every biological phenomenon at the level of molecules. An intertheoretical reduction model was proposed in biology but proved unsuccessful due to its inability to accommodate and explain the success of molecular biology. Ever since the molecular structure of the gene was discovered, actual biological research has successfully generated explanations for complex biological facts in terms of (...)
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  3. added 2020-09-19
    Strengthening Weak Emergence.Nora Berenstain - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    Bedau's influential (1997) account analyzes weak emergence in terms of the non-derivability of a system’s macrostates from its microstates except by simulation. I offer an improved version of Bedau’s account of weak emergence in light of insights from information theory. Non-derivability alone does not guarantee that a system’s macrostates are weakly emergent. Rather, it is non-derivability plus the algorithmic compressibility of the system’s macrostates that makes them weakly emergent. I argue that the resulting information-theoretic picture provides a metaphysical account of (...)
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  4. added 2020-09-19
    What Makes Neurophysiology Meaningful? Semantic Content Ascriptions in Insect Navigation Research.Kelle Dhein - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (5):1-22.
    In the course of investigating the living world, biologists regularly attribute semantic content to the phenomena they study. In this paper, I examine the case of a contemporary research program studying the navigation behaviors of ants and develop an account of the norms governing researchers’ ascriptions of semantic content in their research practices. The account holds that researchers assign semantic content to behaviors that reliably achieve a difficult goal-directed function, and it also suggests a productive role for attributions of semantic (...)
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  5. added 2020-09-18
    Understanding Scientific Types: Holotypes, Stratotypes, and Measurement Prototypes.Alisa Bokulich - forthcoming - Biology and Philosophy.
    At the intersection of taxonomy and nomenclature lies the scientific practice of typification. This practice occurs in biology with the use of holotypes (type specimens), in geology with the use of stratotypes, and in metrology with the use of measurement prototypes. In this paper I develop the first general definition of a scientific type and outline a new philosophical theory of types inspired by Pierre Duhem. I use this general framework to resolve the necessity-contingency debate about type specimens in philosophy (...)
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  6. added 2020-09-18
    Metabolic Reprogramming is a Hallmark of Metabolism Itself.Miguel Ángel Medina - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000058.
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  7. added 2020-09-18
    Latest Advances for the Sleeping Beauty Transposon System: 23 Years of Insomnia but Prettier Than Ever.Maximilian Amberger & Zoltán Ivics - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000136.
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  8. added 2020-09-17
    Can Variability‐Enhancing Factors Replace Models of Risk as the Basis of Schizophrenia and Development?Mohammad Alherz - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000237.
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  9. added 2020-09-17
    Valuing Shorebirds: Bureaucracy, Natural History, and Expertise in North American Conservation.Kristoffer Whitney - forthcoming - Journal of the History of Biology:1-22.
    This article follows shorebirds—migratory animals that have gone from game to nongame animals over the course of the past century in North America—as a way to track modern field biology, bureaucratic institutions, and the valuation of wildlife. Doing so allows me to make interrelated arguments about the history of wildlife management and science. The first is to note the endurance of observation-based natural history methods in field biology over the long twentieth century and the importance of these methods for the (...)
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  10. added 2020-09-17
    Copulation Song in Drosophila : Do Females Sing to Change Male Ejaculate Allocation and Incite Postcopulatory Mate Choice?Peter Kerwin & Anne C. Philipsborn - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000109.
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  11. added 2020-09-17
    Eliminativism and Evolutionary Debunking.Jeffrey N. Bagwell - forthcoming - Ergo.
    I argue that eliminativists face a self-defeat problem when making evolutionary debunking arguments against ordinary object beliefs. Their conclusion undermines the scientific support for one of their premises because evolutionary biology systematically appeals to our object beliefs. A popular eliminativist strategy is to convert any proposition about some object K into one about simples arranged K-wise. I weigh the prospects of using this strategy to construct an object-free surrogate theory of evolution that supports the argument. This theory must ultimately be (...)
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  12. added 2020-09-17
    Has classical gene position been practically reduced?Oriol Vidal & David Teira - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (5):1-20.
    One of the defining features of the classical gene was its position. In molecular genetics, positions are defined instead as nucleotide numbers and there is no clear correspondence with its classical counterpart. However, the classical gene position did not simply disappear with the development of the molecular approach, but survived in the lab associated to different genetic practices. The survival of classical gene position would illustrate Waters’ view about the practical persistence of the genetic approach beyond reductionism and anti-reductionist claims. (...)
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  13. added 2020-09-16
    Michel Morange, The Black Box of Biology. A History of the Molecular Revolution. Trans. by M. Cobb (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020), 528 pp., $45.00, £36.95, €40.50 Hardback, ISBN: 9780674281363. [REVIEW]Koen B. Tanghe - forthcoming - Journal of the History of Biology:1-4.
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  14. added 2020-09-16
    Ecological Laws for Agroecological Design: The Need for More Organized Collaboration in Producing, Evaluating and Updating Ecological Generalizations.Oswaldo Forey & Stefan Linquist - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (3):1-20.
    The applied discipline of agroecological design provides a useful case study for examining broader philosophical questions about the existence and importance of ecological generalizations or “laws.” Recent developments in the availability and use of formal meta-analyses have led to the discovery of many resilient generalizations in ecology. However, these “laws” face numerous challenges when it comes to their practical application. Concerns about their reliability and scope might stem from unclear logical and epistemic connections to more foundational or “unifying” generalizations, 2019) (...)
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  15. added 2020-09-16
    Cyclic and Multilevel Causation in Evolutionary Processes.Jonathan Warrell & Mark Gerstein - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (5):1-36.
    Many models of evolution are implicitly causal processes. Features such as causal feedback between evolutionary variables and evolutionary processes acting at multiple levels, though, mean that conventional causal models miss important phenomena. We develop here a general theoretical framework for analyzing evolutionary processes drawing on recent approaches to causal modeling developed in the machine-learning literature, which have extended Pearls do-calculus to incorporate cyclic causal interactions and multilevel causation. We also develop information-theoretic notions necessary to analyze causal information dynamics in our (...)
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  16. added 2020-09-15
    Narrative Niche Construction: Memory Ecologies and Distributed Narrative Identities.Richard Heersmink - forthcoming - Biology and Philosophy.
    Memories of our personal past are the building blocks of our narrative identity. So, when we depend on objects and other people to remember and construct our personal past, our narrative identity is distributed across our embodied brains and an ecology of environmental resources. This paper uses a cognitive niche construction approach to conceptualise how we engineer our memory ecology and construct our distributed narrative identities. It does so by identifying three types of niche construction processes that govern how we (...)
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  17. added 2020-09-14
    Truth Through Nonviolence.Venkata Rayudu Posina - 2016 - GITAM Journal of Gandhian Studies 5 (1):143-150.
    What is reality? How do we know? Answers to these fundamental questions of ontology and epistemology, based on Mahatma Gandhi's "experiments with truth", are: reality is nonviolent (in the sense of not-inconsistent), and nonviolence (in the sense of respecting-meaning) is the only means of knowing (Gandhi, 1940). Be that as it may, science is what we think of when we think of reality and knowing. How does Gandhi's nonviolence, discovered in his spiritual quest for Truth, relate to the scientific pursuit (...)
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  18. added 2020-09-13
    Coordinating Coronavirus Research: The COVID-19 Infectious Disease Ontology.John Beverley, Shane Babcock, Gustavo Carvalho, Lindsay Cowell, Sebastian Duesing, Regina Hurley & Barry Smith - 2020 - Open Science Foundation Preprints.
    Rapidly, accurately and easily interpreting generated data is of fundamental concern. Ontologies – structured controlled vocabularies – support interoperability and prevent the development of data silos which undermine interoperability. The Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Foundry serves to ensure ontologies remain interoperable through adherence by its members to core ontology design principles. For example, the Infectious Disease Ontology (IDO) Core includes terminological content common to investigations of all infectious diseases. Ontologies covering more specific infectious diseases in turn extend from (...)
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  19. added 2020-09-12
    Mechanical and Non-Mechanical Functions of Filamentous and Non-Filamentous Vimentin.Alison E. Patteson, Amir Vahabikashi, Robert D. Goldman & Paul A. Janmey - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000078.
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  20. added 2020-09-11
    Functional Powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - forthcoming - In Ludger Jansen & Petter Sandstad (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation. Routledge.
    This chapter introduces functional powers, i.e. causal powers that play the role of functions. The first section characterizes functions and present some desiderata for a good theory of functions. The second section makes some assumptions about the ontology of powers, teleology and structures—that will be helpful in order to ground the present account of functional powers. In the third section, sixteen different types of functional powers are examined. All such types of functional powers will exhaustively contribute to performing all the (...)
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  21. added 2020-09-11
    Ontology and Values Anchor Indigenous and Grey Nomenclatures: A Case Study in Lichen Naming Practices Among the Samí, Sherpa, Scots, and Okanagan.Catherine Kendig - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences:101340.
    Ethnobotanical research provides ample justification for comparing diverse biological nomenclatures and exploring ways that retain alternative naming practices. However, how (and whether) comparison of nomenclatures is possible remains a subject of discussion. The comparison of diverse nomenclatural practices introduces a suite of epistemic and ontological difficulties and considerations. Different nomenclatures may depend on whether the communities using them rely on formalized naming conventions; cultural or spiritual valuations; or worldviews. Because of this, some argue that the different naming practices may not (...)
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  22. added 2020-09-11
    Intercultural Science Education as a Trading Zone Between Traditional and Academic Knowledge.Jairo Robles-Piñeros, David Ludwig, Geilsa Costa Santos Baptista & Adela Molina Andrade - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences:101337.
  23. added 2020-09-11
    The History and Philosophy of Taxonomy as an Information Science.Catherine Kendig & Joeri Witteveen - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (3):1-9.
    We undeniably live in an information age—as, indeed, did those who lived before us. After all, as the cultural historian Robert Darnton pointed out: ‘every age was an age of information, each in its own way’ (Darnton 2000: 1). Darnton was referring to the news media, but his insight surely also applies to the sciences. The practices of acquiring, storing, labeling, organizing, retrieving, mobilizing, and integrating data about the natural world has always been an enabling aspect of scientific work. Natural (...)
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  24. added 2020-09-11
    The Ape That Understood the Universe: How the Mind and Culture Evolve by Steve Stewart-Williams. [REVIEW]Ivan Gonzalez-Cabrera - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 95:150.
    What explains the distinctive features of human behavior? In this book, Stewart-Williams aims to answer this ambitious question. This book is an engaging addition to the already long list of recent attempts to provide an evolutionary explanation of human uniqueness. It is organized into six chapters, plus two appendices. These chapters address several key topics in evolutionary theory, sex differences and sexual behavior, altruism, and cultural evolution, albeit with varying degrees of detail and depth. These topics include sexual selection, kin (...)
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  25. added 2020-09-11
    Peer Competition and Cooperation.Ivan Gonzalez-Cabrera - 2018 - In T. K. Shackelford & V. A. Weekes-Shackelford (eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Basel:
    Peer competition and peer cooperation can be intuitively seen as opposing phenomena. However, depending on multiple factors, they might be complementary. In a population divided into groups, for instance, members of each group may cooperate with their peers in order to compete with neighboring groups. Alternatively, they may compete with their peers as a means of choosing the best cooperative partners and demonstrate that they are reliable cooperative partners. For instance, if subjects can choose with whom they wish to interact, (...)
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  26. added 2020-09-11
    The Many Meanings of Sustainability: A Competing Paradigms Approach.Paul B. Thompson - 2016 - In Steven A. Moore (ed.), Pragmatic Sustainability: Dispositions for Critical Adaptation. New York: pp. 16-28.
    Although the word 'sustainability' is used broadly, scientific approaches to sustainability fall into one of two competing paradigms. Following the influential Brundtland report of 1987. some theorists identify sustainability with some form of resource availability, and develop indicators for sustainability that stress capital depletion. This approach has spawned debates about the intersubstitutivity of capitals, with many environmental theorists arguing that at some point, depletion of natural capital cannot be offset by increases in human or social capital. The alternative approach is (...)
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  27. added 2020-09-10
    The Teleology of Reality and of Right. An Inquiry About Cause, Law and Purpose in Nature, Holistically Considered.Ferreira Leite de Paula - manuscript
    This article is about the teleological deep structure of reality, of agency and normativity, and what this means for ethics, law and science, especially for the relationship between them. Teleology is explicitly present in the most diverse fields of knowledge, and accounts for fundamental dichotomies in these fields. In ethics for example, the unresolved opposition between consequentialism and deontology is actually a problem that concerns the prevalence of the (teleological) good over the (deontological) right, or vice-versa. With the advent of (...)
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  28. added 2020-09-09
    Ineluctably Us: Early Hominid Discoveries, Mass Media, and the Reification of Human Ancestors.Tj Gundling - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (3):1-27.
    Even as paleoanthropology becomes increasingly sophisticated in revealing both the broad contours and the details of the deep evolutionary history of Homo sapiens, it continues to be informed by lingering pre-evolutionary residues. Specifically, the goal of prior research was to demonstrate that the influence of the ancient Scala Naturae as an organizing principle significantly contributed to the scientific community’s delayed acceptance of Australopithecus as a plesiomorphic member of the Hominidae. The present study extends this research through a selective examination of (...)
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  29. added 2020-09-08
    Calculus CL - From Baroque Logic to Artificial Intelligence.Jens Lemanski - 2020 - Logique Et Analyse 249:111-129.
    In the year 1714, Johann Christian Lange published a baroque textbook about a logic machine, supposed to simulate human cognitive abilities such as perception, judgement, and reasoning. From today’s perspective, it can be argued that this blueprint is based on an inference engine applied to a strict ontology which serves as a knowledge base. In this paper, I will first introduce Lange’s approach in the period of baroque logic and then present a diagrammatic modernization of Lange’s principles, entitled Calculus CL. (...)
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  30. added 2020-09-07
    Probability of Disease Extinction or Outbreak in a Stochastic Epidemic Model for West Nile Virus Dynamics in Birds.Milliward Maliyoni - forthcoming - Acta Biotheoretica.
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  31. added 2020-09-06
    The Epistemology of a Positive SARS-CoV-2 Test.Rainer Johannes Klement & Prasanta S. Bandyopadhyay - forthcoming - Acta Biotheoretica.
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  32. added 2020-09-06
    Zoocentrism in the weeds? Cultivating plant models for cognitive yield.Adam Linson & Paco Calvo - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (5):1-27.
    It remains at best controversial to claim, non-figuratively, that plants are cognitive agents. At the same time, it is taken as trivially true that many animals are cognitive agents, arguably through an implicit or explicit appeal to natural science. Yet, any given definition of cognition implicates at least some further processes, such as perception, action, memory, and learning, which must be observed either behaviorally, psychologically, neuronally, or otherwise physiologically. Crucially, however, for such observations to be intelligible, they must be counted (...)
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  33. added 2020-09-05
    Mechanics as a Means of Information Propagation in Development.Miriam A. Genuth & Scott A. Holley - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000121.
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  34. added 2020-09-05
    Computational and Theoretical Analysis of the Association Between Gender and HSV-2 Treatment Adherence.A. Mhlanga & S. Mushayabasa - forthcoming - Acta Biotheoretica.
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  35. added 2020-09-05
    Ubiquitin‐Modulated Phase Separation of Shuttle Proteins: Does Condensate Formation Promote Protein Degradation?Thuy P. Dao & Carlos A. Castañeda - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000036.
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  36. added 2020-09-05
    CHRONOCRISIS: When Cell Cycle Asynchrony Generates DNA Damage in Polyploid Cells.Simon Gemble & Renata Basto - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000105.
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  37. added 2020-09-05
    From the Nuclear Pore to the Fibrous Corona: A MAD Journey to Preserve Genome Stability.Sofia Cunha‐Silva & Carlos Conde - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000132.
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  38. added 2020-09-04
    Wolf Howling and Emergency Sirens: A Hypothesis of Natural and Technical Convergence of Aposematic Signals.Diana Kořanová, Lucie Němcová, Richard Policht, Vlastimil Hart, Sabine Begall & Hynek Burda - forthcoming - Acta Biotheoretica.
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  39. added 2020-09-04
    Biodynamic Interfaces Are Essential for Human–Environment Interactions.Manish Arora, Alessandro Giuliani & Paul Curtin - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000017.
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  40. added 2020-09-04
    Monitoring Autophagy Flux and Activity: Principles and Applications.Takashi Ueno & Masaaki Komatsu - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000122.
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  41. added 2020-09-03
    You: A Natural History, by William B Irvine. [REVIEW]Ross Pain - 2020 - Quarterly Review of Biology 95 (3):250-251.
    Review of William B Irvine's "You: A Natural History".
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  42. added 2020-09-02
    Age and Location in Severity of COVID‐19 Pathology: Do Lactoferrin and Pneumococcal Vaccination Explain Low Infant Mortality and Regional Differences?Robert Root‐Bernstein - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000076.
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  43. added 2020-09-02
    Schizophrenia: Developmental Variability Interacts with Risk Factors to Cause the Disorder.Andrei Szoke, Baptiste Pignon, Sarah Boster, Stéphane Jamain & Franck Schürhoff - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000038.
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  44. added 2020-08-31
    Why Buy Local?Benjamin Ferguson & Christopher Thompson - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
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  45. added 2020-08-30
    An Ontology of Weak Entity Realism for HPC Kinds.Reuben Sass - forthcoming - Synthese.
    This paper defends an ontology of weak entity realism for homeostatic property cluster (HPC) theories of natural kinds, adapted from Bird’s (Synthese 195(4):1397–1426, 2018) taxonomy of such theories. Weak entity realism about HPC kinds accepts the existence of natural kinds. Weak entity realism denies two theses: that (1) HPC kinds have mind-independent essences, and that (2) HPC kinds reduce to entities, such as complex universals, posited only by metaphysical theories. Strong entity realism accepts (1) and (2), whereas moderate entity realism (...)
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  46. added 2020-08-30
    The Intrinsic Probability of Grand Explanatory Theories.Ted Poston - forthcoming - Faith and Philosophy.
    This paper articulates a way to ground a relatively high prior probability for grand explanatory theories apart from an appeal to simplicity. I explore the possibility of enumerating the space of plausible grand theories of the universe by using the explanatory properties of possible views to limit the number of plausible theories. I motivate this alternative grounding by showing that Swinburne’s appeal to simplicity is problematic along several dimensions. I then argue that there are three plausible grand views—theism, atheism, and (...)
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  47. added 2020-08-30
    I Walk the Line: Comment on Mikael Leidenhag on Theistic Evolution and Intelligent Design.Christoffer Skogholt - 2020 - Zygon 55 (3):685-695.
  48. added 2020-08-29
    Beta‐Adrenergic Blockers as a Potential Treatment for COVID‐19 Patients.Natesan Vasanthakumar - forthcoming - Bioessays:2000094.
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  49. added 2020-08-28
    Sexual division and the new mythology: Goethe and Schelling.Stefani Engelstein - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (3):1-24.
    The new mythology for which the German Romantic period called was not envisioned as antithetical to empiricism or experiential/experimental knowledge, but rather as emerging in dialogue with it to form a cultural foundation for such inquiry. Central to the mytho-scientific project were problematic theories of sexual division and generativity that established cultural baselines. This article examines the mythological investments of two influential thinkers of the period—Goethe and Schelling. It then analyzes Goethe’s unique merger of mythological approaches to sex and generation (...)
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  50. added 2020-08-27
    Pre-Darwinian Evolution Before LUCA.Shiping Tang - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-5.
    If the coming of the last universal cellular ancestor marks the crossing of the “Darwinian Threshold”, pre-LUCA evolution must have been pre-Darwinian. But how did pre-Darwinian evolution actually operate? Bringing together and extending insights from both earlier and more recent contributions, this essay advances three principal arguments regarding the pre-Darwinian evolution. First, in the pre-Darwinian epoch, survival essentially meant persistence within the prebiotic system, and it depended mostly on chemical variation and interaction. Second, selection operated upon four different properties: chemical; (...)
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