Philosophy of Biology

Edited by Manolo Martínez (University of Antwerp)
95 found
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1 — 50 / 95
  1. added 2017-08-19
    Evolution of Individuality: A Case Study in the Volvocine Green Algae.Erik R. Hanschen, Dinah R. Davison, Zachariah I. Grochau-Wright & Richard E. Michod - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (3).
    All disciplines must define their basic units and core processes. In evolutionary biology, the core process is natural selection and the basic unit of selection and adaptation is the individual. To operationalize the theory of natural selection we must count individuals, as they are the bearers of fitness. While canonical individuals have often been taken to be multicellular organisms, the hierarchy of life shows that new kinds of individuals have evolved. A variety of criteria have been used to define biological (...)
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  2. added 2017-08-19
    Four Pillars of Statisticalism.Denis M. Walsh, André Ariew & Mohan Matthen - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (1).
    Over the past fifteen years there has been a considerable amount of debate concerning what theoretical population dynamic models tell us about the nature of natural selection and drift. On the causal interpretation, these models describe the causes of population change. On the statistical interpretation, the models of population dynamics models specify statistical parameters that explain, predict, and quantify changes in population structure, without identifying the causes of those changes. Selection and drift are part of a statistical description of population (...)
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  3. added 2017-08-19
    The Sum of the Parts: Large-Scale Modeling in Systems Biology.Fridolin Gross & Sara Green - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (10).
    Systems biologists often distance themselves from reductionist approaches and formulate their aim as understanding living systems “as a whole.” Yet, it is often unclear what kind of reductionism they have in mind, and in what sense their methodologies would offer a superior approach. To address these questions, we distinguish between two types of reductionism which we call “modular reductionism” and “bottom-up reductionism.” Much knowledge in molecular biology has been gained by decomposing living systems into functional modules or through detailed studies (...)
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  4. added 2017-08-19
    Reengineering Metaphysics: Modularity, Parthood, and Evolvability in Metabolic Engineering.Catherine Kendig & Todd T. Eckdahl - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (8).
    The premise of biological modularity is an ontological claim that appears to come out of practice. We understand that the biological world is modular because we can manipulate different parts of organisms in ways that would only work if there were discrete parts that were interchangeable. This is the foundation of the BioBrick assembly method widely used in synthetic biology. It is one of a number of methods that allows practitioners to construct and reconstruct biological pathways and devices using DNA (...)
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  5. added 2017-08-14
    How Biological Background Assumptions Influence Scientific Risk Evaluation of Stacked Genetically Modified Plants: An Analysis of Research Hypotheses and Argumentations.Fredrik Andersen & Elena Rocca - 2017 - Life Sciences, Society and Policy 13.
    Scientific risk evaluations are constructed by specific evidence, value judgements and biological background assumptions. The latter are the framework-setting suppositions we apply in order to understand some new phenomenon. That background assumptions co-determine choice of methodology, data interpretation, and choice of relevant evidence is an uncontroversial claim in modern basic science. Furthermore, it is commonly accepted that, unless explicated, disagreements in background assumptions can lead to misunderstanding as well as miscommunication. Here, we extend the discussion on background assumptions from basic (...)
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  6. added 2017-08-07
    Mental Evolution. [REVIEW]Charles Rathkopf - forthcoming - Biology and Philosophy:1-14.
    From Bacteria To Bach and Back is an ambitious book that attempts to integrate a theory about the evolution of the human mind with another theory about the evolution of human culture. It is advertised as a defense of memes, but conceptualizes memes more liberally than has been done before. It is also advertised as a defense of the proposal that natural selection operates on culture, but conceptualizes natural selection as a process in which nearly all interesting parameters are free (...)
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  7. added 2017-08-07
    Stem Cell Lineages: Between Cell and Organism.Melinda Bonnie Fagan - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (6).
    Ontologies of living things are increasingly grounded on the concepts and practices of current life science. Biological development is a process, undergone by living things, which begins with a single cell and (in an important class of cases) ends with formation of a multicellular organism. The process of development is thus prima facie central for ideas about biological individuality and organismality. However, recent accounts of these concepts do not engage developmental biology. This paper aims to fill the gap, proposing the (...)
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  8. added 2017-08-07
    Are Clusters Races? A Discussion of the Rhetorical Appropriation of Rosenberg Et Al.'s “Genetic Structure of Human Populations”.Melissa Wills - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (12).
    Noah Rosenberg et al.'s 2002 article “Genetic Structure of Human Populations” reported that multivariate genomic analysis of a large cell line panel yielded reproducible groupings (clusters) suggestive of individuals' geographical origins. The paper has been repeatedly cited as evidence that traditional notions of race have a biological basis, a claim its authors do not make. Critics of this misinterpretation have often suggested that it follows from interpreters' personal biases skewing the reception of an objective piece of scientific writing. I contend, (...)
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  9. added 2017-08-04
    The Ecological Catastrophe: The Political-Economic Caste as the Origin and Cause of Environmental Destruction and the Pre-Announced Democratic Disaster.Donato Bergandi - 2017 - In L. Westra, et al., (eds.), The Role of Integrity in the Governance of the Commons, Dordrecht, Netherland, Springer, pp. 179-189.
    The political, economic and environmental policies of a hegemonic, oligarchic, political-economic international caste are the origin and cause of the ecological and political dystopia that we are living in. An utilitarian, resourcist, anthropocentric perspective guides classical economics and sustainable development models, allowing the enrichment of a tiny part of the world's population, while not impeding but, on the contrary, directly inducing economic losses and environmental destruction for the many. To preserve the integrity of natural systems we must abandon the resourcist (...)
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  10. added 2017-08-04
    René Dubos, Tuberculosis, and the “Ecological Facets of Virulence”.Mark Honigsbaum - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3).
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  11. added 2017-08-04
    Engineers of Life? A Critical Examination of the Concept of Life in the Debate on Synthetic Biology.Johannes Steizinger - 2016 - In Georg Toepfer & Margret Engelhard (eds.), : Ambivalences of Creating Life – Societal and Philosophical Dimensions of Synthetic Biology. Heidelberg: Springer. pp. 275−292.
    The concept of life plays a crucial role in the debate on synthetic biology. The first part of this chapter outlines the controversial debate on the status of the concept of life in current science and philosophy. Against this background, synthetic biology and the discourse on its scientific and societal consequences is revealed as an exception. Here, the concept of life is not only used as buzzword but also discussed theoretically and links the ethical aspects with the epistemological prerequisites and (...)
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  12. added 2017-08-02
    William Paley.Logan Paul Gage - 2017 - In Paul Copan, I. I. I. Tremper Longman, Christopher L. Reese & Michael G. Strauss (eds.), Dictionary of Christianity and Science: The Definitive Reference for the Intersection of Christian Faith and Contemporary Science. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic. pp. 500.
  13. added 2017-08-01
    Thought Experiments in Biology.Guillaume Schlaepfer & Marcel Weber - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London: Routledge. pp. 243-256.
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  14. added 2017-07-31
    The Inclusive Fitness Controversy: Finding a Way Forward.Jonathan Birch - 2017 - Royal Society Open Science 4:170335.
    This paper attempts to reconcile critics and defenders of inclusive fitness by constructing a synthesis that does justice to the insights of both. I argue that criticisms of the regression-based version of Hamilton’s rule, although they undermine its use for predictive purposes, do not undermine its use as an organizing framework for social evolution research. I argue that the assumptions underlying the concept of inclusive fitness, conceived as a causal property of an individual organism, are unlikely to be exactly true (...)
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  15. added 2017-07-31
    From the Protection of Nature to Sustainable Development: The Genesis of an Ethical and Political Oxymoron (Eng. Trans. De la Protection de la Nature au Développement Durable : Genèse d'Un Oxymore Éthique Et Politique, Revue D’Histoire des Sciences, 2012, 65(1):103-142).Donato Bergandi - 2012 - Revue D’Histoire des Sciences 65 (1):103-142.
  16. added 2017-07-28
    Forces, Friction and Fractionation: Denis Walsh’s Organisms, Agency, and Evolution.Andrew Buskell & Adrian Currie - forthcoming - Biology and Philosophy:1-13.
    In Denis Walsh’s Organisms, Agency, and Evolution, he argues that new developments in the science of biology motivate a radical change to our metaphysical picture of life: what he calls ‘Situated Darwinism’. The central claim is that we should take the biological world to be at base about organisms, and organisms in a fundamentally teleological sense. We critically examine Walsh’s arguments and suggest further developments.
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  17. added 2017-07-27
    Individuating Population Lineages: A New Genealogical Criterion.Beckett Sterner - forthcoming - Biology and Philosophy:1-21.
    Contemporary biology has inherited two key assumptions from the Modern Synthesis about the nature of population lineages: sexual reproduction is the exemplar for how individuals in population lineages inherit traits from their parents, and random mating is the exemplar for reproductive interaction. While these assumptions have been extremely fruitful for a number of fields, such as population genetics and phylogenetics, they are increasingly unviable for studying the full diversity and evolution of life. I introduce the “mixture” account of population lineages (...)
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  18. added 2017-07-25
    In Defense of Levels: Layer Cakes and Guilt by Association.Daniel Stephen Brooks - 2017 - Biological Theory 12:1-15.
    Despite the ubiquity of “levels of organization” in the scientific literature, a nascent “levels skepticism” now claims that the concept of levels is an inherently flawed, misleading, or otherwise inadequate notion for understanding how life scientists produce knowledge about the natural world. However, levels skeptics rely on the maligned “layer-cake” account of levels stemming from Oppenheim and Putnam’s defense of the unity of science for their critical commentary. Recourse to layer-cake levels is understandable, as it is arguably the default conception (...)
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  19. added 2017-07-25
    Metascientific Views: Challenge and Opportunity for Philosophy of Biology in Practice.Emanuele Serrelli - 2017 - Acta Philosophica 26 (1):65-82.
    In this paper I take evolutionary biology as an example to reflect on the role of philosophy and on the transformations that philosophy is constantly stimulated to do in its own approach when dealing with science. I consider that some intellectual movements within evolutionary biology (more specifically, the various calls for 'synthesis') express metascientific views, i.e., claims about 'what it is to do research' in evolutionary biology at different times. In the construction of metascientific views I see a fundamental role (...)
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  20. added 2017-07-24
    By Genes Alone: A Model Selectionist Argument for Genetical Explanations of Cooperation in Non-Human Organisms.Armin W. Schulz - forthcoming - Biology and Philosophy:1-17.
    I distinguish two versions of kin selection theory—a purely genetic version and a version that also appeals to cultural forms of cooperation —and present an argument in favor of using the former when it comes to accounting for the evolution of cooperation in non-human organisms. Specifically, I first show that both GKST and WKST are equally mathematically coherent—they can both be derived from the Price equation—but not necessarily equally empirically plausible, as they are based on different assumptions about the inheritance (...)
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  21. added 2017-07-23
    Ecology, Evolution, Ethics: In Search of a Meta-Paradigm – An Introduction.Donato Bergandi - 2013 - In D. Bergandi (ed.), The Structural Links between Ecology, Evolution and Ethics: The Virtuous Epistemic Circle, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 296, Dordrecht, Netherland, Springer, pp.1-28..
    Evolutionary, ecological and ethical studies are, at the same time, specific scientific disciplines and, from an historical point of view, structurally linked domains of research. In a context of environmental crisis, the need is increasingly emerging for a connecting epistemological framework able to express a common or convergent tendency of thought and practice aimed at building, among other things, an environmental policy management respectful of the planet’s biodiversity and its evolutionary potential.
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  22. added 2017-07-21
    From Earth to the Universe: Life, Intelligence, and Evolution.Linda Billings - forthcoming - Biological Theory.
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  23. added 2017-07-21
    How Fast Does Darwin’s Elephant Population Grow?János Podani, Ádám Kun & András Szilágyi - forthcoming - Journal of the History of Biology.
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  24. added 2017-07-21
    How Mechanisms Explain Interfield Cooperation: Biological–Chemical Study of Plant Growth Hormones in Utrecht and Pasadena, 1930–1938.Caterina Schürch - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (3).
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  25. added 2017-07-20
    Using the Hierarchy of Biological Ontologies to Identify Mechanisms in Flat Networks.William Bechtel - forthcoming - Biology and Philosophy:1-23.
    Systems biology has provided new resources for discovering and reasoning about mechanisms. In addition to generating databases of large bodies of data, systems biologists have introduced platforms such as Cytoscape to represent protein–protein interactions, gene interactions, and other data in networks. Networks are inherently flat structures. One can identify clusters of highly connected nodes, but network representations do not represent these clusters as at a higher level than their constituents. Mechanisms, however, are hierarchically organized: they can be decomposed into their (...)
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  26. added 2017-07-20
    Addressing the Harms of Climate Change: Making Sense of Loss and Damage.Kenneth Shockley & Marion Hourdequin - 2017 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 20 (2):125-128.
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  27. added 2017-07-19
    Was Regression to the Mean Really the Solution to Darwin’s Problem with Heredity? [REVIEW]Adam Krashniak & Ehud Lamm - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy:1-10.
    Statistical reasoning is an integral part of modern scientific practice. In The Seven Pillars of Statistical Wisdom Stephen Stigler presents seven core ideas, or pillars, of statistical thinking and the historical developments of each of these pillars, many of which were concurrent with developments in biology. Here we focus on Stigler’s fifth pillar, regression, and his discussion of how regression to the mean came to be thought of as a solution to a challenge for the theory of natural selection. Stigler (...)
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  28. added 2017-07-19
    Age of Genetics and the age of biotechnology on the way to editing of, human genome.Valentin Teodorovich Cheshko (ed.) - 2016 - Moscow Russia: Kurs-INFRA-M.
    The book discusses some of the stages in the development of genetics, biotechnology in terms of basic strategy of humanity towards the formation of a modern agrarian civilization. Agricultural civilization is seen as part of the biosphere and primary user of its energy flows. Consistently a steps of creation of management tools for live objects to increasing the number of food security of mankind are outlines. The elements of the biosphere degradation started in the results of human activities, and the (...)
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  29. added 2017-07-16
    Extending Epigenesis: From Phenotypic Plasticity to the Bio-Cultural Feedback.Paolo D’Ambrosio & Ivan Colagè - forthcoming - Biology and Philosophy:1-24.
    The paper aims at proposing an extended notion of epigenesis acknowledging an actual causal import to the phenotypic dimension for the evolutionary diversification of life forms. “Introductory remarks” section offers introductory remarks on the issue of epigenesis contrasting it with ancient and modern preformationist views. In “Transmutation of forms: phenotypic variation, diversification, and complexification” section we propose to intend epigenesis as a process of phenotypic formation and diversification dependent on environmental influences, independent of changes in the genomic nucleotide sequence, and (...)
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  30. added 2017-07-15
    The Five Marks of the Mental.Tuomas K. Pernu - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8.
    The mental realm seems different to the physical realm; the mental is thought to be dependent on, yet distinct from the physical. But how, exactly, are the two realms supposed to be different, and what, exactly, creates the seemingly insurmountable juxtaposition between the mental and the physical? This review identifies and discusses five marks of the mental, features that set characteristically mental phenomena apart from the characteristically physical phenomena. These five marks (intentionality, consciousness, free will, teleology, and normativity) are not (...)
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  31. added 2017-07-12
    Microscale Gaseous Slip Flow in the Insect Trachea and Tracheoles.S. M. Simelane, S. Abelman & F. D. Duncan - forthcoming - Acta Biotheoretica.
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  32. added 2017-07-11
    Human Ecology and Public Policy: Overcoming the Hegemony of Economics.Arran Gare - 2002 - Democracy and Nature 8 (1):131-141.
    The thinking of those with the power to formulate and implement public policy is now almost totally dominated by the so-called science of economics. While efforts have been made to supplement or modify economics to make it less brutal or less environmentally blind, here it is suggested that economics is so fundamentally flawed and that it so completely dominates the culture of late modern capitalism (or postmodernity) that a new master human science is required to displace it and provide an (...)
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  33. added 2017-07-11
    Human Ecology, Process Philosophy and the Global Ecological Crisis.Arran Gare - 2000 - Concrescence 1:1-11.
    This paper argues that human ecology, based on process philosophy and challenging scientific materialism, is required to effectively confront the global ecological crisis now facing us.
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  34. added 2017-07-07
    Two Concepts of Wrongful Harm: A Conceptual Map for the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.Idil Boran - 2017 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 20 (2):195-207.
    This paper is concerned with the moral concept of harm in the context of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. This paper delineates between two concepts of wrongful harm: interactional versus architectural. It then examines these options with an eye toward developing a satisfactory normative approach for policy. While the interactional view of wrongful harm supports powerful arguments about moral responsibility, it has some clear limitations. This paper makes a case for the architectural view by underlining that it (...)
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  35. added 2017-07-07
    Review of Maria Kronfeldner, Darwinian Creativity and Memetics, Acumen, 2011. [REVIEW]Arran Gare - 2012 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:1-3.
    Review of Maria Kronfeldner, Darwinian Creativity and Memetics, Acumen, 2011.
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  36. added 2017-07-07
    Book Review: The Great Adventure: Toward a Fully Human Theory of Evolution. [REVIEW]Arran Gare - 2007 - Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 3 (1):230-235.
    Book Review of David Loye (ed). The Great Adventure: Toward a Fully Human Theory of Evolution. N.Y.: SUNY Press, 2004.
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  37. added 2017-07-07
    Narratives and the Ethics and Politics of Environmentalism: The Transformative Power of Stories.Arran Gare - 2001 - Theory and Science 2 (1):1-10.
    By revealing the centrality of stories to action, to social life and to inquiry together with the implicit assumptions in polyphonic stories about the nature of humans, of life and of physical reality, this paper examines the potential of stories to transform civilization. Focussing on the failure of environmentalists so far in the face of the global ecological crisis, it is shown how ethics and political philosophy could be reconceived and radical ecology reformulated and reinvigorated by appreciating and exploiting the (...)
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  38. added 2017-07-06
    Synergic Kinds.Manolo Martínez - forthcoming - Synthese:1-16.
    According to the *homeostatic property cluster* family of accounts, one of the main conditions for groups of properties to count as natural is that these properties be frequently co-instantiated. I argue that this condition is, in fact, not necessary for natural-kindness. Furthermore, even when it is present, the focus on co-occurrence distorts the role natural kinds play in science. Co-occurrence corresponds to what information theorists call *redundancy*: observing the presence of some of the properties in a frequently co-occurrent cluster makes (...)
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  39. added 2017-07-06
    Overcoming the Newtonian Paradigm: The Unfinished Project of Theoretical Biology From a Schellingian Perspective.Arran Gare - 2013 - Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 113:5-24.
    Defending Robert Rosen’s claim that in every confrontation between physics and biology it is physics that has always had to give ground, it is shown that many of the most important advances in mathematics and physics over the last two centuries have followed from Schelling’s demand for a new physics that could make the emergence of life intelligible. Consequently, while reductionism prevails in biology, many biophysicists are resolutely anti-reductionist. This history is used to identify and defend a fragmented but progressive (...)
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  40. added 2017-07-06
    The Semiotics of Global Warming: Combating Semiotic Corrruption.Arran Gare - 2007 - Theory and Science 9 (2):1-36.
    The central focus of this paper is the disjunction between the findings of climate science in revealing the threat of global warming and the failure to act appropriately to these warnings. The development of climate science can be illuminated through the perspective provided by Peircian semiotics, but efforts to account for its success as a science and its failure to convince people to act accordingly indicate the need to supplement Peirce’s ideas. The more significant gaps, it is argued, call for (...)
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  41. added 2017-07-05
    Values and Harms in Loss and Damage.Katie McShane - 2017 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 20 (2):129-142.
    This paper explores what is meant by ‘loss and damage’ within the area of climate policy focused on loss and damage. I present two possible understandings of loss and damage, one of which connects it to harm and one of which connects it to value. In both cases, I argue that the best contemporary philosophical understandings of these concepts suggest a much broader range of losses and damages than is currently being considered within the usual discussions in this area. I (...)
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  42. added 2017-07-05
    How Will We Pay for Loss and Damage?J. Timmons Roberts, Sujay Natson, Victoria Hoffmeister, Alexis Durand, Romain Weikmans, Jonathan Gewirtzman & Saleemul Huq - 2017 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 20 (2):208-226.
    The devotion of a full article in the Paris Agreement to loss and damage was a major breakthrough for the world’s most vulnerable nations seeing to gain support for climate impacts beyond what can be adapted to. But how will loss and damage be paid for, and who will pay it? Will ethics be part of this decision? Here we ask what are the possible means of raising predictable and adequate levels of funding to address loss and damage? Utilizing a (...)
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  43. added 2017-07-04
    Openness to Argument: A Philosophical Examination of Marxism and Freudianism.Ray Scott Percival - 1992 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    No evangelistic erroneous network of ideas can guarantee the satisfaction of these two demands : (1) propagate the network without revision and (2) completely insulate itself against losses in credibility and adherents through criticism. If a network of ideas is false, or inconsistent or fails to solve its intended problem, or unfeasible, or is too costly in terms of necessarily forsaken goals, its acceptability may be undermined given only true assumptions and valid arguments. People prefer to adopt ideologies that (i) (...)
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  44. added 2017-07-02
    Functional Biodiversity, Context-Based Ecological Functions and the Function/Accident Distinction.Antoine C. Dussault - manuscript
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  45. added 2017-07-02
    Model for DNA and Protein Interactions and the Function of the Operator.Alfred Gierer - 1966 - Nature 212:1480-1481.
    The short paper introduces the concept of possible branches of double-stranded DNA (later sometimes called palindromes): Certain sequences of nucleotides may be followed, after a short unpaired stretch, by a complementary sequence in reversed order, such that each DNA strand can fold back on itself, and the DNA assumes a cruciform or tree-like structure. This is postulated to interact with regulatory proteins. -/- .
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  46. added 2017-07-01
    Life as an Emergent Phenomenon: From an Alternative to Vitalism to an Alternative to Reductionism.Christophe Malaterre - 2013 - In S. Normandin & C. T. Wolfe (ed.), Vitalism and the Scientific Image in Post-Enlightenment Life Science, 1800-2010. Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 155-178.
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  47. added 2017-07-01
    Selbstorganisation und Selbstgesetzgebung. Form und Grenze einer Analogie in der Philosophie Kants und Hegels.Thomas Khurana - 2011 - Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology 16:9–27.
  48. added 2017-07-01
    Reflexives Leben: Biologie und Ästhetik um 1800. [REVIEW]Thomas Khurana - 2010 - Texte Zur Kunst 20:177-182.
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  49. added 2017-06-30
    Survival.Sabine Höhler - 2017 - Environmental Philosophy 14 (1):83-100.
    This paper explores examples of Mars fiction of “terraforming”—of creating Earth-like environments in space—against the background of the Earth’s environmental degradation and restoration. Visions of Mars settlement offered an escape route for a threatened humanity and a blueprint for the eco-technological recreation of the Earth’s environment. This paper aims to outline the Anthropocene as an epoch that not only compromised the Earth but also essentially transformed the understanding of Earthly life to a minimalist principle of survival through infinite metabolic conversions. (...)
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  50. added 2017-06-30
    Narcissistic Attachments.Emily Thew - 2017 - Environmental Philosophy 14 (1):101-118.
    This essay examines the relationship between human and non­human animals in the context of de-extinction projects. Following van Dooren and Rose’s suggestion that de-extinction projects are reluctant to engage with mourning work, I argue that these scientific endeavours can be understood as inherently melancholic. In reading them as such, I focus on the concepts of identification and ambivalence central to Freud’s theorisation of melancholia, and argue that looking at these key ideas in relation to de-extinction reveals the way that notions (...)
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