Philosophy of Biology

Edited by Manolo Martínez (Universitat de Barcelona)
Assistant editor: Wiseley Wong (University of Western Ontario)
282 found
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  1. added 2018-10-19
    Causal Specificity, Biological Possibility and Non-Parity About Genetic Causes.Marcel Weber - manuscript
    Several authors have used the notion of causal specificity in order to defend non-parity about genetic causes. Non-parity in this context is the idea that DNA and some other biomolecules that are often described as information-bearers by biologists play a unique role in life processes, an idea that has been challenged by Developmental Systems Theory. Indeed, it has proven to be quite difficult to state clearly what the alleged special role of genetic causes consists in. In this paper, I show (...)
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  2. added 2018-10-19
    The Curious Case of the Spanish Flu.Frans Roes - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-3.
    It is often claimed that the exceptional severity of the Spanish flu, one of the most deadly events in recorded human history, is an unsolved mystery. However, even detailed aspects such as its W-shaped mortality curve are well explained by Paul Ewald’s theory of the evolution of virulence. Understanding the causes of the Spanish flu will help to prevent future epidemics.
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  3. added 2018-10-19
    Variations on a Chip: Technologies of Difference in Human Genetics Research.Ramya M. Rajagopalan & Joan H. Fujimura - forthcoming - Journal of the History of Biology:1-33.
    In this article we examine the history of the production of microarray technologies and their role in constructing and operationalizing views of human genetic difference in contemporary genomics. Rather than the “turn to difference” emerging as a post-Human Genome Project phenomenon, interest in individual and group differences was a central, motivating concept in human genetics throughout the twentieth century. This interest was entwined with efforts to develop polymorphic “genetic markers” for studying human traits and diseases. We trace the technological, methodological (...)
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  4. added 2018-10-19
    From Tapestry to Loom: Broadening the Perspective on Values in Science. [REVIEW]Heather Douglas - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (8).
    After raising some minor philosophical points about Kevin Elliott’s A Tapestry of Values (2017), I argue that we should expand on the themes raised in the book and that philosophers of science need to pay as much attention to the loom of science (i.e., the institutional structures which guide the pursuit of science) as the tapestry of science. The loom of science includes such institutional aspects as patents, funding sources, and evaluation regimes that shape how science gets pursued, and that (...)
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  5. added 2018-10-19
    Précis of A Tapestry of Values: An Introduction to Values in Science.Kevin C. Elliott - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10.
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  6. added 2018-10-19
    Weaving Value Judgment Into the Tapestry of Science.Matthew J. Brown - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10.
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  7. added 2018-10-19
    Human progress by human effort: neo-Darwinism, social heredity, and the professionalization of the American social sciences, 1889–1925.Emilie J. Raymer - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (4):63.
    Prior to August Weismann’s 1889 germ-plasm theory, social reformers believed that humans could inherit the effects of a salubrious environment and, by passing environmentally-induced modifications to their offspring, achieve continuous progress. Weismann’s theory disrupted this logic and caused many to fear that they had little control over human development. As numerous historians have observed, this contributed to the birth of the eugenics movement. However, through an examination of the work of social scientists Lester Frank Ward, Richard T. Ely, Amos Griswold (...)
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  8. added 2018-10-19
    Theoricity and homology: a reply to Roffe, Ginnobili, and Blanco.Christopher H. Pearson - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (4):62.
    Roffe et al. develop a rather creative line of response to Pearson’s :475–492, 2010) critique of pattern cladisma response centering on a structuralist approach to the homology concept. In this brief reply I attempt to demonstrate, however, that Roffe, and Ginnobili, and Blanco subtly mis-characterize the target of Pearson’s critique. The consequence of this mischaracterization is that even though the structuralist framework may help make sense of pattern cladism, it does not undermine Pearson’s critique of it.
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  9. added 2018-10-18
    Incest, Incest Avoidance, and Attachment: Revisiting the Westermarck Effect.Robert A. Wilson - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    This paper defends a version of the Westermarck Effect, integrating existing clinical, biological, and philosophical dimensions to incest avoidance. By focusing on care-based attachment in primates (sections 2-3), my formulation of the Effect suggests the power of a phylogenetic argument widely accepted by primatologists but not by cultural anthropologists (section 4). Identifying post-adoption incest as a phenomenon with under-explored evidential value (section 5), the paper sketches an explanatory strategy for reconciling the Effect with the clinical reality of incest (section 6), (...)
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  10. added 2018-10-18
    My Favorite Animal, Amphioxus: Unparalleled for Studying Early Vertebrate Evolution.Hector Escriva - forthcoming - Bioessays:1800130.
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  11. added 2018-10-17
    Gerard Kuperus and Marjolein Oele, Eds. Ontologies of Nature: Continental Perspectives and Environmental Reorientations.Thomas Bretz - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):333-337.
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  12. added 2018-10-17
    An Ecosemiotic Critique of Heidegger’s Concept of Enframing.Craig Frayne - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):213-236.
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  13. added 2018-10-17
    Poetry, Vegetality, Relief From Being.Mark Payne - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):255-274.
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  14. added 2018-10-17
    Svetozar Y. Minkov and Bernhardt L. Trout, Eds. Mastery of Nature: Promises and Prospects.Nathaniel Wolloch - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):348-350.
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  15. added 2018-10-17
    Environmental Deficit and Contemporary Nigeria.Ronald Olufemi Badru - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):195-211.
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  16. added 2018-10-17
    The Ethical Function of Landscape Architecture.Roger Paden - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):139-158.
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  17. added 2018-10-17
    Grids of Power.Brian Seitz - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):317-332.
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  18. added 2018-10-17
    A Tapestry of Concealments.Byron Williston - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):237-254.
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  19. added 2018-10-17
    Three Types of Anthropocentrism.Ben Mylius - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):159-194.
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  20. added 2018-10-17
    Peter Mancall. Nature and Culture in the Early Modern Atlantic.Amanda Parris - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):338-340.
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  21. added 2018-10-17
    Laura Ephraim. Who Speaks for Nature? On the Politics of Science.Clint Wilson - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):344-347.
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  22. added 2018-10-17
    An Anthropomorphic Dilemma.Valentina Gamberi & Lucia Zaietta - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):275-294.
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  23. added 2018-10-17
    Kathleen Dean Moore. Piano Tide: A Novel.Jennifer Schell - 2018 - Environmental Philosophy 15 (2):341-343.
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  24. added 2018-10-15
    P eter G odfrey -S mith, Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life, London: William Collins, 2017, x + 255 pp., £20.00 , ISBN 978-0-00-822627-5. [REVIEW]Flavia Fabris - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (3):58.
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  25. added 2018-10-15
    Induction of Visibility: Reflections on Histological Slides, Drawing Visual Hypotheses and Aesthetic-Epistemic Actions.Erna Fiorentini - 2013 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 35 (3):379--394.
    This paper focuses on histological slides and on the strategies of visual transformation of Santiago Ramón y Cajal. His practices and concepts reveal that not only the slides as such and their images have cognitive and aesthetic values crucial to the epistemic gain about the original material, but also the processes that unveil and reassess these values during observation and imaging. Therefore, considering the nature of these processes contributes to - besides the inquiry about the slides themselves - disclosing their (...)
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  26. added 2018-10-15
    Repressing the Neuron Within.Will Fairbrother & Diane Lipscombe - 2008 - Bioessays 30 (1):1-4.
    A myriad of coordinated signals control cellular differentiation. Reprogramming the cell's proteome drives global changes in cell morphology and function that define cell phenotype. A switch in alternative splicing of many pre‐mRNAs encoding neuronal‐specific proteins accompanies neuronal differentiation. Three groups recently showed that the global splicing repressor, polypyrimidine track‐binding protein (PTB), regulates this switch.1-3 Although a subset of neuronal genes are turned on in both non‐neuronal and neuronal cells, restricted expression of PTB in non‐neuronal cells diverts their mRNAs to nonsense‐mediated (...)
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  27. added 2018-10-15
    Genetics, From A to Z. A Dictionary of Genetics. By Robert C. King and William D. Stansfield. O.U.P., 1985 . Pp. 480. £25. [REVIEW]J. R. S. Fincham - 1986 - Bioessays 4 (2):91-91.
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  28. added 2018-10-14
    Diet, Gut Microbes and Host Mate Choice.Philip T. Leftwich, Matthew I. Hutchings & Tracey Chapman - forthcoming - Bioessays.
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  29. added 2018-10-14
    Finding Wealth in Waste: Irreplicability Re‐Examined.Bart Penders & A. Cecile J. W. Janssens - forthcoming - Bioessays.
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  30. added 2018-10-14
    Earth as a Life-Raft and Ethics as the Raft’s Axe.Evangelos D. Protopapadakis - 2016 - In Irina Deretić & Stefan Lorenz Sorgner (eds.), From Humanism to Meta-, Post- and Transhumanism? Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien: pp. 227-242.
    A common metaphor on our planet portrays it as a rescue boat for life that travels in an endless see of cosmic darkness. If this metaphor is to be considered a precise one, this would mean that the earth is the only chance for life to survive the journey – at least as far as animal life is concerned. Apart from this, however, the metaphor implies that our planet is also very fragile, and that its carrying capacity is limited. Now, (...)
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  31. added 2018-10-14
    Environmental Ethics and Linkola’s Ecofascism: An Ethics Beyond Humanism.Evangelos D. Protopapadakis - 2014 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 9 (4):586-601.
    Ecofascism as a tradition in Environmental Ethics seems to burgeoning with potential. The roots of Ecofascism can be traced back to the German Romantic School, to the Wagnerian narration of the Nibelungen saga, to the works of Fichte and Herder and, finally, to the so-called völkisch movement. Those who take pride in describing themselves as ecofascists grosso modo tend to prioritize the moral value of the ecosphere, while, at the same time, they almost entirely devalue species and individuals. Additionally, these (...)
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  32. added 2018-10-13
    Rethinking Causation in Cancer with Evolutionary Developmental Biology.Katherine E. Liu - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-15.
    Despite the productivity of basic cancer research, cancer continues to be a health burden to society because this research has not yielded corresponding clinical applications. Many proposed solutions to this dilemma have revolved around implementing organizational and policy changes related to cancer research. Here I argue for a different solution: a new conceptualization of causation in cancer. Neither the standard molecular biomarker approaches nor evolutionary biology approaches to cancer fully capture its complex causal dynamics, even when considered jointly. These approaches (...)
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  33. added 2018-10-13
    Cultural Exaptation and Cultural Neural Reuse: A Mechanism for the Emergence of Modern Culture and Behavior.Francesco D’Errico & Ivan Colagè - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-15.
    On the basis of recent advancements in both neuroscience and archaeology, we propose a plausible biocultural mechanism at the basis of cultural evolution. The proposed mechanism, which relies on the notions of cultural exaptation and cultural neural reuse, may account for the asynchronous, discontinuous, and patchy emergence of innovations around the globe. Cultural exaptation refers to the reuse of previously devised cultural features for new purposes. Cultural neural reuse refers to cases in which exposure to cultural practices induces the formation, (...)
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  34. added 2018-10-13
    Solving Donor Organ Shortage with Insights From Freeze Tolerance in Nature.Bryan E. Luu & Kenneth B. Storey - 2018 - Bioessays 40 (10):1800092.
    The North American wood frog, Rana sylvatica, endures seasonal whole‐body freezing during the winter and thawing during the spring without sustaining any apparent damage from ice or oxidative stress. Strategies from these frogs may solve the shortage of human donor organs, which is a multidisciplinary problem that can be alleviated by eliminating geographical boundaries. Rana sylvatica deploys an array of molecular and physiological responses, such as glucose production and microRNA regulation, to help it survive the cold. These strategies have been (...)
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  35. added 2018-10-13
    The Actomyosin Cytoskeleton Drives Micron‐Scale Membrane Remodeling In Vivo Via the Generation of Mechanical Forces to Balance Membrane Tension Gradients.Seham Ebrahim, Jian Liu & Roberto Weigert - 2018 - Bioessays 40 (9):1800032.
    The remodeling of biological membranes is crucial for a vast number of cellular activities and is an inherently multiscale process in both time and space. Seminal work has provided important insights into nanometer‐scale membrane deformations, and highlighted the remarkable variation and complexity in the underlying molecular machineries and mechanisms. However, how membranes are remodeled at the micron‐scale, particularly in vivo, remains poorly understood. Here, we discuss how using regulated exocytosis of large (1.5–2.0 μm) membrane‐bound secretory granules in the salivary gland (...)
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  36. added 2018-10-12
    M Arc J. R Atcliff, Genèse D’Une Découverte: La Division des Infusoires , Paris: Publication Scientifiques du Museum National D’Histoire Naturelle, 2016, 751 Pp., 45 €. [REVIEW]Sébastien Dutreuil - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (3):46.
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  37. added 2018-10-12
    Nervous Disease in Late Eighteenth-Century Britain: The Reality of a Fashionable Disorder by Heather R. Beatty. [REVIEW]Sean Dyde - 2013 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 35 (4):623--624.
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  38. added 2018-10-12
    Die Physiologin Margarete Traube-Mengarini (1856-1912) by Alexander Nebrig. [REVIEW]Ariane Dröscher - 2013 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 35 (3):473--474.
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  39. added 2018-10-11
    A Niche Mechanism for Β‐Cell Regeneration in Type 1 Diabetes.David J. Hodson - forthcoming - Bioessays.
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  40. added 2018-10-11
    The First Mite: Insect Genealogy in Hooke’s Micrographia.Jeremy Robin Schneider - 2018 - Annals of Science 75 (3):165-200.
    What happens when you take the idea of the biblical Adam—the first human—and apply it to insects? You create an origin story for Nature’s tiniest creatures, one that gives them 'a Pedigree as ancient as the first creation'. This the naturalist Robert Hooke argued in his treatise, the Micrographia (1665). In what follows, I will retrace how Hooke endeavoured to show that insects—then widely believed to have arisen out of the dirt—were the products of an ancient lineage. These genealogies, while (...)
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  41. added 2018-10-11
    Evolutionary Psychology is Not the Only Productive Evolutionary Approach to Understanding Consumer Behavior.Stephen M. Downes - 2013 - Journal of Consumer Psychology 23 (3):400-403.
    I respond to Vladas Griskevicius and Douglas T. Kendrick (G&K) and Gad Saad's (S) defenses of the view that Consumer Studies would benefit from the appeal to evolution in all work aimed at understanding consumer behavior. I argue that G&K and S's reliance on one theoretical perspective, that of evolutionary psychology, limits their options. Further, I point out some specific problems with the theoretical perspective of evolutionary psychology. Finally, I introduce some alternative evolutionary approaches to studying human behavior that could (...)
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  42. added 2018-10-11
    Autonomous Mathematical Models: Constructing Theories of Metabolic Control.Josephine Donaghy - 2013 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 35 (4):533-552.
    This paper considers how the relationship between mathematical models and theories in biology may change over time, on the basis of a historical analysis of the development of a mathematical model of metabolism, metabolic control analysis, and its relationship to theories of metabolic control. I argue that one can distinguish two ways of characterising the relationship between models and theories, depending on the stage of model and/or theory development that one is considering: partial independence and autonomy. Partial independence describes a (...)
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  43. added 2018-10-10
    How Does a Memory Find Its Neurons?Christoph Schmidt‐Hieber - forthcoming - Bioessays.
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  44. added 2018-10-07
    Promoting an “Auteur Theory” for Young Scientists: Preserving Excitement and Creativity ….Arshad Desai & Suckjoon Jun - forthcoming - Bioessays.
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  45. added 2018-10-07
    Mass Extinctions as Major Transitions.Adrian Currie - forthcoming - Biology and Philosophy.
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  46. added 2018-10-07
    Visions of Eye Commensals: The Known and the Unknown About How the Microbiome Affects Eye Disease.Anthony J. St Leger & Rachel R. Caspi - forthcoming - Bioessays.
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  47. added 2018-10-07
    When Do Models Provide Genuine Understanding, and Why Does It Matter?Antonio Diéguez - 2013 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 35 (4):599-620.
    In spite of a number of remarkable advances over the last few decades, the question of how scientific models provide explanations remains rather controversial. In the case of biology, this question is quite pressing, since according to many specialists we do not find genuine universal explanatory laws in biology, and yet, biologists constantly use models as explanatory devices. It is probably not possible to reduce all of the ways in which models explain to one unifying pattern. If there is a (...)
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  48. added 2018-10-07
    Cellular Introspection. Cell Biology. By NEALO. THORPE. Wiley, New York, Chichester, 1984. Pp. 752. £14.70.Adam Curtis - 1984 - Bioessays 1 (5):236-237.
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  49. added 2018-10-06
    Missed Druggable Cancer Hallmark: Cancer–Stroma Symbiotic Crosstalk as Paradigm and Hypothesis for Cancer Therapy.Eugene Sverdlov - forthcoming - Bioessays.
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  50. added 2018-10-06
    A Tale of TALE, PREP1, PBX1, and MEIS1: Interconnections and Competition in Cancer.Francesco Blasi, Chiara Bruckmann, Dmitry Penkov & Leila Dardaei - forthcoming - Bioessays.
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