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Philosophy of Biology

Edited by Manolo Martínez (University of Antwerp)
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  1. added 2016-12-10
    Germain Pierre-Luc & Laplane Lucie (forthcoming). Metastasis as Supra-Cellular Selection? A Reply to Lean and Plutynski. Biology and Philosophy:1-7.
    In response to Germain argument that evolution by natural selection has a limited explanatory power in cancer, Lean and Plutynski have recently argued that many adaptations in cancer only make sense at the tumor level, and that cancer progression mirrors the major evolutionary transitions. While we agree that selection could potentially act at various levels of organization in cancers, we argue that tumor-level selection is unlikely to actually play a relevant role in our understanding of the somatic evolution of human (...)
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  2. added 2016-12-09
    Alison K. McConwell & Adrian Currie (forthcoming). Gouldian Arguments and the Sources of Contingency. Biology and Philosophy:1-19.
    ‘Gouldian arguments’ appeal to the contingency of a scientific domain to establish that domain’s autonomy from some body of theory. For instance, pointing to evolutionary contingency, Stephen Jay Gould suggested that natural selection alone is insufficient to explain life on the macroevolutionary scale. In analysing contingency, philosophers have provided source-independent accounts, understanding how events and processes structure history without attending to the nature of those events and processes. But Gouldian Arguments require source-dependent notions of contingency. An account of contingency is (...)
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  3. added 2016-12-09
    Kenta Masui, Noriyuki Shibata, Webster K. Cavenee & Paul S. Mischel (2016). mTORC2 Activity in Brain Cancer: Extracellular Nutrients Are Required to Maintain Oncogenic Signaling. Bioessays 38 (9):839-844.
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  4. added 2016-12-09
    Jeronimo Célia & Robert François (2016). Histone Chaperones FACT and Spt6 Prevent Histone Variants From Turning Into Histone Deviants. Bioessays 38 (5):420-426.
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  5. added 2016-12-07
    Jørgensen Dolly (forthcoming). Endling, the Power of the Last in an Extinction-Prone World in Advance. Environmental Philosophy.
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  6. added 2016-12-05
    Brett Calcott, Paul E. Griffiths & Arnaud Pocheville (forthcoming). Signals That Make a Difference. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Recent work by Brian Skyrms offers a very general way to think about how information flows and evolves in biological networks — from the way monkeys in a troop communicate, to the way cells in a body coordinate their actions. A central feature of his account is a way to formally measure the quantity of information contained in the signals in these networks. In this paper, we argue there is a tension between how Skyrms talks of signalling networks and his (...)
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  7. added 2016-12-05
    Levy Arnon & Yair Levy (2016). The Debunking Challenge to Realism: How Evolution (Ultimately) Matters. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy:1-8.
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  8. added 2016-12-04
    Devin Henry, Aristotle on Epigenesis.
    It has become somewhat of a platitude to call Aristotle the first epigenesist insofar as he thought form and structure emerged gradually from an unorganized, amorphous embryo. But modern biology now recognizes two senses of “epigenesis”. The first is this more familiar idea about the gradual emergence of form and structure, which is traditionally opposed to the idea of preformationism. But modern biologists also use “epigenesis” to emphasize the context-dependency of the process itself. Used in this sense development is not (...)
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  9. added 2016-12-04
    Ernst Mayr (2000). The Biological Species Concept. In Quentin D. Wheeler & Rudolf Meier (eds.), Species Concepts and Phylogenetic Theory: A Debate. Columbia University Press 17-29.
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  10. added 2016-12-04
    A. J. Cain (1958). Logic and Memory in Linnaeus's System of Taxonomy. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London 169:144-163.
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  11. added 2016-12-03
    Ellen Clarke & Cecilia Heyes (forthcoming). The Swashbuckling Anthropologist: Henrich on The Secret of Our Success. Biology and Philosophy:1-17.
    In The Secret of Our Success, Joseph Henrich claims that human beings are unique—different from all other animals—because we engage in cumulative cultural evolution. It is the technological and social products of cumulative cultural evolution, not the intrinsic rationality or ‘smartness’ of individual humans, that enable us to live in a huge range of different habitats, and to dominate most of the creatures who share those habitats with us. We are sympathetic to this general view, the latest expression of the (...)
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  12. added 2016-12-02
    Sean Allen-Hermanson (2017). Kamikazes and Cultural Evolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Biological and Biomedical Sciences 61.
  13. added 2016-12-02
    Matthew J. Barker (2015). Science and Values. Eugenics Archive.
  14. added 2016-11-29
    Christian Miller, Berlin Heather & Shermer Michael (2016). The Moral Animal: Virtue, Vice, and Human Nature. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences:39-56.
    Steve Paulson, executive producer and host of To the Best of Our Knowledge, moderated a discussion with philosopher Christian Miller, neuroscientist Heather Berlin, and historian of science Michael Shermer to examine our moral ecology and its influence on our underlying assumptions about human nature.
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  15. added 2016-11-27
    C. Queller David & E. Strassmann Joan (2016). Problems of Multi-Species Organisms: Endosymbionts to Holobionts. Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):855-873.
    The organism is one of the fundamental concepts of biology and has been at the center of many discussions about biological individuality, yet what exactly it is can be confusing. The definition that we find generally useful is that an organism is a unit in which all the subunits have evolved to be highly cooperative, with very little conflict. We focus on how often organisms evolve from two or more formerly independent organisms. Two canonical transitions of this type—replicators clustered in (...)
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  16. added 2016-11-27
    Emanuele Ratti (2016). The End of 'Small Biology'? Some Thoughts About Biomedicine and Big Science. Big Data and Society:1-6.
    In biology—as in other scientific fields—there is a lively opposition between big and small science projects. In this commentary, I try to contextualize this opposition in the field of biomedicine, and I argue that, at least in this context, big science projects should come first.
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  17. added 2016-11-26
    Alexey Bakhirev, MODELS AND LOGIC OF SUBJECTIVE REALITY. SUBJECTIVE WORLDS.
  18. added 2016-11-26
    Eric Funkhouser (forthcoming). Is Self-Deception an Effective Non-Cooperative Strategy? Biology and Philosophy:1-22.
    Robert Trivers has proposed perhaps the only serious adaptationist account of self-deception—that the primary function of self-deception is to better deceive others. But this account covers only a subset of cases and needs further refinement. A better evolutionary account of self-deception and cognitive biases more generally will more rigorously recognize the various ways in which false beliefs affect both the self and others. This article offers formulas for determining the optimal doxastic orientation, giving special consideration to conflicted self-deception as an (...)
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  19. added 2016-11-23
    Jonathan Beever (forthcoming). Teaching Ethics Ecologically in Advance. Environmental Philosophy.
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  20. added 2016-11-20
    Ben Dixon (forthcoming). Value Pluralism and Consistency Maximization in the Writings of Aldo Leopold: Moving Beyond Callicott’s Interpretations of the Land Ethic. Environmental Values.
    The 70th anniversary of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac (1949) approaches. For philosophers—environmental ethicists in particular—this text has been highly influential, especially the ‘Land Ethic’ essay contained therein. Given philosophers’ acumen for identifying and critiquing arguments, one might reasonably think a firm grasp of Leopold’s ideas to have emerged from such attention. I argue that this is not the case. Specifically, Leopold’s main interpreter and systematiser, philosopher J. Baird Callicott, has shoehorned Aldo Leopold’s ideas into differing monistic moral theories (...)
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  21. added 2016-11-20
    Ernst Mayr (2001). What Evolution Is. Phoenix.
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  22. added 2016-11-20
    Ernst Mayr, E. Gorton Linsley & Robert L. Usinger (1953). Methods and Principles of Systematic Zoology. McGraw-Hill Book Company.
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  23. added 2016-11-19
    Gaetano Albergo (2016). I RECENTI STUDI SULLA BIOLOGIA DI ARISTOTELE COME CONTRIBUTO PER UNA CRITICA ALL’INTERPRETAZIONE DEI NATURPHILOSOPHEN. Philosophica 47.
    The work realized by Aristotle in his investigations on the natural world, in particular the biological world, has as backdrop two theoretical assumptions: the ability to organize phainomena in such a dialectically well structured, although at the same time open and flexible way, as the living reality that is studied, and the opportunity to offer to the theoretical knowledge, of axiomatic nature, not only information and tools for the understanding of individual species, but also methods, and its logic, which, if (...)
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  24. added 2016-11-19
    Thomas Pradeu (2016). Organisms or Biological Individuals? Combining Physiological and Evolutionary Individuality. Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):797-817.
    The definition of biological individuality is one of the most discussed topics in philosophy of biology, but current debate has focused almost exclusively on evolution-based accounts. Moreover, several participants in this debate consider the notions of a biological individual and an organism as equivalent. In this paper, I show that the debates would be considerably enriched and clarified if philosophers took into account two elements. First, physiological fields are crucial for the understanding of biological individuality. Second, the category of biological (...)
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  25. added 2016-11-19
    Thomas Pradeu (2016). The Many Faces of Biological Individuality. Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):761-773.
    Biological individuality is a major topic of discussion in biology and philosophy of biology. Recently, several objections have been raised against traditional accounts of biological individuality, including the objections of monism, theory-centrism, ahistoricity, disciplinary isolationism, and the multiplication of conceptual uncertainties. In this introduction, I will examine the current philosophical landscape about biological individuality, and show how the contributions gathered in this special issue address these five objections. Overall, the aim of this issue is to offer a more diverse, unifying, (...)
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  26. added 2016-11-18
    John Beatty (forthcoming). The Creativity of Natural Selection? Part I: Darwin, Darwinism, and the Mutationists. Journal of the History of Biology.
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  27. added 2016-11-18
    Christopher J. Austin (forthcoming). Evo-Devo: A Science of Dispositions. European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-17.
    Evolutionary developmental biology represents a paradigm shift in the understanding of the ontogenesis and evolutionary progression of the denizens of the natural world. Given the empirical successes of the evo-devo framework, and its now widespread acceptance, a timely and important task for the philosophy of biology is to critically discern the ontological commitments of that framework and assess whether and to what extent our current metaphysical models are able to accommodate them. In this paper, I argue that one particular model (...)
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  28. added 2016-11-18
    Françoise S. Howe, Harry Fischl, Struan C. Murray & Jane Mellor (forthcoming). Is H3K4me3 Instructive for Transcription Activation? Bioessays.
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  29. added 2016-11-18
    Karola Stotz & Paul Griffiths (2016). Epigenetics: Ambiguities and Implications. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 38 (4).
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  30. added 2016-11-18
    Byron Williston (2016). The Sublime Anthropocene. Environmental Philosophy 13 (2):155-174.
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  31. added 2016-11-18
    Derrick Harris (2016). Timothy Morton. Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence. Environmental Philosophy 13 (2):303-306.
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  32. added 2016-11-18
    Morten Tønnessen (2016). Arne Johan Vetlesen. The Denial of Nature: Environmental Philosophy in the Era of Global Capitalism. Environmental Philosophy 13 (2):319-322.
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  33. added 2016-11-18
    Vincent Blok (2016). Biomimicry and the Materiality of Ecological Technology and Innovation. Environmental Philosophy 13 (2):195-214.
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  34. added 2016-11-18
    Nathan Kowalsky (2016). Towards an Ethic of Animal Difference. Environmental Philosophy 13 (2):239-267.
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  35. added 2016-11-18
    Parker Schill (2016). Byron Williston. The Anthropocene Project: Virtue in the Age of Climate Change. Environmental Philosophy 13 (2):311-314.
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  36. added 2016-11-18
    David Maggs & John Robinson (2016). Recalibrating the Anthropocene. Environmental Philosophy 13 (2):175-194.
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  37. added 2016-11-18
    Robert S. Young (2016). Lineage-Specific Genomics: Frequent Birth and Death in the Human Genome. Bioessays 38 (7):654-663.
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  38. added 2016-11-18
    Murray Code (2016). Arran Gare. The Philosophical Foundations of Ecological Civilization: A Manifesto for the Future. Environmental Philosophy 13 (2):299-302.
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  39. added 2016-11-18
    Abigail Levin (2016). Alice Crary. Inside Ethics. Environmental Philosophy 13 (2):307-310.
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  40. added 2016-11-18
    Allen Thompson (2016). Steven Vogel. Thinking Like a Mall: Environmental Philosophy After the End of Nature. Environmental Philosophy 13 (2):315-318.
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  41. added 2016-11-12
    Daniel J. McKaughan (2016). Darwin’s Descent of Man and the Value of Studying Science From a Liberal Arts Perspective. In Dustin Gish, Christopher Constas & J. Scott Lee (eds.), The Quest for Excellence: Liberal Arts, Sciences, and Core Texts. Selected Proceedings from the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Association for Core Texts and Courses. Rowman & Littlefield
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  42. added 2016-11-11
    Daniel J. McKaughan (2011). Was Delbrück a Reductionist? In Phillip R. Sloan & Brandon Fogel (eds.), Creating a Physical Biology: The Three Man Paper and Early Molecular Biology. University of Chicago Press
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  43. added 2016-11-09
    David Maggs & John Robinson (forthcoming). Recalibrating the Anthropocene in Advance. Environmental Philosophy.
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  44. added 2016-11-09
    Mihnea Tanasescu (forthcoming). Field Notes on the Meaning of Rewilding. Ethics Policy and Environment.
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  45. added 2016-11-06
    Guenther Witzany (2016). Key Levels of Biocommunication. In R. Gordon/J. Seckbach (ed.), Biocommunication: Sign-mediated Interactions between Cells and Organisms. World Scientific 37-61.
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  46. added 2016-11-06
    Maria Kronfeldner (2016). The Politics of Human Nature. In Tibayrenc M. & Ayala F. J. (eds.), On human nature: Evolution, diversity, psychology, ethics, politics and religion. Academic Press 625-632.
    Human nature is a concept that transgresses the boundary between science and society and between fact and value. It is as much a political concept as it is a scientific one. This chapter will cover the politics of human nature by using evidence from history, anthropology and social psychology. The aim is to show that an important political function of the vernacular concept of human nature is social demarcation (inclusion/exclusion): it is involved in regulating who is ‘us’ and who is (...)
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  47. added 2016-11-05
    Angus McCoss (2016). Quantum Deep Learning Triuniverse. Journal of Quantum Information Science 6 (4).
    An original quantum foundations concept of a deep learning computational Universe is introduced. The fundamental information of the Universe (or Triuniverse)is postulated to evolve about itself in a Red, Green and Blue (RGB) tricoloured stable self-mutuality in three information processing loops. The colour is a non-optical information label. The information processing loops form a feedback-reinforced deep learning macrocycle with trefoil knot topology. Fundamental information processing is driven by ψ-Epistemic Drive, the Natural appetite for information selected for advantageous knowledge. From its (...)
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  48. added 2016-11-03
    Lachlan Douglas Walmsley (forthcoming). Mother Nature Kicks Back: Review of Sean B. Carroll’s 2016 The Serengeti Rules. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy:1-14.
    Sean B. Carroll’s new book, The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why it Matters, is a well-written mix of history of science and philosophy of biology. In his book, Carroll articulates a set of ecological generalisations, the Serengeti Rules, which are supposed to make salient the structures in ecosystems that ensure the persistence of those ecosystems. In this essay review, I evaluate Carroll’s use of the controversial concept of regulation and his thesis that ecosystems have (...)
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  49. added 2016-10-31
    Daniel Molter (forthcoming). On Mushroom Individuality. Philosophy of Science.
    This paper is an application of the principles of individuality found in Guay and Pradeu to illuminate biological individuality in mushrooms. I begin with the distinction between logico-cognitive individuals and ontological individuals, and then I argue for genidentity plus material continuity, as a minimum conception of ontological individuality in biology. Of the many materially-continuous genidenticals found in fungi, only those with functional roles in biological theory, either evolutionary or physiological, warrant consideration. Given numerous ways that theory picks out materially-continuous genidenticals (...)
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  50. added 2016-10-28
    Roberto Fumagalli (forthcoming). On the Neural Enrichment of Economic Models: Recasting the Challenge. Biology and Philosophy:1-20.
    In a recent article in this Journal, Fumagalli argues that economists are provisionally justified in resisting prominent calls to integrate neural variables into economic models of choice. In other articles, various authors engage with Fumagalli’s argument and try to substantiate three often-made claims concerning neuroeconomic modelling. First, the benefits derivable from neurally informing some economic models of choice do not involve significant tractability costs. Second, neuroeconomic modelling is best understood within Marr’s three-level of analysis framework for information-processing systems. And third, (...)
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