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  1. Overcoming the Underdetermination of Specimens.Caitlin Donahue Wylie - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (2):24.
    Philosophers of science are well aware that theories are underdetermined by data. But what about the data? Scientific data are selected and processed representations or pieces of nature. What is useless context and what is valuable specimen, as well as how specimens are processed for study, are not obvious or predetermined givens. Instead, they are decisions made by scientists and other research workers, such as technicians, that produce different outcomes for the data. Vertebrate fossils provide a revealing case of this (...)
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  • A Process Ontology.Haines Brown - 2014 - Axiomathes 24 (3):291-312.
    The paper assumes that to be of practical interest process must be understood as physical action that takes place in the world rather than being an idea in the mind. It argues that if an ontology of process is to accommodate actuality, it must be represented in terms of relative probabilities. Folk physics cannot accommodate this, and so the paper appeals to scientific culture because it is an emergent knowledge of the world derived from action in it. Process is represented (...)
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  • Historiographic Narratives and Empirical Evidence: A Case Study.Efraim Wallach - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Several scholars observed that narratives about the human past are evaluated comparatively. Few attempts have been made, however, to explore how such evaluations are actually done. Here I look at a lengthy “contest” among several historiographic narratives, all constructed to make sense of another one—the biblical story of the conquest of Canaan. I conclude that the preference of such narratives can be construed as a rational choice. In particular, an easily comprehensible and emotionally evocative narrative will give way to a (...)
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  • The Co-Evolution of Tools and Minds: Cognition and Material Culture in the Hominin Lineage.Ben Jeffares - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (4):503-520.
    The structuring of our environment to provide cues and reminders for ourselves is common: We leave notes on the fridge, we have a particular place for our keys where we deposit them, making them easy to find. We alter our world to streamline our cognitive tasks. But how did hominins gain this capacity? What pushed our ancestors to structure their physical environment in ways that buffered thinking and began the process of using the world cognitively? I argue that the capacity (...)
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  • The Value of Epistemic Disagreement in Scientific Practice. The Case of Homo Floresiensis.Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (2):169-177.
    Epistemic peer disagreement raises interesting questions, both in epistemology and in philosophy of science. When is it reasonable to defer to the opinion of others, and when should we hold fast to our original beliefs? What can we learn from the fact that an epistemic peer disagrees with us? A question that has received relatively little attention in these debates is the value of epistemic peer disagreement—can it help us to further epistemic goals, and, if so, how? We investigate this (...)
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  • Underdetermination and Evidence in the Developmental Plasticity Debate.Karen Kovaka - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):127-152.
    I identify a controversial hypothesis in evolutionary biology called the plasticity-first hypothesis. I argue that the plasticity-first hypothesis is underdetermined and that the most popular means of studying the plasticity-first hypothesis are insufficient to confirm or disconfirm it. I offer a strategy for overcoming this problem. Researchers need to develop a richer middle range theory of plasticity-first evolution that allows them to identify distinctive empirical traces of the hypothesis. They can then use those traces to discriminate between rival explanations of (...)
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  • Hot-Blooded Gluttons: Dependency, Coherence, and Method in the Historical Sciences.Adrian Currie - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):929-952.
    Our epistemic access to the past is infamously patchy: historical information degrades and disappears and bygone eras are often beyond the reach of repeatable experiments. However, historical scientists have been remarkably successful at uncovering and explaining the past. I argue that part of this success is explained by the exploitation of dependencies between historical events, entities, and processes. For instance, if sauropod dinosaurs were hot blooded, they must have been gluttons; the high-energy demands of endothermy restrict sauropod grazing strategies. Understanding (...)
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  • Loki's Wager and Laudan's Error: On Genuine and Territorial Demarcation.Maarten Boudry - 2013 - In Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (eds.), Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University of Chicago Press. pp. 79--98.
  • Philosophy of Science and the Curse of the Case Study.Adrian Currie - 2015 - In Christopher Daly (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 553-572.
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  • Aggregating Evidence in Climate Science: Consilience, Robustness and the Wisdom of Multiple Models.A. Vezér Martin - unknown
    The goal of this dissertation is to contribute to the epistemology of science by addressing a set of related questions arising from current discussions in the philosophy and science of climate change: Given the imperfection of computer models, how do they provide information about large and complex target systems? What is the relationship between consilient reasoning and robust evidential support in the production of scientific knowledge? Does taking the mean of a set of model outputs provide epistemic advantages over using (...)
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  • La Naturaleza Del «Conocimiento Objetivo»: Algunas Reflexiones En Torno a la Ciencia y Su Contexto Social.Eudald Carbonell & Policarp Hortolà - 2009 - Arbor 185 (738):861-869.
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  • Introduction: Scientific Knowledge of the Deep Past.Adrian Currie & Derek Turner - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:43-46.
  • Mass Extinctions as Major Transitions.Adrian Currie - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (2):29.
    Both paleobiology and investigations of ‘major evolutionary transitions’ are intimately concerned with the macroevolutionary shape of life. It is surprising, then, how little studies of major transitions are informed by paleontological perspectives and. I argue that this disconnect is partially justified because paleobiological investigation is typically ‘phenomena-led’, while investigations of major transitions are ‘theory-led’. The distinction turns on evidential relevance: in the former case, evidence is relevant in virtue of its relationship to some phenomena or hypotheses concerning those phenomena; in (...)
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  • Evidential Reasoning in Historical Sciences: Applying Toulmin Schemes to the Case of Archezoa.Thomas Bonnin - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (2):30.
    This article is a study of the role and use of evidence in the evaluation of claims in the historical sciences. In order to do this, I develop a “snapshot” approach to Toulmin schemas. This framework is applied to the case of Archezoa, an initially supported then eventually rejected hypothesis in evolutionary biology. From this case study, I criticize Cleland’s “smoking gun” account of the methodology of the historical sciences. I argue that Toulmin schemas are conceptually precise tools that allow (...)
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  • Paleobiology and Philosophy.Adrian Currie - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (2):31.
    I offer four ways of distinguishing paleobiology from neontology, and from this develop a sketch of the philosophy of paleobiology. I then situate and describe the papers in the special issue Paleobiology and Philosophy, and reflect on the value and prospects of paleontology-focused philosophy.
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  • Historical Reconstruction: Gaining Epistemic Access to the Deep Past.Patrick Forber - 2011 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 3 (20130604).
    We discuss the scientific task of historical reconstruction and the problem of epistemic access. We argue that strong epistemic support for historical claims consists in the consilience of multiple independent lines of evidence, and analyze the impact hypothesis for the End-Cretaceous mass extinction to illustrate the accrual of epistemic support. Although there are elements of the impact hypothesis that enjoy strong epistemic support, the general conditions for this are strict, and help to clarify the difficulties associated with reconstructing the deep (...)
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  • Forward Into the Past.Lewis Pyenson - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (2):211-219.
    The text examines the question of writing history backwards, with special reference to the history of science. A moral justification for the writing of history is proposed.Keywords: Walter Benjamin; George Sarton: History of science; Moral justification; Time.
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  • Simplicity, one-shot hypotheses and paleobiological explanation.Adrian Currie - 2019 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 41 (1):10.
    Paleobiologists often provide simple narratives to explain complex, contingent episodes. These narratives are sometimes ‘one-shot hypotheses’ which are treated as being mutually exclusive with other possible explanations of the target episode, and are thus extended to accommodate as much about the episode as possible. I argue that a provisional preference for such hypotheses provides two kinds of productive scaffolding. First, they generate ‘hypothetical difference-makers’: one-shot hypotheses highlight and isolate empirically tractable dependencies between variables. Second, investigations of hypothetical difference-makers provision explanatory (...)
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  • The Past Vs. The Tiny: Historical Science and the Abductive Arguments for Realism.Derek D. Turner - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (1):1-17.
    Scientific realism is fundamentally a view about unobservable things, events, processes, and so on, but things can be unobservable either because they are tiny or because they are past. The familiar abductive arguments for scientific realism lend more justification to scientific realism about the tiny than to realism about the past. This paper examines both the “basic” abductive arguments for realism advanced by philosophers such as Ian Hacking and Michael Devitt, as well as Richard Boyd’s version of the inference to (...)
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  • Philosophical Issues in Recent Paleontology.Derek D. Turner - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (7):494-505.
    The distinction between idiographic science, which aims to reconstruct sequences of particular events, and nomothetic science, which aims to discover laws and regularities, is crucial for understanding the paleobiological revolution of the 1970s and 1980s. Stephen Jay Gould at times seemed conflicted about whether to say (a) that idiographic science is fine as it is or (b) that paleontology would have more credibility if it were more nomothetic. Ironically, one of the lasting results of the paleobiological revolution was a new (...)
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  • Explanation and Falsification in Phylogenetic Inference: Exercises in Popperian Philosophy.Arnold G. Kluge - 2009 - Acta Biotheoretica 57 (1-2):171-186.
    Deduction leads to causal explanation in phylogenetic inference when the evidence, the systematic character, is conceptualized as a transformation series. Also, the deductive entailment of modus tollens is satisfied when those kinds of events are operationalized as patristic difference. Arguments to the contrary are based largely on the premise that character-states are defined intensionally as objects, in terms of similarity relations. However, such relations leave biologists without epistemological access to the causal explanation and explanatory power of historical statements. Moreover, the (...)
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  • ‘Total Evidence’ in Phylogenetic Systematics.Olivier Rieppel - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):607-622.
    Taking its clues from Popperian philosophy of science, cladistics adopted a number of assumptions of the empiricist tradition. These include the identification of a dichotomy between observation reports and theoretical statements and its subsequent abandonment on the basis of the insight that all observation reports are theory-laden. The neglect of the ‘context of discovery’, which is the step of theory (hypothesis) generation. The emphasis on coherentism in the ‘context of justification’, which is the step of evaluation of the relative merits (...)
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  • Narratives, Mechanisms and Progress in Historical Science.Adrian Mitchell Currie - 2014 - Synthese 191 (6):1-21.
    Geologists, Paleontologists and other historical scientists are frequently concerned with narrative explanations targeting single cases. I show that two distinct explanatory strategies are employed in narratives, simple and complex. A simple narrative has minimal causal detail and is embedded in a regularity, whereas a complex narrative is more detailed and not embedded. The distinction is illustrated through two case studies: the ‘snowball earth’ explanation of Neoproterozoic glaciation and recent attempts to explain gigantism in Sauropods. This distinction is revelatory of historical (...)
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  • Damn the Consequences: Projective Evidence and the Heterogeneity of Scientific Confirmation.P. Kyle Stanford - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):887-899.
  • Understanding Scientific Methodology in the Historical and Experimental Sciences Via Language Analysis.Jeff Dodick, Shlomo Argamon & Paul Chase - 2009 - Science & Education 18 (8):985-1004.
  • A Second Look at the Colors of the Dinosaurs.Derek D. Turner - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:60-68.
  • Phylogenetic Inference to the Best Explanation and the Bad Lot Argument.Aleta Quinn - 2016 - Synthese 193 (9).
    I respond to the bad lot argument in the context of biological systematics. The response relies on the historical nature of biological systematics and on the availability of pattern explanations. The basic assumption of common descent enables systematic methodology to naturally generate candidate explanatory hypotheses. However, systematists face a related challenge in the issue of character analysis. Character analysis is the central problem for contemporary systematics, yet the general problem of which it is a case—what counts as evidence?—has not been (...)
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  • Historical Narrative: A Dispute Between Constructionism and Scientific Realism.Václav Černík & Jozef Viceník - 2009 - Human Affairs 19 (2).
  • The Proper Role of Population Genetics in Modern Evolutionary Theory.Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Biological Theory 3 (4):316-324.
    Evolutionary biology is a field currently animated by much discussion concerning its conceptual foundations. On the one hand, we have supporters of a classical view of evolutionary theory, whose backbone is provided by population genetics and the so-called Modern Synthesis (MS). On the other hand, a number of researchers are calling for an Extended Synthe- sis (ES) that takes seriously both the limitations of the MS (such as its inability to incorporate developmental biology) and recent empirical and theoretical research on (...)
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  • Comparing the Impact of Two Science-as-Inquiry Methods on the NOS Understanding of High-School Biology Students.Dina Tsybulsky - 2018 - Science and Education: Academic Journal of Ushynsky University 27 (7-8):661-683.
    The current study compared the effectiveness of two methods in biology teaching that are based on the science-as-inquiry approach: visits to authentic university laboratories and analyzing adapted primary literature. The methods’ effectiveness was measured in terms of high-school students’ increased understanding following a 6-week intervention that emphasized five major aspects of the nature of science : the tentativeness of scientific understanding, the cooperative nature of the scientific process, methodological diversity, the sociocultural embeddedness of scientific knowledge, and the aims of scientific (...)
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  • The Case for Natural History.Heather King & Marianne Achiam - 2017 - Science & Education 26 (1-2):125-139.
    Fundamental knowledge of natural history is lacking in many western societies, as demonstrated by its absence in school science curricula. And yet, to meet local and global challenges such as environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change, we need to better understand the living and non-living parts of the natural world. Many have argued passionately for an increased understanding of natural history; others have developed successful pedagogical programmes for applying knowledge of natural history in environmental initiatives. In joining wider calls, (...)
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  • Molecular Organisms.Maureen O’Malley - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (4):571-589.
    Protistology, and evolutionary protistology in particular, is experiencing a golden research era. It is an extended one that can be dated back to the 1970s, which is when the molecular rebirth of microbial phylogeny began in earnest. John Archibald, a professor of evolutionary microbiology at Dalhousie University, focuses on the beautiful story of endosymbiosis in his book, John Archibald, One Plus One Equals One: Symbiosis and the Origin of Complex Life. However, this historical narrative could be treated as synecdochal of (...)
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  • Variety-of-Evidence Reasoning About the Distant Past.Martin Vezér - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):257-265.
    The epistemology of studies addressing questions about historical and prehistorical phenomena is a subject of increasing discussion among philosophers of science. A related field of inquiry that has yet to be connected to this topic is the epistemology of climate science. Branching these areas of research, I show how variety-of-evidence reasoning accounts for scientific inferences about the past by detailing a case study in paleoclimate reconstruction. This analysis aims to clarify the logic of historical inquiry in general and, by focusing (...)
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  • Testing Times: Regularities in the Historical Sciences.Ben Jeffares - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 39 (4):469-475.
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  • Apocalypses Now: Modern Science and Biblical Miracles: The Boyle Lecture 2018.Mark Harris - 2018 - Zygon 53 (4):1036-1050.
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  • Terra Incognita: Explanation and Reduction in Earth Science.Maarten G. Kleinhans, Chris J. J. Buskes & Henk W. de Regt - 2005 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (3):289 – 317.
    The present paper presents a philosophical analysis of earth science, a discipline that has received relatively little attention from philosophers of science. We focus on the question of whether earth science can be reduced to allegedly more fundamental sciences, such as chemistry or physics. In order to answer this question, we investigate the aims and methods of earth science, the laws and theories used by earth scientists, and the nature of earth-scientific explanation. Our analysis leads to the tentative conclusion that (...)
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  • Separated at Birth, Signs of Rapprochement: Environmental Ethics and Space Exploration.Erin Moore Daly & Robert Frodeman - 2008 - Ethics and the Environment 13 (1):135 - 151.
    Although environmental philosophy and the human exploration of space share common beginnings, scholars from either field have not given adequate attention to the possible connections between them. In this essay, we seek to spur the rapprochement and cross-fertilization of philosophy and space policy by highlighting the philosophic dimensions of space exploration, pulling together issues and authors that have had insufficient contact with one another. We do so by offering an account of three topics: planetary exploration, planetary protection and the search (...)
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  • Dimensions of Integration in Interdisciplinary Explanations of the Origin of Evolutionary Novelty.Alan C. Love & Gary L. Lugar - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):537-550.
    Many philosophers of biology have embraced a version of pluralism in response to the failure of theory reduction but overlook how concepts, methods, and explanatory resources are in fact coordinated, such as in interdisciplinary research where the aim is to integrate different strands into an articulated whole. This is observable for the origin of evolutionary novelty—a complex problem that requires a synthesis of intellectual resources from different fields to arrive at robust answers to multiple allied questions. It is an apt (...)
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  • Testing Hypotheses in Macroevolution.Lindell Bromham - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:47-59.
  • Histories of Molecules: Reconciling the Past.Maureen A. O'Malley - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:69-83.
  • Separated at Birth, Signs of Rapprochement:Environmental Ethics and Space Exploration.Erin Moore Daly & Robert Frodeman - 2008 - Ethics and the Environment 13 (1):135-151.
    Although environmental philosophy and the human exploration of space share common beginnings, scholars from either field have not given adequate attention to the possible connections between them. In this essay, we seek to spur the rapprochement and cross-fertilization of philosophy and space policy by highlighting the philosophic dimensions of space exploration, pulling together issues and authors that have had insufficient contact with one another. We do so by offering an account of three topics: planetary exploration, planetary protection and the search (...)
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  • The 'Requirement of Total Evidence' and its Role in Phylogenetic Systematics.Kirk Fitzhugh - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (3):309-351.
    The question of whether or not to partition data for the purposes of inferring phylogenetic hypotheses remains controversial. Opinions have been especially divided since Kluge's (1989, Systematic Zoology 38, 7–25) claim that data partitioning violates the requirement of total evidence (RTE). Unfortunately, advocacy for or against the RTE has not been based on accurate portrayals of the requirement. The RTE is a basic maxim for non-deductive inference, stipulating that evidence must be considered if it has relevance to an inference. Evidence (...)
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  • Outline of an Explanatory Account of Cladistic Practice.Nico M. Franz - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):489-515.
    A naturalistic account of the strengths and limitations of cladistic practice is offered. The success of cladistics is claimed to be largely rooted in the parsimony-implementing congruence test. Cladists may use the congruence test to iteratively refine assessments of homology, and thereby increase the odds of reliable phylogenetic inference under parsimony. This explanation challenges alternative views which tend to ignore the effects of parsimony on the process of character individuation in systematics. In a related theme, the concept of homeostatic property (...)
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  • Testing Times: Regularities in the Historical Sciences.Ben Jeffares - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (4):469-475.
    The historical sciences, such as geology, evolutionary biology, and archaeology, appear to have no means to test hypotheses. However, on closer examination, reasoning in the historical sciences relies upon regularities, regularities that can be tested. I outline the role of regularities in the historical sciences, and in the process, blur the distinction between the historical sciences and the experimental sciences: all sciences deploy theories about the world in their investigations.
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  • The Other Eukaryotes in Light of Evolutionary Protistology.Maureen A. O'Malley, Alastair G. B. Simpson & Andrew J. Roger - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):299-330.
    In order to introduce protists to philosophers, we outline the diversity, classification, and evolutionary importance of these eukaryotic microorganisms. We argue that an evolutionary understanding of protists is crucial for understanding eukaryotes in general. More specifically, evolutionary protistology shows how the emphasis on understanding evolutionary phenomena through a phylogeny-based comparative approach constrains and underpins any more abstract account of why certain organismal features evolved in the early history of eukaryotes. We focus on three crucial episodes of this history: the origins (...)
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  • Genetic Variance–Covariance Matrices: A Critique of the Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics Research Program.Massimo Pigliucci - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (1):1-23.
    This paper outlines a critique of the use of the genetic variance–covariance matrix (G), one of the central concepts in the modern study of natural selection and evolution. Specifically, I argue that for both conceptual and empirical reasons, studies of G cannot be used to elucidate so-called constraints on natural selection, nor can they be employed to detect or to measure past selection in natural populations – contrary to what assumed by most practicing biologists. I suggest that the search for (...)
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  • Guessing the Future of the Past.Ben Jeffares - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (1):125-142.
    I review the book “Making Prehistory: Historical Science and the Scientific Realism Debate” by Derek Turner. Turner suggests that philosophers should take seriously the historical sciences such as geology when considering philosophy of science issues. To that end, he explores the scientific realism debate with the historical sciences in mind. His conclusion is a view allied to that of Arthur Fine: a view Turner calls the natural historical attitude. While I find Turner’s motivations good, I find his characterisation of the (...)
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  • How Much Can We Know About the Causes of Evolutionary Trends?Derek D. Turner - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (3):341-357.
    One of the first questions that paleontologists ask when they identify a large-scale trend in the fossil record (e.g., size increase, complexity increase) is whether it is passive or driven. In this article, I explore two questions about driven trends: (1) what is the underlying cause or source of the directional bias? and (2) has the strength of the directional bias changed over time? I identify two underdetermination problems that prevent scientists from giving complete answers to these two questions.
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