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The Dialectical Biologist

Harvard University Press (1985)

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  1. Critical Human Ecology: Historical Materialism and Natural Laws.Richard York & Philip Mancus - 2009 - Sociological Theory 27 (2):122-149.
    We lay the foundations for a critical human ecology that combines the strengths of the biophysical human ecology tradition in environmental sociology with those of historical materialism. We show the strengths of a critically informed human ecology by addressing four key meta-theoretical issues: materialist versus idealist approaches in the social sciences, dialectical versus reductionist analyses, the respective importance of historical and ahistorical causal explanations, and the difference between structural and functional interpretations of phenomena. CHE breaks with the idealism of Western (...)
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  • Depoliticized Environments: The End of Nature, Climate Change and the Post-Political Condition.Erik Swyngedouw - 2011 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 69:253-274.
    Nobel-price winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen introduced in 2000 the concept of the Anthropocene as the name for the successor geological period to the Holocene. The Holocene started about 12,000 years ago and is characterized by the relatively stable and temperate climatic and environmental conditions that were conducive to the development of human societies. Until recently, human development had relatively little impact on the dynamics of geological time. Although disagreement exists over the exact birth date of the Anthropocene, it is (...)
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  • Beyond the genome: community-level analysis of the microbial world.Iratxe Zarraonaindia, Daniel P. Smith & Jack A. Gilbert - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):261-282.
    The development of culture-independent strategies to study microbial diversity and function has led to a revolution in microbial ecology, enabling us to address fundamental questions about the distribution of microbes and their influence on Earth’s biogeochemical cycles. This article discusses some of the progress that scientists have made with the use of so-called “omic” techniques (metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and metaproteomics) and the limitations and major challenges these approaches are currently facing. These ‘omic methods have been used to describe the taxonomic structure (...)
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  • The contention within health economics: A micro-economic foundation using a macro-economic analysis. [REVIEW]Ian L. Yaxley - 1998 - Health Care Analysis 6 (1):5-13.
    Health economists claim to use market economics combined with the microeconomic concepts of opportunity cost and the margin to advise on priority setting. However, they are advising on setting priorities through a macro-economic analysis using the costs of the supplier, thus prioritising the producer and not the consumer as the dynamic of economic activity. For health economists any contention within priority setting is due to lack of data not their confusion over fundamental concepts.
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  • Part-whole science.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2011 - Synthese 178 (3):397-427.
    A scientific explanatory project, part-whole explanation, and a kind of science, part-whole science are premised on identifying, investigating, and using parts and wholes. In the biological sciences, mechanistic, structuralist, and historical explanations are part-whole explanations. Each expresses different norms, explananda, and aims. Each is associated with a distinct partitioning frame for abstracting kinds of parts. These three explanatory projects can be complemented in order to provide an integrative vision of the whole system, as is shown for a detailed case study: (...)
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  • Parts and theories in compositional biology.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (4):471-499.
    I analyze the importance of parts in the style of biological theorizing that I call compositional biology. I do this by investigating various aspects, including partitioning frames and explanatory accounts, of the theoretical perspectives that fall under and are guided by compositional biology. I ground this general examination in a comparative analysis of three different disciplines with their associated compositional theoretical perspectives: comparative morphology, functional morphology, and developmental biology. I glean data for this analysis from canonical textbooks and defend the (...)
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  • On the dangers of making scientific models ontologically independent: Taking Richard Levins' warnings seriously.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):703-724.
    Levins and Lewontin have contributed significantly to our philosophical understanding of the structures, processes, and purposes of biological mathematical theorizing and modeling. Here I explore their separate and joint pleas to avoid making abstract and ideal scientific models ontologically independent by confusing or conflating our scientific models and the world. I differentiate two views of theorizing and modeling, orthodox and dialectical, in order to examine Levins and Lewontin’s, among others, advocacy of the latter view. I compare the positions of these (...)
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  • Darwin on Variation and Heredity.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2000 - Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):425-455.
    Darwin's ideas on variation, heredity, and development differ significantly from twentieth-century views. First, Darwin held that environmental changes, acting either on the reproductive organs or the body, were necessary to generate variation. Second, heredity was a developmental, not a transmissional, process; variation was a change in the developmental process of change. An analysis of Darwin's elaboration and modification of these two positions from his early notebooks (1836-1844) to the last edition of the /Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication/ (1875) (...)
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  • Overinterpreting model fitting effects.Lee Willerman - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):413-414.
  • Physical literacy: Philosophical considerations in relation to developing a sense of self, universality and propositional knowledge.Margaret Whitehead - 2007 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 1 (3):281 – 298.
    This paper opens with a presentation of the philosophical underpinning and rationale of the concept of physical literacy. This is followed by an articulation of the concept of physical literacy. Three subsequent sections then consider aspects of the concept in a little more detail. The first investigates the relationship of the physical literacy to the development of a sense of self and to establishing interaction with others. Here the philosophical approach is informed by writings on cognitive development and recent neurological (...)
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  • Forty years of 'the strategy': Levins on model building and idealization.Michael Weisberg - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):623-645.
    This paper is an interpretation and defense of Richard Levins’ “The Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology,” which has been extremely influential among biologists since its publication 40 years ago. In this article, Levins confronted some of the deepest philosophical issues surrounding modeling and theory construction. By way of interpretation, I discuss each of Levins’ major philosophical themes: the problem of complexity, the brute-force approach, the existence and consequence of tradeoffs, and robustness analysis. I argue that Levins’ article is (...)
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  • The need for collaboration between behavior geneticists and environmentally oriented investigators in developmental research.Irwin D. Waldman & Richard A. Weinberg - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):412-413.
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  • Four Pillars of Statisticalism.Denis M. Walsh, André Ariew & Mohan Matthen - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (1):1-18.
    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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  • Goals and methods: The study of development versus partitioning of variance.Douglas Wahlsten - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (1):146-161.
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  • Insensitivity of the analysis of variance to heredity-environment interaction.Douglas Wahlsten - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (1):109-120.
  • Ways of coloring the ecological approach.Johan Wagemans & Charles M. M. de Weert - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):54-56.
  • Nature and nurture: A shaky alliance.Theodore D. Wachs - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):411-412.
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  • Variation in means and in ends.Arie J. van Noordwijk - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (1):145-146.
  • The ethnocentricity of colour.J. van Brakel - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):53-54.
  • Is H2 = 0 a null hypothesis anymore?Eric Turkheimer & Irving I. Gottesman - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):410-411.
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  • Biodiversity and modern crop varieties: Sharpening the debate. [REVIEW]Robert Tripp - 1996 - Agriculture and Human Values 13 (4):48-63.
    Debates about the relationship between agricultural technology and the conservation of crop genetic diversity are often hampered by unclear vocabulary and imprecise data. Various interpretations of the terms “modern variety,” “local variety,” “hybrid,” and “green revolution” are first explored, and then evidence is examined regarding the effect of modern varieties on intra- and intercrop diversity, risk, input use, and farmer decision-making. The objective is to urge a more reasoned debate about the future of plant genetic resources.
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  • Ways of coloring.Evan Thompson, A. Palacios & F. J. Varela - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):1-26.
    Different explanations of color vision favor different philosophical positions: Computational vision is more compatible with objectivism (the color is in the object), psychophysics and neurophysiology with subjectivism (the color is in the head). Comparative research suggests that an explanation of color must be both experientialist (unlike objectivism) and ecological (unlike subjectivism). Computational vision's emphasis on optimally prespecified features of the environment (i.e., distal properties, independent of the sensory-motor capacities of the animal) is unsatisfactory. Conceiving of visual perception instead as the (...)
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  • On the ways to color.Evan Thompson, Adrian Palacios & Francisco J. Varela - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):56-74.
  • Improvisations on the behavioral-genetics theme.Esther Thelen - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):409-410.
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  • Modeling and measuring environment.Auke Tellegen - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):408-409.
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  • The immune system and its ecology.Alfred I. Tauber - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (2):224-245.
    In biology, the ‘ecological orientation' rests on a commitment to examining systems, and the conceptual challenge of defining that system now employs techniques and concepts adapted from diverse disciplines (i.e., systems philosophy, cybernetics, information theory, computer science) that are applied to biological simulations and model building. Immunology has joined these efforts, and the question posed here is whether the discipline will remain committed to its theoretical concerns framed by the notions of protecting an insular self, an entity demarcated from its (...)
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  • Wavelength processing and colour experience.Petra Stoerig & Alan Cowey - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):53-53.
  • Confusing structure and function.Kenneth M. Steele - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):52-53.
  • Enacting silence: Residual categories as a challenge for ethics, information systems, and communication. [REVIEW]Susan Leigh Star & Geoffrey C. Bowker - 2007 - Ethics and Information Technology 9 (4):273-280.
    Residual categories are those which cannot be formally represented within a given classification system. We examine the forms that residuality takes within our information systems today, and explore some silences which form around those inhabiting particular residual categories. We argue that there is significant ethical and political work to be done in exploring residuality.
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  • Problems with the “environment as phenotype” hypothesis.Radomír Socha - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):407-408.
  • Ecological subjectivism?Christine A. Skarda - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):51-52.
  • Genes and genius from Galton to Freud.Dean Keith Simonton - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):406-407.
  • What in the world determines the structure of color space?Roger N. Shepard - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):50-51.
  • “Location” Incommensurability and “Replication” Indeterminacy: Clarifying an Entrenched Conflation by Using an Involved Approach.Ayelet Shavit - 2016 - Perspectives on Science 24 (4):425-442.
    . Reproducible results and repeatable measurements at the same location are fundamental to science, yet of grave concern to scientists. Involvement in biological re-surveys under MVZ-Berkeley, Harvard-LTER and Hamaarag elucidated “replication” and “location” and untangled “incommensurability” from “no fact of the matter” and “indeterminacy.” All cases revealed incommensurability without indeterminacy on the smallest scale and indeterminacy without incommensurability on higher scales, with communication failure in the former and successful workarounds in the latter. I argue that an involved philosophy helps clarify (...)
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  • Colleagues in conflict: An 'in vivo' analysis of the sociobiology controversy. [REVIEW]Ullica Segerstrale - 1986 - Biology and Philosophy 1 (1):53-87.
    Edward O. Wilson's forays into human sociobiology have been the target of persistent, vehement attack by his Harvard colleague in evolutionary biology, Richard C. Lewontin. Through examination of existing documents in the case, together with in-depth personal interviews of Wilson, Lewontin, and other biologists, the reasons for Wilson's stance and Lewontin's criticisms are uncovered. It is argued that the dispute is not primarily personally or politically motivated, but involves a conflict between long-term scientific-cum-moral agendas, with the reductionist program as a (...)
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  • We wondered where the errors went.Peter H. Schönemann & Roberta D. Schönemann - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):404-406.
  • Inherited quality control problems.Peter H. Schönemann - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (1):145-145.
  • From the Gaia hypothesis to a theory of the evolving self-organizing biosphere: Michael Ruse: The Gaia hypothesis: Science on a pagan planet. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013, 251pp, $26 HB.David Schwartzman - 2015 - Metascience 24 (2):315-319.
    The Gaia hypothesis emerged from two interpenetrating traditions, the mechanist and the organicist, with the former tending to reductionism and the latter to holism. While mechanist James Lovelock is the acknowledged father, he collaborated with the organicist Lynn Margulis in the early 1970s when the first papers appeared in the scientific literature. Both continued to be active in Gaia-related conferences until Margulis’s premature death in late 2011. In a very readable exposition, Michael Ruse succeeds brilliantly in tracing the philosophical roots (...)
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  • Environment – A dubious concept?Fini Schulsinger - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):406-406.
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  • The construction of family reality.Sandra Scarr - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):403-404.
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  • Quality & Quantity: Limits of Quantification in the Sciences.Isabella Sarto-Jackson & Richard R. Nelson - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (3):183-187.
  • Ethics, Narrative, and Agriculture: Transforming Agricultural Practice through Ecological Imagination. [REVIEW]A. Whitney Sanford - 2011 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 24 (3):283-303.
    The environmental degradation caused by industrial agriculture, as well as the resulting social and health consequences, creates an urgency to rethink food production by expanding the moral imagination to include agricultural practices. Agricultural practices presume human use of the earth and acknowledge human dependence on the biotic community, and these relations mean that agriculture presents a separate set of considerations in the broader field of environmental ethics. Many scholars and activists have argued persuasively that we need new stories to rethink (...)
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  • Origins of nurture: It is not just effects on measures and it is not just effects of nature.Michael Rutter - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):402-403.
  • “Empiricism all the way down”: a defense of the value-neutrality of science in response to Helen Longino's contextual empiricism.Stéphanie Ruphy - 2006 - Perspectives on Science 14 (2):189-214.
    : A central claim of Longino's contextual empiricism is that scientific inquiry, even when "properly conducted", lacks the capacity to screen out the influence of contextual values on its results. I'll show first that Longino's attack against the epistemic integrity of science suffers from fatal empirical weaknesses. Second I'll explain why Longino's practical proposition for suppressing biases in science, drawn from her contextual empiricism, is too demanding and, therefore, unable to serve its purpose. Finally, drawing on Bourdieu's sociological analysis of (...)
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  • Three shocks to socialization research.David C. Rowe - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):401-402.
  • Commercializing chemical warfare: citrus, cyanide, and an endless war.Adam M. Romero - 2016 - Agriculture and Human Values 33 (1):3-26.
    Astonishing changes have occurred to agricultural production systems since WWII. As such, many people tend to date the origins of industrial chemical agricultural to the early 1940s. The origins of industrial chemical agriculture, however, both on and off the field, have a much longer history. Indeed, industrial agriculture’s much discussed chemical dependency—in particular its need for toxic chemicals—and the development of the industries that feed this fix, have a long and diverse past that extend well back into the nineteenth century. (...)
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  • Areas of ignorance and confusion in color science.Adam Reeves - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (1):49-50.
  • Trying to shoot the messenger for his message.Robert Plomin - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (1):144-144.
  • The nature of nurture: Genetic influence on “environmental” measures.Robert Plomin & C. S. Bergeman - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):373-386.
  • Nature and nurture.Robert Plomin & C. S. Bergeman - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (3):414-427.