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  1. Is Behavioural Flexibility Evidence of Cognitive Complexity? How Evolution Can Inform Comparative Cognition.Irina Mikhalevich, Russell Powell & Corina Logan - 2017 - Interface Focus 7.
    Behavioural flexibility is often treated as the gold standard of evidence for more sophisticated or complex forms of animal cognition, such as planning, metacognition and mindreading. However, the evidential link between behavioural flexibility and complex cognition has not been explicitly or systematically defended. Such a defence is particularly pressing because observed flexible behaviours can frequently be explained by putatively simpler cognitive mechanisms. This leaves complex cognition hypotheses open to ‘deflationary’ challenges that are accorded greater evidential weight precisely because they offer (...)
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  • Exaptation Revisited: Changes Imposed by Evolutionary Psychologists and Behavioral Biologists.Elisabeth A. Lloyd & Stephen Jay Gould - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (1):50-65.
    Some methodological adaptationists hijacked the term “exaptation,” and took an occasion of Stephen Jay Gould’s misspeaking as confirmation that it possessed an evolutionarily “designed” function and was a version of an adaptation, something it was decidedly not. Others provided a standard of evidence for exaptation that was inappropriate, and based on an adaptationist worldview. This article is intended to serve as both an analysis of and correction to those situations. Gould and Elisabeth Vrba’s terms, “exaptation” and “aptation,” as originally introduced, (...)
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  • Reciprocal Causation and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.Andrew Buskell - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-13.
    Kevin Laland and colleagues have put forward a number of arguments motivating an extended evolutionary synthesis. Here I examine Laland et al.'s central concept of reciprocal causation. Reciprocal causation features in many arguments supporting an expanded evolutionary framework, yet few of these arguments are clearly delineated. Here I clarify the concept and make explicit three arguments in which it features. I identify where skeptics can—and are—pushing back against these arguments, and highlight what I see as the empirical, explanatory, and methodological (...)
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  • Criteria for Holobionts From Community Genetics.Elisabeth A. Lloyd & Michael J. Wade - 2019 - Biological Theory 14 (3):151-170.
    We address the controversy in the literature concerning the definition of holobionts and the apparent constraints on their evolution using concepts from community population genetics. The genetics of holobionts, consisting of a host and diverse microbial symbionts, has been neglected in many discussions of the topic, and, where it has been discussed, a gene-centric, species-centric view, based in genomic conflict, has been predominant. Because coevolution takes place between traits or genes in two or more species and not, strictly speaking, between (...)
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  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Fruitfulness.Silvia Ivani - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):4.
    What are the relevant values to the appraisal of research programs? This question remains hotly debated, as philosophers have recently proposed many lists of values potentially relevant to scientific appraisal. Surprisingly, despite being mentioned in many lists, little attention has been paid to fruitfulness. It is unclear how fruitfulness should be explicated, and whether it has any substantial role in scientific appraisal. In this paper, I argue we should explicate fruitfulness as the capacity to develop of research programs. Moreover, I (...)
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  • The Nature of Programmed Cell Death.Pierre M. Durand & Grant Ramsey - 2019 - Biological Theory 14 (1):30-41.
    In multicellular organisms, cells are frequently programmed to die. This makes good sense: cells that fail to, or are no longer playing important roles are eliminated. From the cell’s perspective, this also makes sense, since somatic cells in multicellular organisms require the cooperation of clonal relatives. In unicellular organisms, however, programmed cell death poses a difficult and unresolved evolutionary problem. The empirical evidence for PCD in diverse microbial taxa has spurred debates about what precisely PCD means in the case of (...)
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  • Perspectives on Integrating Genetic and Physical Explanations of Evolution and Development.Alan Love, Thomas Stewart, Gunter Wagner & Stuart Newman - 2017 - Integrative and Comparative Biology:icx121.
    In the 20th century, genetic explanatory approaches became dominant in both developmental and evolutionary biological research. By contrast, physical approaches, which appeal to properties such as mechanical forces, were largely relegated to the margins, despite important advances in modeling. Recently, there have been renewed attempts to find balanced viewpoints that integrate both biological physics and molecular genetics into explanations of developmental and evolutionary phenomena. Here we introduce the 2017 SICB symposium “Physical and Genetic Mechanisms for Evolutionary Novelty” that was dedicated (...)
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  • An Organisational Approach to Biological Communication.Ramiro Frick, Leonardo Bich & Alvaro Moreno - 2019 - Acta Biotheoretica (2):103-128.
    This paper aims to provide a philosophical and theoretical account of biological communication grounded in the notion of organisation. The organisational approach characterises living systems as organised in such a way that they are capable to self-produce and self-maintain while in constant interaction with the environment. To apply this theoretical framework to the study of biological communication, we focus on a specific approach, based on the notion of influence, according to which communication takes place when a signal emitted by a (...)
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  • Not Null Enough: Pseudo-Null Hypotheses in Community Ecology and Comparative Psychology.William Bausman & Marta Halina - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):30.
    We evaluate a common reasoning strategy used in community ecology and comparative psychology for selecting between competing hypotheses. This strategy labels one hypothesis as a “null” on the grounds of its simplicity and epistemically privileges it as accepted until rejected. We argue that this strategy is unjustified. The asymmetrical treatment of statistical null hypotheses is justified through the experimental and mathematical contexts in which they are used, but these contexts are missing in the case of the “pseudo-null hypotheses” found in (...)
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  • Stranger in a Strange Land: An Optimal-Environments Account of Evolutionary Mismatch.Rick Morris - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    In evolutionary medicine, researchers characterize some outcomes as evolutionary mismatch. Mismatch problems arise as the result of organisms living in environments to which they are poorly adapted, typically as the result of some rapid environmental change. Depression, anxiety, obesity, myopia, insomnia, breast cancer, dental problems, and numerous other negative health outcomes have all been characterized as mismatch problems. The exact nature of evolutionary mismatch itself is unclear, however. This leads to a lack of clarity about the sorts of problems that (...)
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  • Astrobiology as Hybrid Science: Introduction to the Thematic Issue.Linnda R. Caporael - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):69-75.
  • Task Allocation and the Logic of Research Questions: How Ants Challenge Human Sociobiology.Ryan Ketcham - 2019 - Biological Theory 14 (1):52-68.
    After biologist Deborah Gordon made a series of experimental discoveries in the 1980s, she argued that a change in terminology regarding the division of labor among castes of specialists was needed. Gordon’s investigations of the interactive effects of ants in colonies led her to believe that the established approach Edward O. Wilson had pioneered was biased in a way that made some alternative candidate adaptive explanations invisible. Gordon argued that this was because the term “division of labor” implied a division (...)
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  • Gender as a Historical Kind: A Tale of Two Genders?Marion Godman - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):21.
    Is there anything that members of each binary category of gender have in common? Even many non-essentialists find the lack of unity within a gender worrying as it undermines the basis for a common political agenda for women. One promising proposal for achieving unity is by means of a shared historical lineage of cultural reproduction with past binary models of gender. I demonstrate how such an account is likely to take on board different binary and also non-binary systems of gender. (...)
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  • The Enduring Enigma of Reason.Catarina Dutilh Novaes - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (5):513-524.
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