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  1.  7
    From Earth to the Universe: Life, Intelligence, and Evolution.Linda Billings - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):93-102.
    While the scientific discourse on astrobiology—the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe—leans toward optimism about the possibility of extraterrestrial life, optimistic thinking is tempered by the limits of evidence and observations gathered thus far. Most astrobiologists assume that “first contact” with extraterrestrial life, if it is ever to occur, will likely be the discovery of microbial life elsewhere in our solar system. But in popular culture, “first contact” tends to be characterized as contact with (...)
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  2.  5
    Astrobiology as Hybrid Science: Introduction to the Thematic Issue.Linnda R. Caporael - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):69-75.
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  3.  5
    Erratum To: Astrobiology’s Cosmopolitics and the Search for an Origin Myth for the Anthropocene.James W. Malazita - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):152-152.
    This erratum is published as name was misspelt in references in original publication. “In James Malazita’s ‘Astrobiology’s Cosmopolitics and the Search for an Origin Myth for the Anthropocene’, Daniel Coren’s last name is misspelled as ‘Cohen’ in the references. The correct entry should be ‘Coren D Anthropocentric biocentrism in a hybrid. Ethics Environ 20:48–60’.”.
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  4.  11
    Astrobiology’s Cosmopolitics and the Search for an Origin Myth for the Anthropocene.James W. Malazita - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):111-120.
    This article analyzes astrobiology as a cosmopolitical project—the ways in which astrobiological “sensemaking” practices do philosophical, political, cultural, ontological, and ethical work as much as they do scientific work. More specifically, this article argues that astrobiology is engaged in the crafting of a new “origin myth” that makes sense of humanity’s place in the universe during our transition from the Holocene to the Anthropocene. In doing so, this article traces the ways in which astrobiology employs scientific methodologies and engages with (...)
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  5.  13
    Why We Should Care About Universal Biology.Carlos Mariscal & Leonore Fleming - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):121-130.
    Our understanding of the universe has grown rapidly in recent decades. We’ve discovered evidence of water in nearby planets, discovered planets outside our solar system, mapped the genomes of thousands of organisms, and probed the very origins and limits of life. The scientific perspective of life-as-it-could-be has expanded in part by research in astrobiology, synthetic biology, and artificial life. In the face of such scientific developments, we argue there is an ever-growing need for universal biology, life-as-it-must-be, the multidisciplinary study of (...)
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  6.  6
    The Search on Mars for a Second Genesis of Life in the Solar System and the Need for Biologically Reversible Exploration.Christopher P. McKay - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):103-110.
    The discovery of a second genesis of life besides the one on Earth, this time on Mars, would have profound scientific and philosophical implications. Scientifically, it would provide a second example of biochemistry and of evolutionary history. Many important biological questions may be answerable through the comparison of biochemistry between the life forms on the two planets. Philosophically, the discovery of a second genesis of life in our solar system would suggest that the phenomenon of life is distributed throughout the (...)
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  7.  10
    Universal EvoDevo?Stuart A. Newman - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):67-68.
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  8.  18
    Life as Adaptive Capacity: Bringing New Life to an Old Debate.Kelly C. Smith - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):76-92.
    Whatever we take “life” to mean, it must involve an attempt to describe the objective reality beyond scientists’ biases. Traditionally, this is thought to involve comparing our scientific categories to “natural kinds.” But this approach has been tainted with an implicit metaphysics, inherited from Aristotle, that does not fit biological reality. In particular, we must accept that biological categories will never be specifiable in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions or shared underlying physical structures that produce clean boundaries. Biology blurs (...)
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  9.  27
    The Evolutionary Psychology of Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Are There Universal Adaptations in Search, Aversion, and Signaling?Peter M. Todd & Geoffrey F. Miller - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):131-141.
    To understand the possible forms of extraterrestrial intelligence, we need not only astrobiology theories about how life evolves given habitable planets, but also evolutionary psychology theories about how intelligence emerges given life. Wherever intelligent organisms evolve, they are likely to face similar behavioral challenges in their physical and social worlds. The cognitive mechanisms that arise to meet these challenges may then be copied, repurposed, and shaped by further evolutionary selection to deal with more abstract, higher-level cognitive tasks such as conceptual (...)
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  10.  5
    Private Property Rights and the Public Interest in Exploration of Outer Space.Frans G. Von der Dunk - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):142-151.
    The impending missions to exploit natural resources of celestial bodies may at some point start interfering with the scientific interests, including those of astrobiology, in these bodies. While the legal status of celestial bodies at the highest level is clear, uncertainty has arisen as to the extent private property rights over such objects or over their resources are legally acceptable, legally impossible, or potentially legal. This also provides for a considerable amount of uncertainty regarding how the legal framework could or (...)
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  11.  3
    Private Property Rights and the Public Interest in Exploration of Outer Space.Frans G. Von der Dunk - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (2):142-151.
    The impending missions to exploit natural resources of celestial bodies may at some point start interfering with the scientific interests, including those of astrobiology, in these bodies. While the legal status of celestial bodies at the highest level is clear, uncertainty has arisen as to the extent private property rights over such objects or over their resources are legally acceptable, legally impossible, or potentially legal. This also provides for a considerable amount of uncertainty regarding how the legal framework could or (...)
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  12.  7
    Dysfunction, Disease, and the Limits of Selection.Zachary Ardern - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):4-9.
    Paul Griffiths and John Matthewson argue that selected effects play the key role in determining whether a state is pathological. In response, it is argued that a selected effects account faces a number of difficulties in light of modern genomic research. Firstly, a modern history approach to selection is problematic as a basis for assigning function to human traits in light of the small population sizes in the hominin lineage, which imply that selection has played a limited role in shaping (...)
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  13.  5
    Function and Malfunction in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences and Social Sciences.Thomas Bonnin, Paola Hernández-Chávez, Michal Hladky & C. David Suárez Pascal - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):39-43.
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  14.  12
    Functions and Health: Towards a Praxis-Oriented Concept of Health.Lennart Nordenfelt - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):10-16.
    Contemporary philosophy of health and disease has been quite focused on the problem of determining the nature of the concepts of health and disease from a scientific point of view. Some theorists claim and argue that these concepts are value-free and descriptive in the same sense as the concepts of atoms, metal, and rain are value-free and descriptive. According to this descriptive or naturalist line of thought, the notions of health and disease are furthermore related to the idea of a (...)
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  15.  29
    Holobionts as Units of Selection and a Model of Their Population Dynamics and Evolution.Joan Roughgarden, Scott F. Gilbert, Eugene Rosenberg, Ilana Zilber-Rosenberg & Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):44-65.
    Holobionts, consisting of a host and diverse microbial symbionts, function as distinct biological entities anatomically, metabolically, immunologically, and developmentally. Symbionts can be transmitted from parent to offspring by a variety of vertical and horizontal methods. Holobionts can be considered levels of selection in evolution because they are well-defined interactors, replicators/reproducers, and manifestors of adaptation. An initial mathematical model is presented to help understand how holobionts evolve. The model offered combines the processes of horizontal symbiont transfer, within-host symbiont proliferation, vertical symbiont (...)
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  16.  10
    Function, Dysfunction, and Normality in Biological Sciences.Etienne Roux - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):17-28.
    A biological function is supposed to be performed adequately, and hence may fail to do so: this is dysfunction. This raises two questions. One is how to make explicit the way in which function can be discriminated from dysfunction without confusing dysfunction with non-function. The second question is how what is “right” and “wrong” can be legitimated by natural regulatory norms. A function can be viewed as a quality to which at least one variable with a definite set of values (...)
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  17.  6
    Time for a Change: Topical Amendments to the Medical Model of Disease.Isabella Sarto-Jackson - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):29-38.
    There is a conceptual crisis in the biomedical sciences that is particularly salient in psychopathology research. Underlying the crisis is a controversy that pertains to the current medical model of disease that largely draws from causal-mechanistic explanations. The bedrock of this model is the analysis of biological part-dysfunctions that aims at unequivocally defining a pathological condition and demarcating it from its neighboring entities. This endeavor has led to a quest for physiological, biochemical, and genetic signatures. Yet, so far there is (...)
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  18.  10
    Out of Order: Function and Malfunction in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences.Isabella Sarto-Jackson - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):1-3.
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