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  1.  5
    Synthetic Versus Analytic Approaches to Protein and DNA Structure Determination.Agnes Bolinska - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):26.
    The structures of protein and DNA were discovered primarily by means of synthesizing component-level information about bond types, lengths, and angles, rather than analyzing X-ray diffraction photographs of these molecules. In this paper, I consider the synthetic and analytic approaches to exemplify alternative heuristics for approaching mid-twentieth-century macromolecular structure determination. I argue that the former was, all else being equal, likeliest to generate the correct structure in the shortest period of time. I begin by characterizing problem solving in these cases (...)
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  2.  6
    Molecular Pathways and the Contextual Explanation of Molecular Functions.Giovanni Boniolo & Raffaella Campaner - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):24.
    Much of the recent philosophical debate on causation and causal explanation in the biological and biomedical sciences has focused on the notion of mechanism. Mechanisms, their nature and epistemic roles have been tackled by a range of so-called neo-mechanistic theories, and widely discussed. Without denying the merits of this approach, our paper aims to show how lately it has failed to give proper credit to processes, which are central to the field, especially of contemporary molecular biology. Processes can be summed (...)
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  3.  7
    Replicate After Reading: On the Extraction and Evocation of Cultural Information.Maarten Boudry - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):27.
    Does cultural evolution happen by a process of copying or replication? And how exactly does cultural transmission compare with that paradigmatic case of replication, the copying of DNA in living cells? Theorists of cultural evolution are divided on these issues. The most important objection to the replication model has been leveled by Dan Sperber and his colleagues. Cultural transmission, they argue, is almost always reconstructive and transformative, while strict ‘replication’ can be seen as a rare limiting case at most. By (...)
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  4.  9
    Ape Imagination? A Sentimentalist Critique of Frans de Waal’s Gradualist Theory of Human Morality.Paul Carron - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):22.
    This essay draws on Adam Smith’s moral sentimentalism to critique primatologist Frans de Waal’s gradualist theory of human morality. De Waal has spent his career arguing for continuity between primate behavior and human morality, proposing that empathy is a primary moral building block evident in primate behavior. Smith’s moral sentimentalism—with its emphasis on the role of sympathy in moral virtue—provides the philosophical framework for de Waal’s understanding of morality. Smith’s notion of sympathy and the imagination involved in sympathy is qualitatively (...)
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  5.  13
    Big Dragons on Small Islands: Generality and Particularity in Science.Adrian Currie - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):20.
    Angela Potochnik’s Idealization and the Aims of Science defends an ambitious and systematic account of scientific knowledge: ultimately science pursues human understanding rather than truth. Potochnik argues that idealization is rampant and unchecked in science. Further, given that idealizations involve departures from truth, this suggests science is not primarily about truth. I explore the relationship between truths about causal patterns and scientific understanding in light of this, and suggest that Potochnik underestimates the importance and power of highly particular narrative explanations.
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  6.  18
    Reply to Rosenberg.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):19.
    I respond to two of the main arguments in Rosenberg’s commentary on “Mind, Matter, and Metabolism.” Rosenberg’s claim that metabolic activities are “modularized” in a way that sets them apart from cognitive processes is not true given the broad sense of the “metabolic” employed in my paper, and contemporary neuroscience, including the work on navigation cited by Rosenberg, has begun to yield an understanding of subjectivity and “point of view.”.
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  7.  68
    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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  8.  6
    Cancer Stem Cells Modulate Patterns and Processes of Evolution in Cancers.Lucie Laplane - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):18.
    The clonal evolution model and the cancer stem cell model are two independent models of cancers, yet recent data shows intersections between the two models. This article explores the impacts of the CSC model on the CE model. I show that CSC restriction, which depends on CSC frequency in cancer cell populations and on the probability of dedifferentiation of cancer non-stem cells into CSCs, can favor or impede some patterns of evolution and some processes of evolution. Taking CSC restriction into (...)
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  9.  5
    The Domain Relativity of Evolutionary Contingency.Cory Travers Lewis - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):25.
    A key issue in the philosophy of biology is evolutionary contingency, the degree to which evolutionary outcomes could have been different. Contingency is typically contrasted with evolutionary convergence, where different evolutionary pathways result in the same or similar outcomes. Convergences are given as evidence against the hypothesis that evolutionary outcomes are highly contingent. But the best available treatments of contingency do not, when read closely, produce the desired contrast with convergence. Rather, they produce a picture in which any degree of (...)
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  10.  8
    Kuhnian Revolutions in Neuroscience: The Role of Tool Development.David Parker - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):17.
    The terms “paradigm” and “paradigm shift” originated in “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” by Thomas Kuhn. A paradigm can be defined as the generally accepted concepts and practices of a field, and a paradigm shift its replacement in a scientific revolution. A paradigm shift results from a crisis caused by anomalies in a paradigm that reduce its usefulness to a field. Claims of paradigm shifts and revolutions are made frequently in the neurosciences. In this article I will consider neuroscience paradigms, (...)
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  11.  12
    What’s Wrong with the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis? A Critical Reply to Welch.Koen B. Tanghe, Alexis De Tiège, Lieven Pauwels, Stefaan Blancke & Johan Braeckman - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):23.
    Welch :263–279, 2017) has recently proposed two possible explanations for why the field of evolutionary biology is plagued by a steady stream of claims that it needs urgent reform. It is either seriously deficient and incapable of incorporating ideas that are new, relevant and plausible or it is not seriously deficient at all but is prone to attracting discontent and to the championing of ideas that are not very relevant, plausible and/or not really new. He argues for the second explanation. (...)
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  12.  3
    Fifty Shades of Cladism.Andrew V. Z. Brower - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):8.
    Quinn offered seven definitions of “cladist” and discussed the context in which they are used in relation to historical and current debates in systematics. As a member of her study taxon, I offer some contextual color commentary, clarifications on the views of “pattern cladists” regarding monophyly, ancestors, synapomorphy and other concepts, a definition of “syncretist”, and some thoughts on cladistics and philosophy in the twenty first century.
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  13.  7
    The Generality of Constructive Neutral Evolution.T. D. P. Brunet & W. Ford Doolittle - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):2.
    Constructive Neutral Evolution is an evolutionary mechanism that can explain much molecular inter-dependence and organismal complexity without assuming positive selection favoring such dependency or complexity, either directly or as a byproduct of adaptation. It differs from but complements other non-selective explanations for complexity, such as genetic drift and the Zero Force Evolutionary Law, by being ratchet-like in character. With CNE, purifying selection maintains dependencies or complexities that were neutrally evolved. Preliminary treatments use it to explain specific genetic and molecular structures (...)
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  14.  8
    Cultural Evolution and the Social Sciences: A Case of Unification?Catherine Driscoll - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):7.
    This paper addresses the question of how to understand the relationship between Cultural Evolutionary Science and the social sciences, given that they coexist and both study cultural change. I argue that CES is best understood as having a unificatory or integrative role between evolutionary biology and the social sciences, and that it is best characterized as a bridge field; I describe the concept of a bridge field and how it relates to other non-reductionist accounts of unification or integration used in (...)
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  15.  5
    Amorphic Kinds: Cluster’s Last Stand?Neil E. Williams - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):14.
    I raise a puzzle case for “cluster” accounts of natural kinds—the homeostatic property cluster and stable property cluster accounts, especially—on the basis of their expected treatment of the metaphysics of certain disease kinds. Some kinds, I argue, fail to exhibit the co-instantiated property clusters these cluster views take to be constitutive of natural kinds. Some genetic diseases, for example, have archetypical instances with few or none of the pathological processes or symptoms associated with the kind: their instances are typified by (...)
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  16.  12
    The Case for Multiple Realization in Biology.Wei Fang - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):3.
    Polger and Shapiro argue that their official recipe, a criterion for judging when the phenomenon of multiple realization exists, renders MR less widespread than its proponents have assumed. I argue that, although Polger and Shapiro’s criterion is a useful contribution, they arrive at their conclusion too hastily. Contrary to Polger and Shapiro, I claim that the phenomenon of multiple realization in the biological world, judged by their criterion, is not as scarce as they suggest. To show this, an updated official (...)
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  17.  13
    Recent Trends in Evolutionary Ethics: Greenbeards!Joseph Heath & Catherine Rioux - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):16.
    In recent years, there has been growing awareness among evolutionary ethicists that systems of cooperation based upon “weak” reciprocity mechanisms lack scalability, and are therefore inadequate to explain human ultrasociality. This has produced a shift toward models that strengthen the cooperative mechanism, by adding various forms of commitment or punishment. Unfortunately, the most prominent versions of this hypothesis wind up positing a discredited mechanism as the basis of human ultrasociality, viz. a “greenbeard.” This paper begins by explaining what a greenbeard (...)
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  18.  8
    Why a Convincing Argument for Causalism Cannot Entirely Eschew Population-Level Properties: Discussion of Otsuka.Brian McLoone - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):11.
    Causalism is the thesis that natural selection can cause evolution. A standard argument for causalism involves showing that a hypothetical intervention on some population-level property that is identified with natural selection will result in evolution. In a pair of articles, one of which recently appeared in the pages of this journal, Jun Otsuka has put forward a quite different argument for causalism. Otsuka attempts to show that natural selection can cause evolution by considering a hypothetical intervention on an individual-level property. (...)
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  19.  8
    Making Microbes Matter: Essay Review of Maureen A. O’Malley’s Philosophy of Microbiology.Gregory J. Morgan, James Romph, Joshua L. Ross, Elizabeth Steward & Claire Szipszky - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):12.
    In a pioneering book, Philosophy of Microbiology, Maureen O’Malley argues for the philosophical importance of microbes through an examination of their impact on ecosystems, evolution, biological classification, collaborative behavior, and multicellular organisms. She identifies many understudied conceptual issues in the study of microbes. If philosophers follow her lead, the philosophy of biology will be expanded and enriched.
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  20.  9
    The Fine Structure of ‘Homology’.Aaron Novick - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):6.
    There is long-standing conflict between genealogical and developmental accounts of homology. This paper provides a general framework that shows that these accounts are compatible and clarifies precisely how they are related. According to this framework, understanding homology requires both an abstract genealogical account that unifies the application of the term to all types of characters used in phylogenetic systematics and locally enriched accounts that apply only to specific types of characters. The genealogical account serves this unifying role by relying on (...)
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  21.  53
    Meet the New Mammoth, Same as the Old? Resurrecting the Mammuthus Primigenius.Monika Piotrowska - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):5.
    Media reporters often announce that we are on the verge of bringing back the woolly mammoth, even while there is growing consensus among scientists that resurrecting the mammoth is unlikely. In fact, current “de-extinction” efforts are not designed to bring back a mammoth, but rather adaptations of the mammoth using close relatives. For example, Harvard scientists are working on creating an Asian elephant with the thick coat of a mammoth by merging mammoth and elephant DNA. But how should such creatures (...)
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  22.  14
    Can We Make Sense of Subjective Experience in Metabolically Situated Cognitive Processes?Alex Rosenberg - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):13.
    In “Mind, matter and metabolism,” Godfrey-Smith’s objective is to “develop a picture” in which, first, the basis of living activity in physical processes “makes sense,” second, the basis of proto-cognitive activity in living activity “makes sense” and third, “the basis of subjective experience in metabolically situated cognitive processes also makes sense.” show that he fails to attain all three of these objectives, largely owing to the nature and modularization of metabolism.
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  23.  6
    Biodiversity is a Chimera, and Chimeras Aren’T Real.Carlos Santana - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):15.
    A recent article by Burch-Brown and Archer provides compelling arguments that biodiversity is either a natural kind or a pragmatically-valid scientific entity. I call into question three of these arguments. The first argument contends that biodiversity is a Homeostatic Property Cluster. I respond that there is no plausible homeostatic mechanism that would make biodiversity an HPC natural kind. The second argument proposes that biodiversity is a multiply-realizable functional kind. I respond that there is no shared function to ground this account. (...)
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  24.  12
    A Pragmatic Approach to the Possibility of de-Extinction.Matthew H. Slater & Hayley Clatterbuck - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):4.
    A number of influential biologists are currently pursuing efforts to restore previously extinct species. But for decades, philosophers of biology have regarded “de-extinction” as conceptually incoherent. Once a species is gone, it is gone forever. We argue that a range of metaphysical, biological, and ethical grounds for opposing de-extinction are at best inconclusive and that a pragmatic stance that allows for its possibility is more appealing.
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  25.  21
    Self Domestication and the Evolution of Language.James Thomas & Simon Kirby - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):9.
    We set out an account of how self-domestication plays a crucial role in the evolution of language. In doing so, we focus on the growing body of work that treats language structure as emerging from the process of cultural transmission. We argue that a full recognition of the importance of cultural transmission fundamentally changes the kind of questions we should be asking regarding the biological basis of language structure. If we think of language structure as reflecting an accumulated set of (...)
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  26.  28
    Biology and Philosophy’s Transition to Continuous Publication.Michael Weisberg - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):1.
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  27.  6
    A Cladist is a Systematist Who Seeks a Natural Classification: Some Comments on Quinn.David M. Williams & Malte C. Ebach - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):10.
    In response to Quinn we identify cladistics to be about natural classifications and their discovery and thereby propose to add an eighth cladistic definition to Quinn’s list, namely the systematist who seeks to discover natural classifications, regardless of their affiliation, theoretical or methodological justifications.
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