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  1. The Paleobiological Revolution: Essays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology. [REVIEW]Paul D. Brinkman - 2009 - Journal of the History of Biology 42 (4):819-821.
  • Counterfactual Dependence and Time’s Arrow.David K. Lewis - 1979 - Noûs 13 (4):455-476.
  • Replaying Life’s Tape.John Beatty - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (7):336-362.
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  • Real Patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.
    Are there really beliefs? Or are we learning (from neuroscience and psychology, presumably) that, strictly speaking, beliefs are figments of our imagination, items in a superceded ontology? Philosophers generally regard such ontological questions as admitting just two possible answers: either beliefs exist or they don't. There is no such state as quasi-existence; there are no stable doctrines of semi-realism. Beliefs must either be vindicated along with the viruses or banished along with the banshees. A bracing conviction prevails, then, to the (...)
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  • The Function of General Laws in History.Carl G. Hempel - 1942 - Journal of Philosophy 39 (2):35-48.
    The classic logical positivist account of historical explanation, putting forward what is variously called the "regularity interpretation" (#Gardiner, The Nature of Historical Explanation), the "covering law model" (#Dray, Laws and Explanation in History), or the "deductive model" (Michael #Scriven, "Truisms as Grounds for Historical Explanations"). See also #Danto, Narration and Knowledge, for further criticisms of the model. Hempel formalizes historical explanation as involving (a) statements of determining (initial and boundary) conditions for the event to be explained, and (b) statements of (...)
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  • First Principles. --.Herbert Spencer - 1860 - Cambridge University Press.
    In 1862, the British philosopher Herbert Spencer published this preamble to a planned series of publications on biology, psychology, sociology and morality. In it, he states that religion and science can be reconciled by their shared belief in an Absolute, and that ultimate principles can be discerned in all manifestations of the Absolute, particularly the general laws of nature being discovered by science. Spencer divides his text into two parts. Part I, 'The Unknowable', discusses early philosophical ideas that human knowledge (...)
     
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  • Aspects of Scientific Explanation, and Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science.Carl Hempel - 1965 - New York: The Free Press.
  • Historical Science, Experimental Science, and the Scientific Method.Carol Cleland - manuscript
    Many scientists believe that there is a uniform, interdisciplinary method for the prac- tice of good science. The paradigmatic examples, however, are drawn from classical ex- perimental science. Insofar as historical hypotheses cannot be tested in controlled labo- ratory settings, historical research is sometimes said to be inferior to experimental research. Using examples from diverse historical disciplines, this paper demonstrates that such claims are misguided. First, the reputed superiority of experimental research is based upon accounts of scientific methodology (Baconian inductivism (...)
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  • Chance and Macroevolution.Roberta L. Millstein - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (4):603-624.
    When philosophers of physics explore the nature of chance, they usually look to quantum mechanics. When philosophers of biology explore the nature of chance, they usually look to microevolutionary phenomena, such as mutation or random drift. What has been largely overlooked is the role of chance in macroevolution. The stochastic models of paleobiology employ conceptions of chance that are similar to those at the microevolutionary level, yet different from the conceptions of chance often associated with quantum mechanics and Laplacean determinism.
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  • Explanatory Pluralism in Paleobiology.Todd A. Grantham - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (3):236.
    This paper is a defense of "explanatory pluralism" (i.e., the view that some events can be correctly explained in two distinct ways). To defend pluralism, I identify two distinct (but compatible) styles of explanation in paleobiology. The first approach ("actual sequence explanation") traces out the particular forces that affect each species. The second approach treats the trend as "passive" or "random" diffusion away from a boundary in morphological space. I argue that while these strategies are distinct, some trends are correctly (...)
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  • Two Outbreaks of Lawlessness in Recent Philosophy of Biology.Elliott Sober - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (4):467.
    John Beatty (1995) and Alexander Rosenberg (1994) have argued against the claim that there are laws in biology. Beatty's main reason is that evolution is a process full of contingency, but he also takes the existence of relative significance controversies in biology and the popularity of pluralistic approaches to a variety of evolutionary questions to be evidence for biology's lawlessness. Rosenberg's main argument appeals to the idea that biological properties supervene on large numbers of physical properties, but he also develops (...)
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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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  • Prediction and Explanation in Historical Natural Science.C. E. Cleland - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):551-582.
    In earlier work ( Cleland [2001] , [2002]), I sketched an account of the structure and justification of ‘prototypical’ historical natural science that distinguishes it from ‘classical’ experimental science. This article expands upon this work, focusing upon the close connection between explanation and justification in the historical natural sciences. I argue that confirmation and disconfirmation in these fields depends primarily upon the explanatory (versus predictive or retrodictive) success or failure of hypotheses vis-à-vis empirical evidence. The account of historical explanation that (...)
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  • The Topography of Historical Contingency.Rob Inkpen & Derek Turner - 2012 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (1):1-19.
    Abstract Starting with Ben-Menahem's definition of historical contingency as sensitivity to variations in initial conditions, we suggest that historical events and processes can be thought of as forming a complex landscape of contingency and necessity. We suggest three different ways of extending and elaborating Ben-Menahem's concepts: (1) By supplementing them with a notion of historical disturbance; (2) by pointing out that contingency and necessity are subject to scaling effects; (3) by showing how degrees of contingency/necessity can change over time. We (...)
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  • Puzzles for ZFEL, McShea and Brandon’s Zero Force Evolutionary Law.Martin Barrett, Hayley Clatterbuck, Michael Goldsby, Casey Helgeson, Brian McLoone, Trevor Pearce, Elliott Sober, Reuben Stern & Naftali Weinberger - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):723-735.
    In their 2010 book, Biology’s First Law, D. McShea and R. Brandon present a principle that they call ‘‘ZFEL,’’ the zero force evolutionary law. ZFEL says (roughly) that when there are no evolutionary forces acting on a population, the population’s complexity (i.e., how diverse its member organisms are) will increase. Here we develop criticisms of ZFEL and describe a different law of evolution; it says that diversity and complexity do not change when there are no evolutionary causes.
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  • Dimensions of Scientific Law.Sandra D. Mitchell - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (2):242-265.
    Biological knowledge does not fit the image of science that philosophers have developed. Many argue that biology has no laws. Here I criticize standard normative accounts of law and defend an alternative, pragmatic approach. I argue that a multidimensional conceptual framework should replace the standard dichotomous law/ accident distinction in order to display important differences in the kinds of causal structure found in nature and the corresponding scientific representations of those structures. To this end I explore the dimensions of stability, (...)
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  • Macroevolution, Minimalism, and the Radiation of the Animals.Kim Sterelny - 2007 - In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Four Solutions for Four Puzzles.Robert N. Brandon & Daniel W. McShea - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):737-744.
    Barrett et al. present four puzzles for the ZFEL-view of evolution that we present in our 2010 book, Biology’s First Law: The Tendency for Diversity and Complexity to Increase in Evolutionary Systems. Our intent in writing this book was to present a radically different way to think about evolution. To the extent that it really is radical, it will be easy to misunderstand. We think Barrett et al. have misunderstood several crucial points and so we welcome the opportunity to clarify.
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  • Gould’s Replay Revisited.Derek D. Turner - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (1):65-79.
    This paper develops a critical response to John Beatty’s recent (2006) engagement with Stephen Jay Gould’s claim that evolutionary history is contingent. Beatty identifies two senses of contingency in Gould’s work: an unpredictability sense and a causal dependence sense. He denies that Gould associates contingency with stochastic phenomena, such as drift. In reply to Beatty, this paper develops two main claims. The first is an interpretive claim: Gould really thinks of contingency has having to do with stochastic effects at the (...)
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  • There May Be Strict Empirical Laws in Biology, After All.Mehmet Elgin - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (1):119-134.
    This paper consists of four parts. Part 1 is an introduction. Part 2 evaluates arguments for the claim that there are no strict empirical laws in biology. I argue that there are two types of arguments for this claim and they are as follows: (1) Biological properties are multiply realized and they require complex processes. For this reason, it is almost impossible to formulate strict empirical laws in biology. (2) Generalizations in biology hold contingently but laws go beyond describing contingencies, (...)
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  • Complexity and Evolution: What Everybody Knows.Daniel W. McShea - 1991 - Biology and Philosophy 6 (3):303-324.
    The consensus among evolutionists seems to be that the morphological complexity of organisms increases in evolution, although almost no empirical evidence for such a trend exists. Most studies of complexity have been theoretical, and the few empirical studies have not, with the exception of certain recent ones, been especially rigorous; reviews are presented of both the theoretical and empirical literature. The paucity of evidence raises the question of what sustains the consensus, and a number of suggestions are offered, including the (...)
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  • Knowing the Past: Philosophical Issues of History and Archaeology.Peter Kosso - 2001 - Humanity Books.
    How can we know what really happened in the distant past in places like ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Palestine, Greece, and Rome, especially since the evidence is fragmentary and ancient cultures are so different from our own frame of reference? Scholars may examine historical documents and archaeological artifacts, and then make reasonable inferences. But in the final analysis there can be no absolute certainty about events far removed from present reality, and the past must be reconstructed by means of hypotheses that (...)
     
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  • Our Knowledge of the Past: A Philosophy of Historiography.Aviezer Tucker - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
    How do historians, comparative linguists, biblical and textual critics and evolutionary biologists establish beliefs about the past? How do they know the past? This book presents a philosophical analysis of the disciplines that offer scientific knowledge of the past. Using the analytic tools of contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science the book covers such topics as evidence, theory, methodology, explanation, determination and underdetermination, coincidence, contingency and counterfactuals in historiography. Aviezer Tucker's central claim is that historiography as a scientific discipline should (...)
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  • Local Underdetermination in Historical Science.Derek Turner - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (1):209-230.
  • Making Prehistory: Historical Science and the Scientific Realism Debate.Derek Turner - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
    Scientists often make surprising claims about things that no one can observe. In physics, chemistry, and molecular biology, scientists can at least experiment on those unobservable entities, but what about researchers in fields such as paleobiology and geology who study prehistory, where no such experimentation is possible? Do scientists discover facts about the distant past or do they, in some sense, make prehistory? In this book Derek Turner argues that this problem has surprising and important consequences for the scientific realism (...)
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  • Historical Contingency.Yemima Ben‐Menahem - 1997 - Ratio 10 (2):99–107.
  • Rectorial Address, Strasbourg, 1894.Wilhelm Windelband - 1980 - History and Theory 19 (2):169.
  • The Functions of Fossils: Inference and Explanation in Functional Morphology.D. Turner - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 31 (1):193-212.
    This paper offers an account of the relationship between inference and explanation in functional morphology which combines Robert Brandon's theory of adaptation explanation with standard accounts of inference to the best explanation. Inferences of function from structure, it is argued, are inferences to the best adaptation explanation. There are, however, three different approaches to the problem of determining which adaptation explanation is the best. The theory of inference to the best adaptation explanation is then applied to a case study from (...)
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  • From Weird Wonders to Stem Lineages: The Second Reclassification of the Burgess Shale Fauna.Keynyn Brysse - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 39 (3):298-313.
    The Burgess Shale, a set of fossil beds containing the exquisitely preserved remains of marine invertebrate organisms from shortly after the Cambrian explosion, was discovered in 1909, and first brought to widespread popular attention by Stephen Jay Gould in his 1989 bestseller Wonderful life: The Burgess Shale and the nature of history. Gould contrasted the initial interpretation of these fossils, in which they were ‘shoehorned’ into modern groups, with the first major reexamination begun in the 1960s, when the creatures were (...)
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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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  • Paleontology: A Philosophical Introduction.Derek Turner - 2011 - Cambridge University Press.
    In the wake of the paleobiological revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, paleontologists continue to investigate far-reaching questions about how evolution works. Many of those questions have a philosophical dimension. How is macroevolution related to evolutionary changes within populations? Is evolutionary history contingent? How much can we know about the causes of evolutionary trends? How do paleontologists read the patterns in the fossil record to learn about the underlying evolutionary processes? Derek Turner explores these and other questions, introducing the reader (...)
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  • Methodological and Epistemic Differences Between Historical Science and Experimental Science.Carol E. Cleland - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (3):447-451.
    Experimental research is commonly held up as the paradigm of "good" science. Although experiment plays many roles in science, its classical role is testing hypotheses in controlled laboratory settings. Historical science is sometimes held to be inferior on the grounds that its hypothesis cannot be tested by controlled laboratory experiments. Using contemporary examples from diverse scientific disciplines, this paper explores differences in practice between historical and experimental research vis-à-vis the testing of hypotheses. It rejects the claim that historical research is (...)
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  • Mystery of Mysteries: Is Evolution a Social Construction? [REVIEW]Peter J. Bowler - 2001 - Journal of the History of Biology 34 (1):199-200.
     
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  • What is Biodiversity?James Maclaurin & Kim Sterelny - 2008 - University of Chicago Press.
    What Is Biodiversity? is a theoretical and conceptual exploration of the biological world and how diversity is valued. Maclaurin and Sterelny explore not only the origins of the concept of biodiversity, but also how that concept has been shaped by ecology and more recently by conservation biology. They explain the different types of biodiversity important in evolutionary theory, developmental biology, ecology, morphology and taxonomy and conclude that biological heritage is rich in not just one biodiversity but many. Maclaurin and Sterelny (...)
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  • Laws of Biology, Laws of Nature: Problems and (Dis)Solutions.Andrew Hamilton - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (3):592–610.
    This article serves as an introduction to the laws-of-biology debate. After introducing the main issues in an introductory section, arguments for and against laws of biology are canvassed in Section 2. In Section 3, the debate is placed in wider epistemological context by engaging a group of scholars who have shifted the focus away from the question of whether there are laws of biology and toward offering good accounts of explanation(s) in the biological sciences. Section 4 introduces two relatively new (...)
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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.
    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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  • Drawing Out Leviathan Dinosaurs and the Science Wars.Keith M. Parsons - 2001
  • The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited.Brett Calcott & Kim Sterelny (eds.) - 2011 - MIT Press.
    Drawing on recent advances in evolutionary biology, prominent scholars return to the question posed in a pathbreaking book: how evolution itself evolved.
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  • Dawkins Vs. Gould Survival of the Fittest.Kim Sterelny - 2001
     
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