They are correct that punctuated equilibria apply to sexually reproducing organisms and that morphological evolutionary change is regarded as largely (if not exclusively) correlated with speciation events. However, they err in suggesting that we attribute stasis strictly to "developmental constraints," which represent only one of a set of possible mechanisms that we have suggested for the causes of stasis. Others include habitat tracking and the internal structure of species themselves [for example, (2)].
FEW HEROES LOWER their sights in the prime of their lives; triumph leads inexorably on, often to destruction. Alexander wept because he had no new worlds to conquer; Napoleon, overextended, sealed his doom in the depth of a Russian winter. But Charles Darwin did not follow the Origin of Species (1859) with a general defense of natural selection or with its evident extension to human evolution (he waited until 1871 to publish The Descent of Man). Instead, he wrote his most (...) obscure work, a book entitled: On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids Are Fertilized by Insects (1862). (shrink)
l i ver Cromwell delivered history's most famous rebuke to the heroworshiping that irons all subtlety into flawless cardboard: Mr. Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at al l ; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it. Helena Cronin, in The Ant and the Peacock , displays a raw talent clearly equal (...) to that of our finest portraitists, but has placed herself into a position even worse than Mr. Lely's. Cromwell's painter at least faced the subject himself; Cronin has produced an uncritical gloss upon a false and simplistic view that never was more than a caricature of Darwinian theory. (shrink)
In 1937, just as Dobzhansky published the book that later generations would laud as the foundation of the modern synthesis, the American Naturnlist published a symposium on "supraspecific variation in nature and in classification." Alfred C. Kinsey, who later became one of America's most controversial intellectuals for his study of basic behaviors in another sort of WASP,1 led off the symposium with a summary of his extensive work on a family of gall wasps, the Cynipidae. In his article, Kinsey strongly (...) advocated the central theme of the developing synthesis: Evolution at all scales, particularly macroevolution, could be explained by the genetic mechanisms observed in laboratories and local populations. He first complained that some geneticists and naturalists were still impeding a synthesis with their insistence upon causal separation of levels: "Just as some of the geneticists have insisted that the laboratory genetics may explain the nature and origin of Mendelian races, but not of natural species, so others indicate that the qualities of higher categories must be explained on bases other than those involved in species" (1937, p. 208). He then defended the central postulate. (shrink)
Understanding after the fact confers no special perspicacity. The real test for any diviner can only lie in grasping the outcome at the outset. Correct predictions, in themselves, offer no proof of true wisdom, for how can we distinguish dumb luck from horse sense? The only good experiment is, alas, the most undoable of all intriguing thoughts in a world of irrevocable history-to run back the tape and play it again, Sam.
In her 2004 book Carol Gould addresses the fundamental issue of democratizing globalization, that is to say of finding ways to open transnational institutions and communities to democratic participation by those widely affected by their decisions. The book develops a framework for expanding participation in crossborder decisions, arguing for a broader understanding of human rights and introducing a new role for the ideas of care and solidarity at a distance. Reinterpreting the idea of universality to accommodate a multiplicity of cultural (...) perspectives, the author takes up a number of applied issues, including the persistence of racism, cultural rights, women's human rights, the democratic management of firms, the use of the Internet to enhance political participation, and the importance of empathy and genuine democracy in understanding terrorism and responding to it. Accessibly written with a minimum of technical jargon this is a major contribution to political philosophy. (shrink)
¶1 Charles Darwin began the last paragraph of The Origin of Species (1859) with a famous metaphor about life's diversity and ecological complexity: It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have (...) all been produced by laws acting around us. He then begins the final sentence of the book with an equally famous statement: "There is grandeur in this view of life....". (shrink)
In 1979, Lewontin and I borrowed the archi- tectural term “spandrel” (using the pendentives of San Marco in Venice as an example) to designate the class of forms and spaces that arise as necessary byproducts of another decision in design, and not as adaptations for direct utility in them- selves. This proposal has generated a large literature featur- ing two critiques: (i) the terminological claim that the span- drels of San Marco are not true spandrels at all and (ii) the (...) conceptual claim that they are adaptations and not byprod- ucts. The features of the San Marco pendentives that we explicitly defined as spandrel-properties—their necessary number (four) and shape (roughly triangular)—are inevitable architectural byproducts, whatever the structural attributes of the pendentives themselves. The term spandrel may be extended from its particular architectural use for two- dimensional byproducts to the generality of “spaces left over,” a definition that properly includes the San Marco pendentives. Evolutionary biology needs such an explicit term for features arising as byproducts, rather than adaptations, whatever their subsequent exaptive utility. The concept of biological span- drels—including the examples here given of masculinized genitalia in female hyenas, exaptive use of an umbilicus as a brooding chamber by snails, the shoulder hump of the giant Irish deer, and several key features of human mentality— anchors the critique of overreliance upon adaptive scenarios in evolutionary explanation. Causes of historical origin must always be separated from current utilities; their conf lation has seriously hampered the evolutionary analysis of form in the history of life. (shrink)
ncongruous places often inspire anomalous stories. In early 1984, I spent several nights at the Vatican housed in a hotel built for itinerant priests. While pondering over such puzzling issues as the intended function of the bidets in each bathroom, and hungering for something other than plum jam on my breakfast rolls (why did the basket only contain hundreds of identical plum packets and not a one of, say, strawberry?), I encountered yet another among the innumerable issues of contrasting cultures (...) that can make life so interesting. Our crowd (present in Rome for a meeting on nuclear winter sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences) shared the hotel with a group of French and Italian Jesuit priests who were also professional scientists. (shrink)
How can we confront the problems of diminished democracy, pervasive economic inequality, and persistent global poverty? Is it possible to fulfill the dual aims of deepening democratic participation and achieving economic justice, not only locally but also globally? Carol C. Gould proposes an integrative and interactive approach to the core values of democracy, justice, and human rights, looking beyond traditional politics to the social conditions that would enable us to realize these aims. Her innovative philosophical framework sheds new light on (...) social movements across borders, the prospects for empathy and solidarity with distant others, and the problem of gender inequalities in diverse cultures, and also considers new ways in which democratic deliberation can be enhanced by online networking and extended to the institutions of global governance. Her book will be of great interest to scholars and upper-level students of political philosophy, global justice, social and political science, and gender studies. (shrink)
Two major clarifications have greatly abetted the understanding and fruitful expansion of the theory of natural selection in recent years: the acknowledgment that interactors, not replicators, constitute the causal unit of selection; and the recognition that interactors are Darwinian individuals, and that such individuals exist with potency at several levels of organization (genes, organisms, demes, and species in particular), thus engendering a rich hierarchical theory of selection in contrast with Darwin’s own emphasis on the organismic level. But a piece of (...) the argument has been missing, and individuals at levels distinct from organisms have been denied potency (although granted existence within the undeniable logic of the theory), because they do not achieve individuality with the same devices used by organisms and therefore seem weak by comparison. We show here that different features define Darwinian individuality across scales of size and time. In particular, species-individuals may develop few emergent features as direct adaptations. The interactor approach works with emergent fitnesses, not with emergent features; and species, as a consequence of their different mechanism for achieving individuality (reproductive exclusivity among subparts, that is, among organisms), express many effects from other levels. Organisms, by contrast, suppress upwardly cascading effects, because the organismic style of individuality (by functional integration of subparts) does not permit much competition or differential reproduction of parts from within. Species do not suppress the operation of lower levels; such effects therefore become available as exaptations conferring emergent fitness—a primary source of the different strength that species achieve as effective Darwinian individuals in evolution. (shrink)
Uniformitarianism is a dual concept. Substantive uniformitarianism (a testable theory of geologic change postulating uniformity of rates or material conditions) is false and stifiqng to hypothesis formation. Methodological uniformitarianism (a procedural principle asserting spatial and temporal invariance of natural laws) belongs to the definition of science and is not unique to genic~~. Methodological uniformitarianism enabled Lyell to exclude the miraculous from geologic explanation; its invocation today is anachronistic since the question of divine intervention is no longer an issue in science. (...) Substantive uniformitarianism, an incorrect theory, should be abandoned. Methodological uniformitarianism, now a superfiuous term, is best confined to the past history of geology. (shrink)
Alexander wept at the height of his triumphs because he had no new worlds to conquer. Whitehead declared that all of philosophy had been a footnote to Plato. The Preacher exclaimed (Ecclesiastes 1:10): "Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was..
This essay examines Giambattista Vico’s philology as a contribution to democratic legitimacy. I outline three steps in Vico’s account of the historical and political development of philological knowledge. First, his merger of philosophy and philology, and the effects of that merge on the relative claims of reason and authority. Second, his use of antiquarian knowledge to supersede historicist accounts of change in time and to position the plebian social class as the true arbiters of language. Third, his understanding of philological (...) knowledge as an instrument of political change, and a foundational element in the establishment of democracy. By treating the philological imagination as a tool for bringing about political change, Vico’s plebian philology is radically democratic, and a crucial instrument in the struggle against the elite, from antiquity to the present. -/- . (shrink)
Context: There is a growing recognition in consciousness science of the need for rigorous methods for obtaining accurate and detailed phenomenological reports of lived experience, i.e., descriptions of experience provided by the subject living them in the “first-person.” Problem: At the moment although introspection and debriefing interviews are sometimes used to guide the design of scientific studies of the mind, explicit description and evaluation of these methods and their results rarely appear in formal scientific discourse. Method: The recent publication of (...) an edited book of papers dedicated to the exploration of first-and second-person methods, Ten Years of Viewing from Within: The Legacy of Francisco Varela, serves as a starting point for a discussion of how these methods could be integrated into the growing discipline of consciousness science. We complement a brief review of the book with a critical analysis of the major pilot studies in Varela’s neurophenomenology, a research program that was explicitly devised to integrate disciplined experiential methods with the latest advances in neuroscience. Results: The book is a valuable resource for those who are interested in impressive recent advances in first- and second-person methods, as applied to the phenomenology of lived experience. However, our review of the neurophenomenology literature concludes that there is as yet no convincing example of these specialized techniques being used in combination with standard behavioral and neuroscientific approaches in consciousness science to produce results that could not have also been achieved by simpler methods of introspective reporting. Implications: The end of behaviorism and the acceptance of verbal reports of conscious experience have already enabled the beginning of a science of consciousness. It can only be of benefit if new first- and second-person methods become well-known across disciplines. Constructivist content: Constructivism has long been interested in the role of the observer in the constitution of our sense of reality, so these developments in the science of consciousness may open new avenues of constructivist research. More specifically, one of the ways in which the insights from first- and second-person methods are being validated is by recursively applying the methods to themselves; a practical application of an epistemological move that will be familiar to constructivists from the second-order cybernetics tradition. (shrink)
In this book, Carol Gould offers a fundamental reconsideration of the theory of democracy, arguing that democratic decision-making should apply not only to politics but also to economic and social life. Professor Gould redefines traditional concepts of freedom and social equality, and proposes a principle of Equal Positive Freedom in which individual freedom and social co-operation are seen to be compatible. Reformulating basic conceptions of property, authority, economic justice and human rights, the author suggests a number of ways in which (...) these principles could be realised in social institutions. She also discusses such issues as democratic control of technology, the nature of democratic personality, and the question of democracy in international relations. (shrink)
IN LATE 1909, two great men corresponded across oceans, religions, generations, and races. Leo Tolstoy, sage of Christian nonviolence in his later years, wrote to the young Mohandas Gandhi, struggling for the rights of Indian settlers in South Africa.
There has been much discussion of late on what exactly the Problem of Universals is and is not. Of course answers to these questions and many more like it depend on what is supposed to be explained by a solution to the Problem of Universals. In this paper, I seek to establish two claims: first, that when the facts (explanada) to be explained and the kind of explanation needed are elucidated, it will be shown that the Problem of Universals is (...) a real metaphysical problem, not a pseudo problem; secondly, the facts whose explanation posed the problem in the Problem of Universals still provide reason to think realism regarding universals is true, even if God exists. (shrink)
Gallileo described the universe in his most famous line: "This grand book is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures." Why should the laws of nature be subject to statement in such elegantly basic algebra? Why does gravity work by the principle of inverse squares? Why do simple geometrics pervade nature--from the hexagons of the honeycomb, to the complex architecture of crystals? D'Arcy Thompson, author of Growth and Form and my earliest (...) intellectual hero (along with my father and Charles Darwin), wrote that "the harmony of the world is made manifest in Form and Number, and the heart and soul and all the poetry of Natural Philosophy are embodied in the concept of math ematical beauty." Many scientists, if only to coin a striking metaphor, depict a creating God as a mathematician from the realm of Plato or Pythagoras. The physicist James Jeans wrote: "From the intrinsic evidence of his creation, the Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a pure mathematician.". (shrink)
Attempts to explicate the substance-property nexus are legion in the philosophical literature both historical and contemporary. In this paper, I shall attempt to impose some structure into the discussion by exploring ways to combine two unlikely bedfellows—Platonic properties and Aristotelian substances. Special attention is paid to the logical structure of substances and the metaphysics of property exemplification. I shall argue that an Aristotelian-Platonic account of the substance-property nexus is possible and has been ably defended by contemporary philosophers.
Consumers of software often face an acquisition-mode decision, namely whether to purchase or pirate that software. In terms of consumer welfare, consumers who pirate software may stand in opposition to those who purchase it. Marketers also face a decision whether to attempt to thwart that piracy or to ignore, if not encourage it as an aid to their softwares diffusion, and policymakers face the decision whether to adopt interventionist policies, which are government-centric, or laissez faire policies, which are marketer-centric. Here (...) in order to assess the decision-making of all three of these stakeholders, we focus on the consumers point-of-view as central and examine it by considering on a comparative basis the ethical dimension versus other dimensions, including economic, legal, and other salient consumer behavior considerations. Based on a survey of 689 software consumers conducted over the Internet, the results indicate that ethics as a factor is embedded in a multidimensional set of determinant factors influencing software piracy, including attitudes, legal aspects, social support, perceptions of economic loss and age. Policy and research implications, based on these findings, are provided. (shrink)
(Awarded the International Society for Intellectual History’s Charles Schmitt Prize) Mīrzā Fatḥ 'Alī Ākhūndzāda’s Letters from Prince Kamāl al-Dawla to the Prince Jalāl al-Dawla (1865) is often read as a Persian attempt to introduce European Enlightenment political thought to modern Iranian society. This essay frames Ākhūndzāda’s text within a broader intellectual tradition. I read Ākhūndzāda as a radical reformer whose intellectual ambition were shaped by prior Persian and Arabic endeavors to map the diversity of religious belief and to critically assess (...) the limits of religion. That Ākhūndzāda’s critique of religion reached further than that of his predecessors is due in part to the influence of the European Enlightenment, but Ākhūndzāda’s form of critical reasoning was also substantially shaped by prior early modern intellectual genealogies. -/- . (shrink)
While Buddhism focuses on the same ethical concerns as Western ethical traditions, it provides a distinct perspective and method for dealing with them. This paper outlines the basic Buddhist perspective and then provides some experiential exercises which offer insight for self-understanding and ethical practices in business. Implications for business and ethics research are provided.
irtley Mather, who died last year at age ninety, was a pillar of both science and Christian religion in America and one of my dearest friends. The difference of a half-century in our ages evaporated before our common interests. The most curious thing we shared was a battle we each fought at the same age. For Kirtley had gone to Tennessee with Clarence Darrow to testify for evolution at the Scopes trial of 1925. When I think that we are enmeshed (...) again in the same struggle for one of the best documented, most compelling and exciting concepts in all of science, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. (shrink)
Virginia Held, best known for her landmark book Rights and Goods, has made an indelible mark on the fields of ethics, feminist philosophy, and social and political thought. Her impact on a generation of feminist thinkers is unrivaled and she has been at the forfront of discussions about the way in which an ethic of care can affect social and political matters. These new essays by leading contemporary philosophers range over all of these areas. While each stands alone, the essays (...) together demonstrate the lasting value of Held's work to the field. Includes an afterword by Held. (shrink)