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Carlos Santana
University of Utah
  1. Save the Planet: Eliminate Biodiversity.Carlos Santana - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (6):761-780.
    Recent work in the philosophy of biology has attempted to clarify and defend the use of the biodiversity concept in conservation science. I argue against these views, and give reasons to think that the biodiversity concept is a poor fit for the role we want it to play in conservation biology on both empirical and conceptual grounds. Against pluralists, who hold that biodiversity consists of distinct but correlated properties of natural systems, I argue that the supposed correlations between these properties (...)
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  2.  47
    Waiting for the Anthropocene.Carlos Santana - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):1073-1096.
    The idea that we are living in the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch defined by human activity, has gained substantial currency across the academy and with the broader public. Within the earth sciences, however, the question of the Anthropocene is hotly debated, recognized as a question that gets at both the foundations of geological science and issues of broad philosophical importance. For example, official recognition of the Anthropocene requires us to find a way to use the methods of historical science (...)
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  3.  36
    Ambiguity in Cooperative Signaling.Carlos Santana - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (3):398-422.
    In game-theoretic signaling models, evolution tends to favor perfectly precise signaling systems, but in the natural world communication is almost always imprecise. I argue that standard explanations for this discrepancy are only partially sufficient, and I show that communication is often ambiguous because signal senders take advantage of context sensitivity. As evidence, I make two additions to the signaling model: a cost for more complex signaling strategies and the ability to combine information in signals with independent information. Analysis and simulation (...)
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  4.  41
    Let’s Not Agree to Disagree: The Role of Strategic Disagreement in Science.Carlos Santana - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    Supposedly, stubbornness on the part of scientists—an unwillingness to change one’s position on a scientific issue even in the face of countervailing evidence—helps efficiently divide scientific labor. Maintaining disagreement is important because it keeps scientists pursuing a diversity of leads rather than all working on the most promising, and stubbornness helps preserve this disagreement. Planck’s observation that “Science progresses one funeral at a time” might therefore be an insight into epistemically beneficial stubbornness on the part of researchers. In conversation with (...)
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  5.  27
    Mineral Misbehavior: Why Mineralogists Don’T Deal in Natural Kinds.Carlos Santana - 2019 - Foundations of Chemistry 21 (3):333-343.
    Mineral species are, at first glance, an excellent candidate for an ideal set of natural kinds somewhere beyond the periodic table. Mineralogists have a detailed set of rules and formal procedure for ratifying new species, and minerals are a less messy subject matter than biological species, psychological disorders, or even chemicals more broadly—all areas of taxonomy where the status of species as natural kinds has been disputed. After explaining how philosophers have tended to get mineralogy wrong in discussions of natural (...)
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  6.  31
    What Is Language?Carlos Santana - 2016 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3.
    Linguists (and philosophers of language) have long disagreed about the ontology of language, and thus about the proper subject matter of their disciplines. A close examination of the leading arguments in the debates shows that while positive arguments that language is x tend to be sound, negative arguments that language is not x generally fail. This implies that we should be pluralists about the metaphysical status of language and the subject matter of linguistics and the philosophy of language. A pluralist (...)
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  7.  22
    Why Not All Evidence is Scientific Evidence.Carlos Santana - 2018 - Episteme 15 (2):209-227.
    Data which constitute satisfactory evidence in other contexts are sometimes not treated as valid evidence in the context of scientic conrmation. I give a justicatory explanation of this fact, appealing to the incentives, biases, and social situatedness of scientists.
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  8.  38
    Group-Level Traits Are Not Units of Selection.Carlos Santana & Michael Weisberg - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (3):271-272.
  9.  15
    Agriculture Increases Individual Fitness.Karen Kovaka, Carlos Santana, Raj Patel, Erol Akçay & Michael Weisberg - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
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  10.  24
    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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  11.  3
    COVID-19, other zoonotic diseases and wildlife conservation.Carlos Santana - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (4):1-3.
    Many experts have warned that environmental degradation is increasing the likelihood of future pandemics like COVID-19, as habitat loss and poaching increase close contact between wildlife and people. This fact has been framed as a reason to increase wildlife conservation efforts. We have many good reasons to step up conservation efforts, but arguments for doing so on the basis of pandemic prevention are rhetorically, ethically, and empricially flawed.
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  12.  38
    ‘Two Opposite Things Placed Near Each Other, Are the Better Discerned’: Philosophical Readings of Cavendish's Literary Output.Carlos Santana - 2015 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (2):297-317.
    Seventeenth-century philosopher Margaret Cavendish wrote not only several philosophical treatises, but also many fictional works. I argue for taking the latter as serious objects of study for historians of philosophy, and sketch a method for doing so. Cavendish's fiction is full of conflicting viewpoints, and many authors have argued that this demonstrates that she did not intend her literary works to serve serious philosophical purpose. But if we consider philosophers more central to the canon, such as Plato or Kierkegaard, who (...)
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  13.  13
    When is the Spread of a Cultural Trait Due to Cultural Group Selection? The Case of Religious Syncretism.Carlos Santana, Raj Patel, Shereen Chang & Michael Weisberg - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
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