Groups, individuals, and evolutionary restraints : the making of the contemporary debate over group selection Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s10539-011-9255-5 Authors Andrew Hamilton, Center for Biology and Society, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-4501 USA Christopher C. Dimond, Center for Biology and Society, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-4501 USA Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867.
Two controversies exist regarding the appropriate characterization of hierarchical and adaptive evolution in natural populations. In biology, there is the Wright-Fisher controversy over the relative roles of random genetic drift, natural selection, population structure, and interdemic selection in adaptive evolution begun by Sewall Wright and Ronald Aylmer Fisher. There is also the Units of Selection debate, spanning both the biological and the philosophical literature and including the impassioned group-selection debate. Why do these two discourses exist separately, and interact relatively little? (...) We postulate that the reason for this schism can be found in the differing focus of each controversy, a deep difference itself determined by distinct general styles of scientific research guiding each discourse. That is, the Wright-Fisher debate focuses on adaptive process, and tends to be instructed by the mathematical modeling style, while the focus of the Units of Selection controversy is adaptive product, and is typically guided by the function style. The differences between the two discourses can be usefully tracked by examining their interpretations of two contested strategies for theorizing hierarchical selection: horizontal and vertical averaging. (shrink)
An introduction to the March, 2005 symposium “The Political Theory of Organizations: A Retrospective Examination of Christopher McMahon’s Authority and Democracy” held in San Francisco as part of the Society for Business Ethics Group Meeting at the Pacific Division Meetings of the American Philosophical Association.
This article examines the philosophical teaching of a colorful Oxford alumnus and Roman Catholic convert, Christopher Davenport, also known as Franciscus à Sancta Clara or Francis Coventry. At the peak of Puritan power during the English Interregnum and after five of his Franciscan confrères had perished for their missionary work, our author tried boldly to claim modern cosmology and atomism as the unrecognized fruits of medieval Scotism. His hope was to revive English pride in the golden age of medieval (...) Oxford and to defend English Franciscans as more legitimately patriotic and scientifically progressive than Puritan millenarians. (shrink)
The untimely passing of Reverend Canon Dr Christopher Newell, AM, came as a shock to many in the bioethics world. As well as an obituary, this article notes a number of important themes in his work, and provides a select bibliography. Christopher's major contribution to this field is that he was one of a handful of scholars who made disability not only an acceptable area of bioethics—indeed a vital, central, fertile area of enquiry. Crucially Christopher emphasised that (...) where we do ethics is actually in everyday life—while we mourn his passing, his rich work and example will continue to inspire bioethical inquiry. (shrink)
This paper is about Christopher Wren’s engravings for Thomas Willis’ The Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves of 1664. It is a study in the intersection of medicine and art in 17th century Britain. Willis, an eminent English physician and anatomist, was a major figure in the development of modern neurology, and The Anatomy of the Brain and Nerves was his most famous and influential book. Wren was Willis’ assistant and medical artist. I discuss the visual strategies employed by (...) Wren to present their research and frame it as genuine knowledge. (shrink)
In this interview, Christopher Norris discusses a wide range of issues having to do with postmodernism, deconstruction and other controversial topics of debate within present-day philosophy and critical theory. More specifically he challenges the view of deconstruction as just another offshoot of the broader postmodernist trend in cultural studies and the social sciences. Norris puts the case for deconstruction as continuing the 'unfinished project of modernity' and—in particular—for Derrida's work as sustaining the values of enlightened critical reason in various (...) spheres of thought from epistemology to ethics, sociology and politics. Along the way he addresses a number of questions that have lately been raised with particular urgency for teachers and educationalists, among them the revival of creationist doctrine and the idea of scientific knowledge as a social, cultural, or discursive construct. In this context he addresses the 'science wars' or the debate between those who uphold t. (shrink)
Professor Christopher Stead was Ely Professor of Divinity from 1971 until his retirement in 1980 and one of the great contributors to the Oxford Patristic Conferences for many years. In this paper I reflect on his work in Patristics, and I attempt to understand how his interests diverged from the other major contributors in the same period, and how they were formed by his philosophical milieu and the spirit of the age. As a case study to illustrate and diagnose (...) his approach, I shall focus on a debate between Stead and Rowan Williams about the significance of the word idios in Arius's theology (in the course of which I also make some suggestions of my own about the issue). (shrink)
This “open letter” to Christopher Boorse is a response to his influential naturalist analysis of disease from the perspective of linguistic-analytic value theory. The key linguistic-analytic point against Boorse is that, although defining disease value free, he continue to use the term with clear evaluative connotations. A descriptivist analysis of disease would allow value-free definition consistently with value-laden use: but descriptivism fails when applied to mental disorder because it depends on shared values whereas the values relevant to mental disorders (...) are highly diverse. A part-function analysis, similarly, although initially persuasive for physical disorders, fails with the psychotic mental disorders because these, characteristically, involve disturbances of the rationality of the person as a whole. The difficulties encountered in applying naturalism to mental disorders point, linguistic-analytically, to the possibility that there is, after all, an evaluative element of meaning, deeply hidden but still logically operative, in the concept of disease. (shrink)
Paul Grice warned that ‘the nature of conventional implicature needs to be examined before any free use of it, for explanatory purposes, can be indulged in’ (1978/1989: 46). Christopher Potts heeds this warning, brilliantly and boldly. Starting with a definition drawn from Grice’s few brief remarks on the subject, he distinguishes conventional implicature from other phenomena with which it might be confused, identifies a variety of common but little-studied kinds of expressions that give rise to it, and develops a (...) formal, multidimensional semantic framework for systematically capturing its distinctive character. The book is a virtuosic blend of astute descriptive observations and technically sophisticated formulations. Fortunately for the technically unsophisticated reader, the descriptive observations can be appreciated on their own. (shrink)
A relatively detailed review (~ 4000 words) of Christopher Mole's (2010) book "Attention is Cognitive Unison". I suggest that Mole makes a good case against many types of reductivist accounts of attention, using the right kind of methodology. Yet, I argue that his adverbialist theory is not the best articulation of the crucial anti-reductivist insight. The distinction between adverbial and process-first phenomena he draws remains unclear, anti-reductivist process theories can escapte his arguments, and finally I provide an argument for (...) why no personal level adverbialism can provide a complete and unified theory of attention. Despite my disagreements, I have learned a lot from engaging with Mole's book. It's a central contribution to the new philosophical literature on attention. (shrink)
In his recent book, Aquinas and the Ship of Theseus, Christopher Brown has argued that the metaphysics of St. Thomas is preferable to contemporary analyticviews because it can solve the “problem of material constitution” (PMC) without requiring us to relinquish any of the common-sense beliefs that generate that problem. In this critical study, I show that in the case of both substances and aggregates, Brown’s Aquinas endorses views that are extremely implausible. Consequently, even if it is granted that the (...) solutions to the PMC fall right out of his views, it is still not clear that this gives us reason to prefer his ontology to its competitors. I also consider Brown’s take on the status of the human being after death. (shrink)
Christopher Meckstroth’s book The Struggle for Democracy poses and attempts to solve a central problem of democratic theory: what he calls the ‘paradox of authorization’, whereby the very activity of spelling out the political content of democracy is said to potentially contradict its object, since the democratic theorist may end up substituting himself or herself for ‘the people’ in deciding what this form government amounts to in practice. In order to avoid this problem, Meckstroth suggests that the political content (...) of democracy ought to be extrapolated out of concrete political struggles, by submitting competing claims to represent the people’s will to a rational scrutiny that tests them for internal coherence. While pointing out the intrinsic interest and originality of this approach, the review also advances some reservations concerning the posited criterion’s capacity to perform all the work Meckstroth assigns it. In the end, the proposed solution to the ‘paradox of authorization’ may fall prey to it too, since on its own terms the criterion of internal coherence is insufficient to specify any determinate outcomes. This leaves it up to the theorist applying it to decide which concrete proposals best satisfy the test. (shrink)
Christopher Johnson has put forward in this journal the view that ad hominem reasoning may be more generally reasonable than is allowed by writers such as myself, basing his view on virtue epistemology. I review his account, as well as the standard account, of ad hominem reasoning, and show how the standard account would handle the cases he sketches in defense of his own view. I then give four criticisms of his view generally: the problems of virtue conflict, vagueness, (...) conflation of speech acts, and self-defeating counsel. I then discuss four reasons why the standard account is superior: it better fits legal reality, the account of other fallacies, psychological science, and political reality. (shrink)
I thank Christopher Framarin for his response and would like to address three points he raises in this brief rejoinder.Framarin's book is a self-standing analysis of the central argument of the Gītā, and the reader should take my comments about his papers as additional material in support of the book. In drawing attention to them, my aim was to stress Framarin's long engagement with the subject.Although Framarin's book deals quite extensively with other texts from the Indian tradition, the Gītā (...) is central to the analysis. In fact, Framarin explicitly turns to the other texts "[a]s a means to answering the second question," namely whether the claim that action entails desire is widely held in the Indian tradition. .. (shrink)
Christopher Bennett has argued that state support of conjugal relationships can be founded on the unique contribution such relationships make to the autonomy of their participants by providing them with various forms of recognition and support unavailable elsewhere. I argue that, in part because a long history of interaction between two people who need each other’s validation tends to produce less meaningful responses over time, long-term conjugal relationships are unlikely to provide autonomy-enhancing support to their participants. To the extent (...) that intimate relationships can provide a unique form of reciprocal support, Bennett fails to show that couples have an advantage over multiple-partner arrangements in doing so. (shrink)
In this review of Christopher Winch's new book, Education, Autonomy and Critical Thinking (2006), I discuss its main theses, supporting some and criticising others. In particular, I take issue with several of Winch's claims and arguments concerning critical thinking and rationality, and deplore his reliance on what I suggest are problematic strains of the later Wittgenstein. But these criticisms are not such as to upend Winch's powerful critique of antiperfectionism and 'strong autonomy' or his defence of 'weak autonomy'. His (...) account of autonomy as an educational aim is important and in several respects compelling. (shrink)
In his contribution, “Critical Investments: AIDS, Christopher Reeve, and Queer/Disability Studies,” Robert McRuer calls for the recognition of the points of convergence between AIDS theory, queer theory, and disability theory. McRuer points out ways in which minority identity groups such as people with AIDS, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, and those with so-called disabilities, whose status has been described by others as “impaired,” have resisted this judgment by calling its ideological underpinnings into question. He contends that a critical alliance between (...) AIDS theory, queer theory, and disability theory will ultimately help us to realize the full range of different kinds of bodies and corporeal experiences, while also combating the application of normativizing judgments. (shrink)
Christopher Peacocke has presented an original version of the perennial philosophical thesis that we can gain substantive metaphysical and epistemological insight from an analysis of our concepts. Peacocke's innovation is to look at how concepts are individuated by their possession conditions, which he believes can be specified in terms of conditions in which certain propositions containing those concepts are accepted. The ability to provide such insight is one of Peacocke's major arguments for his theory of concepts. I will critically (...) examine this "fruitfulness" argument by looking at one philosophical problem Peacocke uses his theory to solve and treats in depth. Peacocke (1999, 2001) defines what he calls the "Integration Challenge." The challenge is to integrate our metaphysics with our epistemology by showing that they are mutually acceptable. Peacocke's key conclusion is that the Integration Challenge can be met for "epistemically individuated concepts." A good theory of content, he believes, will close the apparent gap between an account of truth for any given subject matter and an overall account of knowledge. I shall argue that there are no epistemically individuated concepts, and shall critically analyze Peacocke's arguments for their existence. I will suggest more generally that the possession conditions of concepts and their principles of individuation shed little light on the epistemology or metaphysics of things other than concepts. My broader goal is to shed light on what concepts are by showing that they are more fundamental than the sorts of cognitive and epistemic factors a leading theory uses to define them. (shrink)
Ours is a discipline in which agreement is often a form of discourtesy, and so I must thank Christopher Janaway and Robert Pippin for doing me the courtesy of disagreeing with several issues in my book, most of which I will not be able to discuss here. Both are kind and generous friends, which is why they both begin by saying some very nice things about Nietzsche: Life as Literature.1 Or are they? Yes, they are, but that is not (...) to say they do so simply because they are kind and generous. Mindful of Pippin’s understanding of Hegel on the importance of a social and cultural context for meaningful human action, I would say that their attitude is channeled through the almost ironclad social practice—or convention—that .. (shrink)
In this book, Christopher Peacocke proposes a general theory about what it is for a thinker to be entitled to form a given belief. This theory is distinctively rationalist: that is, it gives a large role to the a priori, while insisting that the propositions or contents that can be known a priori are not in any way “true in virtue of meaning” (and without in any other way denigrating these propositions as “trivial”, or as propositions that “tell us (...) nothing about the world”, or the like). Peacocke then applies this theory to several classical problems in epistemology — to the problem of how our sensory experiences can entitle us to form beliefs about the external world, to the problem of induction, and to the problem of what entitles us to form moral beliefs. (shrink)
Este artigo tem como objetivo realizar uma compreensão daseinsanalítica do ser-nomundo do adolescente Christopher, protagonista do romance O Estranho Caso do Cachorro Morto, explicitando as relações do personagem com as pessoas de seu mundo. Partindo do diagnóstico de Transtorno de Asperger, demonst..
The question of the relation of my work to that of Martin Luther King Jr. cannot be resolved with the theoretical tools Christopher Beem brings to the task. Stanley Fish has written that "those who detach King's words from the history that produced them erase the fact of that history from the slate, and they do so, paradoxically, in order to prevent that history from being truly and deeply altered." The vice of liberalism is not selfishness so much as (...) a forgetfulness that spreads like a blight from the habit of abstraction. Martin Luther King Jr. remembered his people, his savior, and his church, and he called the rest of us to share those memories. Therein lay his strength. (shrink)
Responding to criticisms raised by Christopher Norris, this paper defends an anti-relativist reading of the work of both Davidson and Heidegger arguing that that there are important lessons to be learnt from their example - one can thus be an anti-relativist (as well as a certain sort of realist) without giving up on Davidson or on Heidegger.
This paper challenges Christopher Ormell's claim that an explicit distinction should be drawn between a “hard” and “soft” sense of “having values”. It is argued that holding values is better portrayed in terms of a continuum representing degrees of difficulty and sacrifice, for the holding of any value implies a possible tension between obligation and motivation. Making choices lacks this necessary feature and so cannot be equated with any sense of “having values”. Ormell's claim that values but not Values (...) are relativistic is also questioned. Finally, an important implication of this debate for moral education is drawn, concerning ways in which children may learn to hold and act upon values. (shrink)
Christopher Insole argues that we have underestimated the importance of the following theological problem in the development of Kant’s mature, critical philosophy: “How can it be said that we are free, given that we are created by God?” (p. 5). The author makes a strong case that this problem was formative for a range of Kant’s pre-critical views. What role it continues to play in the 1780s and beyond will be, as the author himself notes, controversial. Chapters 1–3 contain (...) lucid and, especially for those familiar only with Kant’s critical period, helpful discussions of several pre-critical texts together with an engagement with selected secondary literature. Thus, readers who know only Kant’s destruction of the divine proofs, in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781, 1787), may be surprised to find him defending versions of the ontological and cosmological proofs in The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God (1763). Here Insole’s exposition is nuanced... (shrink)
Christopher Arciszewski (1592–1656), Arian mercenary and man of many facets, conducted a journal in which, it is suspected, he described military campaigns, the state of the colony and other interesting phenomena he was able to observe during his time of service in Brazil. In 1641, Gerard Vossius was completing his magnum opus De theologia. In Chapter 8 of the first volume, Vossius discusses the “cult of the demon” among various peoples. As an example the Netherlander erudite provides a colorful (...) description of such a cult among the Brazilian Tapuya tribe. Since the author never traveled to Brazil, he makes use of the observations of Christopher Arciszewski. How does an Arian, brought up in an atmosphere of intense pluralism and far-reaching tolerance towards other belief systems (or at least imbued with a strong relativism), react when he encounters, first-hand, a culture utterly different, and completely alien to him? His presentation of a hierarchically constructed morality existent among various cannibalistic tribes is, in a sense, an intellectual breakthrough. Instead of treating the nativescollectively as one homogenous culture, as simply “savages”, Arciszewski distinguishes between various cultural units, and treats them individually. The nobleman attempts to convey their own views of morality not on the basis of European ethical systems, but on the local ones in place. In his day, such ideas were nearly unthinkable for most educated Europeans. Cannibalism of any kind was perceived as godless behavior, a sort of devilry, which would eventually be abolished with coming of the “light of Christianity” to the New World and the inevitable Europeanization of the natives. The reader can marvel at the extent to which Arciszewski is willing go in his relativism, to the point of sympathizing with the Tapuya. He allows them to explain to the reader the functioning of theirendo-cannibalistic culture. Arciszewski adds to the rationalization of cannibalism a detailed description of the death-rite among the Tapuya, presenting these ceremonial customs in accordance with their own beliefs, as something potentially interesting for humanistic intellectuals back in the Old World. Vossius’ book also discusses the question of the tribe’s spiritual beliefs: their conceptions of good and evil, deities, etc. The reader once again witnesses Arciszewski’s readiness to accept beliefs and deities completely unknown to European religion. The author does not prima facie discount the possibility that the “universal laws” operating in the Old World have no place in the Brazilian wilderness. His philosophical outlook, demonstrated by his rationalization of what had before been considered “magical” or “irrational”, is surely a foreshadowing of the rationalism of Enlightenment, whose modes of thinking constitute the core-foundation for alllater philosophical and scientific inquiry. Arciszewski, as an Arian brother par excellence, essentially operated with such conceptual tools as relativism, toleration and universalism, and his intellectual arsenal did not altogether differ from our own. As such, Arciszewski, and Europeans like him, helped free the Western worldview of its mediaeval philosophically limited conceptions of the cosmos, and propelled it in new directions of inquiry. This led eventually to a decided shifting of the European worldview away from superstition towards reason: the most definitively crucial moment in European intellectual history. (shrink)
D. Christopher Ralston; Justin Ho (Eds.): Philosophical Reflections on Disability Content Type Journal Article Pages 247-249 DOI 10.1007/s10677-010-9237-8 Authors Franziska Felder, Ethikzentrum der Universität Zürich, Graduiertenprogramm für Interdisziplinäre Ethikforschung, Zollikerstrasse 115, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820 Journal Volume Volume 14 Journal Issue Volume 14, Number 2.
From the title and subtitle of Christopher D. Tirres’s book, we already ascertain that the work addresses four discrete philosophic disciplines or traditions: American pragmatism, Latin American liberation, aesthetics, and ethics. And at first glance, each of the four does not evoke an immediate connection to the other three, but Tirres is capable of putting them into a genuine conversation. Tirres’s book is organized into eight chapters, with the first and eighth serving respectively as a succinct introduction and conclusion. (...) I will analyze these eight chapters as three separate yet interrelated projects. In the introduction, entitled “American Faith in a New Key,” we find a concise statement of his.. (shrink)
In an interesting response to an article I published in CQ that questions the ability of advance directives to reflect autonomy, Christopher Tollefsen raises a number of issues that deserve greater attention. Tollefsen offers several examples to illustrate how the critique of advance directives I offer would also threaten other choices that most people would consider autonomous. Importantly, I largely agree that the examples Tollefsen offers should be captured as autonomous. Where I disagree, however, is whether these examples reflect (...) the particular type of second order decision strategy that I categorize advance directives as, and so whether the critique of advance directives I offer, if accepted, would commit us to an unreasonably narrow conception of autonomy. (shrink)