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  1.  49
    The Strategic Gene.David Haig - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (4):461-479.
    Abstract Gene-selectionists define fundamental terms in non-standard ways. Genes are determinants of difference. Phenotypes are defined as a gene’s effects relative to some alternative whereas the environment is defined as all parts of the world that are shared by the alternatives being compared. Environments choose among phenotypes and thereby choose among genes. By this process, successful gene sequences become stores of information about what works in the environment. The strategic gene is defined as a set of gene tokens that combines (...)
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  2. Weismann Rules! OK? Epigenetics and the Lamarckian Temptation.David Haig - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (3):415-428.
    August Weismann rejected the inheritance of acquired characters on the grounds that changes to the soma cannot produce the kind of changes to the germ-plasm that would result in the altered character being transmitted to subsequent generations. His intended distinction, between germ-plasm and soma, was closer to the modern distinction between genotype and phenotype than to the modern distinction between germ cells and somatic cells. Recently, systems of epigenetic inheritance have been claimed to make possible the inheritance of acquired characters. (...)
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  3.  39
    Proximate and Ultimate Causes: How Come? And What For? [REVIEW]David Haig - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):781-786.
    Proximate and ultimate causes in evolutionary biology have come to conflate two distinctions. The first is a distinction between immediate and historical causes. The second is between explanations of mechanism and adaptive function. Mayr emphasized the first distinction but many evolutionary biologists use proximate and ultimate causes to refer to the second. I recommend that ‘ultimate cause’ be abandoned as ambiguous.
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  4.  1
    Genomic Vagabonds: Endogenous Retroviruses and Placental Evolution (Comment on DOI 10.1002/Bies. 201300059).David Haig - 2013 - Bioessays 35 (10):845-846.
  5.  11
    Genetic Dissent and Individual Compromise.David Haig - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):233-239.
    Organisms can be treated as optimizers when there is consensus among their genes about what is best to be done, but genomic consensus is often lacking, especially in interactions among kin because kin share some genes but not others. Grafen adopts a majoritarian perspective in which an individual’s interests are identified with the interests of the largest coreplicon of its genome, but genomic imprinting and recombination factionalize the genome so that no faction may predominate in some interactions among kin. Once (...)
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  6.  19
    Sameness, Novelty, and Nominal Kinds.David Haig - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (6):857-872.
    Organisms and their genomes are mosaics of features of different evolutionary age. Older features are maintained by ‘negative’ selection and comprise part of the selective environment that has shaped the evolution of newer features by ‘positive’ selection. Body plans and body parts are among the most conservative elements of the environment in which genetic differences are selected. By this process, well-trodden paths of development constrain and direct paths of evolutionary change. Structuralism and adaptationism are both vindicated. Form plays a selective (...)
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  7.  23
    Fighting the Good Cause: Meaning, Purpose, Difference, and Choice.David Haig - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (5):675-697.
    Concepts of cause, choice, and information are closely related. A cause is a choice that can be held responsible. It is a difference that makes a difference. Information about past causes and their effects is a valuable commodity because it can be used to guide future choices. Information about criteria of choice is generated by choosing a subset from an ensemble for ‘reasons’ and has meaning for an interpreter when it is used to achieve an end. Natural selection evolves interpreters (...)
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  8.  15
    Haig’s ‘Strange Inversion of Reasoning’ and Making Sense: Information Interpreted as Meaning.David Haig & Daniel Dennett - unknown
    David Haig propounds and illustrates the unity of a radically revised set of definitions of the family of terms at the heart of philosophy of cognitive science and mind: information, meaning, interpretation, text, choice, possibility, cause. This biological re-grounding of much-debated concepts yields a bounty of insights into the nature of meaning and life. An interpreter is a mechanism that uses information in choice. The capabilities of the interpreter couple an entropy of inputs to an entropy of outputs is dispelled (...)
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  9.  2
    Intracellular Evolution of Mitochondrial DNA and the Tragedy of the Cytoplasmic Commons.David Haig - 2016 - Bioessays 38 (6):549-555.
    Mitochondria exist in large numbers per cell. Therefore, the strength of natural selection on individual mtDNAs for their contribution to cellular fitness is weak whereas the strength of selection in favor of mtDNAs that increase their own replication without regard for cellular functions is strong. This problem has been solved for most mitochondrial genes by their transfer to the nucleus but a few critical genes remain encoded by mtDNA. Organisms manage the evolution of mtDNA to prevent mutational decay of essential (...)
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  10.  6
    Going Retro: Transposable Elements, Embryonic Stem Cells, and the Mammalian Placenta.David Haig - 2015 - Bioessays 37 (11):1154-1154.
  11.  28
    Sleeping Beauty in a Grain of Rice.David Haig - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (1):23-37.
    In the Sleeping Beauty problem, Beauty is woken once if a coin lands heads or twice if the coin lands tails but promptly forgets each waking on returning to sleep. Philosophers have divided over whether her waking credence in heads should be a half or a third. Beauty has centered beliefs about her world and about her location in that world. When given new information about her location she should update her worldly beliefs before updating her locative beliefs. When she (...)
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  12.  5
    Do Imprinted Genes Have Few and Small Introns?David Haig - 1996 - Bioessays 18 (5):351-353.
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  13.  25
    Lamarck Ascending!David Haig - 2011 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 3 (20130604).
    Transformations of Lamarckism is an edited volume arising from a workshop to commemorate the bicentenary of the publication of Philosophie Zoologique. The contributed chapters discuss the history of Lamarckism, present new developments in biology that could be considered to vindicate Lamarck, and argue for a revision, if not a revolution, in evolutionary theory. My review argues that twentieth and twenty-first century conceptions of Lamarckism can be considered a reaction to August Weismann’s uncompromising rejection of the inheritance of acquired characters in (...)
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  14.  4
    Kinship Asymmetries and the Divided Self.David Haig - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (3):271-272.
    Imprinted genes are predicted to affect interactions among relatives. Therefore, variant alleles at imprinted loci are promising candidates for playing a causal role in disorders of social behavior. The effects of imprinted genes evolved in the context of patterns of asymmetric relatedness that existed within social groups of our ancestors.
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  15.  1
    Transposable Elements: Self-Seekers of the Germline, Team-Players of the Soma.David Haig - 2016 - Bioessays 38 (11):1158-1166.
    The germ track is the cellular path by which genes are transmitted to future generations whereas somatic cells die with their body and do not leave direct descendants. Transposable elements (TEs) evolve to be silent in somatic cells but active in the germ track. Thus, the performance of most bodily functions by a sequestered soma reduces organismal costs of TEs. Flexible forms of gene regulation are permissible in the soma because of the self‐imposed silence of TEs, but strict licensing of (...)
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