What is Life? This is the question asked by Denis Noble in this very personal and at times deeply lyrical book. Noble is a renowned physiologist and systems biologist, and he argues that the genome is not life itself: to understand what life is, we must view it at a variety of different levels, all interacting with each other in a complex web. It is that emergent web, full of feedback between levels, from the gene to the wider environment, (...) that is life. (shrink)
In evolutionary biology changes in population structure are explained by citing trait fitness distribution. I distinguish three interpretations of fitness explanations—the Two‐Factor Model, the Single‐Factor Model, and the Statistical Interpretation—and argue for the last of these. These interpretations differ in their degrees of causal commitment. The first two hold that trait fitness distribution causes population change. Trait fitness explanations, according to these interpretations, are causal explanations. The last maintains that trait fitness distribution correlates with population change but does not cause (...) it. My defense of the Statistical Interpretation relies on a distinctive feature of causation. Causes conform to the Sure Thing Principle. Trait fitness distributions, I argue, do not. *Received July 2009; revised October 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy/Institute for the History, Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto, Victoria College, 91 Charles Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1K7, Canada; e‐mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
What is Life? To answer this question, Denis Noble argues that we must look beyond the gene's eye view. For modern 'systems biology' considers life on a variety of levels, as an intricate web of feedback between gene, cell, organ, body, and environment. He shows how it is both a biologically rigorous and richly rewarding way of understanding life.
We distinguish dynamical and statistical interpretations of evolutionary theory. We argue that only the statistical interpretation preserves the presumed relation between natural selection and drift. On these grounds we claim that the dynamical conception of evolutionary theory as a theory of forces is mistaken. Selection and drift are not forces. Nor do selection and drift explanations appeal to the (sub-population-level) causes of population level change. Instead they explain by appeal to the statistical structure of populations. We briefly discuss the implications (...) of the statistical interpretation of selection for various debates within the philosophy of biologythe `explananda of selection' debate and the `units of selection' debate. (shrink)
There are two competing interpretations of the modern synthesis theory of evolution: the dynamical (also know as ‘traditional’) and the statistical. The dynamical interpretation maintains that explanations offered under the auspices of the modern synthesis theory articulate the causes of evolution. It interprets selection and drift as causes of population change. The statistical interpretation holds that modern synthesis explanations merely cite the statistical structure of populations. This paper offers a defense of statisticalism. It argues that a change in trait frequencies (...) in a population can be attributed only to selection or drift against the background of a particular statistical description of the population. The traditionalist supposition that selection and drift are description‐independent causes of population change leads the dynamical interpretation into a dilemma: it must face a contradiction or accept the loss of explanatory power. (shrink)
What are the processes, from conception to adulthood, that enable a single cell to grow into a sentient adult? Neuroconstructivism is a pioneering 2 volume work that sets out a whole new framework for considering the complex topic of development, integrating data from cognitive studies, computational work, and neuroimaging.
The analysis of religious assertions in terms of a language game or in terms of eschotological verification are the two most notable defences today of the factual significance of religious language. But both of these approaches, I believe, are to be found wanting, not only on philosophical grounds, but especially on the grounds of faith. Neither of these approaches reflects ordinary faith, the faith of ordinary believers. And it is in terms of such ordinary faith that we can find the (...) key to a more adequate answer to the challenge of verifiability. (shrink)
According to Aristotelian essentialism, the nature of an organism is constituted of a particular goal-directed disposition to produce an organism typical of its kind. This paper argues—against the prevailing orthodoxy—that essentialism of this sort is indispensable to evolutionary biology. The most powerful anti-essentialist arguments purport to show that the natures of organisms play no explanatory role in modern synthesis biology. I argue that recent evolutionary developmental biology provides compelling evidence to the contrary. Developmental biology shows that one must appeal to (...) the capacities of organisms to explain what makes adaptive evolution adaptive. Moreover, the specific capacities in question are precisely those that, according to Aristotle, constitute the nature of an organism. Essentialism 1.1 Aristotelian biological kinds Evolutionary anti-essentialism 2.1 Taxonomic anti-essentialism 2.2 Explanatory anti-essentialism Adaptation 3.1 Stability 3.2 Mutability 3.3 Phenotypic plasticity and adaptive evolution The natures of organisms Conclusion. (shrink)
Over the past fifteen years there has been a considerable amount of debate concerning what theoretical population dynamic models tell us about the nature of natural selection and drift. On the causal interpretation, these models describe the causes of population change. On the statistical interpretation, the models of population dynamics models specify statistical parameters that explain, predict, and quantify changes in population structure, without identifying the causes of those changes. Selection and drift are part of a statistical description of population (...) change; they are not discrete, apportionable causes. Our objective here is to provide a definitive statement of the statistical position, so as to allay some confusions in the current literature. We outline four commitments that are central to statisticalism. They are: 1. Natural Selection is a higher order eﬀect; 2. Trait fitness is primitive; 3. Modern Synthesis (MS)-models are substrate neutral; 4. MS-selection and drift are model-relative. (shrink)
Introduction -- Landscape and longing -- Art and human nature -- What is art? -- But they don't have our concept of art -- Art and natural selection -- The uses of fiction -- Art and human self-domestication -- Intention, forgery, dada : three aesthetic problems -- The contingency of aesthetic values -- Greatness in the arts.
This paper examines a doctrine which David Lewis has called 'Humean Supervenience' (hereafter 'HS'), and a problem which certain imaginary cases seem to generate for HS. They include rotating perfect spheres or discs, and flowing rivers, imagined as composed of matter which is perfectly homogeneous right down to the individual points. Before considering these examples, I shall introduce the doctrine they seem to challenge.
Denis McManus presents a novel account of Martin Heidegger's early vision of our subjectivity and the world we inhabit. He explores key elements of Heidegger's philosophy, and argues that Heidegger's central claims identify genuine demands that must be met if we are to achieve the feat of thinking determinate thoughts about the world around us.
There are two general approaches to characterising biological functions. One originates with Cummins. According to this approach, the function of a part of a system is just its causal contribution to some specified activity of the system. Call this the ‘C-function’ concept. The other approach ties the function of a trait to some aspect of its evolutionary significance. Call this the ‘E-function’ concept. According to the latter view, a trait's function is determined by the forces of natural selection. The C-function (...) and E-function concepts are clearly quite different, but there is an important relation between them which heretofore has gone unnoticed. The purpose of this paper is to outline that relation.This is not the first paper to discuss the relation of C-function and E-function. Previous attempts all follow either one of two strategies. The first proposes that the two concepts are ‘unified.’ The other proposes that they are radically distinct and apply to wholly different fields within biology. (shrink)
This article applies the Kantian doctrine of respect for persons to the problem of sweatshops. We argue that multinational enterprises are properly regarded as responsible for the practices of their subcontractors and suppliers. We then argue that multinationalenterprises have the following duties in their off-shore manufacturing facilities: to ensure that local labor laws are followed; to refrain from coercion; to meet minimum safety standards; and to provide a living wage for employees. Finally, we consider and reply to the objection that (...) improving health and safety conditions and providing a living wage will cause greater harm than good. (shrink)
In a series of reports the United Nations Special Representative on the issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations has emphasized a tripartite framework regarding business and human rights that includes the state “duty to protect,” the TNC “responsibility to respect,” and “appropriate remedies” for human rights violations. This article examines the recent history of UN initiatives regarding business and human rights and places the tripartite framework in historical context. Three approaches to human rights are distinguished: moral, political, and legal. (...) It is argued that the tripartite framework’s grounding of the responsibility of TNCs to respect human rights is properly understood as moral and not merely as a political or legal duty. A moral account of the duty of TNCs to respect basic human rights is defended and contrasted with a merely strategic approach. The main conclusion of the article is that only a moral account of the basic human rights duties of TNCs provides a sufficiently deep justification of “the corporate responsibility to respect human rights” feature of the tripartite framework. (shrink)
What is a logical constant? The question is addressed in the tradition of Tarski's definition of logical operations as operations which are invariant under permutation. The paper introduces a general setting in which invariance criteria for logical operations can be compared and argues for invariance under potential isomorphism as the most natural characterization of logical operations.
Whenever a structure with a particularly interesting computability-theoretic property is found, it is natural to ask whether similar examples can be found within well-known classes of algebraic structures, such as groups, rings, lattices, and so forth. One way to give positive answers to this question is to adapt the original proof to the new setting. However, this can be an unnecessary duplication of effort, and lacks generality. Another method is to code the original structure into a structure in the given (...) class in a way that is effective enough to preserve the property in which we are interested. In this paper, we show how to transfer a number of computability-theoretic properties from directed graphs to structures in the following classes: symmetric, irreflexive graphs; partial orderings; lattices; rings ; integral domains of arbitrary characteristic; commutative semigroups; and 2-step nilpotent groups. This allows us to show that several theorems about degree spectra of relations on computable structures, nonpreservation of computable categoricity, and degree spectra of structures remain true when we restrict our attention to structures in any of the classes on this list. The codings we present are general enough to be viewed as establishing that the theories mentioned above are computably complete in the sense that, for a wide range of computability-theoretic nonstructure type properties, if there are any examples of structures with such properties then there are such examples that are models of each of these theories. (shrink)
We review recent developments in ethical pluralism, ethical particularism, Kantian intuitionism, rights theory, and climate change ethics, and show the relevance of these developments in ethical theory to contemporary business ethics. This paper explains why pluralists think that ethical decisions should be guided by multiple standards and why particularists emphasize the crucial role of context in determining sound moral judgments. We explain why Kantian intuitionism emphasizes the discerning power of intuitive reason and seek to integrate that with the comprehensiveness of (...) Kant’s moral framework. And we show how human rights can be grounded in human agency, and explain the connections between human rights and climate change. (shrink)
The need to create art is found in every human society, manifest in many different ways across many different cultures. Is this universal need rooted in our evolutionary past? The Art Instinct reveals that it is, combining evolutionary psychology with aesthetics to shed new light on fascinating questions about the nature of art.
In 1999, the Journal of Business Ethics published its 1 500th article. This article commemorates the journal's quest "to improve the human condition" (Michalos, 1988, p. 1) with a summary and assessment of the first eighteen volumes. The first part provides an overview of JBE, highlighting the journal's growth, types of methodologies published, and the breadth of the field. The second part provides a detailed account of the quantitative research findings. Major research topics include (1) prevalence of ethical behavior, (2) (...) ethical sensitivities, (3) ethics codes and programs, (4) corporate social performance and policies, (5) human resource practices and policies, and (6) professions – accounting, marketing/sales, and finance/strategy. Much remains to be done. (shrink)
Little theoretical attention has been paid to the question of what obligations corporations and other business enterprises have to the four billion people living at the base of the global economic pyramid. This article makes several theoretical contributions to this topic. First, it is argued that corporations are properly understood as agents of global justice. Second, the legitimacy of global governance institutions and the legitimacy of corporations and other business enterprises are distinguished. Third, it is argued that a deliberative democracy (...) model of corporate legitimacy defended by theorists of political CSR is unsatisfactory. Fourth, it is argued that a Rawlsian theoretical framework fails to provide a satisfactory account of the obligations of corporations regarding global justice. Finally, an ethical conception of CSR grounded in an appropriately modest set of duties tied to corporate relationships is then defended. This position is cosmopolitan in scopeand grounded in overlapping arguments for human rights. (shrink)
In “Sweatshops and Respect for Persons” we argued on Kantian grounds that managers of multinational enterprises have the following duties: to adhere to local labor laws, to refrain from coercion, to meet minimum health and safety standards, and to pay workers a living wage. In their commentary on our paper Sollars and Englander challenge some of our conclusions. We argue here that several of their criticisms are based on an inaccurate reading of our paper, and that none of the remaining (...) criticisms successfully challenge our main arguments. By highlighting the shortcomings of their arguments we hope to advance discussion of the ethical treatment of workers in global supply chains. (shrink)
In This Paper, I Identify a Problem, which the project that I will refer to as the ‘Being and Time Project’ (or ‘BTP’ for short) aimed to solve; this is the project within which Heidegger reinterpreted his early thought—and which he unsuccessfully attempted to bring to fruition—in, roughly speaking, the years 1925–28. The problem in question presents several faces: viewed from one angle, it concerns the unity of the concept of “Being in general,” from another, the integrity of the notion (...) of “Dasein,” and from another, the possibility of the perspective from which the philosopher does her work. The solution that the BTP would have offered turns on the claim that time is “the possible horizon for any understanding .. (shrink)
This paper's purpose is to assess how management's perceptions regarding certain aspects of environmental reporting relate to the firm's actual reporting strategy. Toward that end, we propose a model where a firm's environmental disclosure is conditional upon executive assessments of corporate concerns. The study relies on a survey that was sent to environmental management executives from European and North American multinational firms enquiring about the determinants of corporate environmental disclosure. Responses from these executives were then contrasted with their firms' actual (...) environmental reporting practices, which was measured using a comprehensive multi-criteria grid. Results show that there is a relationship between environmental managers' attitudes toward various stakeholder groups and how those managers respond to the stakeholders via the decision to disclose and the actual disclosures made. Our model provides a perspective as to how a firm responds to the numerous stakeholders to whom it must be accountable. This accountability in turn relates to how the company communicates its actions to society in order to achieve or maintain its social legitimacy. (shrink)
We investigate the complexity of various combinatorial theorems about linear and partial orders, from the points of view of computability theory and reverse mathematics. We focus in particular on the principles ADS (Ascending or Descending Sequence), which states that every infinite linear order has either an infinite descending sequence or an infinite ascending sequence, and CAC (Chain-AntiChain), which states that every infinite partial order has either an infinite chain or an infinite antichain. It is well-known that Ramsey's Theorem for pairs (...) (RT₂²) splits into a stable version (SRT₂²) and a cohesive principle (COH). We show that the same is true of ADS and CAC, and that in their cases the stable versions are strictly weaker than the full ones (which is not known to be the case for RT₂² and SRT₂²). We also analyze the relationships between these principles and other systems and principles previously studied by reverse mathematics, such as WKL₀, DNR, and BΣ₂. We show, for instance, that WKL₀ is incomparable with all of the systems we study. We also prove computability-theoretic and conservation results for them. Among these results are a strengthening of the fact, proved by Cholak, Jockusch, and Slaman, that COH is Π₁¹-conservative over the base system RCA₀. We also prove that CAC does not imply DNR which, combined with a recent result of Hirschfeldt, Jockusch, Kjos-Hanssen, Lempp, and Slaman, shows that CAC does not imply SRT₂² (and so does not imply RT₂²). This answers a question of Cholak, Jockusch, and Slaman. Our proofs suggest that the essential distinction between ADS and CAC on the one hand and RT₂² on the other is that the colorings needed for our analysis are in some way transitive. We formalize this intuition as the notions of transitive and semitransitive colorings and show that the existence of homogeneous sets for such colorings is equivalent to ADS and CAC, respectively. We finish with several open questions. (shrink)
Franz Brentano’s impact on the philosophy of his time and on 20th-century philosophy is considerable. The “sharp dialectician” (Freud) and “genial master” (Husserl) influenced philosophers of various allegiances, being acknowledged not only as the “grandfather of phenomenology” (Ryle) but also as an analytic philosopher “in the best sense of this term” (Chisholm). The fourteen new essays gathered together in this volume give an insight in three core issues of Brentano’s philosophy: consciousness (sect.1), intentionality (sect. 2) and ontology and metaphysics (sect. (...) 3). Two further sections of the volume deal with the posterity of his philoso¬phy: in section 4, the legacy of his account of sense perception and feeling is discussed, while the history of Brentano’s unpublished manuscripts is discussed in section 5. This section also presents an edition of a manuscript from 1899 on relations, along with the letters from Brentano to Marty which discuss this manuscript. The last part of section 5 contains the text of a public lecture given by Brentano on the laws of inference. (shrink)
"The main conclusion of this essay is that it is plausible to conclude that corporations are capable of exhibiting intentionality, and as a result that they may be properly understood as moral agents" (p. 281).
According to a prominent view of evolutionary theory, natural selection and the processes of development compete for explanatory relevance. Natural selection theory explains the evolution of biological form insofar as it is adaptive. Development is relevant to the explanation of form only insofar as it constrains the adaptation-promoting effects of selection. I argue that this view of evolutionary theory is erroneous. I outline an alternative, according to which natural selection explains adaptive evolution by appeal to the statistical structure of populations, (...) and development explains the causes of adaptive evolution at the level of individuals. Only together can a statistical theory of selection and a mechanical theory of development explain why populations of organisms comprise individuals that are adapted to their conditions of existence. (shrink)
The Enchantment of Words is a study of Wittgenstein's early masterpiece, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Recent years have seen a great revival of interest in the Tractatus. McManus's study of the work offers novel readings of all its major themes and sheds light on issues in metaphysics, ethics and the philosophies of mind, language, and logic.
Over the course of human history, the sciences, and biology in particular, have often been manipulated to cause immense human suffering. For example, biology has been used to justify eugenic programs, forced sterilization, human experimentation, and death camps—all in an attempt to support notions of racial superiority. By investigating the past, the contributors to _Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins_ hope to better prepare us to discern ideological abuse of science when it occurs in the future. Denis R. (...) Alexander and Ronald L. Numbers bring together fourteen experts to examine the varied ways science has been used and abused for nonscientific purposes from the fifteenth century to the present day. Featuring an essay on eugenics from Edward J. Larson and an examination of the progress of evolution by Michael J. Ruse, _Biology and Ideology_ examines uses both benign and sinister, ultimately reminding us that ideological extrapolation continues today. An accessible survey, this collection will enlighten historians of science, their students, practicing scientists, and anyone interested in the relationship between science and culture. (shrink)
In this article I argue that among the southern Betsileo slave descendants are essentialised by free descendants. After explaining how this striking case of psychological essentialism manifests in the local context, I provide experimental evidence for it and discuss the results of three cognitive tasks that I ran in the field. I then suggest that slaves were not essentialised in the pre-colonial era and contend that the essentialist construal only became entrenched in the aftermath of the 1896 abolition of slavery, (...) which paradoxically triggered the historical process of essentialisation. (shrink)
The standard semantic definition of consequence with respect to a selected set X of symbols, in terms of truth preservation under replacement (Bolzano) or reinterpretation (Tarski) of symbols outside X, yields a function mapping X to a consequence relation ⇒x. We investigate a function going in the other direction, thus extracting the constants of a given consequence relation, and we show that this function (a) retrieves the usual logical constants from the usual logical consequence relations, and (b) is an inverse (...) to—more precisely, forms a Galois connection with—the Bolzano-Tarski function. (shrink)