15 found
  1. The Trials of Life: Natural Selection and Random Drift.Denis M. Walsh, Andre Ariew & Tim Lewens - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (3):452-473.
    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 (...)
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  2. The Pomp of Superfluous Causes: The Interpretation of Evolutionary Theory.Denis M. Walsh - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (3):281-303.
    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 (...)
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  3. Not a Sure Thing: Fitness, Probability, and Causation.Denis M. Walsh - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (2):147-171.
    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 (...)
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  4. Four Pillars of Statisticalism.Denis M. Walsh, André Ariew & Mohan Matthen - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (1).
    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 (...)
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  5. A Taxonomy of Functions.Denis M. Walsh & André Ariew - 1996 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):493 - 514.
    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 (...)
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  6.  31
    Mechanism, Emergence, and Miscibility: The Autonomy of Evo-Devo.Denis M. Walsh - 2013 - In Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. Springer. pp. 43--65.
  7.  30
    Two Neo-Darwinisms.Denis M. Walsh - 2010 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32 (2/3).
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  8.  70
    Fit and Diversity: Explaining Adaptive Evolution.Denis M. Walsh - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (2):280-301.
    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, (...)
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  9.  35
    Descriptions and Models: Some Responses to Abrams.Denis M. Walsh - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):302-308.
  10.  68
    Alternative Individualism.Denis M. Walsh - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (4):628-648.
    Psychological individualism is motivated by two taxonomic principles: (i) that psychological states are individuated by their causal powers, and (ii) that causal powers supervene upon intrinsic physiological state. I distinguish two interpretations of individualism--the 'orthodox' and the 'alternative'--each of which is consistent with these motivating principles. I argue that the alternative interpretation is legitimately individualistic on the grounds that it accurately reflects the actual taxonomic practices of bona fide individualistic sciences. The classification of homeobox genes in developmental genetics provides an (...)
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  11.  44
    Brentano's Chestnuts.Denis M. Walsh - 2002 - In Andre Ariew, Robert Cummins & Mark Perlman (eds.), Functions. Oxford University Press. pp. 314.
  12.  74
    Wide Content Individualism.Denis M. Walsh - 1998 - Mind 107 (427):625-652.
    Wide content and individualist approaches to the individuation of thoughts appear to be incompatible; I think they are not. I propose a criterion for the classification of thoughts which captures both. Thoughts, I claim, should be individuated by their teleological functions. Where teleological function is construed in the standard way - according to the aetiological theory - individuating thoughts by their function cannot produce a classification which is both individualistic and consistent with the principle that sameness of wide content is (...)
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  13. 10. Response to Vollmer's Review of Minds and Molecules Response to Vollmer's Review of Minds and Molecules (Pp. 391-398). [REVIEW]Paul Thagard, Richard Richards, Denis M. Walsh & Marcel Boumans - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (2).
  14. 1. Not a Sure Thing: Fitness, Probability, and Causation Not a Sure Thing: Fitness, Probability, and Causation (Pp. 147-171). [REVIEW]Denis M. Walsh, Leah Henderson, Noah D. Goodman, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, James F. Woodward, Hannes Leitgeb, Richard Pettigrew, Brad Weslake & John Kulvicki - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (2).
  15.  37
    Naturalism, Evolution and the Mind.Denis M. Walsh (ed.) - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
    This collection of original essays covers a wide range of issues in current naturalised philosophy of mind.
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