Modernisation, whatever else it involves, is always a moral and a religious problem. If it has sometimes been hailed as an exhilarating challenge to create new values and meanings it has also often been feared as a threat to an existing pattern of values and meanings. In either case the personal and social forces called into play have been powerful.
This anthology collects some of the most important papers on what is believed to be the major force in evolution, natural selection. An issue of great consequence in the philosophy of biology concerns the levels at which, and the units upon which selection acts. In recent years, biologists and philosophers have published a large number of papers bearing on this subject. The papers selected for inclusion in this book are divided into three main sections covering the history of the subject, (...) explaining its conceptual foundations, and focusing on kin and group selection and higher levels of selection.One of the book's interesting features is that it draws together material from the biological and philosophical literatures. The philosophical literature, having thoroughly absorbed the biological material, now offers conceptual tools suitable for the reworking of the biological arguments. Although a full symbiosis has yet to develop, this anthology offers a unique resource for students in both biology and philosophy.Robert N. Brandon is Professor in the Philosophy Department, Duke University. Richard M. Burian is Professor of Philosophy and Department Chairman, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.A Bradford Book. (shrink)
Sri Aurobindo Ghose , the Indian Nationalist and yogi, developed in the period of his life at Pondicherry in Southeast India a system of thought, practice and experience which he called ‘Integral Yoga’. The title indicated, he said, that ‘it takes up the essence and many processes of the old Yogas — its newness is in its aim, standpoint and the totality of its method’. In the development of Integral Yoga Aurobindo believed he was speaking and acting as a ‘realized (...) yogi’ or, better still, a yogi who was in the process of realization. He had not attained a final experience of jñāna , but he believed he had experienced levels of supra-mental consciousness which would lead to the higher level of Supermind itself. (shrink)
University and William Bechtel Washington University Abstract Explanatory pluralism holds that the sorts of comprehensive theoretical and ontological economies, which microreductionists and New Wave reductionists envision and which antireductionists fear, offer misleading views of both scientific practice and scientific progress. Both advocates and foes of employing reductionist strategies at the interface of psychology and neuroscience have overplayed the alleged economies that interlevel connections (including identities) justify while overlooking their fundamental role in promoting scientific research. A brief review of research on (...) visual processing provides support for the explanatory pluralist=s general model of cross-scientific relations and discloses the valuable heuristic role hypothetical identities play in cross-scientific research. That model also supplies grounds for hesitation about the correlation objection to the psycho-physical identity theory and complaints about an explanatory gap in physicalist accounts of consciousness. These takes on psycho-neural connections miss both the sorts of considerations that motivate hypothetical identities in science and their fundamental contribution to progressive research. Thus, their focus on the contributions of research at multiple levels of analysis does not bar explanatory pluralists from considering heuristic identity theory (HIT). Arguably, it encourages it. (shrink)
Bringing Ritual to Mind explores the cognitive and psychological foundations of religious ritual systems. Participants must recall their rituals well enough to ensure a sense of continuity across performances, and those rituals must motivate them to transmit and re-perform them. Most religious rituals the world over exploit either high performance frequency or extraordinary emotional stimulation to enhance their recollection. But why do some rituals exploit the first of these variables while others exploit the second? McCauley and Lawson advance the ritual (...) form hypothesis, arguing that participants' cognitive representations of ritual form explain why. Reviewing evidence from cognitive, developmental and social psychology and from cultural anthropology and the history of religions, they utilize dynamical systems tools to explain the recurrent evolutionary trajectories religions exhibit. (shrink)
Aristotle's observation that all human beings by nature desire to know aptly captures the spirit of "intellectualist" research in psychology and anthropology. Intellectualists in these fields agree that humans' have fundamental explanatory interests (which reflect their rationality) and that the idioms in which their explanations are couched can differ considerably across places and times (both historical and developmental). Intellectualists in developmental psychology (e.g., Gopnik and Meltzoff, 1997) maintain that young children's conceptual structures, like those of scientists, are theories and that (...) their conceptual development--like the development of science--is a process of theory formation and change. They speculate that our explanatory preoccupations result, at least in part, from a natural drive to develop theories. Intellectualists in the anthropology of religion (e.g., Horton, 1970 and 1993) hold that, although it may do many other things as well, religion is primarily concerned with providing explanatory theories. They maintain that religion and science have the same explanatory goals; only the idioms of their explanations differ. The connections between the concern for explanation, the pursuit of science, the persistence of religion, and the cognitive processes underlying each clearly merit further examination. By considering both their cultural manifestations and their cognitive foundations, I hope to clarify not only how science and religion are related but some of the ways their explanatory projects differ. I shall argue that, despite their centuries' old antagonisms, no development in science will ever seriously threaten the persistence of religion or the forms of explanation religion employs or the emergence of new religions. (I strongly suspect that science will never seriously threaten the persistence of particular religions either, but I only aim to defend the weaker, collective claim here.) In this paper's fourth section I shall show that religion and its characteristic forms of explanation 1 are a natural outgrowth of the character and content of human association and cognition.. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative” (CI). Immorality thus involves a violation of the CI and is thereby irrational. Other philosophers, such as Locke and Hobbes, had also argued that moral requirements are based on standards of rationality. However, these standards were either desirebased instrumental principles of rationality or based on sui generis rational intuitions. Kant agreed with many of his predecessors that an analysis of practical reason (...) will reveal only the requirement that rational agents must conform to instrumental principles. Yet he argued that conformity to the CI (a non-instrumental principle) and hence to moral requirements themselves, can nevertheless be shown to be essential to rational agency. This argument was based on his striking doctrine that a rational will must be regarded as autonomous, or free in the sense of being the author of the law that binds it. The fundamental principle of morality — the CI — is none other than the law of an autonomous will. Thus, at the heart of Kant's moral philosophy is a conception of reason whose reach in practical affairs goes well beyond that of a Humean ‘slave’ to the passions. Moreover, it is the presence of this self-governing reason in each person that Kant thought offered decisive grounds for viewing each as possessed of equal worth and deserving of equal respect. (shrink)
Is there any moral obligation to improve oneself, to foster and develop various capacities in oneself? From a broadly Kantian point of view, Self-Improvement defends the view that there is such an obligation and that it is an obligation that each person owes to him or herself. The defence addresses a range of arguments philosophers have mobilized against this idea, including the argument that it is impossible to owe anything to yourself, and the view that an obligation to improve onself (...) is overly 'moralistic'. Robert N. Johnson argues against Kantian universalization arguments for the duty of self-improvement, as well as arguments that bottom out in a supposed value humanity has. At the same time, he defends a position based on the notion that self- and other-respecting agents would, under the right circumstances, accept the principle of self-improvement and would leave it up to each to be the person to whom this duty is owed. (shrink)
This paper is divided into three sections. In the first section we offer a retooling of some traditional concepts, namely icons and symbols, which allows us to describe an evolutionary continuum of communication systems. The second section consists of an argument from theoretical biology. In it we explore the advantages and disadvantages of phenotypic plasticity. We argue that a range of the conditions that selectively favor phenotypic plasticity also favor a nongenetic transmission system that would allow for the inheritance of (...) acquired characters. The first two sections are independent, the third depends on both of them. In it we offer an argument that human natural languages have just the features required of an ideal transmission mechanism under the conditions described in section 2. (shrink)
This paper gives an account of evolutionary explanations in biology. Briefly, the explanations I am primarily concerned with are explanations of adaptations. These explanations are contrasted with other nonteleological evolutionary explanations. The distinction is made by distinguishing the different kinds of questions these different explanations serve to answer. The sense in which explanations of adaptations are teleological is spelled out.
In this paper I argue that we can best make sense of the practice of experimental evolutionary biology if we see it as investigating contingent, rather than lawlike, regularities. This understanding is contrasted with the experimental practice of certain areas of physics. However, this presents a problem for those who accept the Logical Positivist conception of law and its essential role in scientific explanation. I address this problem by arguing that the contingent regularities of evolutionary biology have a limited range (...) of nomic necessity and a limited range of explanatory power even though they lack the unlimited projectibility that has been seen by some as a hallmark of scientific laws. (shrink)
Drift is to evolution as inertia is to Newtonian mechanics. Both are the "natural" or default states of the systems to which they apply. Both are governed by zero-force laws. The zero-force law in biology is stated here for the first time.
The influence of Patricia and Paul Churchland's work on contemporary philosophy and cognitive science has been profound. The Churchlands have challenged nearly all prevailing doctrines concerning knowledge, mind, science, and language.
Robert Brandon is one of the most important and influential of contemporary philosophers of biology. This collection of his recent essays covers all the traditional topics in the philosophy of evolutionary biology and as such could serve as an introduction to the field. There are essays on the nature of fitness, teleology, the structure of the theory of natural selection, and the levels of selection. The book also deals with newer topics that are less frequently discussed but are of (...) growing interest, for example the evolution of human language and the role of experimentation in evolutionary biology. A special feature of the collection is that it avoids jargon and is written in a style that will appeal to working evolutionary biologists as well as philosophers. (shrink)
In this paper we first briefly review Bell's (1964, 1966) Theorem to see how it invalidates any deterministic "hidden variable" account of the apparent indeterminacy of quantum mechanics (QM). Then we show that quantum uncertainty, at the level of DNA mutations, can "percolate" up to have major populational effects. Interesting as this point may be it does not show any autonomous indeterminism of the evolutionary process. In the next two sections we investigate drift and natural selection as the locus of (...) autonomous biological indeterminacy. Here we conclude that the population-level indeterminacy of natural selection and drift are ultimately based on the assumption of a fundamental indeterminacy at the level of the lives and deaths of individual organisms. The following section examines this assumption and defends it from the determinists' attack. Then we show that, even if one rejects the assumption, there is still an important reason why one might think evolutionary theory (ET) is autonomously indeterministic. In the concluding section we contrast the arguments we have mounted against a deterministic hidden variable account of ET with the proof of the impossibility of such an account of QM. (shrink)
Millstein [Bio. Philos. 17 (2002) 33] correctly identies a serious problem with the view that natural selection and random drift are not conceptually distinct. She offers a solution to this problem purely in terms of differences between the processes of selection and drift. I show that this solution does not work, that it leaves the vast majority of real biological cases uncategorized. However, I do think there is a solution to the problem she raises, and I offer it here. My (...) solution depends on solving the biological analogue of the reference class problem in probability theory and on the reality of individual fitnesses. (shrink)
Alas, you were at a Kant conference—or many philosophers’ idea of one—and if you are shocked, perhaps you are not a Kantian. For this scenario illustrates two fundamental criticisms of Kant’s vision of morality as “duty”: It is outrageous to hold that even for the hero “all the good he can ever perform still is merely duty”. And those who, like these parents, are moved to every morally significant action by a sense of duty are, far from exemplary, morally repugnant. (...) Surely many actions are good but not one’s duty, and surely it is morally better sometimes not to be moved by the thought of duty. (shrink)
Unified, all-purpose, philosophical models of reduction in science lack resources for capturing varieties of cross-scientific relations that have proven critical to understanding some scientific achievements. Not only do those models obscure the distinction between successional and cross-scientific relations, their preoccupations with the structures of both theories and things provide no means for accommodating the contributions to various sciences of theories and research about long-term diachronic processes involving large-scale, distributed systems. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is the parade case. (...) Explanatory pluralism accommodates a wider range of connections between theories and inquiries in science than all-purpose models of reduction do. Consequently, it provides analytical tools for understanding the roles of the theoretical proposals about the evolution of the human mind/brain that have proliferated over the last two decades. Those proposals have testable implications pertaining to both structure and processing in the modern human mind/brain. An example of such research illustrates how those proposals and investigative tools and experiments cut across both explanatory levels and modes of analysis within the cognitive sciences and how those studies can yield evidence that bears on the assessment of competing theories and models. (shrink)
In this paper Wimsatt's analysis of units of selection is taken as defining the units of selection question. A definition of levels of selection is offered and it is shown that the levels of selection question is quite different from the units of selection question. Some of the relations between units and levels are briefly explored. It is argued that the levels of selection question is the question relevant to explanatory concerns, and it is suggested that it is the question (...) relevant to ontological concerns. (shrink)
Kant held that “an incentive can determine the will [Willkür] to action only so far as the individual has incorporated it into his maxim”, a view dubbed the “Incorporation Thesis” by Henry Allison (hereafter, “IT”). Although many see IT as basic to Kant’s views on agency, it also seems irreconcilable with the possibility of a kind of weakness, the kind exhibited by a person who acts on incentives that run contrary to principles she holds dear. The problem is this: According (...) to IT, if an incentive determines the will of the weak person when she acts contrary to her principles, then it must be the case that she incorporated that incentive into her maxim. But that in turn means that she has made it her principle to act on the wayward incentive, and so is not, after all, exhibiting weakness in failing to follow her own principles, but at best simply dropping one principle in favor of another. So either the weak person does not incorporate the wayward incentive into her maxim and IT is false, or she does incorporate it and weakness is impossible. (shrink)
In the course of defending both a unified model of intertheoretic relations in science and scientific realism, Paul Churchland has attempted to reinvigorate eliminative materialism. Churchland's eliminativism operates on three claims: (1) that some intertheoretic contexts involve incommensurable theories, (2) that such contexts invariably require the elimination of one theory or the other, and (3) that the relation of psychology and neuroscience is just such a context. I argue that a more detailed account of intertheoretic relations, which distinguishes between the (...) relations that hold between successive theories at a particular level of analysis over time and those that hold between theories at different levels of analysis at the same time, offers grounds for denying Churchland's second and third claims and, therefore, undermines his eliminativism. The paper concludes by suggesting why it is, nonetheless, not unreasonable, given this more detailed model of intertheoretic relations, to expect the eventual elimination of common sense psychology. (shrink)
give a proof of the existence of nonlocal influences acting on correlated spin-1/2 particles in the singlet state which does not require any particular interpretation of quantum mechanics (QM). (Except Stapp holds that the proof fails under a many-worlds interpretation of QM—a claim we analyse in 1.2.) Recently, in responding to Redhead's (, pp. 90-6) criticism that the Stapp 1 proof fails under an indeterministic interpretation of QM, Stapp  (henceforth Stapp 2), has revised the logical structure of his proof (...) including its crucial locality assumption. Our main aim is to show that this revision is a step in the wrong direction because it faces two difficulties which undermine the resulting proof's significance (3.1) and validity (3. 2). We also clarify and extend the Stapp 1 proof (1. 1) with the aid of Lewis' analysis of counterfactuals (1. 2) and causal dependence (2. 2 and 2. 3). In so doing, we are able to identify two new defects in the Stapp 1 proof (1. 3 and 2. 1) in addition to corroborating Redhead's criticism (2. 2). Also, the additional assumptions which save the Stapp 1 proof's validity are detailed (2. 3) and some new difficulties for the determinist are pointed out by exploiting a slightly extended version of the proof (2. 4). In providing this full analysis of the Stapp 1 proof, we also construct the necessary framework within which to provide a critique of Stapp 2's proof (3). *Portions of this paper were presented by R. K. Clifton to the 1988 British Society for the Philosophy of Science Conference at the University of Southampton. R. K. Clifton wishes to thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, and the Governing Body of Peterhouse at Cambridge University for support during this work. (shrink)
Richard Lewontin's (1970) early work on the units of selection initiated the conceptual and theoretical investigations that have led to the hierarchical perspective on selection that has reached near consensus status today. This paper explores other aspects of his work, work on what he termed continuity and quasi-independence, that connect to contemporary explorations of modularity in development and evolution. I characterize such modules and argue that they are the true units of selection in that they are what evolution by natural (...) selection individuates, selects among, and transforms. (shrink)
Abstract Like the logical empiricists many contemporary philosophers wish to bring the determinateness of scientific judgment to epistemology. Recent efforts to naturalise epistemology (such as those of the Churchlands) seem to jeopardise the position of epistemology as a normative discipline. Putnam argues that attempts to naturalise epistemology are self?refuting. My goal is not to defeat the project for the naturalisation of epistemology, but rather to help clarify what it does and does not amount to. I maintain that attempts to completely (...) eliminate the normative will be either forever incomplete or inimical to the progress of science. However, because it is the first horn of this dilemma which will prevail, these considerations do not undermine the importance of future epistemology carefully attending to the results of the relevant sciences. (shrink)
It is standard to attribute to Kant the view that actions from motives other than duty deserve no positive moral evaluation. I argue that the standard view is mistaken. Kant's account of merit in the Metaphysics of Morals shows that he believes actions not performed from duty can be meritorious. Moreover, the grounds for attributing merit to an action are different from those for attributing moral worth to it. This is significant because it shows both that his views are reasonably (...) consistent with our ordinary views, and that he recognized a variety of purposes in evaluating actions, many of which are not furthered by determining whether they were motivated by duty. (shrink)