H. B. D. Kettlewell's field experiments on industrial melanism in the peppered moth, Biston betularia, have become the best known demonstration of natural selection in action. I argue that textbook accounts routinely portray this research as an example of controlled experimentation, even though this is historically misleading. I examine how idealized accounts of Kettlewell's research have been used by professional biologists and biology teachers. I also respond to some criticisms of David Rudge to my earlier discussions of this case study, (...) and I question Rudge's claims about the importance of purely observational studies for the eventual acceptance and popularization of Kettlewell's explanation for the evolution of industrial melanism. (shrink)
This article shows that Popper’s measure of corroboration is inapplicable if, as Popper argued, the logical probability of synthetic universal statements is zero relative to any evidence that we might possess. It goes on to show that Popper’s definition of degree of testability, in terms of degree of logical content, suffers from a similar problem. 1 The Corroboration Function and P(h|b) 2 Degrees of Testability and P(h|b).
H.B.D. Kettlewell is best known for his pioneering work on the phenomenon of industrial melanism, which began shortly after his appointment in 1951 as a Nuffield Foundation research worker in E.B. Ford's newly formed sub-department of genetics at the University of Oxford. In the years since, a legend has formed around these investigations, one that portrays them as a success story of the 'Oxford School of Ecological Genetics', emphasizes Ford's intellectual contribution, and minimizes reference to assistance provided by others. The (...) following essay reviews the important influence Ford, E.A. Cockayne, and P.M. Sheppard played in Kettlewell's research, leading up to his most famous experiments in 1953. It documents several reasons for doubting that Ford was as intellectually involved in the design of these investigations as he has previously been portrayed. It clarifies Kettlewell's intellectual contribution to the investigations for which he is famous, as well as the pivotal roles Cockayne and Sheppard played in the design, execution and interpretation of these investigations. (shrink)
It is easy to understand why Hegel's philosophy should be little studied by English-speaking philosophers today. Those who at the beginning of the twentieth century initiated the movement we are now caught up in presented their earliest philosophical arguments as criticisms of the prevailing Anglo-Hegelian views. It may now be thought illiberal to take much interest in this perhaps excusably slaughtered royal family, and positively reactionary to hanker after the foreign dynasty from which it sometimes claimed descent. Hegel was a (...) systematic philosopher with a scope hardly to be found today, and men who, as we say, wish to keep up with their subject may well be daunted at the idea of having to understand a way of looking at philosophy which they suspect would not repay them for their trouble anyway. Furthermore, since Hegel wrote, formal logic has advanced in ways he could not have foreseen, and has, it seems to many, destroyed the whole basis of his dialectical method. At the same time, the creation of a science of sociology, it is supposed, has rendered obsolete the philosophy of history for which Hegel was at one time admired. In countries where there are Marxist intellectuals, Hegel does get discussed as the inadvertent forerunner of historical and dialectical materialism. But in England, where there is no such need or presence, there do not seem to be any very strong ideological reasons for discussing him. In what follows I shall be asking you to direct your thoughts to certain forgotten far-off things which I hope you will find historically interesting even if you do not agree with me that they give important clues for an understanding of human nature and human society. (shrink)
Jean-Paul Sartre, in describing the realization of his freedom, was often inclined to say mysterious things like ‘I am what I am not’, ‘I am not what I am’ He was therefore plainly contradicting himself, but was this merely a playful literary figure , or was he really being incoherent? By the latter judgment I do not mean to reject his statements entirely ; for I believe there is an intimate link between contradiction and freedom, as I shall explain in (...) this paper. But a minor thing we must first have out of the way is the suggestion that Sartre's language was just a rhetorical trope, designed merely to express some banal platitude in a bemusing way: ‘I am not yet what I will be’, ‘I am no longer what I was’ are sane and sensible, for instance, but cannot be the meant content of Sartre's sayings, since, while they would indeed describe the reform of some character, they would be appropriate only before or after some metamorphosis, not, as Sartre clearly intended, in the midst of some process of riddance and conversion, whether radical or otherwise. Yet, in the turmoil of such a change, ‘I am not what I am’ still, surely, cannot be true, and if that is the case, Sartre must be being inocherent, and therefore, obfuscating and deliberately obscure, and hence, it seems, must properly be rejected by all right and clear thinking men. (shrink)
D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie (1976) II An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner; textual editor W. B. Todd, 2 vols. (1976) III Essays on Philosophical Subjects, ed. W. P. D. Wightman ...