Editorial: Concepts of Animal Welfare Content Type Journal Article Pages 93-103 DOI 10.1007/s10441-011-9134-0 Authors Kristin Hagen, Europäische Akademie zur Erforschung von Folgen wissenschaftlich-technischer Entwicklungen Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler GmbH, Wilhelmstr. 56, 53474 Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany Ruud Van den Bos, Behavioural Neuroscience, Animals in Science and Society, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 2, 3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands Tjard de Cock Buning, Department of Biology and Society (ATHENA Institute), Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije (...) Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands Journal Acta Biotheoretica Online ISSN 1572-8358 Print ISSN 0001-5342 Journal Volume Volume 59 Journal Issue Volume 59, Number 2. (shrink)
Xunzi was chronologically the third of the three great Confucian thinkers of Chinaâs classical period, after Confucius and Mencius. Having produced the most comprehensive philosophical system of that period, he occupies a place in the development of Chinese philosophy comparable to that of Aristotle in the Western philosophical tradition. This essay reveals how Xunziâs understanding of virtue and moral development dovetailed with his positions on ritual propriety, the attunement of names, the relation betweenli (patterns) andlei (categories), and his view ofdao (...) (the way) in general. I have argued for a constructivist understanding of each of these aspects of Xunziâs philosophy in some detail elsewhere (see Hagen 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003), and so here I will just briefly review a few key points before addressing their relation to moral development. (shrink)
Proxies of mate value must be evolutionarily salient. Gangestad & Simpson (G&S) have made a good case that fluctuating asymmetry is an important proxy of male mate value that correlates well with genetic and developmental quality. The use of financial variables as proxies for male investment ability by Gangestad, Simpson, and virtually every other investigator of human mating in evolutionary perspective, is, however, more problematic. Correspondence:a1 Address correspondence to the first author. Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA (...) 93106 email@example.com www.anth.ucsb.edu/faculty/hagen. (shrink)
We present results from a study about women and employee-elected board members, and fill some of the gaps in the literature about their contribution to board effectiveness. The empirical data are from a unique data set of Norwegian firms. Board effectiveness is evaluated in relation to board control tasks, including board corporate social responsibility (CSR) involvement. We found that the contributions of women and employee-elected board members varied depending on the board tasks studied. In the article we also explored the (...) effects of the esteem of the women and employee-elected board members, and we used creative discussions in the boardroom as a mediating variable. Previous board research, including research about women and employee-elected directors, questions if the board members contribute to board effectiveness. The main message from this study is that it may be more important to ask how, rather than if, women and employee-elected board members contribute, and we need to open the black box of actual board behavior to explore how they may contribute. (shrink)
Biologists and historians often present natural history and molecular biology as distinct, perhaps conflicting, fields in biological research. Such accounts, although supported by abundant evidence, overlook important areas of overlap between these areas. Focusing upon examples drawn particularly from systematics and molecular evolution, I argue that naturalists and molecular biologists often share questions, methods, and forms of explanation. Acknowledging these interdisciplinary efforts provides a more balanced account of the development of biology during the post-World War II era.
Evidence suggests that humans might have neurological specializations for music processing, but a compelling adaptationist account of music and dance is lacking. The sexual selection hypothesis cannot easily account for the widespread performance of music and dance in groups (especially synchronized performances), and the social bonding hypothesis has severe theoretical difficulties. Humans are unique among the primates in their ability to form cooperative alliances between groups in the absence of consanguineal ties. We propose that this unique form of social organization (...) is predicated on music and dance. Music and dance may have evolved as a coalition signaling system that could, among other things, credibly communicate coalition quality, thus permitting meaningful cooperative relationships between groups. This capability may have evolved from coordinated territorial defense signals that are common in many social species, including chimpanzees. We present a study in which manipulation of music synchrony significantly altered subjects’ perceptions of music quality, and in which subjects’ perceptions of music quality were correlated with their perceptions of coalition quality, supporting our hypothesis. Our hypothesis also has implications for the evolution of psychological mechanisms underlying cultural production in other domains such as food preparation, clothing and body decoration, storytelling and ritual, and tools and other artifacts. (shrink)
The twentieth century witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of statistics by biologists, including systematists. The modern synthesis and new systematics stimulated this development, particularly after World War II. The rise of "the statistical frame of mind " resulted in a rethinking of the relationship between biological and mathematical points of view, the roles of objectivity and subjectivity in systematic research, the implications of new computing technologies, and the place of systematics among the biological disciplines.
The aim of this article is to explain the transition from implicit CSR to explicit CSR that has taken place in Scandinavia over the last two decades. Matten and Moon’s distinction between implicit and explicit CSR is the point of departure for the analysis, which is based on case studies of two Norwegian companies: HÅG and Hydro. On the basis of these case studies, we identify two forces that are pushing the transition from implicit to explicit CSR in Scandinavia: Organizational (...) expressiveness and Re-legitimizing. Both of these measures are adjustments to the globalization of the economy, altering the competitive situation even in highly institutionalized, Scandinavian economies. HÅG, a midsized Norwegian manufacturer of office chairs, made CSR and environmental values an integral part of their expressive strategy in the early 1990s. Hydro, a big Norwegian aluminium producer, made CSR an explicit issue around the turn of the millennium, in an attempt to re-legitimize their business operations in a new market situation where plants in local communities in Norway were shut down and relocated to less regulated regimes in low-cost regions abroad. (shrink)
During the early 1960s, Morris Goodman used a variety of immunological tests to demonstrate the very close genetic relationships among humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas. Molecular anthropologists often point to this early research as a critical step in establishing their new specialty. Based on his molecular results, Goodman challenged the widely accepted taxonomie classification that separated humans from chimpanzees and gorillas in two separate families. His claim that chimpanzees and gorillas should join humans in family Hominidae sparked a well-known conflict with (...) George Gaylord Simpson, Ernst Mayr, and other prominent evolutionary biologists. Less well known, but equally significant, were a series of disagreements between Goodman and other prominent molecular evolutionists concerning both methodological and theoretical issues. These included qualitative versus quantitative data, the role of natural selection, rates of evolution, and the reality of molecular clocks. These controversies continued throughout Goodman's career, even as he moved from immunological techniques to protein and DNA sequence analysis. This episode highlights the diversity of methods used by molecular evolutionists and the conflicting conclusions drawn from the data that these methods generated. (shrink)
Experimental taxonomy was a diverse area of research, and botanists who helped develop it were motivated by a variety of concerns. While experimental taxonomy was never totally a taxonomic enterprise, improvement in classification was certainly one major motivation behind the research. Hall's and Clements' belief that experimental methods added more objectivity to classification was almost universally accepted by experimental taxonomists. Such methods did add a new dimension to taxonomy — a dimension that field and herbarium studies, however rigorous, could not (...) duplicate. Nonetheless, experimental techniques were never completely divorced from traditional taxonomic methods. In practice, all experimental taxonomists employed a combination of descriptive and experimental methods. Most researchers freely acknowledged a debt to traditional taxonomy. Furthermore, the greater rigor of twentieth-century taxonomy was not due entirely to experimentalism. Both the experimental and descriptive aspects of taxonomy were improved by the increased use of quantitative methods, particularly statistics.52From the beginning, a number of experimental taxonomists were interested primarily in classification. But many approached their research from fields other than taxonomy. These botanists were concerned primarily with ecological and genetic problems rather than with classification. There is little indication that they drew a sharp distinction: for example, taxonomic and cytogenetic conclusions were interwoven in Babcock and Stebbins' 1938 study of Crepis 53 (this was even more true of Babcock's final mongraph on the genus, published in 1947). Similarly, the extensive series of monographs, “Experimental Studies on the Nature of Species,” initiated by the Carnegie Institution group in 1940 combined ecological, cytogenetic, and taxonomic conclusions. Indeed, the significance of the major projects completed by experimental taxonomists was largely due to the fact that they were comprehensive studies rather than strictly taxonomic or cytogenetic.In a general sense, the primary motivation behind much of experimental taxonomy was evolutionary. Beginning in the second decade of the century Hall and Clements exhorted taxonomists to take an explicitly evolutionary perspective on research. Hall undoubtedly spoke for the majority of experimental taxonomists when he stated, “If there be anything at all to organic evolution, then taxonomy is dealing with the products of evolution and it is this that gives to taxonomy both its highest mission and its greatest responsibility.”54Aside from a common interest in evolution, however, the theoretical orientations of experimental taxonomists were varied. This diversity is strikingly illustrated by the evolutionary views of members of the Carnegie Institution research group. Experimental taxonomy was initiated by Clements as one aspect of his Lamarckian study of adaptation and speciation. In contrast, Hall's research was inspired by a broad concern for evolutionary problems. Hall rarely referred to specific evolutionary mechanisms; rather, he applied a general conception of evolutionary processes to deduce phylogenetic relationships. His later associates at the Carnegie Institution explicitly dissociated themselves from Clements' theoretical framework. The neo-Darwinian interpretations of adaptation and speciation presented by Clausen, Keck, and Hiesey could hardly have been more different than those of Clements. However, this major shift in theoretical orientation should not obscure significant similarities between the research of Clements and later Carnegie workers. In terms of research problems and methodology, the first volume of “Experimental Studies on the Nature of Species” was an extension of the Clementsian research program. Clausen, Keck, and Hiesey's monograph was the mature discussion of transplant experimentation that Clements had very tentatively initiated during the first decades of the twentieth century. The bond that linked the members of the Carnegie Institution research group to experimental taxonomists in general was one of shared methodology rather than common theoretical orientation. While Clements' evolutionary views were eventually repudiated, his enthusiasm for innovative experimental methods was shared by later workers.The development of experimental taxonomy faced significant problems. During the period 1920–1950 this area of botanical research remained a hybrid discipline. The aims and scope of experimental taxonomy were never articulated in a completely unified manner. Consequently, even among experimental taxonomists, there were disagreements over the relation of their research to other botanical endeavors. Even though experimental taxonomy had close ties with general taxonomy, a number of experimental taxonomists questioned the “taxonomic” nature of their research55. Even to the extent that this hybrid discipline could be identified as a branch of taxonomy, problems arose. Taxonomists, as we have seen, were justifiably skeptical of what appeared to be a rapid influx of untested methods and ideas. Experimental taxonomists were not merely incorporating well-accepted methods from ecology and cytogenetics; during the period 1920–1950 the fields from which experimental taxonomists borrowed were themselves undergoing major theoretical and methodological changes. Despite problems and conflicts, experimental taxonomists did contribute improvements to classification. Furthermore, they made significant contributions to plant ecology and evolutionary genetics.The development of experimental taxonomy indicates that twentieth-century botanists were not necessarily isolated in naturalist and experimentalist camps. The joint session of taxonomists, cytologists, and geneticists at the 1926 International Congress of Plant Sciences indicates communication among specialists fairly early in the century. The papers and commentaries presented during this session do not reveal the hostility and intolerance that supposedly characterized encounters between experimentalists and naturalists. Nor do they suggest incompatible conceptual worlds separating geneticists and taxonomists.Discussions between taxonomists and other specialists were not limited to a single international congress. Particularly during the 1930s discussions among specialists appear to have been fairly widespread. Groups such as the Biosystematists and the Society for the Study of Systematics in Relation to General Biology served as forums for discussion among biologists from a variety of disciplines. The naturalist-experimentalist dichotomy tends to obscure the broad research interests of a number of prominent twentieth-century botanists. Most of the experimental taxonomists cannot be characterized adequately as either naturalists or experimentalists. Traditionally trained taxonomists such as Hall, Keck, and Turrill throughout their careers participated in both experimental and herbarium research. And a number of specialists in fields other than taxonomy took an active interest in taxonomic problems, not necessarily limited to experimental aspects. For example, Anderson suggested a number of innovations to make herbarium collections more amenable to statistical analysis.This historical study of experimental taxonomy indicates a different relationship between experimentalism and taxonomy than that portrayed by the naturalist-versus-experimentalist dichotomy. F. E. Clements originated experimental taxonomy as a revolt against descriptive botany. In retrospect, this revolution was not vigorously waged and was not successfully completed. Experimental taxonomy was never an entirely experimental approach to botanical research. Even the most ardent advocates of experimentalism relied heavily on methods inherited from traditional taxonomy. Moderate exponents of experimental taxonomy stressed the compatibility of experimental methods, field observation, and herbarium techniques. Attempts to fuse cytogenetics, ecology, and taxonomy during the period 1920–1950 resulted in an impressive body of research. However, this fusion constituted neither a repudiation of descriptive botany nor a complete revision of taxonomic theory of practice. (shrink)
In the philosophy of Confucius, the concept _li_ is both central and elusive. While it is often translated 'ritual' or 'the rites,' I argue that there are numerous significant ways in which _li_ is as much an internal property of individuals as it is an external set of rules or norms. I discuss _li_ as deference, as developed dispositions, as embodied intelligence, and as personalized exemplary conduct. Finally, reflecting on the work of Fingarette, and Hall and Ames, as well as (...) Wilson's analysis of their work, I argue that the external _aspect_ of _li_, although reasonably understood under the rubric of 'traditional norms,' may nonetheless legitimately evolve, and that this coheres well with the notion that an internal sense-of-ritual is integral to the meaning of _li_. (shrink)
Sex differences in physical and indirect aggression have been found in many societies but, to our knowledge, have not been studied in a population of hunter-gatherers. Among Aka foragers of the Central African Republic we tested whether males physically aggressed more than females, and whether females indirectly aggressed more than males, as has been seen in other societies. We also tested predictions of an evolutionary theory of physical strength, anger, and physical aggression. We found a large male bias in physical (...) aggression. Controlling for anger, we found an adult female bias in indirect aggression. Physical strength predicted anger, which predicted hitting, although results were sensitive to the inclusion or exclusion of traditional healers, who were physically and emotionally distinct from other Aka. With some important caveats, our results generally support the predicted sex differences in physical aggression and indirect aggression, and the predicted relationships among anger, strength, and aggression. (shrink)
During the decades following World War II diverse groups of American biologists established a variety of distinctive approaches to organismal biology. Rhetorically, organismal biology could be used defensively to distinguish established research traditions from perceived threats from newly emerging fields such as molecular biology. But, organismal biologists were also interested in integrating biological disciplines and using a focus on organisms to synthesize levels of organization from molecules and cells to populations and communities. Part of this broad movement was the development (...) of an area of research variously referred to as physiological ecology, environmental physiology, or ecophysiology. This area of research was distinctive in its self-conscious blend of field and laboratory practices and its explicit integration with other areas of biology such as ecology, animal behavior, and evolution in order to study adaptation. Comparing the intersecting careers of Knut Schmidt-Nielsen and George Bartholomew highlights two strikingly different approaches to physiological ecology. These alternative approaches to studying the interactions of organisms and environments also differed in important ways from the organismal biology championed by leading figures in the modern synthesis. (shrink)
This paper challenges the view of several interpreters of Xunzi regarding the status of names, ming. I will maintain that Xunzi's view is consistent with the activity we see not only in his own efforts to influence language, but those of Confucius as well. Based on a reconsideration of translations and interpretations of key passages, I will argue that names are regarded neither as mere labels nor as indicating a privileged taxonomy of the myriad phenomena. Rather, Xunzi conceives them as (...) constructs designed to facilitate social goals. Finally, I will suggest an alternative to overly simplistic understandings of how appropriate names are fashioned and of who is responsible for their form. (shrink)
In the social science literature, conspiracy theories are commonly characterized as theories positing a vast network of evil and preternaturally effective conspirators, and they are often treated, either explicitly or implicitly, as dubious on this basis. This characterization is based on Richard Hofstadter’s famous account of ‘the paranoid style’. However, many significant conspiracy theories do not have any of the relevant qualities. Thus, the social science literature provides a distorted account of the general category ‘conspiracy theory’, conflating it with a (...) subset of that category that encourages unfairly negative evaluations of conspiracy theories. Generally, when evaluating theories, one should focus on the most plausible versions; the merit of a theory is independent of the existence of less plausible versions of it. By ignoring this and glossing over important distinctions, many academics, especially in the social sciences, have misclassified many conspiracy theories and in doing so have contributed to an epistemically unfair depiction of them. Further, even theories that genuinely fit the description of ‘the paranoid style’ cannot be completely dismissed on that basis. All conspiracy theories ought to be judged on the totality of their individual merits. (shrink)
Xunzi is often interpreted as offering a method for transforming our desires. This essay argues that, strictly speaking, he does not. Rather, Xunzi offers a method of developing an auxiliary motivational structure capable of overpowering our original desires, when there is a conflict. When one succeeds in transforming one’s overall character, original desires nevertheless remain and are largely satisfied. This explains why one may be motivated to follow the way even before one has developed noble intentions. On Xunzi’s view, following (...) dao provides the best chance of satisfying one’s original desires, as well as fulfilling the more noble aspirations that arise from the process. (shrink)
In an article published in the Journal of Political Philosophy, Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule argue that the government and its allies ought to activelyundermine groups that espouse conspiracy theories deemed “demonstrably false.” They propose infiltrating such groups in order to “cure” conspiracy theorists by treating their “crippled epistemology” with “cognitive diversity.” They base their proposal on an analysis of the “causes” of such conspiracy theories, which emphasizes informational and reputational cascades. Some may regard their proposal as outrageous and anti-democratic. (...) I agree. However, in this article I merely argue that their argument is flawed in at least the following ways: their account of the popularity of conspiracy theories is implausible, and their proposal relies on misleading “stylized facts,” including a caricature of those who doubt official narratives and a deceptive depiction of the relevant history. (shrink)
Evolutionary models of human cooperation are increasingly emphasizing the role of reputation and the requisite truthful “gossiping” about reputation-relevant behavior. If resources were allocated among individuals according to their reputations, competition for resources via competition for “good” reputations would have created incentives for exaggerated or deceptive gossip about oneself and one’s competitors in ancestral societies. Correspondingly, humans should have psychological adaptations to assess gossip veracity. Using social psychological methods, we explored cues of gossip veracity in four experiments. We found that (...) simple reiteration increased gossip veracity, but only for those who found the gossip relatively uninteresting. Multiple sources of gossip increased its veracity, as did the independence of those sources. Information that suggested alternative, benign interpretations of gossip decreased its veracity. Competition between a gossiper and her target decreased gossip veracity. These results provide preliminary evidence for psychological adaptations for assessing gossip veracity, mechanisms that might be used to assess veracity in other domains involving social exchange of information. (shrink)
Many intellectuals scoff at what they call “conspiracy theories.” But two Harvard law professors, Cass Sunstein (now working for the Obama administration) and Adrian Vermeule, go further. They argue in the Journal of Political Philosophy that groups that espouse such theories ought to be infiltrated and undermined by government agents and allies. While some may find this proposal appalling (as indeed we all should), others may find the argument plausible, especially if they have been swayed by the notion that conspiracy (...) theories (or a definable subset thereof), by their nature, somehow or another, do not warrant belief. I will argue that Sunstein and Vermeule’s proposal not only conflicts with the values of an open society, but is also epistemically indefensible. In making my case, I will adopt their favored example, counter-narratives about 9/11. (shrink)
Beginning in the mid-1930s the comparative physiologists Laurence Irving and Per Fredrik Scholander pioneered the study of diving mammals, particularly harbor seals. Although resting on earlier work dating back to the late nineteenth century, their research was distinctive in several ways. In contrast to medically oriented physiology, the approaches of Irving and Scholander were strongly influenced by natural history, zoology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Diving mammals, they argued, shared the cardiopulmonary physiology of terrestrial mammals, but evolution had modified these basic (...) adaptive processes in extreme ways. In particular, seals’ remarkable ability to hold breath, lower metabolism, produce energy anaerobically, and resist asphyxiation, provided a sharp contrast with terrestrial mammals, including humans. This diving physiology was an extreme elaboration of a general regulatory mechanism that allowed seals and other diving mammals to remain active underwater for extended periods. The decrease in heart rate referred to as bradycardia or the “diving reflex” was highly developed in diving mammals, but also found in less developed form in many other organisms faced by asphyxia. It therefore served as a kind of “master switch” for lowering metabolism in diving, hibernation, parturition, drowning, and other physiological responses involving lack of oxygen. Studying bradycardia unified a wide diversity of physiological phenomena, while also providing a context for contrasting the physiological responses of various species, including humans. Conducted in the laboratory and the field, this research served as a bridge between a comparative physiological ecology focused on non-human species and a human-centered general physiology. (shrink)
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)
Here we argue that the concept of strategies, as it was introduced into biology by John Maynard Smith, is a prime illustration of the four dimensions of theoretical biology in the post-genomic era. These four dimensions are: data analysis and management, mathematical and computational model building and simulation, concept formation and analysis, and theory integration. We argue that all four dimensions of theoretical biology are crucial to future interactions between theoretical and empirical biologists as well as with philosophers of biology.
While Sorai's intellectual debt to Xunzi is often mentioned, the similarities between their views have not often been explored at length in English2.2 Further, while Maruyama Masao does compare the two thinkers in his influential monograph Studies in the Intellectual History of Tokugawa Japan, he stresses (apparent) differences between Xunzi and Sorai, in order to hail Sorai's uniqueness. Without meaning to take anything away from Sorai as an independent thinker, I maintain that with regard to precisely those views for which (...) Sorai is lauded as unique - that dao is a product of real people that evolved over time and continues to evolve - his position was also held by Xunzi. In addition, there is a related yet rarely highlighted aspect of Xunzi's thought that is also acknowledged by Sorai. That is, virtues acquired by participating in the way in turn qualify one to contribute to its continuous open-ended development. (shrink)
We argue that there is no metaphysically possible world with two or more omnipotent beings, due to the potential for conflicts of will between them. We reject the objection that omnipotent beings could exist in the same world when their wills could not conflict. We then turn to Alfred Mele and M.P. Smith’s argument that two coexisting beings could remain omnipotent even if, on some occasions, their wills cancel each other out so that neither can bring about what they intend. (...) We argue that this argument has an absurd consequence, namely having to regard an utterly powerless being as omnipotent. (shrink)
Ecology has often been characterized as an immature scientific discipline. This paper explores some of the sources of this alleged immaturity. I argue that the perception of immaturity results primarily from the fact that historically ecologists have based their work upon two very different approaches to research.
The distinction between taxonomic plant geography and ecological plant geography was never absolute: it would be historically inaccurate to portray them as totally divergent. Taxonomists occasionally borrowed ecological concepts, and ecologists never completely repudiated taxonomy. Indeed, some botanists pursued the two types of geographic study. The American taxonomist Henry Allan Gleason (1882–1975), for one, made noteworthy contributions to both. Most of Gleason's research appeared in short articles, however. He never published a major synthetic work comparable in scope or influence to (...) the ecological texts of Clements, Schimper, and Warming.Despite exceptions such as Gleason, most plant geographers throughout the twentieth century have emphasized the distinction between ecological and taxonomic plant geographies. Why have these distinct traditions developed? In his book Geographical Ecology, Robert MacArthur has suggested a psychological explanation for the dichotomy: “Unraveling the history of a phenemenon has always appealed to some people and describing the machinery of the phenomenon to others... The ecologist and physical scientist tend to be machinery oriented, whereas paleontologists and most biogeographers tend to be history oriented.”46Without necessarily rejecting MacArthur's explanation, my study suggests a more complex relationship between taxonomic and ecological plant geographies. At the turn of the century a group of botanists self-consciously defined a new area of botanical research. These ecologists defined their new discipline in opposition to what they believed was a moribund, nineteenth-century, natural-history tradition. They turned from historically oriented, descriptive, taxonomic plant geography to experimental physiology. The new ecological plant geography was to focus on communities rather than on species, on proximate environmental causes rather than on historical explanations, and on physiological experiments rather than on morphological descriptions.As we look back, much of the “revolt from morphology” was rhetorical. Ecologists never completely replaced species as units of distribution, nor did they set geography on an explicitly physiological basis. Indeed, much of early ecological research was, quite simply, descriptive. Plant communities were defined in terms of dominant species, representative life forms, or general physiognomy. The underlying physiological basis for community characteristics was more often assumed than demonstrated by experiments.Despite the fact that ecological plant geography was not a truly physiological specialty, it was significantly different from more traditional taxonomic plant geography. First, ecologists were less explicitly evolutionary in their approach than were taxonomists. Following Darwin, most taxonomic plant geographers viewed distribution in historical terms. In contrast, early ecologists tended to ignore the traditional geographic problems. Most ecologists were skeptical of historical explanations, emphasizing instead the proximate, environmental causes of distribution. While some nineteenth-century biogeographers had studied the correlation between climate and vegetation, twentieth-century ecologists focused much more sharply on the interactions between plant and environment. Plant ecologists did not place biogeography on a physiological basis, but by emphasizing physiology they laid the foundation for a more detailed understanding of adaption. This emphasis on physiology and environmental causation was a second distinguishing characteristic of ecological plant geography. Finally, the idea of the plant community, articulated by Eugenius Warming in 1895, provided ecologists with a unique perspective on the distribution of plants. For early ecologists, the community was more than an assemblage of species; it was an integrated unit. The distribution of these units became the major focus of ecological plant geography. Communities never completely replaced species as geographic units, and the distinction between flora and vegetation was often blurred. Nonetheless, ecologists were innovative in studying the distribution of structurally and functionally integrated groups of plants.In the twentieth century plant geography has occupied an anomalous position in biology. It has not developed into an autonomous discipline, nor has it been incorporated into the developing discipline of ecology. Ecologists and taxonomists have pursued fairly distinct styles of geographic research, with the result that two relatively independent approaches to the study of plant distribution have persisted. (shrink)
My purpose has been more negative than positive. That is, I have challenged the view that Sorai understoodtian as an intentional agent. At minimum, Soraiâs philosophical views do not depend upon such a conception oftian, and he refrains from characterizingtian in such terms when he discusses the concept oftian directly. However, I do not claim to have proven that Soraiâs view oftian was completely naturalistic, or even that Sorai did notâat some levelâbelieve thattian had intentions. I have, I hope, shown (...) thatthe case that Sorai viewedtian as intentional has not been convincingly made. Further, something closer to a dynamic and indeterminate naturalistic view is a reasonable alternative. On my reading, Sorai steers a course between the Song Confucian view oftian as static and knowable (a view that he explicitly rejects) and a view oftian as intentional (a view he never unequivocally expresses)âindeed, he rejects the idea of personifyingtian. When Sorai speaks of thexin or mind of tian, he is best understood as employing a metaphor that implies complexity, mystery, activity, and perhaps moral structure, but not intentionality in the normal sense. The complexity, indeterminacy, and dynamism oftian, as these are expressed in Soraiâs writings, do not necessarily imply willful intent on the part oftian, for they are all consistent with the Xunzian interpretation oftian as a natural process, even iftianâs regularities have a moral character. (shrink)
This article examines the changing status of tropical biology by considering the origins and early development of the Barro Colorado Island Biological Laboratory. Today the laboratory is part of a large diversified tropical research center operated by the Smithsonian Institution. However, for most of its history the laboratory led a tenuous existence. Both the early problems and eventual success of the institution can only be explained by considering the interaction of various intellectual, institutional, and broader social factors.