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Harry Smit [19]Harry E. Smit [2]
  1.  27
    Seven Misconceptions About the Mereological Fallacy: A Compilation for the Perplexed.Harry Smit & Peter M. S. Hacker - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (5):1077-1097.
    If someone commits the mereological fallacy, then he ascribes psychological predicates to parts of an animal that apply only to the (behaving) animal as a whole. This incoherence is not strictly speaking a fallacy, i.e. an invalid argument, since it is not an argument but an illicit predication. However, it leads to invalid inferences and arguments, and so can loosely be called a fallacy. However, discussions of this particular illicit predication, the mereological fallacy, show that it is often misunderstood. Many (...)
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  2.  31
    Human Nature, Metaphysics and Evolutionary Theory.Harry Smit - 2022 - Philosophia 51 (3):1605-1626.
    This paper argues that the substance concept, as discussed by Aristotle in his Categories, aids us to improve our understanding of human nature. Aristotle distinguished the primary from the secondary substance, and substantial from accidental change. We explain these distinctions, their use for understanding phenomena, and discuss how we can integrate them with evolutionary explanations of human nature. For explaining of how the typical human characteristics evolved, we extend our investigations with a discussion of the concept of person. It is (...)
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  3.  14
    Inclusive Fitness Theory and the Evolution of Mind and Language.Harry Smit - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (2):287-314.
    Philosophers have shown that the Aristotelian conception of mind and body is capable of resolving the problems confronting dualism. In this paper the resolution of the mind–body problem is extended with a scientific solution by integrating the Aristotelian framework with evolutionary theory. It is discussed how the theories of Fisher and Hamilton enable us to construct and solve hypotheses about how the mind evolved out of matter. These hypotheses are illustrated by two examples: the evolutionary transition from cells to multicellular (...)
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  4. The Two Fundamental Problems of Epistemology, Their Resolution, and Relevance for Life Science.Harry Smit - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-15.
    Among the many fundamental problems Wittgenstein discussed, two are especially relevant for evolutionary theory. The first one is the problem of negation and its relation to the intentionality of thought. Its resolution answers the question of how thought can anticipate reality though what is thought may not exist, and explains how empirical propositions are distinguishable from mathematical, logical, and conceptual (or what are traditionally called metaphysical) propositions. The second is the problem of the grounds of sensory experience. Wittgenstein’s resolution of (...)
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  5.  21
    The Transition from Animal to Linguistic Communication.Harry Smit - 2016 - Biological Theory 11 (3):158-172.
    Darwin’s theory predicts that linguistic behavior gradually evolved out of animal forms of communication. However, this prediction is confronted by the conceptual problem that there is an essential difference between signaling and linguistic behavior: using words is a normative practice. It is argued that we can resolve this problem if we note that language evolution is the outcome of an evolutionary transition, and observe that the use of words evolves during ontogenesis out of babbling. It is discussed that language evolved (...)
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  6.  7
    Weismann, Wittgenstein and the homunculus fallacy.Harry Smit - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (3):263-271.
    A problem that has troubled both neo-Darwinists and neo-Lamarckians is whether instincts involve knowledge. This paper discusses the contributions to this problem of the evolutionary biologist August Weismann and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Weismann discussed an empirical homunculus fallacy: Lamarck’s theory mistakenly presupposes a homunculus in the germ cells. Wittgenstein discussed a conceptual homunculus fallacy which applies to Lamarck’s theory: it is mistaken to suppose that knowledge is stored in the brain or DNA. The upshot of these two fallacies is (...)
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  7.  7
    Weismann, Wittgenstein and the homunculus fallacy.Harry Smit - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (3):263-271.
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  8.  10
    The Social Evolution of Human Nature: From Biology to Language.Harry Smit - 2014 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book sheds new light on the problem of how the human mind evolved. Harry Smit argues that current studies of this problem misguidedly try to solve it by using variants of the Cartesian conception of the mind, and shows that combining the Aristotelian conception with Darwin's theory provides us with far more interesting answers. He discusses the core problem of how we can understand language evolution in terms of inclusive fitness theory, and investigates how scientific and conceptual insights can (...)
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  9.  4
    A conceptual contribution to battles in the brain.Harry Smit - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (5):803-821.
    Badcock and Crespi have advanced the hypothesis that autism and schizophrenia are caused by imbalanced imprinting in the brain. They argue that an imbalance between the effects of paternally and maternally expressed genes on brain development results in either an extreme paternal (autism) or maternal brain (schizophrenia). In this paper their conceptual model is discussed and criticized since it presupposes an incoherent distinction between observable physical and hidden mental phenomena. An alternative model is discussed that may be more fruitful for (...)
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  10.  13
    Popper and Wittgenstein on the Metaphysics of Experience.Harry Smit - 2015 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (2):319-336.
    In the Tractatus Wittgenstein argued that there are metaphysical truths. But these are ineffable, for metaphysical sentences try to say what can only be shown. Accordingly, they are pseudo-propositions because they are ill-formed. In the Investigations he no longer thought that metaphysical propositions are pseudo-propositions, but argued that they are either nonsense or norms of descriptions. Popper criticized Wittgenstein’s ideas and argued that metaphysical truths are effable. Yet it is by now clear that he misunderstood Wittgenstein’s arguments and misguidedly thought (...)
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  11.  8
    How to Resolve Comte’s Challenge: The Answer of Cognitive Neuroscience and the Neo-Aristotelian Alternative.Harry Smit - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (3):1201-1217.
    Comte argued against the Cartesian conception of the mind that the thinker cannot simultaneously think or perceive and observe itself so doing. Based on insights from cognitive neuroscience, Dehaene has recently given a contemporary answer to Comte’s challenge. He has extended some ideas of Helmholtz on unconscious inferences and argued that we can resolve Comte’s problem by reformulating it in terms of the brain. Since the brain consists of different parts having different functions, it is possible that some parts are (...)
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  12.  21
    The Cartesian Conception of the Development of the Mind and Its Neo-Aristotelian Alternative.Harry Smit - 2020 - Biological Theory 15 (2):107-120.
    This article discusses some essential differences between the Cartesian and neo-Aristotelian conceptions of child development. It argues that we should prefer the neo-Aristotelian conception since it is capable of resolving the problems the Cartesian conception is confronted by. This is illustrated by discussing the neo-Aristotelian alternative to the Cartesian explanation of the development of volitional powers, and the neo-Aristotelian alternative to the Cartesian simulation theory and theory–theory account of the development of social cognition. The neo-Aristotelian conception is further elaborated by (...)
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  13.  9
    The Development of Altruistic Behavior Out of Reactive Crying.Harry Smit - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (1):79-86.
    Reactive crying, displayed by children as a response to the distress of another, is described as a precursor of helping and caring. There are several stages during the transition from the innate, reactive cry to the intentional response. Children at the age of 6–14 months are able to control their reactive distress response, yet still respond to the distress of others by displaying distress behavior themselves. Two explanations are discussed. According to one explanation, children are confused about what happens to (...)
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  14.  28
    An Overarching Framework for Understanding and Explaining Human Nature.Harry Smit - 2023 - Biological Theory 18 (1):63-75.
    This article investigates how we can reconcile conceptions of human nature with biological explanations. Therefore, it discusses essential differences between (neo) Cartesian substance dualism and (neo) Aristotelian substance monism. It argues that only the (neo) Aristotelian conception of the psuchē, as the set of potentialities the exercise of which is characteristic of the organism, is coherent. The question of how we can reconcile this conception with biological explanations is answered by discussing how it can be integrated with Tinbergen’s subdivision of (...)
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  15.  6
    Darwin’s Rehabilitation of Teleology Versus Williams’ Replacement of Teleology by Natural Selection.Harry Smit - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (4):357-365.
    Williams argued that Darwin replaced teleology by natural selection. This article argues that this idea is based on a misunderstanding of Darwin’s critique of the argument from design. Darwin did not replace teleology by evolutionary explanations but showed that we can understand teleology without referring to a Designer. He eliminated the concept of design and rehabilitated Aristotelian teleological explanations. The implication is that adaptations should not be investigated as if designed, but with the help of both teleological and evolutionary explanations. (...)
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  16.  11
    Darwin’s Rehabilitation of Teleology Versus Williams’ Replacement of Teleology by Natural Selection.Harry Smit - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (4):357-365.
    Williams argued that Darwin replaced teleology by natural selection. This article argues that this idea is based on a misunderstanding of Darwin’s critique of the argument from design. Darwin did not replace teleology by evolutionary explanations but showed that we can understand teleology without referring to a Designer. He eliminated the concept of design and rehabilitated Aristotelian teleological explanations. The implication is that adaptations should not be investigated as if designed, but with the help of both teleological and evolutionary explanations. (...)
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  17.  5
    Research Styles and the Reception of Sociobiology.Louis Boon & Harry Smit - 1989 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 19 (1):19-40.
  18. Conflicten in het brein.Harry Smit - 2007 - Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 3.
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  19.  9
    Effects of Imprinted Genes on the Development of Communicative Behavior: A Hypothesis. [REVIEW]Harry Smit - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (3):247-255.
    The kinship theory of genomic imprinting predicts that imprinted genes affect parent–child and child–child interactions. During prenatal and neonatal stages, patrigenes promote selfish and matrigenes altruistic behavior. Models predict that this imprinted gene expression pattern is reversed starting with the juvenile stage. This article explores possible effects of imprinted genes on nonverbal and simple and complex linguistic behaviors before and after the reversal. A hypothesis is discussed that is based on the observation language evolved as a new form of communicative (...)
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  20.  9
    Book Reviews : Howard L. Kaye, The Social Meaning of Modern Biology: From Social Darwinism to Sociobiology. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT,1986. Pp. 184, $9.95 (paper. [REVIEW]Harry E. Smit - 1992 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 22 (4):531-534.
  21.  2
    Book Reviews : Howard L. Kaye, The Social Meaning of Modern Biology: From Social Darwinism to Sociobiology. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT,1986. Pp. 184, $9.95 (paper. [REVIEW]Harry E. Smit - 1992 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 22 (4):531-534.
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