Features Covers the philosophical and historical development of the concept of "species" Documents that variation was recognized by pre-Darwinian scholars Includes a section on the debates since the time of the New Synthesis Better suited to non-philosophers Summary Over time the complex idea of "species" has evolved, yet its meaning is far from resolved. This comprehensive work is a fresh look at an idea central to the field of biology by tracing its history from antiquity to today. Species is a (...) benchmark exploration and clarification of a concept fundamental to the past, present, and future of the natural sciences. In this edition, a section is added on the debate over species since the time of the New Synthesis, and brings the book up to date. A section on recent philosophical debates over species has also been added. This edition is better suited non-specialists in philosophy, so that it will be of greater use for scientists wishing to understand how the notion came to be that living organisms form species. (shrink)
Ever since Darwin people have worried about the sceptical implications of evolution. If our minds are products of evolution like those of other animals, why suppose that the beliefs they produce are true, rather than merely useful? In this chapter we apply this argument to beliefs in three different domains: morality, religion, and science. We identify replies to evolutionary scepticism that work in some domains but not in others. The simplest reply to evolutionary scepticism is that the truth of beliefs (...) in a certain domain is, in fact, connected to evolutionary success, so that evolution can be expected to design systems that produce true beliefs in that domain. We call a connection between truth and evolutionary success a ‘Milvian bridge’, after the tradition which ascribes the triumph of Christianity at the battle of the Milvian bridge to the truth of Christianity. We argue that a Milvian bridge can be constructed for commonsense beliefs, and extended to scientific beliefs, but not to moral and religious beliefs. An alternative reply to evolutionary scepticism, which has been used defend moral beliefs, is to argue that their truth does not depend on their tracking some external state of affairs. We ask if this reply could be used to defend religious beliefs. (shrink)
Essentialism in philosophy is the position that things, especially kinds of things, have essences, or sets of properties, that all members of the kind must have, and the combination of which only members of the kind do, in fact, have. It is usually thought to derive from classical Greek philosophy and in particular from Aristotle’s notion of “what it is to be” something. In biology, it has been claimed that pre-evolutionary views of living kinds, or as they are sometimes called, (...) “natu-ral kinds”, are essentialist. This static view of living things presumes that no tran-sition is possible in time or form between kinds, and that variation is regarded as accidental or inessential noise rather than important information about taxa. In contrast it is held that Darwinian, and post-Darwinian, biology relies upon varia-tion as important and inevitable properties of taxa, and that taxa are not, therefore, kinds but historical individuals. Recent attempts have been made to undercut this account, and to reinstitute essentialism in biological kind terms. Others argue that essentialism has not ever been a historical reality in biology and its predecessors. In this chapter, I shall outline the many meanings of the notion of essentialism in psychology and social science as well as science, and discuss pro- and anti-essentialist views, and some recent historical revisionism. It turns out that nobody was essentialist to speak of in the sense that is antievolutionary in biology, and that much confusion rests on treating the one word, “essence” as meaning a single notion when in fact there are many. I shall also discuss the philosophical implica-tions of essentialism, and what that means one way or the other for evolutionary biology. Teaching about evolution relies upon narratives of change in the ways the living world is conceived by biologists. This is a core narrative issue. (shrink)
The vision of natural kinds that is most common in the modern philosophy of biology, particularly with respect to the question whether species and other taxa are natural kinds, is based on a revision of the notion by Mill in A System of Logic. However, there was another conception that Whewell had previously captured well, which taxonomists have always employed, of kinds as being types that need not have necessary and sufficient characters and properties, or essences. These competing views employ (...) different approaches to scientific methodologies: Mill’s class-kinds are not formed by induction but by deduction, while Whewell’s type-kinds are inductive. More recently, phylogenetic kinds (clades, or monophyletic-kinds) are inductively projectible, and escape Mill’s strictures. Mill’s version represents a shift in the notions of kinds from the biological to the physical sciences. (shrink)
Ever since Darwin people have worried about the sceptical implications of evolution. If our minds are products of evolution like those of other animals, why suppose that the beliefs they produce are true, rather than merely useful? We consider this problem for beliefs in three different domains: religion, morality, and commonsense and scientific claims about matters of empirical fact. We identify replies to evolutionary scepticism that work in some domains but not in others. One reply is that evolution can be (...) expected to design systems that produce true beliefs in some domain. This reply works for commonsense beliefs and can be extended to scientific beliefs. But it does not work for moral or religious beliefs. An alternative reply which has been used defend moral beliefs is that their truth does not consist in their tracking some external state of affairs. Whether or not it is successful in the case of moral beliefs, this reply is less plausible for religious beliefs. So religious beliefs emerge as particularly vulnerable to evolutionary debunking. (shrink)
Debates over adaptationism can be clarified and partially resolved by careful consideration of the ‘grain’ at which evolutionary processes are described. The framework of ‘adaptive landscapes’ can be used to illustrate and facilitate this investigation. We argue that natural selection may have special status at an intermediate grain of analysis of evolutionary processes. The cases of sickle-cell disease and genomic imprinting are used as case studies.
The biological species (biospecies) concept applies only to sexually reproducing species, which means that until sexual reproduction evolved, there were no biospecies. On the universal tree of life, biospecies concepts therefore apply only to a relatively small number of clades, notably plants andanimals. I argue that it is useful to treat the various ways of being a species (species modes) as traits of clades. By extension from biospecies to the other concepts intended to capture the natural realities of what keeps (...) taxa distinct, we can treat other modes as traits also, and so come to understand that theplurality of species concepts reflects the biological realities of monophyletic groups.We should expect that specialists in different organisms will tend to favour those concepts that best represent the intrinsic mechanisms that keep taxa distinct in their clades. I will address the question whether modes ofreproduction such as asexual and sexual reproduction are natural classes, given that they are paraphyletic in most clades. (shrink)
We argue that the logical outcome of the cladistics revolution in biological systematics, and the move towards rankless phylogenetic classification of nested monophyletic groups as formalized in the PhyloCode, is to eliminate the species rank along with all the others and simply name clades. We propose that the lowest level of formally named clade be the SNaRC, the Smallest Named and Registered Clade. The SNaRC is an epistemic level in the classification, not an ontic one. Naming stops at that level (...) because there is no currently acceptable evidence for clades within it, not because no smaller clades exist. Later, included clades may be named. They would then become the SNaRCs, while the original SNaRC would keep its original name. We argue that all theoretical tasks of biology, in evolution and ecology, as well as practical tasks such as conservation assessment, are better approached using this rankless phylogenetic approach. (shrink)
Arguments against essentialism in biology rely strongly on a claim that modern biology abandoned Aristotle's notion of a species as a class of necessary and sufficient properties. However, neither his theory of essentialism, nor his logical definition of species and genus (eidos and genos) play much of a role in biological research and taxonomy, including his own. The objections to natural kinds thinking by early twentieth century biologists wrestling with the new genetics overlooked the fact that species have typical developmental (...) cycles and most have a large shared genetic component. These are the "what-it-is-to-be" members of that species. An intrinsic biological essentialism does not commit us to Aristotelian notions, nor even modern notions, of essence. There is a long-standing definition of "species" and its precursor notions that goes back to the Greeks, and which Darwin and pretty well all biologists since him share, that I call the Generative Conception of Species. It relies on there being a shared generative power that makes progeny resemble parents. The "what-it-is-to-be" a member of that species is that developmental type, mistakes in development notwithstanding. Moreover, such "essences" have always been understood to include deviations from the type. Finally, I shall examine some implications of the collapse of the narrative about essences in biology. (shrink)
Abstract Charles Darwin, in his discussions with Asa Gray and in his published works, doubted whether God could so arrange it that exactly the desired contingent events would occur to cause particular outcomes by natural selection. In this paper, I argue that even a limited or neo-Leibnizian deity could have chosen a world that satisfied some arbitrary set of goals or functions in its outcomes and thus answer Darwin's conundrum. In more general terms, this supports the consistency of natural selection (...) with providentialism, and makes “theistic evolutionism” a coherent position to hold. (shrink)
Genes are thought to have evolved from long-lived and multiply-interactive molecules in the early stages of the origins of life. However, at that stage there were no replicators, and the distinction between interactors and replicators did not yet apply. Nevertheless, the process of evolution that proceeded from initial autocatalytic hypercycles to full organisms was a Darwinian process of selection of favourable variants. We distinguish therefore between Neo-Darwinian evolution and the related Weismannian and Central Dogma divisions, on the one hand, and (...) the more generic category of Darwinian evolution on the other. We argue that Hull’s and Dawkins’ replicator/interactor distinction of entities is a sufficient, but not necessary, condition for Darwinian evolution to take place. We conceive the origin of genes as a separation between different types of molecules in a thermodynamic state space, and employ a notion of reproducers. (shrink)
The term food citizenship is defined as the practice of engaging in food-related behaviors that support, rather than threaten, the development of a democratic, socially and economically just, and environmentally sustainable food system. Ways to practice food citizenship are described and a role for universities in fostering food citizenship is suggested. Finally, four barriers to food citizenship are identified and described: the current food system, federal food and agriculture policy, local and institutional policies, and the culture of professional nutrition organizations.
Species concepts for bacteria and other microbes are contentious, because they are often asexual. There is a Problem of Homogeneity: every mutation in an asexual lineage forms a new strain, of which all descendents are clones until a new mutation occurs. We should expect that asexual organisms would form a smear or continuum. What causes the internal homogeneity of asexual lineages, if they are in fact homogeneous? Is there a natural “species concept” for “microbes”? Two main concepts devised for metazoans (...) and metaphytes have been applied to bacteria. One is the Recombination Concept, a revised form of the Biological Species Concept in which the homogenizing mechanism is the sharing of genome fragments, somewhat akin to sexual recombination. The other is the Ecological Species Concept, in which the ecological niche is that which maintains lineages as cohesive. In this paper I will discuss these two concepts, and offer an underlying model that conjoins them, and consider the implications for species concepts in general. In short, my argument is that asexual species are instances of the most primitive and underived notion of species, which I will call “quasispecies”, following Eigen, and that sexual species are merely one derived kind of species. Moreover, I will argue that there is a continuum of recombination from simple viral models in which each strain is a clone, through to obligate recombination of 50% of the parents’ genome, and that consequently there is no sharp division between “microbial” and more familiar species. (shrink)
Speciation is an aspect of evolutionary biology that has received little philosophical attention apart from articles mainly by biologists such as Mayr (1988). The role of speciation as a terminus a quo for the individuality of species or in the context of punctuated equilibrium theory has been discussed, but not the nature of speciation events themselves. It is the task of this paper to attempt to bring speciation events into some kind of general scheme, based primarily upon the work of (...) Sergey Gavrilets on adaptive landscapes, using migration rate, or gene flow, as the primary scale, and concluding that adaptive and drift explanations are complementary rather than competing. I propose a distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic selection, and the notion of reproductive reach and argue that speciation modes should be discriminated in terms of gene flow, the nature of selection maintaining reproductive reach, and whether the predominant cause is selective or stochastic. I also suggest that the notion of an adaptive “quasispecies” for asexual species is the primitive notion of species, and that members of reproductively coherent sexual species are additionally coadapted to their mating partners. (shrink)
Intelligent design theorist William Dembski has proposed an ``explanatory filter'' for distinguishing between events due to chance,lawful regularity or design. We show that if Dembski's filter were adopted as a scientific heuristic, some classical developments in science would not be rational, and that Dembski's assertion that the filter reliably identifies rarefied design requires ignoring the state of background knowledge. If background information changes even slightly, the filter's conclusion will vary wildly. Dembski fails to overcome Hume's objections to arguments from design.
The Nature of Classification discusses an old and generally ignored issue in the philosophy of science: natural classification. It argues for classification to be a sometimes theory-free activity in science, and discusses the existence of scientific domains, theory-dependence of observation, the inferential relations of classification and theory, and the nature of the classificatory activity in general. It focuses on biological classification, but extends the discussion to physics, psychiatry, meteorology and other special sciences.
David Hull's (1988c) model of science as a selection process suffers from a two-fold inability: (a) to ascertain when a lineage of theories has been established; i.e., when theories are descendants of older theories or are novelties, and what counts as a distinct lineage; and (b) to specify what the scientific analogue is of genotype and phenotype. This paper seeks to clarify these issues and to propose an abstract model of theories analogous to particulate genetic structure, in order to reconstruct (...) relationships of descent and identity. (shrink)
In 1988, David Hull presented an evolutionary account of science. This was a direct analogy to evolutionary accounts of biological adaptation, and part of a generalized view of Darwinian selection accounts that he based upon the Universal Darwinism of Richard Dawkins. Criticisms of this view were made by, among others, Kim Sterelny, which led to it gaining only limited acceptance. Some of these criticisms are, I will argue, no longer valid in the light of developments in the formal modeling of (...) evolution, in particular that of Sergey Gavrilets’ work on adaptive landscapes. If we can usefully recast the Hullian view of science as being driven by selection in terms of Gavrilets’ and Kaufmann’s view of there being “giant components” of high-fitness networks through any realistic adaptive landscape, we may now find it useful to ask what the adaptive pressures on science are, and to extend the metaphor into a full analogy. This is in effect to reconcile the Fisherianism of the Dawkins–Hull approach to selection and replicators, with a Wrightean drift account of social constructionist views of science, preserving, it is to be hoped, the valuable aspects of both. (shrink)
The contemporary US food systemis characterized by both an unprecedentedconcentration of corporate control as well as afragmentation of sourcing and marketingprocesses, introducing both new constraints andnew opportunities for more localized foodsystems. The purpose of our study is to explorethese issues by investigating three keyquestions. First, what are the key trends inthe US grocery industry? Second, how dodifferent kinds of food outlets choose,procure, and promote food products? Finally,what are the implications of recent trends inthe food retailing process for strengtheninglocal flows of (...) the production, distribution,and consumption of food? Background informationon the grocery industry and the results ofseven open-ended interviews conducted withowners and managers of grocery stores in oneupstate New York county indicate that theretailing process differs in complex ways fromstore to store and in most aspects cannot beinferred from store type. The paper concludeswith a discussion of the implications of ourfindings for local food system efforts,specifically in terms of new collaborationsamong producers, distributors, retailers, andshoppers, who play an indispensable role indeveloping viable alternatives to increasingcorporate control. (shrink)
Creationism is usually regarded as an irrational set of beliefs. In this paper I propose that the best way to understand why individual learners settle on any mature set of beliefs is to see that as the developmental outcome of a series of “fast and frugal” boundedly rational inferences rather than as a rejection of reason. This applies to those whose views are opposed to science in general. A bounded rationality model of belief choices both serves to explain the fact (...) that folk traditions tend to converge on “anti-modernity”, and to act as a default hypothesis, deviations from which we can use to identify other, arational, influences such as social psychological, economic and individual dispositions. I propose some educational and public policy strategies that might decrease the proportion of learners who find creationism and anti-science in general a rational choice. (shrink)
Pierre Trémaux’s 1865 ideas on speciation have been unjustly derided following his acceptance by Marx and rejection by Engels, and almost nobody has read his ideas in a charitable light. Here we offer an interpretation based on translating the term sol as “habitat”, in order to show that Trémaux proposed a theory of allopatric speciation before Wagner and a punctuated equilibrium theory before Gould and Eldredge, and translate the relevant discussion from the French. We believe he may have influenced Darwin’s (...) revision to the third edition of the Origin on rates of evolution, and suggest that Gould’s dismissal of Trémaux is motivated by concern that others might think punctuated equilibrium theory was tainted by a connection with Trémaux. (shrink)
Three recent genome‐wide studies in mice and humans have produced the most definitive map to date of genomic imprinting (gene expression that depends on parental origin) by incorporating multiple tissue types and developmental stages. Here, we explore the results of these studies in light of the kinship theory of genomic imprinting, which predicts that imprinting evolves due to differential genetic relatedness between maternal and paternal relatives. The studies produce a list of imprinted genes with around 120–180 in mice and ∼100 (...) in humans. The studies agree on broad patterns across mice and humans including the complex patterns of imprinted expression at loci like Igf2 and Grb10. We discuss how the kinship theory provides a powerful framework for hypotheses that can explain these patterns. Finally, since imprinting is rare in the genome despite predictions from the kinship theory that it might be common, we discuss evolutionary factors that could favor biallelic expression. (shrink)
Pope John Paul II's recent encyclical on the moral life, Veritatis Splendor ("The Splendor of Truth"), has ignited a firestorm of controversy in the secular world as well as among Catholic and Protestant clergy and laity. In bold and uncompromising language John Paul II has reaffirmed traditional Catholic moral teaching and condemned not only what he perceives as the relativism and egoistic individualism of the modern world, but many contemporary currents in Catholic theology as well. The response to the pope's (...) message, from advocates and opponents inside and outside the church, has been nothing less than sensational. Along with the complete text of the encyclical, Considering Veritatis Splendor offers cogent and insightful commentaries by a distinguished group of scholars from Europe and North America, some supporting the pope - and some not. Designed for academic study as well as clergy and lay discussion, this is undoubtedly the single most important resource on one of the most significant religious statements of our time. (shrink)
Over the past few years, blogging (“web logging”) has become a major social movement, and as such includes blogs by scientists about science. Blogs are highly idiosyncratic, personal and ephemeral means of public expression, and yet they contribute to the current practice and reputation of science as much as, if not more than, any popular scientific work or visual presentation. It is important, therefore, to understand this phenomenon.
It is often claimed that species are the units of evolution, but this is not defined or clearly explained. In this paper I will argue that species are phenomenal objects that stand in need of explanation, but that they are not objects required by any theory of biology. I further define, or rather describe, species as the genealogical cluster of various lineages at the genetic, haplotype, genomic, organismic, and population level, in keeping with my previous discussions.
Several different evaluation issuesare perceived as important by people involved withinnovative projects intended to improve local food andnutrition systems; particularly the establishment oflocal food policy coalitions. Several such coalitionshave been formed in North America, Europe, andAustralia with the goal of improving community foodsecurity and promoting sustainable local food systems.Pioneer coalitions have served as models, yet therehas been little systematic evaluation of thesemodels. A qualitative study was conducted to identifyfactors that may hinder evaluation efforts. In grouptelephone interviews, we sought the views (...) ofacademics, project organizers, and funders, a total of24 key informants. Pressures to evaluate were assessed differently bythe three groups of key informants. Academics felt thefocus of evaluation should be on the effectiveness ofthe process used to discuss issues and formulatepolicies and plans. Project organizers and fundersperceived a need to assess project impact andoutcomes. A lack of suitable evaluation models andmethods was viewed as a formidable barrier. The use ofinappropriate methods and premature impact evaluationwere noted as potential threats to projectsustainability. External constraints and resourcelimitations were also said to inhibit evaluationefforts. It appears that several other factors may also beimpeding progress in conducting more (and more useful)evaluations including: (1) the apparent negativeconnotation of evaluation and the limited benefitsexpected from evaluation by stakeholders, (2) a lackof consensus about important evaluation questions,(3) insufficient evaluation expertise among projectorganizers, and (4) inadequate appreciation ofincreasing accountability pressures. (shrink)
All 24 secondary schools in a West Midlands local education authority were visited and a structured interview was conducted with the head or another senior teacher. An interview schedule was used to record details concerning the rule structure which had been established to control the conduct of the pupils. Information was also gathered about the sanctions and rewards used to maintain this behaviour and from most schools copies of the rules were available. It was found that almost all schools had (...) rule systems that were in written form and that these were made available to staff and students, chiefly through booklets or other material given to pupils when they first enrolled. All schools backed up their rules, whether written or not by a series of sanctions, most of which related to non?conforming behaviour. Some sanctions were applied to poor work but this was usually treated by special provision or special tutoring. Most also used rewards but these tended to be reserved for good performance. There were few cases where good behaviour was found to be rewarded systematically in any way. (shrink)
Philostratos records that the ephebes of Athens wore a black χλαμς to commemorate their murder of Kopreus in defence of the Herakleidai. Both the Herakleidai and a herald of Eurystheus appear in Herakleidai of Euripides, but the murder of the herald is not at issue, nor indeed is there any reference to ephebes or ephebic practice. This state of affairs will cause no surprise, for tragedy regularly selects its story-line from the wider range of the myth, and later uses to (...) which that myth may be put have no necessary bearing on the play. It is however the contention of this article that the religious and social context of Herakleidai has been neglected, and that careful reconstruction of that context from later sources, restoring to us the associations that Euripides could assume in his own day, is an essential prerequisite to any aesthetic or dramatic interpretation of the play. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction Christopher Gill, Tim Whitmarsh and John Wilkins: 1. Galen's library Vivian Nutton; 2. Conventions of prefatory self-presentation in Galen's On the Order of My Own Books Jason König; 3. Demiurge and emperor in Galen's world of knowledge Rebecca Flemming; 4. Shock and awe: the performance dimension of Galen's anatomy demonstrations Maud Gleason; 5. Galen's un-Hippocratic case-histories G. E. R. Lloyd; 6. Staging the past, staging oneself: Galen on Hellenistic exegetical traditions Heinrich von Staden; 7. Galen (...) and Hippocratic medicine: language and practice Daniela Manetti; 8. Galen's Bios and Methodos: from ways of life to paths of knowledge Ve;ronique Boudon-Millot; 9. Does Galen have a medical programme for intellectuals and the faculties of the intellect? Jacques Jouanna; 10. Galen on the limitations of knowledge R. J. Hankinson; 11. Galen and Middle Platonism Riccardo Chiaradonna; 12. 'Aristotle! What a thing for you to say!' Galen's engagement with Aristotle and Aristotelians Philip van der Eijk; 13. Galen and the Stoics, or: the art of not naming Teun Tieleman. (shrink)
Selfhood and the Soul is a collection of new and original essays in honour of Christopher Gill, Emeritus Professor of Ancient Thought at the University of Exeter. Although they all share the same concern - the experience of being a person and the question of how best to live - as in the work of the honorand himself they are distinguished by a diversity of approach and subject matter, taking the reader on a journey from ancient philosophy to medical writing (...) via discussions of topics as varied as money, love, free will, and cookery. (shrink)
It is often claimed there is information in some biological entity or process, most especially in genes. Genetic “information” refers to distinct notions, either of concrete properties of molecular bonds and catalysis, in which case it is little more than a periphrasis for correlation and causal relations between physical biological objects (molecules), or of abstract properties, in which case it is mind-dependent. When information plays a causal role, nothing is added to the account by calling it “information”. In short, if (...) genetic information is concrete, it is causality. If it is abstract, it is in the head. (shrink)