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John Collier [84]John D. Collier [14]John G. Collier [1]John Donald Collier [1]
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John Collier
University of KwaZulu-Natal
  1. Rainforest Realism and the Unity of Science.Don Ross, James Ladyman & John Collier - 2007 - In James Ladyman (ed.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press.
  2.  97
    Anticipatory Functions, Digital-Analog Forms and Biosemiotics: Integrating the Tools to Model Information and Normativity in Autonomous Biological Agents.Argyris Arnellos, Luis Emilio Bruni, Charbel Niño El-Hani & John Collier - 2012 - Biosemiotics 5 (3):331-367.
    We argue that living systems process information such that functionality emerges in them on a continuous basis. We then provide a framework that can explain and model the normativity of biological functionality. In addition we offer an explanation of the anticipatory nature of functionality within our overall approach. We adopt a Peircean approach to Biosemiotics, and a dynamical approach to Digital-Analog relations and to the interplay between different levels of functionality in autonomous systems, taking an integrative approach. We then apply (...)
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  3. Complexly Organised Dynamical Systems.John Collier & Cliff Hooker - 1999 - Open Systems and Information Dynamics 6 (3):241–302.
    Both natural and engineered systems are fundamentally dynamical in nature: their defining properties are causal, and their functional capacities are causally grounded. Among dynamical systems, an interesting and important sub-class are those that are autonomous, anticipative and adaptive (AAA). Living systems, intelligent systems, sophisticated robots and social systems belong to this class, and the use of these terms has recently spread rapidly through the scientific literature. Central to understanding these dynamical systems is their complicated organisation and their consequent capacities for (...)
     
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  4.  32
    Causation is the Transfer of Information.John D. Collier - 1999 - In Howard Sankey (ed.), Causation and Laws of Nature. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 215--245.
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  5.  90
    Evolutionary Naturalism and the Objectivity of Morality.John Collier & Michael Stingl - 1993 - Biology and Philosophy 8 (1):47-60.
    We propose an objective and justifiable ethics that is contingent on the truth of evolutionary theory. We do not argue for the truth of this position, which depends on the empirical question of whether moral functions form a natural class, but for its cogency and possibility. The position we propose combines the advantages of Kantian objectivity with the explanatory and motivational advantages of moral naturalism. It avoids problems with the epistemological inaccessibility of transcendent values, while avoiding the relativism or subjectivism (...)
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  6.  16
    Supervenience and Reduction in Biological Hierarchies.John Collier - 1988 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 14:209.
  7.  68
    Entropy in Evolution.John Collier - 1986 - Biology and Philosophy 1 (1):5-24.
    Daniel R. Brooks and E. O. Wiley have proposed a theory of evolution in which fitness is merely a rate determining factor. Evolution is driven by non-equilibrium processes which increase the entropy and information content of species together. Evolution can occur without environmental selection, since increased complexity and organization result from the likely capture at the species level of random variations produced at the chemical level. Speciation can occur as the result of variation within the species which decreases the probability (...)
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  8. Simulating Autonomous Anticipation: The Importance of Dubois' Conjecture.John Collier - unknown
    Anticipation allows a system to adapt to conditions that have not yet come to be, either externally to the system or internally. Autonomous systems actively control their own conditions so as to increase their functionality (they self-regulate). Living systems self-regulate in order to increase their own viability. These increasingly stronger conditions, anticipation, autonomy and viability, can give an insight into progressively stronger classes of models of autonomy. I will argue that stronger forms are the relevant ones for Artificial Life. This (...)
     
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  9.  91
    What is Autonomy?John Collier - unknown
    A system is autonomous if it uses its own information to modify itself and its environment to enhance its survival, responding to both environmental and internal stimuli to modify its basic functions to increase its viability. Autonomy is the foundation of functionality, intentionality and meaning. Autonomous systems accommodate the unexpected through self-organizing processes, together with some constraints that maintain autonomy. Early versions of autonomy, such as autopoiesis and closure to efficient cause, made autonomous systems dynamically closed to information. This contrasts (...)
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  10. Evolutionary Moral Realism.John Collier & Michael Stingl - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (3):218-226.
    Evolutionary moral realism is the view that there are moral values with roots in evolution that are both specifically moral and exist independently of human belief systems. In beginning to sketch the outlines of such a view, we examine moral goods like fairness and empathetic caring as valuable and real aspects of the environments of species that are intelligent and social, or at least developing along an evolutionary trajectory that could lead to a level of intelligence that would enable individual (...)
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  11. Two Faces of Maxwell's Demon Reveal the Nature of Irreversibility.John D. Collier - 1990 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 21 (2):257.
    demon thought experiment remains ambiguous even today. One of the most delightful thought It seems that Maxwell originally invoked experiments in the history of physical science is..
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  12.  43
    Self-organization, Individuation and Identity.John Collier - 2004 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 2:151-172.
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  13.  83
    Change and Identity in Complex Systems.John Collier - unknown
    Complex systems are dynamic and may show high levels of variability in both space and time. It is often difficult to decide on what constitutes a given complex system, i.e., where system boundaries should be set, and what amounts to substantial change within the system. We discuss two central themes: the nature of system definitions and their ability to cope with change, and the importance of system definitions for the mental metamodels that we use to describe and order ideas about (...)
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  14. Information Originates in Symmetry Breaking.John Collier - unknown
    We find symmetry attractive. It interests us. Symmetry is often an indicator of the deep structure of things, whether they be natural phenomena, or the creations of artists. For example, the most fundamental conservation laws of physics are all based in symmetry. Similarly, the symmetries found in religious art throughout the world are intended to draw attention to deep spiritual truths. Not only do we find symmetry pleasing, but its discovery is often also surprising and illuminating as well. For these (...)
     
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  15. A Dynamic Systems View of Economic and Political Theory.Christian Fuchs & John Collier - 2007 - Theoria 54 (113):23-52.
    Economic logic impinges on contemporary political theory through both economic reductionism and economic methodology applied to political decision-making (through game theory). The authors argue that the sort of models used are based on mechanistic and linear methodologies that have now been found wanting in physics. They further argue that complexity based self-organization methods are better suited to model the complexities of economy and polity and their interactions with the overall social system.
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  16. The Dynamical Basis of Information and the Origins of Semiosis.John Collier - unknown
    Every manifestation of information, semiosis and meaning we have been able to study experimentally has a physical form. Neglect of their dynamical (energetic) ground tends towards dualism or idealism, leaving the causal basis of semiosis and the causal powers of representations mysterious. Consideration of the necessary physical requirements for the embodiment of semiotic categories imposes a discipline on semiotics required for its integration into the rest of science, especially for the emerging field of biosemiotics, as well as any future extensions (...)
     
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  17.  62
    Entropy and Information in Evolving Biological Systems.Daniel R. Brooks, John Collier, Brian A. Maurer, Jonathan D. H. Smith & E. O. Wiley - 1989 - Biology and Philosophy 4 (4):407-432.
    Integrating concepts of maintenance and of origins is essential to explaining biological diversity. The unified theory of evolution attempts to find a common theme linking production rules inherent in biological systems, explaining the origin of biological order as a manifestation of the flow of energy and the flow of information on various spatial and temporal scales, with the recognition that natural selection is an evolutionarily relevant process. Biological systems persist in space and time by transfor ming energy from one state (...)
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  18.  61
    On the Necessity of Natural Kinds.John Collier - 1996 - In P. Riggs (ed.), Natural Kinds, Laws of Nature and Scientific Methodology. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 1-10.
    Natural kinds are central to most might decide to restrict systematisation just to scientific reasoning about the world. For that..
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  19.  55
    Autonomy in Anticipatory Systems: Significance for Functionality, Intentionality and Meaning.John Collier - unknown
    Abstract Many anticipatory systems cannot in themselves act meaningfully or represent intentionally. This stems largely from the derivative nature of their functionality. All current artificial control systems, and many living systems such as organs and cellular parts of organisms derive any intentionality they might have from their designers or possessors. Derivative functionality requires reference to some external autonomously functional system, and derivative intentionality similarly requires reference to an external autonomous intentional system. The importance of autonomy can be summed up in (...)
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  20. United States Indian Administration as a Laboratory of Ethnic Relations.John Collier - forthcoming - Social Research.
     
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  21.  31
    Intrinsic Information.John D. Collier - 1990 - In Philip P. Hanson (ed.), Information, Language and Cognition. University of British Columbia Press. pp. 1--390.
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  22.  81
    Pragmatist Pragmatics: The Functional Context of Utterances.John Collier - 2005 - Philosophica 75.
    Formal pragmatics plays an important, though secondary, role in modern analytical philosophy of language: its aim is to explain how context can affect the meaning of certain special kinds of utterances. During recent years, the adequacy of formal tools has come under attack, often leading to one or another form of relativism or antirealism.1 Our aim will be to extend the critique to formal pragmatics while showing that sceptical conclusions can be avoided by developing a different approach to the issues. (...)
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  23.  41
    Against Miracles.John Collier - 1986 - Dialogue 25 (2):349-.
    ROBERT LARMER ARGUED THAT EVEN IF ALL PHYSICAL EVENTS ARE SUBJECT TO DETERMINISTIC NATURAL LAWS, MIRACLES ARE POSSIBLE. HE CONCLUDED THAT BECAUSE MIRACLES AND NATURAL LAWS ARE COMPATIBLE, HUME’S ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE RATIONALITY OF BELIEF IN MIRACLES IS FALLACIOUS. I FIRST SHOW THAT EVEN IF LARMER’S ARGUMENT FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF MIRACLES IS CORRECT, IT DOES NOT TOUCH HUME’S ARGUMENT. I THEN ARGUE THAT LARMER’S ARGUMENT IS MISTAKEN.
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  24.  50
    Time's Arrow's Today: Recent Physical and Philosophical Work on the Direction of Time.John Collier - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (2):287-289.
  25. Information Increase in Biological Systems: How Does Adaptation Fit?John Collier - unknown
    Progress has become a suspect concept in evolutionary biology, not the least because the core concepts of neo-Darwinism do not support the idea that evolution is progressive. There have been a number of attempts to account for directionality in evolution through additions to the core hypotheses of neo-Darwinism, but they do not establish progressiveness, and they are somewhat of an ad hoc collection. The standard account of fitness and adaptation can be rephrased in terms of information theory. From this, an (...)
     
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  26.  34
    Informal Pragmatics and Linguistic Creativity.John Collier - 2014 - South African Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):121-129.
    Examples of successful linguistic communication give rise to two important insights: it should be understood most fundamentally in terms of the pragmatic success of each individual utterance, and linguistic conventions need to be understood as on a par with the non-linguistic regularities that competent language users rely upon to refer. Syntax and semantics are part of what Barwise and Perry call the context of the utterance, contributing to the pragmatics of the utterance. This full and distributed multichannel context determines meaning (...)
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  27. The Dynamical Basis of Emergence in Natural Hierarchies.John D. Collier & Scott J. Muller - 1998 - In G. L. Farre & T. Oksala (eds.), Emergence, Complexity, Hierarchy, Organization, Selected and Edited Papers From the Echo Iii Conference. Acta Polytechnica Scandinavica.
    Since the origins of the notion of emergence in attempts to recover the content of vitalistic anti-reductionism without its questionable metaphysics, emergence has been treated in terms of logical properties. This approach was doomed to failure, because logical properties are either sui generis or they are constructions from other logical properties. If the former, they do not explain on their own and are inevitably somewhat arbitrary (the problem with the related concept of supervenience, Collier, 1988a), but if the latter, reducibility (...)
     
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  28. Interactively Open Autonomy Unifies Two Approaches to Function.John Collier - unknown
    Functionality is essential to any form of anticipation beyond simple directedness at an end. In the literature on function in biology, there are two distinct approaches. One, the etiological view, places the origin of function in selection, while the other, the organizational view, individuates function by organizational role. Both approaches have well-known advantages and disadvantages. I propose a reconciliation of the two approaches, based in an interactivist approach to the individuation and stability of organisms. The approach was suggested by Kant (...)
     
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  29.  80
    Could I Conceive Being a Brain in a Vat?John D. Collier - 1990 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 68 (4):413 – 419.
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  30. Information, Causation and Computation.John Collier - unknown
    Causation can be understood as a computational process once we understand causation in informational terms. I argue that if we see processes as information channels, then causal processes are most readily interpreted as the transfer of information from one state to another. This directly implies that the later state is a computation from the earlier state, given causal laws, which can also be interpreted computationally. This approach unifies the ideas of causation and computation.
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  31.  93
    Holism and Emergence: Dynamical Complexity Defeats Laplace’s Demon.John Collier - 2011 - South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):229-243.
    The paradigm of Laplacean determinism combines three regulative principles: determinism, predictability, and the explanatory adequacy of universal laws together with purely local conditions. Historically, it applied to celestial mechanics, but it has been expanded into an ideal for scientific theories whose cogency is often not questioned. Laplace’s demon is an idealization of mechanistic scientific method. Its principles together imply reducibility, and rule out holism and emergence. I will argue that Laplacean determinism fails even in the realm of planetary dynamics, and (...)
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  32. Organized Complexity: Properties, Models and the Limits of Understanding.John Collier - unknown
    Complexly organized systems include biological and cognitive systems, as well as many of the everyday systems that form our environment. They are both common and important, but are not well understood. A complex system is, roughly, one that cannot be fully understood via analytic methods alone. An organized system is one that shows spatio-temporal correlations that are not determined by purely local conditions, though organization can be more or less localizable within a system. Organization and complexity can vary independently to (...)
     
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  33. A Dynamical Account of Emergence.John Collier - 2008 - Cybernetics and Human Knowing 15 (3-4):75-86.
    Emergence has traditionally been described as satisfying specific properties, notably nonreducibility of the emergent object or properties to their substrate, novelty, and unpredictability from the properties of the substrate. Sometimes more mysterious properties such as independence from the substrate, separate substances and teleological properties are invoked. I will argue that the latter are both unnecessary and unwarranted. The descriptive properties can be analyzed in more detail in logical terms, but the logical conditions alone do not tell us how to identify (...)
     
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  34. Fundamental Properties of Self-Organization.John Collier - unknown
    In these notes I want to address some issues concerning self-organization that seem to me to apply generally from the micro-physical through the biological and social to the cosmological. That is, they are a part of the general theory of self-organization. I prefer to distinguish the theory of selforganization from the analysis of the concept of self-organization (which Maturana claims is oxymoronic, since there is no self that organizes1). General usage gives us something to which the term 'self-organization' refers. We (...)
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  35. Conditions for Fully Autonomous Anticipation.John Collier - unknown
    Anticipation allows a system to adapt to conditions that have not yet come to be, either externally to the system or internally. Autonomous systems actively control the conditions of their own existence so as to increase their overall viability. This paper will first give minimal necessary and sufficient conditions for autonomous anticipation, followed by a taxonomy of autonomous anticipation. In more complex systems, there can be semi-autonomous subsystems that can anticipate and adapt on their own. Such subsystems can be integrated (...)
     
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  36.  35
    Reasonable Partiality From a Biological Point of View.Michael Stingl & John Collier - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (1-2):11-24.
    Speculation about the evolutionary origins of morality has yet to show how a biologically based capacity for morality might be connected to moral reasoning. Applying an evolutionary approach to three kinds of cases where partiality may or may not be morally reasonable, this paper explores a possible connection between a psychological capacity for morality and processes of wide reflective moral equilibrium. The central hypothesis is that while we might expect a capacity for morality to include aspects of partiality, we might (...)
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  37.  7
    Whence the Motive for Collaboration?John Collier - 1993 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (3):517-518.
  38.  7
    Critical Notice of Richard Alexander, the Biology of Moral Systems.John Collier - 1991 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 21 (2):73-88.
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  39.  60
    Biological Information.Werner Callebaut & John Collier - 2006 - Biological Theory 1 (3):221-223.
  40.  30
    Evolution at a Crossroads: The New Biology and the New Philosophy of Science. David J. Depew, Bruce H. Weber.John Collier - 1986 - Philosophy of Science 53 (4):614-616.
  41.  54
    After the Fall: Religious Capacities and the Error Theory of Morality.Michael Stingl & John Collier - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):751-752.
    The target article proposes an error theory for religious belief. In contrast, moral beliefs are typically not counterintuitive, and some moral cognition and motivation is functional. Error theories for moral belief try to reduce morality to nonmoral psychological capacities because objective moral beliefs seem too fragile in a competitive environment. An error theory for religious belief makes this unnecessary.
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  42.  6
    Every Thing Must Go.James Ladymanand, Don Rosswith, David Spurrettand & John Collier - 2009 - Analysis 69 (3):565-567.
    Wisely, the authors begin this book by describing it as a polemic. They argue that most contemporary analytic metaphysics is a waste of time and resources since contemporary ‘neo-scholastic’ metaphysical theorizing cannot hope to attain objective truth given its penchant for making a priori claims about the nature of the world which are backed up by appeal to intuition. In engaging in this activity, metaphysicians have, the authors claim, abandoned hope of locating any interesting connection between their metaphysical pronouncements and (...)
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  43.  84
    Is There Any Virtue in Modern Science?John Collier - 2000 - Biology and Philosophy 15 (5):773-784.
  44.  11
    Critical Notice.John Collier - 1991 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 21 (2):195-210.
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  45. Bridging the Gap Between Pattern and Process.John Collier - unknown
    Systematics, along with the other comparative biological sciences and certain astronomical disciplines, is much more concerned with form and organization than other biological and physical sciences, in which dynamics plays the central role. Within the biological sciences, Nelson (1970) characterizes disciplines that study diversity and patterns “comparative” and those that search for process and dynamics “general.” The goal of “general” science is to uncover the mechanisms that unify observed phenomena. Whether the physicist sees herself, like Newton (1953: 3-5), to be (...)
     
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  46.  27
    Pragmatic Incommensurability.John Collier - 1984 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:146 - 153.
    Kuhn's incommensurability thesis has generally been interpreted by friends and foes alike so as to preclude direct rational communication across revolutionary divides in science. In this paper, a weaker form of incommensurability is sketched which allows eventual comparison of incommensurable theories, but is consistent with Kuhn's model of science. Incommensurability occurs whenever the knowledge or ability to translate from the language of one theory to that of another is lacking. It can be resolved by acquiring the necessary knowledge or ability.
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  47. Order From Rhythmic Entrainment and the Origin of Levels Through Dissipation.John Collier - unknown
    Rhythmic entrainment is the formation of regular, predictable patterns in time and/or space through interactions within or between systems that manifest potential symmetries. We contend that this process is a major source of symmetries in specific systems, whether passive physical systems or active adaptive and/or voluntary/intentional systems, except that active systems have more control over accepting or avoiding rhythmic entrainment. The result of rhythmic entrainment is a simplification of the entrained system, in the sense that the information required to describe (...)
     
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  48. Dealing with the Unexpected.John Collier - unknown
    Typically, we think of both artificial and natural computing devices as following rules that allow them to alter their behaviour (output) according to their environment (input). This approach works well when the environment and goals are well defined and regular. However, 1) the search time for appropriate solutions quickly becomes intractable when the input is not fairly regular, and 2) responses may be required that are not computable, either in principle, or given the computational resources available to the system. It (...)
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  49. A Brief Introduction to Distributed Cognition©.John Collier - unknown
    Distributed Cognition is a hybrid approach to studying all aspects of cognition, from a cognitive, social and organisational perspective. The most well known level of analysis is to account for complex socially distributed cognitive activities, of which a diversity of technological artefacts and other tools and representations are an indispensable part.
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  50.  19
    Letter to the Editor.John D. Collier - 1988 - Biology and Philosophy 3 (4):501-503.
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