23 found
Order:
Disambiguations
Jonathan Birch [22]Jonathan C. P. Birch [1]
See also
Profile: Jonathan Birch (London School of Economics)
  1. Hamilton's Rule and Its Discontents.Jonathan Birch - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):381-411.
    In an incendiary 2010 Nature article, M. A. Nowak, C. E. Tarnita, and E. O. Wilson present a savage critique of the best-known and most widely used framework for the study of social evolution, W. D. Hamilton’s theory of kin selection. More than a hundred biologists have since rallied to the theory’s defence, but Nowak et al. maintain that their arguments ‘stand unrefuted’. Here I consider the most contentious claim Nowak et al. defend: that Hamilton’s rule, the core explanatory principle (...)
    Direct download (9 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   13 citations  
  2. Natural Selection and the Maximization of Fitness.Jonathan Birch - 2016 - Biological Reviews 91 (3):712-727.
    The notion that natural selection is a process of fitness maximization gets a bad press in population genetics, yet in other areas of biology the view that organisms behave as if attempting to maximize their fitness remains widespread. Here I critically appraise the prospects for reconciliation. I first distinguish four varieties of fitness maximization. I then examine two recent developments that may appear to vindicate at least one of these varieties. The first is the ‘new’ interpretation of Fisher's fundamental theorem (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  3.  28
    Michael Tomasello: A Natural History of Human Morality. [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch - 2017 - BJPS Review of Books 2017.
    Working together creates mutual obligations. For example, the members of a football team owe it to each other to work hard for the good of the team. A player who doesn’t try hard enough, or who makes a costly mistake, lets the side down. When the team loses, feelings of responsibility, guilt, and shame ensue. Players ought to feel committed to the team and responsible for its failures. If they don’t, they deserve to be dropped. The idea at the heart (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  4. Propositional Content in Signalling Systems.Jonathan Birch - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (3):493-512.
    Skyrms, building on the work of Dretske, has recently developed a novel information-theoretic account of propositional content in simple signalling systems. Information-theoretic accounts of content traditionally struggle to accommodate the possibility of misrepresentation, and I show that Skyrms’s account is no exception. I proceed to argue, however, that a modified version of Skyrms’s account can overcome this problem. On my proposed account, the propositional content of a signal is determined not by the information that it actually carries, but by the (...)
    Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   2 citations  
  5.  89
    Hamilton's Two Conceptions of Social Fitness.Jonathan Birch - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (5):848-860.
    Hamilton introduced two conceptions of social fitness, which he called neighbour-modulated fitness and inclusive fitness. Although he regarded them as formally equivalent, a re-analysis of his own argument for their equivalence brings out two important assumptions on which it rests: weak additivity and actor's control. When weak additivity breaks down, neither fitness concept is appropriate in its original form. When actor's control breaks down, neighbour-modulated fitness may be appropriate, but inclusive fitness is not. Yet I argue that, despite its more (...)
    Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  6. The Negative View of Natural Selection.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (2):569-573.
    An influential argument due to Elliott Sober, subsequently strengthened by Denis Walsh and Joel Pust, moves from plausible premises to the bold conclusion that natural selection cannot explain the traits of individual organisms. If the argument were sound, the explanatory scope of selection would depend, surprisingly, on metaphysical considerations concerning origin essentialism. I show that the Sober-Walsh-Pust argument rests on a flawed counterfactual criterion for explanatory relevance. I further show that a more defensible criterion for explanatory relevance recently proposed by (...)
    Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   3 citations  
  7. On the 'Simulation Argument' and Selective Scepticism.Jonathan Birch - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):95-107.
    Nick Bostrom’s ‘Simulation Argument’ purports to show that, unless we are confident that advanced ‘posthuman’ civilizations are either extremely rare or extremely rarely interested in running simulations of their own ancestors, we should assign significant credence to the hypothesis that we are simulated. I argue that Bostrom does not succeed in grounding this constraint on credence. I first show that the Simulation Argument requires a curious form of selective scepticism, for it presupposes that we possess good evidence for claims about (...)
    Direct download (8 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   2 citations  
  8. Gene Mobility and the Concept of Relatedness.Jonathan Birch - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (4):445-476.
    Cooperation is rife in the microbial world, yet our best current theories of the evolution of cooperation were developed with multicellular animals in mind. Hamilton’s theory of inclusive fitness is an important case in point: applying the theory in a microbial setting is far from straightforward, as social evolution in microbes has a number of distinctive features that the theory was never intended to capture. In this article, I focus on the conceptual challenges posed by the project of extending Hamilton’s (...)
    Direct download (9 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  9.  41
    Has Grafen Formalized Darwin?Jonathan Birch - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):175-180.
    One key aim of Grafen’s Formal Darwinism project is to formalize ‘modern biology’s understanding and updating of Darwin’s central argument’. In this commentary, I consider whether Grafen has succeeded in this aim.
    Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   2 citations  
  10.  90
    Kin Selection and Its Critics.Jonathan Birch & Samir Okasha - 2015 - BioScience 65 (1):22-32.
    Hamilton’s theory of kin selection is the best-known framework for understanding the evolution of social behavior but has long been a source of controversy in evolutionary biology. A recent critique of the theory by Nowak, Tarnita, and Wilson sparked a new round of debate, which shows no signs of abating. In this overview, we highlight a number of conceptual issues that lie at the heart of the current debate. We begin by emphasizing that there are various alternative formulations of Hamilton’s (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  11.  11
    Dividing the Pleistocene Pie (Review of Nicolas Baumard: The Origins of Fairness). [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch & Joeri Witteveen - 2017 - BioScience 67 (2):180-182.
    The sense of fairness is a central aspect of human moral psychology. Intuitions about fairness lead to many widespread moral beliefs, such as the belief that the punishment should fit the crime or the belief that one deserves a fair share of what one has earned. In The Origins of Fairness, Nicolas Baumard sets out to shed light on the evolutionary origin of these intuitions. He argues that the human sense of fairness is innate and universal, and he offers an (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  12.  81
    How Cooperation Became the Norm. [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):433-444.
    Most of the contributions to Cooperation and Its Evolution grapple with the distinctive challenges presented by the project of explaining human sociality. Many of these puzzles have a ‘chicken and egg’ character: our virtually unparalleled capacity for large-scale cooperation is the product of psychological, behavioural, and demographic changes in our recent evolutionary history, and these changes are linked by complex patterns of reciprocal dependence. There is much we do not yet understand about the timing of these changes, and about the (...)
    Direct download (11 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  13. Samir Okasha and Ken Binmore (Eds) Evolution and Rationality: Decisions, Cooperation, and Strategic Behaviour. [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):669-673.
    Evolution and Rationality marks the end of a three-year project, ‘Evolution, Cooperation, and Rationality’, directed at the University of Bristol by the book’s editors, Samir Okasha and Ken Binmore. The collection draws together the editors’ pick of the papers delivered at the conferences the project hosted, and covers a wide range of topics at the intersection of evolutionary theory and the social sciences. It is a splendid anthology: timely, interdisciplinary, thematically cohesive, and full of substantive and interesting disagreements between the (...)
    Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  14. Robust Processes and Teleological Language.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (3):299-312.
    I consider some hitherto unexplored examples of teleological language in the sciences. In explicating these examples, I aim to show (a) that such language is not the sole preserve of the biological sciences, and (b) that not all such talk is reducible to the ascription of functions. In chemistry and biochemistry, scientists explaining molecular rearrangements and protein folding talk informally of molecules rearranging “in order to” maximize stability. Evolutionary biologists, meanwhile, often speak of traits evolving “in order to” optimize some (...)
    Direct download (9 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  15.  54
    Collective Action in the Fraternal Transitions.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):363-380.
    Inclusive fitness theory was not originally designed to explain the major transitions in evolution, but there is a growing consensus that it has the resources to do so. My aim in this paper is to highlight, in a constructive spirit, the puzzles and challenges that remain. I first consider the distinctive aspects of the cooperative interactions we see within the most complex social groups in nature: multicellular organisms and eusocial insect colonies. I then focus on one aspect in particular: the (...)
    Direct download (10 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  16.  61
    Queller's Separation Condition Explained and Defended.Jonathan Birch & James A. R. Marshall - 2014 - American Naturalist 184 (4):531-540.
    The theories of inclusive fitness and multilevel selection provide alternative perspectives on social evolution. The question of whether these perspectives are of equal generality remains a divisive issue. In an analysis based on the Price equation, Queller argued (by means of a principle he called the separation condition) that the two approaches are subject to the same limitations, arising from their fundamentally quantitative-genetical character. Recently, van Veelen et al. have challenged Queller’s results, using this as the basis for a broader (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  17. Irretrievably Confused? Innateness in Explanatory Context.Jonathan Birch - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 40 (4):296-301.
    The hunt for a biologically respectable definition for the folk concept of innateness is still on. I defend Ariew’s Canalization account of innateness against the criticisms of Griffiths and Machery, but highlight the remaining flaws in this proposal. I develop a new analysis based on the notion of environmental induction. A trait is innate, I argue, iff it is not environmentally induced. I augment this definition with a novel analysis of environmental induction that draws on the contrastive nature of causal (...)
    Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  18.  78
    Social Revolution. [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (4):571-581.
    Andrew Bourke’s Principles of Social Evolution identifies three stages that characterize an evolutionary transition in individuality and deploys inclusive fitness theory to explain each stage. The third stage, social group transformation, has hitherto received relatively little attention from inclusive fitness theorists. In this review, I first discuss Bourke’s “virtual dominance” hypothesis for the evolution of the germ line. I then contrast Bourke’s inclusive fitness approach to the major transitions with the multi-level approach developed by Richard Michod, Samir Okasha and others. (...)
    Direct download (9 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  19.  42
    Explaining the Human Syndrome. [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch - 2013 - Metascience 22 (2):347-350.
  20.  6
    Irretrievably Confused? Innateness in Explanatory Context.Jonathan Birch - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40 (4):296-301.
  21.  2
    The Negative View of Natural Selection.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):569-573.
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  22.  5
    Filip Ivanović (Ed.) Dionysius the Areopagite Between Orthodoxy and Heresy, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2011, ISBN (10): 1-4438-3348-7, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-3348-6. [REVIEW]Jonathan C. P. Birch - 2013 - International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 7 (2):237-240.
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  23. Dionysius the Areopagite Between Orthodoxy and Heresy. [REVIEW]Jonathan Birch - 2013 - International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 7 (2):237-240.
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography