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Matt Barker
Concordia University
  1. When Traditional Essentialism Fails.Robert A. Wilson, Matthew J. Barker & Ingo Brigandt - 2007 - Philosophical Topics 35 (1-2):189-215.
    Essentialism is widely regarded as a mistaken view of biological kinds, such as species. After recounting why (sections 2-3), we provide a brief survey of the chief responses to the “death of essentialism” in the philosophy of biology (section 4). We then develop one of these responses, the claim that biological kinds are homeostatic property clusters (sections 5-6) illustrating this view with several novel examples (section 7). Although this view was first expressed 20 years ago, and has received recent discussion (...)
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  2.  70
    Well-Being, Disability, and Choosing Children.Matthew J. Barker & Robert A. Wilson - forthcoming - Mind:fzy039.
    The view that it is better for life to be created free of disability is pervasive in both common sense and philosophy. We cast doubt on this view by focusing on an influential line of thinking that manifests it. That thinking begins with a widely-discussed principle, Procreative Beneficence, and draws conclusions about parental choice and disability. After reconstructing two versions of this argument, we critique the first by exploring the relationship between different understandings of well-being and disability, and the second (...)
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  3.  51
    The Biological Notion of Individual.Robert A. Wilson & Matthew J. Barker - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Individuals are a prominent part of the biological world. Although biologists and philosophers of biology draw freely on the concept of an individual in articulating both widely accepted and more controversial claims, there has been little explicit work devoted to the biological notion of an individual itself. How should we think about biological individuals? What are the roles that biological individuals play in processes such as natural selection (are genes and groups also units of selection?), speciation (are species individuals?), and (...)
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  4. Cohesion, Gene Flow, and the Nature of Species.Matthew J. Barker & Robert A. Wilson - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (2):59-77.
    A far-reaching and influential view in evolutionary biology claims that species are cohesive units held together by gene flow. Biologists have recognized empirical problems facing this view; after sharpening the expression of the view, we present novel conceptual problems for it. At the heart of these problems is a distinction between two importantly different concepts of cohesion, what we call integrative and response cohesion. Acknowledging the distinction problematizes both the explanandum of species cohesion and the explanans of gene flow that (...)
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  5.  88
    Deep Conventionalism About Evolutionary Groups.Matthew J. Barker & Joel D. Velasco - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):971-982.
    We argue for a new conventionalism about many kinds of evolutionary groups, including clades, cohesive units, and populations. This rejects a consensus, which says that given any one of the many legitimate grouping concepts, only objective biological facts determine whether a collection is such a group. Surprisingly, being any one kind of evolutionary group typically depends on which of many incompatible values are taken by suppressed variables. This is a novel pluralism underlying most any one group concept, rather than a (...)
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  6. Specious intrinsicalism.Matthew J. Barker - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (1):73-91.
    Over the last 2,300 years or so, many philosophers have believed that species are individuated by essences that are at least in part intrinsic. Psychologists tell us most folks also believe this view. But most philosophers of biology have abandoned the view, in light of evolutionary conceptions of species. In defiance, Michael Devitt has attempted in this journal to resurrect a version of the view, which he calls Intrinsic Biological Essentialism. I show that his arguments for the resurrection fail, and (...)
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  7. Essentialism.Matthew J. Barker - 2013 - In Byron Kaldis (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences.
  8.  38
    From Cognition's Location to the Epistemology of its Nature.Matthew J. Barker - 2010 - Cognitive Systems Research 11 (357):366.
    One of the liveliest debates about cognition concerns whether our cognition sometimes extends beyond our brains and bodies. One party says Yes, another No. This paper shows that debate between these parties has been epistemologically confused and requires reorienting. Both parties frequently appeal to empirical considerations and to extra-empirical theoretical virtues to support claims about where cognition is. These things should constrain their claims, but cannot do all the work hoped. This is because of the overlooked fact, uncovered in this (...)
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  9.  74
    The Empirical Inadequacy of Species Cohesion by Gene Flow.Matthew J. Barker - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):654-665.
    This paper brings needed clarity to the influential view that species are cohesive entities held together by gene flow, and then develops an empirical argument against that view: Neglected data suggest gene flow is neither necessary nor sufficient for species cohesion. Implications are discussed. ‡I'm grateful to Rob Wilson, Alex Rueger and Lindley Darden for important comments on earlier drafts, and to Joseph Nagel, Heather Proctor, Ken Bond, members of the DC History and Philosophy of Biology reading group, and audience (...)
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  10.  93
    Science and Values.Matthew J. Barker - 2015 - Eugenics Archive.
  11.  19
    Connecting Applied and Theoretical Bayesian Epistemology: Data Relevance, Pragmatics, and the Legal Case of Sally Clark.Matthew J. Barker - 2016 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (3).
    In this article applied and theoretical epistemologies benefit each other in a study of the British legal case of R. vs. Clark. Clark's first infant died at 11 weeks of age, in December 1996. About a year later, Clark had a second child. After that child died at eight weeks of age, Clark was tried for murdering both infants. Statisticians and philosophers have disputed how to apply Bayesian analyses to this case, and thereby arrived at different judgments about it. By (...)
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  12. Biological Explanations, Realism, Ontology, and Categories.Matthew J. Barker - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):617-622.
  13.  24
    Eliminative Pluralism and Integrative Alternatives: The Case of SPECIES.Matthew J. Barker - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx057.
    Pluralisms of various sorts are popular in philosophy of science, including those that imply some scientific concept X should be eliminated from science in favour of a plurality of concepts X1, X2, … Xn. This paper focuses on influential and representative arguments for such eliminative pluralism about the concept species. The main conclusions are that these arguments fail, that all other extant arguments also fail, and that this reveals a quite general dilemma, one that poses a defeasible presumption against many (...)
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  14. Philip Cafaro, Thoreau's Living Ethics: Walden and the Pursuit of Virtue Reviewed By.Matthew J. Barker - 2005 - Philosophy in Review 25 (2):89-92.
     
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