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Paul Edmund Griffiths
University of Sydney
  1. What Emotions Really Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories.E. Griffiths Paul - 1997 - University of Chicago Press.
    Paul E. Griffiths argues that most research on the emotions has been as misguided as Aristotelian efforts to study "superlunary objects" - objects...
  2. Sex and Death. An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology (M. Matthen).Kim Sterelny & Paul E. Griffiths - 2002 - Philosophical Books 43 (1):78-78.
  3. What is Innateness?Paul E. Griffiths - 2001 - The Monist 85 (1):70-85.
    In behavioral ecology some authors regard the innateness concept as irretrievably confused whilst others take it to refer to adaptations. In cognitive psychology, however, whether traits are 'innate' is regarded as a significant question and is often the subject of heated debate. Several philosophers have tried to define innateness with the intention of making sense of its use in cognitive psychology. In contrast, I argue that the concept is irretrievably confused. The vernacular innateness concept represents a key aspect of 'folkbiology', (...)
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  4. Genetic Information: A Metaphor in Search of a Theory.Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 68 (3):394-412.
    John Maynard Smith has defended against philosophical criticism the view that developmental biology is the study of the expression of information encoded in the genes by natural selection. However, like other naturalistic concepts of information, this ‘teleosemantic’ information applies to many non-genetic factors in development. Maynard Smith also fails to show that developmental biology is concerned with teleosemantic information. Some other ways to support Maynard Smith’s conclusion are considered. It is argued that on any definition of information the view that (...)
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  5.  6
    What Emotions Really Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories.Robert C. Solomon & Paul E. Griffiths - 1999 - Philosophical Review 108 (1):131.
  6. Functional Analysis and Proper Functions.Paul E. Griffiths - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):409-422.
    The etiological approach to ‘proper functions’ in biology can be strengthened by relating it to Robert Cummins' general treatment of function ascription. The proper functions of a biological trait are the functions it is assigned in a Cummins-style functional explanation of the fitness of ancestors. These functions figure in selective explanations of the trait. It is also argued that some recent etiological theories include inaccurate accounts of selective explanation in biology. Finally, a generalization of the notion of selective explanation allows (...)
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  7. The Vernacular Concept of Innateness.Paul Griffiths, Edouard Machery & Stefan Linquist - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (5):605-630.
    The proposal that the concept of innateness expresses a 'folk biological' theory of the 'inner natures' of organisms was tested by examining the response of biologically naive participants to a series of realistic scenarios concerning the development of birdsong. Our results explain the intuitive appeal of existing philosophical analyses of the innateness concept. They simultaneously explain why these analyses are subject to compelling counterexamples. We argue that this explanation undermines the appeal of these analyses, whether understood as analyses of the (...)
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  8. Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Three Domains: Fact, Value, and Religion.S. Wilkins John & E. Griffiths Paul - 2012 - In James Maclaurin Greg Dawes (ed.), A New Science of Religion. Routledge.
    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 (...)
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  9. How Biologists Conceptualize Genes: An Empirical Study.Karola Stotz, Paul E. Griffiths & Rob Knight - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 35 (4):647-673.
    Philosophers and historians of biology have argued that genes are conceptualized differently in different fields of biology and that these differences influence both the conduct of research and the interpretation of research by audiences outside the field in which the research was conducted. In this paper we report the results of a questionnaire study of how genes are conceptualized by biological scientists at the University of Sydney, Australia. The results provide tentative support for some hypotheses about conceptual differences between different (...)
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  10.  82
    Squaring the Circle: Natural Kinds with Historical Essences.Paul E. Griffiths - 1999 - In Robert A. Wilson (ed.), Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays. MIT Press. pp. 209-228.
  11. Genes in the Postgenomic Era.Paul E. Griffiths & Karola Stotz - 2006 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27 (6):499-521.
    We outline three very different concepts of the gene—instrumental, nominal, and postgenomic. The instrumental gene has a critical role in the construction and interpretation of experiments in which the relationship between genotype and phenotype is explored via hybridization between organisms or directly between nucleic acid molecules. It also plays an important theoretical role in the foundations of disciplines such as quantitative genetics and population genetics. The nominal gene is a critical practical tool, allowing stable communication between bioscientists in a wide (...)
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  12. Function, Homology and Character Individuation.Paul E. Griffiths - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 73 (1):1-25.
    I defend the view that many biological categories are defined by homology against a series of arguments designed to show that all biological categories are defined, at least in part, by selected function. I show that categories of homology are `abnormality inclusive'—something often alleged to be unique to selected function categories. I show that classifications by selected function are logically dependent on classifications by homology, but not vice-versa. Finally, I reject the view that biologists must use considerations of selected function (...)
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  13.  84
    Modularity, and the Psychoevolutionary Theory of Emotion.Paul E. Griffiths - 1990 - Biology and Philosophy 5 (2):175-196.
    It is unreasonable to assume that our pre-scientific emotion vocabulary embodies all and only those distinctions required for a scientific psychology of emotion. The psychoevolutionary approach to emotion yields an alternative classification of certain emotion phenomena. The new categories are based on a set of evolved adaptive responses, or affect-programs, which are found in all cultures. The triggering of these responses involves a modular system of stimulus appraisal, whose evoluations may conflict with those of higher-level cognitive processes. Whilst the structure (...)
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  14.  53
    The Historical Turn in the Study of Adaptation.Paul E. Griffiths - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (4):511-532.
    A number of philosophers and ‘evolutionary psychologists’ have argued that attacks on adaptationism in contemporary biology are misguided. These thinkers identify anti-adaptationism with advocacy of non-adaptive modes of explanation. They overlook the influence of anti-adaptationism in the development of more rigorous forms of adaptive explanation. Many biologists who reject adaptationism do not reject Darwinism. Instead, they have pioneered the contemporary historical turn in the study of adaptation. One real issue which remains unresolved amongst these methodological advances is the nature of (...)
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  15.  55
    Measuring Causal Specificity. Supplementary Online Materials.Paul E. Griffiths, Arnaud Pocheville, Brett Calcott, Karola Stotz, Hyunju Kim & Rob Knight - unknown
    Several authors have argued that causes differ in the degree to which they are ‘specific’ to their effects. Woodward has used this idea to enrich his influential interventionist theory of causal explanation. Here we propose a way to measure causal specificity using tools from information theory. We show that the specificity of a causal variable is not well-defined without a probability distribution over the states of that variable. We demonstrate the tractability and interest of our proposed measure by measuring the (...)
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  16. Innateness, Canalization, and 'Biologicizing the Mind'.Paul E. Griffiths & Edouard Machery - 2008 - Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):397 – 414.
    This article examines and rejects the claim that 'innateness is canalization'. Waddington's concept of canalization is distinguished from the narrower concept of environmental canalization with which it is often confused. Evidence is presented that the concept of environmental canalization is not an accurate analysis of the existing concept of innateness. The strategy of 'biologicizing the mind' by treating psychological or behavioral traits as if they were environmentally canalized physiological traits is criticized using data from developmental psychobiology. It is concluded that (...)
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  17. Genetics and Philosophy : An Introduction.Paul Griffiths & Karola Stotz - 2013 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    In the past century, nearly all of the biological sciences have been directly affected by discoveries and developments in genetics, a fast-evolving subject with important theoretical dimensions. In this rich and accessible book, Paul Griffiths and Karola Stotz show how the concept of the gene has evolved and diversified across the many fields that make up modern biology. By examining the molecular biology of the 'environment', they situate genetics in the developmental biology of whole organisms, and reveal how the molecular (...)
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  18. Emotions as Natural and Normative Kinds.Paul E. Griffiths - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):901-911.
    In earlier work I have claimed that emotion and some emotions are not `natural kinds'. Here I clarify what I mean by `natural kind', suggest a new and more accurate term, and discuss the objection that emotion and emotions are not descriptive categories at all, but fundamentally normative categories.
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  19. Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal.Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):301-327.
    Some ‘naturalist’ accounts of disease employ a biostatistical account of dysfunction, whilst others use a ‘selected effect’ account. Several recent authors have argued that the biostatistical account offers the best hope for a naturalist account of disease. We show that the selected effect account survives the criticisms levelled by these authors relatively unscathed, and has significant advantages over the BST. Moreover, unlike the BST, it has a strong theoretical rationale and can provide substantive reasons to decide difficult cases. This is (...)
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  20. When Do Evolutionary Explanations of Belief Debunk Belief?Paul Griffiths & John Wilkins - 2010 - In Darwin in the 21st Century.
    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 (...)
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  21.  76
    The Phenomena of Homology.Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):643-658.
    Philosophical discussions of biological classification have failed to recognise the central role of homology in the classification of biological parts and processes. One reason for this is a misunderstanding of the relationship between judgments of homology and the core explanatory theories of biology. The textbook characterisation of homology as identity by descent is commonly regarded as a definition. I suggest instead that it is one of several attempts to explain the phenomena of homology. Twenty years ago the ‘new experimentalist’ movement (...)
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  22.  81
    Replicator II – Judgement Day.Paul E. Griffiths & Russell D. Gray - 1997 - Biology and Philosophy 12 (4):471-492.
    The Developmental Systems approach to evolution is defended against the alternative extended replicator approach of Sterelny, Smith and Dickison (1996). A precise definition is provided of the spatial and temporal boundaries of the life-cycle that DST claims is the unit of evolution. Pacé Sterelny et al., the extended replicator theory is not a bulwark against excessive holism. Everything which DST claims is replicated in evolution can be shown to be an extended replicator on Sterelny et al.s definition. Reasons are given (...)
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  23. What is the Developmentalist Challenge?Paul E. Griffiths & Robin D. Knight - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (2):253-258.
  24. The Importance of Homology for Biology and Philosophy.Ingo Brigandt & Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):633-641.
    Editors' introduction to the special issue on homology (Biology and Philosophy Vol. 22, Issue 5, 2007).
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  25. Developmental Systems Theory.Paul Griffiths & Adam Hochman - 2015 - eLS:1-7.
    Developmental systems theory (DST) is a wholeheartedly epigenetic approach to development, inheritance and evolution. The developmental system of an organism is the entire matrix of resources that are needed to reproduce the life cycle. The range of developmental resources that are properly described as being inherited, and which are subject to natural selection, is far wider than has traditionally been allowed. Evolution acts on this extended set of developmental resources. From a developmental systems perspective, development does not proceed according to (...)
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  26.  41
    Genes: Philosophical Analyses Put to the Test.Karola Stotz & Paul Griffiths - 2004 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 26 (1):5-28.
    This paper describes one complete and one ongoing empirical study in which philosophical analyses of the concept of the gene were operationalized and tested against questionnaire data obtained from working biologists to determine whether and when biologists conceive genes in the ways suggested. These studies throw light on how different gene concepts contribute to biological research. Their aim is not to arrive at one or more correct 'definitions' of the gene, but rather to map out the variation in the gene (...)
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  27. Experimental Philosophy of Science.Paul E. Griffiths & Karola Stotz - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (3):507–521.
    Experimental philosophy of science gathers empirical data on how key scientific concepts are understood by particular scientific communities. In this paper we briefly describe two recent studies in experimental philosophy of biology, one investigating the concept of the gene, the other the concept of innateness. The use of experimental methods reveals facts about these concepts that would not be accessible using the traditional method of intuitions about possible cases. It also contributes to the study of conceptual change in science, which (...)
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  28. Philosophical Issues in Ecology: Recent Trends and Future Directions.Mark Colyvan, William Grey, Paul E. Griffiths, Jay Odenbaugh & Stefan Linquist - 2009 - Ecology and Society 14 (2).
    A good philosophical understanding of ecology is important for a number of reasons. First, ecology is an important and fascinating branch of biology, with distinctive philosophical issues. Second, ecology is only one small step away from urgent political, ethical, and management decisions about how best to live in an apparently fragile and increasingly-degraded environment. Third, philosophy of ecology, properly conceived, can contribute directly to both our understanding of ecology and help with its advancement. Philosophy of ecology can thus be seen (...)
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  29. Genetic, Epigenetic and Exogenetic Information.Karola Stotz & Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2017 - In Richard Joyce (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy. London & New York: Routledge.
    We describe an approach to measuring biological information where ‘information’ is understood in the sense found in Francis Crick’s foundational contributions to molecular biology. Genes contain information in this sense, but so do epigenetic factors, as many biologists have recognized. The term ‘epigenetic’ is ambiguous, and we introduce a distinction between epigenetic and exogenetic inheritance to clarify one aspect of this ambiguity. These three heredity systems play complementary roles in supplying information for development. -/- We then consider the evolutionary significance (...)
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  30. Darwinism, Process Structuralism, and Natural Kinds.Paul E. Griffiths - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (3):9.
    Darwinists classify biological traits either by their ancestry (homology) or by their adaptive role. Only the latter can provide traditional natural kinds, but only the former is practicable. Process structuralists exploit this embarrassment to argue for non-Darwinian classifications in terms of underlying developmental mechanisms. This new taxonomy will also explain phylogenetic inertia and developmental constraint. I argue that Darwinian homologies are natural kinds despite having historical essences and being spatio-temporally restricted. Furthermore, process structuralist explanations of biological form require an unwarranted (...)
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  31.  35
    Tracking the Shift to 'Postgenomics'.Karola Stotz, Adam Bostanci & Paul E. Griffiths - 2006 - Community Genetics 9 (3).
    Current knowledge about the variety and complexity of the processes that allow regulated gene expression in living organisms calls for a new understanding of genes. A ‘postgenomic’ understanding of genes as entities constituted during genome expression is outlined and illustrated with specific examples that formed part of a survey research instrument developed by two of the authors for an ongoing empirical study of conceptual change in contemporary biology.
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  32.  88
    Gene.Paul E. Griffiths & Karola Stotz - 2005 - In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press.
    The historian Raphael Falk has described the gene as a ‘concept in tension’ (Falk 2000) – an idea pulled this way and that by the differing demands of different kinds of biological work. Several authors have suggested that in the light of contemporary molecular biology ‘gene’ is no more than a handy term which acquires a specific meaning only in a specific scientific context in which it occurs. Hence the best way to answer the question ‘what is a gene’, and (...)
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  33.  83
    In What Sense Does ‘Nothing Make Sense Except in the Light of Evolution’?Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2009 - Acta Biotheoretica 57 (1-2):11-32.
    Dobzhansky argued that biology only makes sense if life on earth has a shared history. But his dictum is often reinterpreted to mean that biology only makes sense in the light of adaptation. Some philosophers of science have argued in this spirit that all work in ‘proximal’ biosciences such as anatomy, physiology and molecular biology must be framed, at least implicitly, by the selection histories of the organisms under study. Others have denied this and have proposed non-evolutionary ways in which (...)
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  34.  28
    Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal: Table 1.Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axw021.
  35. Is Emotion a Natural Kind?Paul Griffiths - 2002 - In Robert C. Solomon (ed.), Thinking About Feeling: Contemporary Philosophers on Emotions. Oxford University Press.
    In _What Emotions Really Are: The problem of psychological categories_ I argued that it is unlikely that all the psychological states and processes that fall under the vernacular category of emotion are sufficiently similar to one another to allow a unified scientific psychology of the emotions. In this paper I restate what I mean by ?natural kind? and my argument for supposing that emotion is not a natural kind in this specific sense. In the following sections I discuss the two (...)
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  36.  85
    Biological Information, Causality and Specificity - an Intimate Relationship.Karola Stotz & Paul E. Griffiths - 2017 - In Sara Imari Walker, Paul Davies & George Ellis (eds.), From Matter to Life: Information and Causality. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 366-390.
    In this chapter we examine the relationship between biological information, the key biological concept of specificity, and recent philosophical work on causation. We begin by showing how talk of information in the molecular biosciences grew out of efforts to understand the sources of biological specificity. We then introduce the idea of ‘causal specificity’ from recent work on causation in philosophy, and our own, information theoretic measure of causal specificity. Biological specificity, we argue, is simple the causal specificity of certain biological (...)
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  37.  20
    Epigenetics: Ambiguities and Implications.Karola Stotz & Paul Griffiths - 2016 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 38 (4).
  38.  98
    Genetic, Epigenetic and Exogenetic Information in Development and Evolution.Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2017 - Interface Focus 7 (5).
    The idea that development is the expression of information accumulated during evolution and that heredity is the transmission of this information is surprisingly hard to cash out in strict, scientific terms. This paper seeks to do so using the sense of information introduced by Francis Crick in his sequence hypothesis and central dogma of molecular biology. It focuses on Crick's idea of precise determination. This is analysed using an information-theoretic measure of causal specificity. This allows us to reconstruct some of (...)
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  39.  36
    Behavioral Genetics and Development: Historical and Conceptual Causes of Controversy.Paul Griffiths & James Tabery - unknown
    Traditional, quantitative behavioral geneticists and developmental psychobiologists such as Gilbert Gottlieb have long debated what it would take to create a truly developmental behavioral genetics. These disputes have proven so intractable that disputants have repeatedly suggested that the problem rests on their opponents' conceptual confusion; whilst others have argued that the intractability results from the non-scientific, political motivations of their opponents. The authors provide a different explanation of the intractability of these debates. They show that the disputants have competing interpretations (...)
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  40. Lying an Augustinian Theology of Duplicity.Paul J. Griffiths - 2004
     
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  41.  35
    Signals That Make a Difference.Brett Calcott, Paul E. Griffiths & Arnaud Pocheville - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx022.
    Recent work by Brian Skyrms offers a very general way to think about how information flows and evolves in biological networks — from the way monkeys in a troop communicate, to the way cells in a body coordinate their actions. A central feature of his account is a way to formally measure the quantity of information contained in the signals in these networks. In this paper, we argue there is a tension between how Skyrms talks of signalling networks and his (...)
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  42. On Being Mindless: Buddhist Meditation And The Mind-Body Problem.Paul J. Griffiths - 1986 - La Salle: Open Court.
  43.  61
    The Developmental Systems Perspective: Organism-Environment Systems as Units of Development and Evolution.Paul E. Griffiths & Russell D. Gray - 2002 - In Massimo Pigliucci & Katherine Preston (eds.), Phenotypic Integration: Studying the Ecology and Evolution of Complex Phenotypes. Oxford University Press. pp. 409.
    Developmental systems theory is an attempt to sum up the ideas of a research tradition in developmental psychobiology that goes back at least to Daniel Lehrman’s work in the 1950s. It yields a representation of evolution that is quite capable of accommodating the traditional themes of natural selection and also the new results that are emerging from evolutionary developmental biology. But it adds something else - a framework for thinking about development and evolution without the distorting dichotomization of biological processes (...)
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  44.  5
    Exploring the Folkbiological Conception of Human Nature.Stefan Linquist, Edouard Machery, Paul Griffiths, Stotz E. & Karola - 2011 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366:444--453.
    Integrating the study of human diversity into the human evolutionary sciences requires substantial revision of traditional conceptions of a shared human nature. This process may be made more difficult by entrenched, 'folkbiological' modes of thought. Earlier work by the authors suggests that biologically naive subjects hold an implicit theory according to which some traits are expressions of an animal's inner nature while others are imposed by its environment. In this paper, we report further studies that extend and refine our account (...)
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  45. Developmental Systems Theory as a Process Theory.Paul Edmund Griffiths & Karola Stotz - forthcoming - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupre (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 00-00.
    Griffiths and Russell D. Gray (1994, 1997, 2001) have argued that the fundamental unit of analysis in developmental systems theory should be a process – the life cycle – and not a set of developmental resources and interactions between those resources. The key concepts of developmental systems theory, epigenesis and developmental dynamics, both also suggest a process view of the units of development. This chapter explores in more depth the features of developmental systems theory that favour treating processes as fundamental (...)
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  46. Darwinism and Developmental Systems.Paul E. Griffiths & Russell D. Gray - 2001 - In Susan Oyama, Paul Griffiths, Gray E. & D. Russell (eds.), Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution. MIT Press. pp. 195--218.
  47.  13
    Biological Criteria of Disease: Four Ways of Going Wrong.John Matthewson & Paul E. Griffiths - 2017 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (4).
    We defend a view of the distinction between the normal and the pathological according to which that distinction has an objective, biological component. We accept that there is a normative component to the concept of disease, especially as applied to human beings. Nevertheless, an organism cannot be in a pathological state unless something has gone wrong for that organism from a purely biological point of view. Biology, we argue, recognises two sources of biological normativity, which jointly generate four “ways of (...)
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  48.  36
    Problems of Religious Diversity.Paul J. Griffiths - 2001 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    _Exploring Religious Diversity_ analyzes the philosophical questions raised by the fact that many religions in the world often appear to contradict each other in doctrine and practice. Analyzes the philosophical questions raised by the fact that many religions in the world often appear to contradict each other in doctrine and practice. Evaluates the fundamental philosophical underpinnings of the debates between religious and non-religious approaches to religious diversity. Contains a glossary that defines the book's key technical terms and how they are (...)
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  49. Emotions in the Wild: The Situated Perspective on Emotion.Paul Edmund Griffiths & Andrea Scarantino - 2005 - In P. Robbins & Murat Aydede (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition. Cambridge University Press.
    Paul E Griffiths Biohumanities Project University of Queensland St Lucia 4072 Australia paul.griffiths@uq.edu.au.
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  50.  31
    Current Emotion Research in Philosophy.Paul E. Griffiths - 2013 - Emotion Review 5 (2):215-222.
    There remains a division between the work of philosophers who draw on the sciences of the mind to understand emotion and those who see the philosophy of emotion as more self-sufficient. This article examines this methodological division before reviewing some of the debates that have figured in the philosophical literature of the last decade: whether emotion is a single kind of thing, whether there are discrete categories of emotion, and whether emotion is a form of perception. These questions have been (...)
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