Phillip R. Sloan - Performing the Categories: Eighteenth-Century Generation Theory and the Biological Roots of Kant's A Priori - Journal of the History of Philosophy 40:2 Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.2 229-253 Preforming the Categories: Eighteenth-Century Generation Theory and the Biological Roots of Kant's A Priori Phillip R. Sloan Situating Kant's philosophical project in relation to the natural sciences of his day has been of concern to several scholars from both the history of science and the history of (...) philosophy. Historians of philosophy have displayed an expanded awareness of, and interest in, the importance of the scientific context of the period in which Kant carried out his "Copernican" revolution. Most commonly among philosophers, this interest has been analyzed in relation to Kant's concerns with the foundations of mechanics, matter theory, and the epistemology of Newtonian science, with the central text of interest being the Metaphysische Anfangsgründe. On the other hand, historians of philosophy and historians of science, interested in the issues of the third Critique and in the several papers of Kant dealing with biological and anthropological issues, have emphasized the unified nature of Kant's inquiries into the natural sciences, and the importance of his continued interest in the life and human sciences alongside his interests in the foundations of the physical sciences. The effort to understand the unity of Kant's.. (shrink)
The entry of time and history into biological systems of classification is perhaps the single most significant development in the history of biological systematics in the modern era. Darwin's claiming that descent is ‘… the hidden bond of connexion which naturalists have been seeking under the term of the natural system’, rather than seeing the answer in the multitude of previous attempts to resolve the problem in terms of morphological affinities, analogies, and complex relations of resemblance, marked the turning point (...) in a long search into the meaning of biological taxonomy, and allowed the development of Darwin's insights by Haeckel, Plate and others into modern phylogenetic systematics. (shrink)
This paper seeks to show Kant’s importance for the formal distinction between descriptive natural history and a developmental history of nature that entered natural history discussions in the late eighteenth century. It is argued that he developed this distinction initially upon Buffon’s distinctions of ‘abstract’ and ‘physical’ truths, and applied these initially in his distinction of ‘varieties’ from ‘races’ in anthropology. In the 1770s, Kant appears to have given theoretical preference to the ‘history’ of nature [Naturgeschichte] over ‘description’ of nature (...) [Naturbeschreibung]. Following Kant’s confrontations with Johann Herder and Georg Forster in the late 1780s, Kant weakened the epistemic status of the ‘history of nature’ and gave theoretical preference to ‘description of nature’. As a result, Kant’s successors, such as Goethe, could draw from Kant either a justification for a developmental history of nature, or, as this paper argues, a warrant from the critical philosophy for denying the validity of the developmental history of nature as anything more than a ‘regulative’ idea of reason. (shrink)
In 1935 geneticist Nikolai Timoféeff-Ressovsky, radiation physicist Karl G. Zimmer, and quantum physicist Max Delbrück published “On the Nature of Gene Mutation and Gene Structure,” known subsequently as the “Three-Man Paper.” This seminal paper advanced work on the physical exploration of the structure of the gene through radiation physics and suggested ways in which physics could reveal definite information about gene structure, mutation, and action. Representing a new level of collaboration between physics and biology, it played an important role in (...) the birth of the new field of molecular biology. The paper’s results were popularized for a wide audience in the What is Life? lectures of physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1944. Despite its historical impact on the biological sciences, the paper has remained largely inaccessible because it was only published in a short-lived German periodical. Creating a Physical Biology makes the Three Man Paper available in English for the first time. Brandon Fogel’s translation is accompanied by an introductory essay by Fogel and Phillip Sloan and a set of essays by leading historians and philosophers of biology that explore the context, contents, and subsequent influence of the paper, as well as its importance for the wider philosophical analysis of biological reductionism. (shrink)
(2003). Whewell's Philosophy of Discovery and the Archetype of the Vertebrate Skeleton: The Role of German Philosophy of Science in Richard Owen's Biology. Annals of Science: Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 39-61.
Preface Phillip R. Sloan, Gerald McKenny, Kathleen Eggleson pp. xiii-xviii In November of 2009, the University of Notre Dame hosted the conference “Darwin in the Twenty-First Century: Nature, Humanity, and God.‘ Sponsored primarily by the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values at Notre Dame, and the Science, Theology, and the Ontological Quest project within the Vatican Pontifical... 1. Introduction: Restructuring an Interdisciplinary Dialogue Phillip R. Sloan pp. 1-32 Almost exactly fifty years before the Notre Dame conference, the (...) world’s largest centenary commemoration of Darwin’s legacy was held at nearby University of Chicago. This event, organized by a committee spearheaded by University of Chicago anthropologist Sol Tax, drew nearly 2,500 registrants. In attendance were the primary leaders... Part 1. Nature 2. Evolution through Developmental Change: How Alterations in Development Cause Evolutionary Changes in Anatomy Scott F. Gilbert pp. 35-60 For the past half-century, the mechanisms of evolution have been explained by the fusion of genetics and evolutionary biology called “the Modern Synthesis.‘ The tenets of the Modern Synthesis have been generally formulated as such: 1. There is genetic variation within the population. 2. There is competition... 3. The Evolution of Evolutionary Mechanisms: A New Perspective Stuart A. Newman pp. 61-89 The Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, based on Charles Darwin’s concept of natural selection in conjunction with a genetic theory of inheritance in a population-based framework, has been, for more than six decades, the dominant scientific perspective for explaining the diversity of living organisms. In recent years, however, with the growth... 4. The Evolvability of Organic Forms: Possible, Likely, and Unlikely Change from the Perspective of Evolutionary Developmental Biology Alessandro Minelli pp. 90-115 Confronted with the extraordinary diversity of animal form, we can ask questions about function and adaptation. How does this animal move? How does it feed? How does it defend itself from its enemies? But we can also ask questions about development, reproduction, and heredity. What mechanisms produce these forms? How are these... 5. Accident, Adaptation, and Teleology in Aristotle and Darwinism David J. Depew pp. 116-143 Charles Darwin framed the Origin of Species to meet criteria for inductive science set out by John Herschel in his Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy. Accordingly, he was distraught when he learned that Herschel, to whom he had sent a copy of his newly published book, was not... 6. The Game of Life Implies Both Teleonomy and Teleology Gennaro Auletta, Ivan Colagè, Paolo D’Ambrosio pp. 144-164 The present contribution is mainly aimed at suggesting the importance of teleonomy and teleology as explanatory mechanisms in biology in the light of recent achievements in the field, and at showing that they play an actual and relevant role in the realm of life. The issue of finality in biology still provokes lively debates in the... Part 2. Humanity 7. Humanity’s Origins Bernard Wood pp. 167-181 One of Charles Darwin’s many achievements is that he began the process of converting the Tree of Life from a religious metaphor into a biological reality. All types of living organisms, be they animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, or viruses, are at the end of twigs that reach the surface of the Tree of Life, and all the types of organisms... 8. Darwin’s Evolutionary Ethics: The Empirical and Normative Justifications Robert J. Richards pp. 182-200 In the increasingly secular atmosphere of the nineteenth century, intellectuals grew wary of the idea that nature had any moral authority. In an earlier age, one might have looked upon the dispositions of nature as divinely sanctioned, and thus one could call upon natural law to ground moral judgment. Certain behaviors, for instance, might have... 9. Crossing the Milvian Bridge: When Do Evolutionary Explanations of Belief Debunk Belief? Paul E. Griffiths, John S. Wilkins pp. 201-231 Two traditional targets for evolutionary skepticism are religion and morality. Evolutionary skeptical arguments against religious belief are continuous with earlier genetic arguments against religion, such as that implicit in David Hume’s Natural History of Religion. Evolutionary arguments are also... 10. Questioning the Zoological Gaze: Darwinian Epistemology and Anthropology Phillip R. Sloan pp. 232-266 This quotation from Darwin’s Descent of Man illuminates an under-explored issue in Darwin’s work---not the issue of evolutionary ethics itself, but the epistemology of experience assumed in his work, and the consequences of his application of this “zoological gaze‘ to human beings. I will term this epistemological stance in this chapter “natural historical... Part 3. God 11. Evolution and Catholic Faith John O’Callaghan pp. 269-298 To begin to examine the relation of orthodox Catholic Christian faith to evolutionary theory and the question of human origins, consider words of the fourth pope, St. Clement: Let us fix our gaze on the Father and Creator of the whole world, and let us hold on to his peace and blessings, his splendid and surpassing... 12. After Darwin, Aquinas: A Universe Created and Evolving William E. Carroll pp. 299-337 At the 2000 Jubilee Session for scientists, held at the Vatican in May of that year, Archbishop Józef Życiński offered an eloquent assessment of contemporary discourse on the relationship between the natural sciences and theology. He ended his address with the comment that what is needed today is a new Thomas Aquinas. I remember... 13. Evolutionary Theism and the Emergent Universe Józef Życiński pp. 338-354 The 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species has been celebrated in the context of an animated debate concerning both scientific and philosophical issues implied by the theory of evolution.1 One finds a deep diversity of attitudes, both methodological and semantic, in the current debates on evolutionary... 14. Beyond Separation or Synthesis: Christ and Evolution as Theodrama Celia Deane-Drummond pp. 355-380 The fervor with which popular discourse on science and religion has continued to bubble up in the anniversary year celebrating Darwin’s achievements shows that the publically perceived conflict between science and religion will not go away. Academic discussion on such matters is therefore not just peripheral to cultural concerns but takes... Part 4. Past and Future Prospects 15. Imagining a World without Darwin Peter J. Bowler pp. 383-403 What would have happened if Charles Darwin had not lived to write On the Origin of Species? Perhaps his bad health caused the early death he feared, or maybe he fell overboard while on the voyage of the Beagle. Would the world have still experienced the Darwinian Revolution under another name, or would the history of science, and... 16. What Future for Darwinism? Jean Gayon pp. 404-423 What future for Darwinism? I will propose some criteria for exploring this question in the domains of both evolutionary biology and the human sciences. Do not expect me to tell you where we will stand thirty years from now. It will be enough to identify a few general tendencies. For the sake of brevity, I will not devote a preamble to explain... Contributors pp. 424-430. (shrink)