Most models of generational succession in sexually reproducing populations necessarily move back and forth between genic and genotypic spaces. We show that transitions between and within these spaces are usually hidden by unstated assumptions about processes in these spaces. We also examine a widely endorsed claim regarding the mathematical equivalence of kin-, group-, individual-, and allelic-selection models made by Lee Dugatkin and Kern Reeve. We show that the claimed mathematical equivalence of the models does not hold. *Received January 2007; revised (...) April 2008. †To contact the authors, please write to: Elisabeth Lloyd, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, 130 Goodbody Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405; e-mail: [email protected]; RichardLewontin, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138; Marcus Feldman, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305; e-mail: [email protected]charles.stanford.edu. (shrink)
The situated potentials for action between material things in the world and the interactional processes thereby afforded need to be seen as not only constituting the possibility of agency, but thereby also comprising it. Eo ipso, agency must be de-fused from any local, "contained" subject and be understood as a situational property in which subjects and objects can both participate. Any technological artifact should thus be understood as a complex of agential capacities that function relative to any number of social (...) and material factors. Keeping in mind that we are co-constituted by webs of relations involving increasingly complex collections of artefacts, networks, niches, and communities of practice, our investigation will be guided by interrogating the functional potential of a thing that in the last fifteen years has seamlessly worked its way into the everyday life of millions of human agents. This "thing," the smartphone, is merely a nodal point in a highly complex network. Recognizing this massive "collective," we nevertheless want to show some of the ways in which something as seemingly mundane as a smartphone can reflexively alter the range of actions available to a cognitive agent (Latour 1994). Specifically, we hope to shed light on some of the social-cognitive consequences of technological mediation by looking at the complementary, if not mutually implied, domains of memory and knowledge. (shrink)
One of our most brilliant evolutionary biologists, RichardLewontin has also been a leading critic of those--scientists and non-scientists alike--who would misuse the science to which he has contributed so much. In The Triple Helix, Lewontin the scientist and Lewontin the critic come together to provide a concise, accessible account of what his work has taught him about biology and about its relevance to human affairs. In the process, he exposes some of the common and troubling (...) misconceptions that misdirect and stall our understanding of biology and evolution.The central message of this book is that we will never fully understand living things if we continue to think of genes, organisms, and environments as separate entities, each with its distinct role to play in the history and operation of organic processes. Here Lewontin shows that an organism is a unique consequence of both genes and environment, of both internal and external features. Rejecting the notion that genes determine the organism, which then adapts to the environment, he explains that organisms, influenced in their development by their circumstances, in turn create, modify, and choose the environment in which they live.The Triple Helix is vintage Lewontin: brilliant, eloquent, passionate, and deeply critical. But it is neither a manifesto for a radical new methodology nor a brief for a new theory. It is instead a primer on the complexity of biological processes, a reminder to all of us that living things are never as simple as they may seem. (shrink)
Following in the fashion of Stephen Jay Gould and Peter Medawar, one of the world's leading scientists examines how "pure science" is in fact shaped and guided by social and political needs and assumptions.
Contemporary conversations about religion and culture are framed by two reductive definitions of secularity. In one, multiple faiths and nonfaiths coexist free from a dominant belief in God. In the other, we deny the sacred altogether and exclude religion from rational thought and behavior. But is there a third way for those who wish to rediscover the sacred in a skeptical society? What kind of faith, if any, can be proclaimed after the ravages of the Holocaust and the many religion-based (...) terrors since? Richard Kearney explores these questions with a host of philosophers known for their inclusive, forward-thinking work on the intersection of secularism, politics, and religion. An interreligious dialogue that refuses to paper over religious difference, these conversations locate the sacred within secular society and affirm a positive role for religion in human reflection and action. Drawing on his own philosophical formulations, literary analysis, and personal interreligious experiences, Kearney develops through these engagements a basic gesture of hospitality for approaching the question of God. His work facilitates a fresh encounter with our best-known voices in continental philosophy and their views on issues of importance to all spiritually minded individuals and skeptics: how to reconcile God's goodness with human evil, how to believe in both God and natural science, how to talk about God without indulging in fundamentalist rhetoric, and how to balance God's sovereignty with God's love. (shrink)
Several evolutionary biologists have used a parsimony argument to argue that the single gene is the unit of selection. Since all evolution by natural selection can be represented in terms of selection coefficients attaching to single genes, it is, they say, "more parsimonious" to think that all selection is selection for or against single genes. We examine the limitations of this genic point of view, and then relate our criticisms to a broader view of the role of causal concepts and (...) the dangers of reification in science. (shrink)
This book, the latest in the continuing debate between the genetic reductionists and those who argue for a rather more complex relationship between genes and the environment. Lewontin is a forceful writer and this is an effective statement of the case against the selfish gene.
Charles S. Peirce frequently mentioned reading Richard Whately's Elements of Logic when he was 12 years old. Throughout his life, Peirce emphasized the importance of that experience. This valorization of Whately is puzzling at first. Early in his career Peirce rejected Whately's central logical doctrines. What valuable insight concerning logic was robust enough to survive these specific rejections? Peirce recommended a biographical approach to understanding his philosophy. This essay follows that suggestion by considering Peirce's reading of Whately in (...) a larger life context. Surprisingly many factors in Charles Peirce's personal and intellectual development were at play when he read Whately. His father, Benjamin Peirce, oversaw rigorous home schooling intended to train young Charley for a brilliant intellectual career. Laboratory experience with qualitative chemical analysis exposed the boy to the logic of scientific investigation, specifically to the hypothetico-deductive method of inquiry. However, tensions between father and son developed over Charles' wish to devote his life to studying the logic of science. The two also disagreed upon the value of formal science. Against this background we will review relevant logical doctrines of Whately's book, as well as his innovative formalizing practice of logical inquiry. Then we will see that it was Whately's lessons about formal science that were of such importance to Peirce. (shrink)
Biology above the level of the individual organism ? population ecology and genetics, community ecology, biogeography and evolution ? requires the study of intrinsically complex systems. But the dominant philosophies of western science have proven to be inadequate for the study of complexity:(1)The reductionist myth of simplicity leads its advocates to isolate parts as completely as possible and study these parts. It underestimates the importance of interactions in theory, and its recommendations for practice (in agricultural programs or conservation and environmental (...) protection) are typically thwarted by the power of indirect and unanticipated causes rather than by error in the detailed description of their own objects of study.(2)Reductionism ignores properties of complex wholes; the effects of these properties are therefore seen only as noise; this randomness is elevated into an ontological principle which leads to the blocking of investigation and the reification of statistics, so that data reduction and statistical prediction often pass for explanation.(3)The faith in the atomistic nature of the world makes the allocation of relative weights to separate causes the main object of science, and makes it more difficult to study the nature of interconnectedness. (shrink)
"Clifford was famous for his public lectures on physics and math and ethics because he explained complex things with easily understood, concrete examples. As you read through his clear, simple explanations of the true bases of number, algebra and geometry you will find yourself getting angry and saying "Why the hell wasn't I taught math this way?" and "Do math ed professors know so little mathematics that they have never heard of Clifford.?" Clifford was destined to be England's Einstein until (...) his untimely death at the age of 34, just 11 days before Einstein's birth. More than 30 years before the Special Theory of Relativity was proposed he had already concluded that the force of gravity was actually due to changes in the curvature of space. He gives explanatory examples in this book that middle school children can understand."--review on Amazon.com viewed July 6, 2020. (shrink)
The central point of this essay is to demonstrate the incommensurability of ‘Darwinian fitness’ with the numeric values associated with reproductive rates used in population genetics. While sometimes both are called ‘fitness’, they are distinct concepts coming from distinct explanatory schemes. Further, we try to outline a possible answer to the following question: from the natural properties of organisms and a knowledge of their environment, can we construct an algorithm for a particular kind of organismic life-history pattern that itself will (...) allow us to predict whether a type in the population will increase or decrease relative to other types? Introduction Darwinian fitness Reproductive fitness and genetical models of evolution The models of reproductive fitness 4.1 The Standard Viability Model 4.2 Frequency-dependent selection 4.3 Fertility models 4.4 Overlapping generations Fitness as outcome 5.1 Fitness as actual increase in type 5.2 Fitness as expected increase in type 5.2.1 Expected increase within a generation 5.2.2 Expected increase between generations 5.2.3 Postponed reproductive fitness effects The book-keeping problem Conclusion. (shrink)
This volume is a Festschrift dedicated to Charles Kahn comprised of more than 20 papers presented at the conference "Presocratics and Plato: Festschrift Symposium in Honor of Charles Kahn", 3-7 June 2009. The conference was held at the European Cultural Center of Delphi, Greece, and was organized and sponsored by the HYELE Institute for Comparative Studies and Parmenides Publishing, with endorsement from the International Plato Society, and the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. (...) Contributors: Julia Annas - University of Arizona; Sarah Broadie - University of St. Andrews; Lesley Brown - University of Oxford; Tomás Calvo-Martínez - Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Diskin Clay - Duke University; John M. Dillon - Trinity College, Dublin; Dorothea Frede - Humbolt University, Berlin; Arnold Hermann - HYELE Institute for Comparative Studies; Carl A. Huffman - DePauw University; Enrique Hülsz Piccone - Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; D.M. Hutchinson - St. Olaf College; Paul Kalligas - National and Kapodistrian University, Athens; Vassilis Karasmanis - National Technical University, Athens; Aryeh Kosman - Haverford College; Anthony A. Long - University of California, Berkeley; Richard McKirahan - Pomona College; Susan Sauvé Meyer - University of Pennsylvania; Alexander P.D. Mourelatos - University of Texas at Austin; Satoshi Ogihara - Tohoku University, Japan; Richard Patterson - Emory University; Christopher J. Rowe - Durham University; David Sedley - University of Cambridge; Richard Sorabji - University of Oxford. (shrink)
The distinction between phenotype and genotype is fundamental to the understanding of heredity and development of organisms. The genotype of an organism is the class to which that organism belongs as determined by the description of the actual physical material made up of DNA that was passed to the organism by its parents at the organism's conception. For sexually reproducing organisms that physical material consists of the DNA contributed to the fertilized egg by the sperm and egg of its two (...) parents. For asexually reproducing organisms, for example bacteria, the inherited material is a direct copy of the DNA of its parent. The phenotype of an organism is the class to which that organism belongs as determined by the description of the physical and behavioral characteristics of the organism, for example its size and shape, its metabolic activities and its pattern of movement. (shrink)
Arguably the most influential of all contemporary English-speaking philosophers, Richard Rorty has transformed the way many inside and outside philosophy think about the discipline and the traditional ways of practising it. Drawing on a wide range of thinkers from Darwin and James to Quine, Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Derrida, Rorty has injected a bold anti-foundationalist vision into philosophical debate, into discussions in literary theory, communication studies, political theory and education, and, as public intellectual, into national debates about the responsibilities of (...) America in the modern world. The essays in this volume offer a balanced exposition and critique of Rorty's views on knowledge, language, truth, science, morality and politics. The editorial introduction presents a valuable overview of Rorty's philosophical vision. Written by a distinguished team of philosophers, this volume will have an unusual appeal outside philosophy to students in the social sciences, literary studies, cultural studies and political theory. (shrink)
The probability that the fitter of two alleles will increase in frequency in a population goes up as the product of N (the effective population size) and s (the selection coefficient) increases. Discovering the distribution of values for this product across different alleles in different populations is a very important biological task. However, biologists often use the product Ns to define a different concept; they say that drift “dominates” selection or that drift is “stronger than” selection when Ns is much (...) smaller than some threshold quantity (e.g., ½) and that the reverse is true when Ns is much larger than that threshold. We argue that the question of whether drift dominates selection for a single allele in a single population makes no sense. Selection and drift are causes of evolution, but there is no fact of the matter as to which cause is stronger in the evolution of any given allele. (shrink)
Most models of generational succession in sexually reproducing populations necessarily move back and forth between genic and genotypic spaces. We show that transitions between and within these spaces are usually hidden by unstated assumptions about processes in these spaces. We also examine a widely endorsed claim regarding the mathematical equivalence of kin-, group-, individual-, and allelic-selection models made by Lee Dugatkin and Kern Reeve. We show that the claimed mathematical equivalence of the models does not hold.
Proponents of genic selectionism have claimed that evolutionary processes normally viewed as selection on individuals can be "represented" as selection on alleles. This paper discusses the relationship between mathematical questions about the formal requirements upon state spaces necessary for the representation of different types of evolutionary processes and causal questions about the units of selection in such processes.
Rosenberg (1983), in his comments on our article (Sober and Lewontin 1982) concerning the units of selection controversy, has matters precisely backwards. We suggest Rosenberg alludes to a quite different view of the units of selection controversy, one that he never shows to have mattered to any biologists engaged in the dispute. We also reject Rosenberg's remark that the hypothesis of genic selection is currently predictively vacuous.
Language and tradition have long been relegated to the sidelines as scholars have considered the role of politics, science, technology and economics in the making of the modern world. This reading of over two centuries of philosophy, political theory, anthropology, folklore and history argues that new ways of imagining language and representing supposedly premodern people - the poor, labourers, country folk, non-europeans and women - made political and scientific revolutions possible. The connections between language ideologies, privileged linguistic codes, and political (...) concepts and practices shape the diverse ways we perceive ourselves and others. This 2003 book demonstrates that contemporary efforts to make schemes of social inequality based on race, gender, class and nationality seem compelling and legitimate, rely on deeply-rooted ideas about language and tradition. Showing how critics of modernity unwittingly reproduce these foundational fictions, it suggests strategies for challenging the undemocratic influence of these voices of modernity. (shrink)