Natural selection is commonly interpreted as the fundamental mechanism of evolution. Questions about how selection theory can claim to be the all-sufficient explanation of evolution often go unanswered by today's neo-Darwinists, perhaps for fear that any criticism of the evolutionary paradigm will encourage creationists and proponents of intelligent design.In Biological Emergences, Robert Reid argues that natural selection is not the cause of evolution. He writes that the causes of variations, which he refers to as natural experiments, are independent of (...) natural selection; indeed, he suggests, natural selection may get in the way of evolution. Reid proposes an alternative theory to explain how emergent novelties are generated and under what conditions they can overcome the resistance of natural selection. He suggests that what causes innovative variation causes evolution, and that these phenomena are environmental as well as organismal.After an extended critique of selectionism, Reid constructs an emergence theory of evolution, first examining the evidence in three causal arenas of emergent evolution: symbiosis/association, evolutionary physiology/behavior, and developmental evolution. Based on this evidence of causation, he proposes some working hypotheses, examining mechanisms and processes common to all three arenas, and arrives at a theoretical framework that accounts for generative mechanisms and emergent qualities. Without selectionism, Reid argues, evolutionary innovation can more easily be integrated into a general thesis. Finally, Reid proposes a biological synthesis of rapid emergent evolutionary phases and the prolonged, dynamically stable, non-evolutionary phases imposed by natural selection. (shrink)
Decisions are made under uncertainty when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and one is uncertain to which the act will lead. Decisions are made under indeterminacy when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and it is indeterminate to which the act will lead. This paper develops a theory of (synchronic and diachronic) decision-making under indeterminacy that portrays the rational response to such situations as inconstant. Rational agents have to capriciously and randomly choose how to resolve (...) the indeterminacy relevant to a given choice-situation, but such capricious choices once made constrain how they will choose in the future. The account is illustrated by the case of self-interested action in situations where it is indeterminate whether you yourself will survive to benefit or suffer the consequences. The conclusion emphasizes some distinctive anti-hedging predictions of the account. (shrink)
How do thought and language manage to be 'about' aspects of the world? J. Robert G. Williams investigates how representation arises out of a fundamentally non-representational world, showing the explanatory relations between the representational properties of language, of thought, and of perception and intention.
Inscrutability arguments threaten to reduce interpretationist metasemantic theories to absurdity. Can we find some way to block the arguments? A highly influential proposal in this regard is David Lewis’ ‘ eligibility ’ response: some theories are better than others, not because they fit the data better, but because they are framed in terms of more natural properties. The purposes of this paper are to outline the nature of the eligibility proposal, making the case that it is not ad hoc, but (...) instead flows naturally from three independently motivated elements; and to show that severe limitations afflict the proposal. In conclusion, I pick out the element of the eligibility response that is responsible for the limitations: future work in this area should therefore concentrate on amending this aspect of the overall theory. (shrink)
Might it be that world itself, independently of what we know about it or how we represent it, is metaphysically indeterminate? This article tackles in turn a series of questions: In what sorts of cases might we posit metaphysical indeterminacy? What is it for a given case of indefiniteness to be 'metaphysical'? How does the phenomenon relate to 'ontic vagueness', the existence of 'vague objects', 'de re indeterminacy' and the like? How might the logic work? Are there reasons for postulating (...) this distinctive sort of indefiniteness? Conversely, are there reasons for denying that there is indefiniteness of this sort? (shrink)
Many accounts of structural rationality give a special role to logic. This paper reviews the problem case of clear-eyed logical uncertainty. An account of rational norms on belief that does not give a special role to logic is developed: doxastic probabilism.
Worlds where things divide forever ("gunk" worlds) are apparently conceivable. The conceivability of such scenarios has been used as an argument against "nihilist" or "near-nihilist" answers to the special composition question. I argue that the mereological nihilist has the resources to explain away the illusion that gunk is possible.
Lewis (1973) gave a short argument against conditional excluded middle, based on his treatment of ‘might’ counterfactuals. Bennett (2003), with much of the recent literature, gives an alternative take on ‘might’ counterfactuals. But Bennett claims the might-argument against CEM still goes through. This turns on a specific claim I call Bennett’s Hypothesis. I argue that independently of issues to do with the proper analysis of might-counterfactuals, Bennett’s Hypothesis is inconsistent with CEM. But Bennett’s Hypothesis is independently objectionable, so we should (...) resolve this tension by dropping the Hypothesis, not by dropping CEM. (shrink)
Joyce (1998) gives an argument for probabilism: the doctrine that rational credences should conform to the axioms of probability. In doing so, he provides a distinctive take on how the normative force of probabilism relates to the injunction to believe what is true. But Joyce presupposes that the truth values of the propositions over which credences are defined are classical. I generalize the core of Joyce’s argument to remove this presupposition. On the same assumptions as Joyce uses, the credences of (...) a rational agent should always be weighted averages of truth value assignments. In the special case where the truth values are classical, the weighted averages of truth value assignments are exactly the probability functions. But in the more general case, probabilistic axioms formulated in terms of classical logic are violated—but we will show that generalized versions of the axioms formulated in terms of non-classical logics are satisfied. (shrink)
Revisionary theories of logic or truth require revisionary theories of mind. This essay outlines nonclassically based theories of rational belief, desire, and decision making, singling out the supervaluational family for special attention. To see these nonclassical theories of mind in action, this essay examines a debate between David Lewis and Derek Parfit over what matters in survival. Lewis argued that indeterminacy in personal identity allows caring about psychological connectedness and caring about personal identity to amount to the same thing. The (...) essay argues that Lewis's treatment of two of Parfit's puzzle cases—degreed survival and fission—presuppose different nonclassical treatments of belief and desire. (shrink)
Jeff Paris proves a generalized Dutch Book theorem. If a belief state is not a generalized probability then one faces ‘sure loss’ books of bets. In Williams I showed that Joyce’s accuracy-domination theorem applies to the same set of generalized probabilities. What is the relationship between these two results? This note shows that both results are easy corollaries of the core result that Paris appeals to in proving his dutch book theorem. We see that every point of accuracy-domination deﬁnes a (...) dutch book, but we only have a partial converse. (shrink)
John Hawthorne in a recent paper takes issue with Lewisian accounts of counterfactuals, when relevant laws of nature are chancy. I respond to his arguments on behalf of the Lewisian, and conclude that while some can be rebutted, the case against the original Lewisian account is strong. I develop a neo-Lewisian account of what makes for closeness of worlds. I argue that my revised version avoids Hawthorne's challenges. I argue that this is closer to the spirit of Lewis's first (non-chancy) (...) proposal than is Lewis's own suggested modification. (shrink)
Theoretical explication of a growing body of empirical data on consciousness-related anomalous phenomena is unlikely to be achieved in terms of known physical processes. Rather, it will first be necessary to formulate the basic role of consciousness in the definition of reality before such anomalous experience can adequately be represented. This paper takes the position that reality is constituted only in the interaction of consciousness with its environment, and therefore that any scheme of conceptual organization developed to represent that reality (...) must reflect the processes of consciousness as well as those of its environment. In this spirit, the concepts and formalisms of elementary quantum mechanics, as originally proposed to explain anomalous atomic-scale physical phenomena, are appropriated via metaphor to represent the general characteristics of consciousness interacting with any environment. More specifically, if consciousness is represented by a quantum mechanical wave function, and its environment by an appropriate potential profile, Schrödinger wave mechanics defines eigenfunctions and eigenvalues that can be associated with the cognitive and emotional experiences of that consciousness in that environment. To articulate this metaphor it is necessary to associate certain aspects of the formalism, such as the coordinate system, the quantum numbers, and even the metric itself, with various impressionistic descriptors of consciousness, such as its intensity, perspective, approach/avoidance attitude, balance between cognitive and emotional activity, and receptive/assertive disposition. With these established, a number of the generic features of quantum mechanics, such as the wave/particle duality, and the uncertainty, indistinguishability, and exclusion principles, display metaphoric relevance to familiar individual and collective experiences. Similarly, such traditional quantum theoretic exercises as the central force field and atomic structure, covalent molecular bonds, barrier penetration, and quantum statistical collective behavior become useful analogies for representation of a variety of consciousness experiences, both normal and anomalous, and for the design of experiments to study these systematically. (shrink)
I outline and motivate a way of implementing a closest world theory of indicatives, appealing to Stalnaker's framework of open conversational possibilities. Stalnakerian conversational dynamics helps us resolve two outstanding puzzles for a such a theory of indicative conditionals. The first puzzle -- concerning so-called 'reverse Sobel sequences' -- can be resolved by conversation dynamics in a theoryneutral way: the explanation works as much for Lewisian counterfactuals as for the account of indicatives developed here. Resolving the second puzzle, by contrast, (...) relies on the interplay between the particular theory of indicative conditionals developed here and Stalnakerian dynamics. The upshot is an attractive resolution of the so-called "Gibbard phenomenon" for indicative conditionals. (shrink)
Neuroethics, the study of the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying ethical decision-making, is a growing field of study. In this review, we identify and discuss four themes emerging from neuroethics research. First, ethical decision-making appears to be distinct from other types of decision-making processes. Second, ethical decision-making entails more than just conscious reasoning. Third, emotion plays a critical role in ethical decision-making, at least under certain circumstances. Lastly, normative approaches to morality have distinct, underlying neural mechanisms. On the basis of (...) these themes, we draw implications for research in business ethics and the practice of ethics training. (shrink)
Continental Upper Triassic Yanchang “black shales” in the southeastern Ordos Basin have been proven to be unconventional gas reservoirs. Organic-matter-lean and organic-matter-rich argillaceous mudstones form reservoirs that were deposited in a deeper water lacustrine setting during lake highstands. In the stratified lake, the bottom waters were dysaerobic to anoxic. This low-energy and low-oxygen lake-bottom setting allowed types II and III organic matter to accumulate. Interbedded with the argillaceous mudstones are argillaceous arkosic siltstones deposited by gravity-flow processes. Rock samples from the (...) Yanchang Chang 7–9 members are very immature mineralogically. Mineral grains are predominantly composed of relatively equal portions of quartz and feldspar. The high clay-mineral content, generally greater than 40%, has promoted extensive compaction of the sediments, permitting the ductile material to deform and occlude interparticle pores. Furthermore, this high clay-mineral content does not favor hydraulic fracturing of the mudstone reservoir. The pore network within the mudstones is dominated by intraparticle pores and a lesser abundance of organic-matter pores. Interparticle pores are rare. The mean Gas Research Institute crushed-rock porosity is 4.2%. Because the pore network is dominated by poorly connected intraparticle pores, permeability is very low. The dominance of intraparticle pores creates a very poor correlation between GRI porosity and GRI permeability. Several methods of porosity analysis were conducted on each samples, and the results were compared. There is no significant correlation between the three methods, implying that each method measures different pore sizes or types. There is also no relationship between the porosity and permeability and total organic carbon. Much of the mature organic matter is nonporous, suggesting that it is of type III. Most of the organic-matter pores are in migrated solid bitumen. Overall, the samples analyzed have low porosity and permeability for mudrocks. (shrink)
It is claimed that 'Do x!' means 'Then you will do x'. Answering a "Why?" question concerning the former may take either of two forms, viz., 'Because --' or 'If you wish to --'. The second answer completes the truncated hypothetical. "Ought" sentences are treated as a species of imperatives involving universality in the "if" clause ('If anyone wished to --'). Moral "ought" sentences involve a double universality, viz., the one mentioned above and universality connecting the action with social harmony (...) (e.g., "If everyone were to do x, then there would be social harmony'). (shrink)
Being well together, an inaugural Research Forum, will critically examine the myriad ways humans have formed partnerships with non-human species to improve health across time and place. Across the humanities and social sciences, a growing body of scholarship has begun to rethink the prominence of the ‘human’ in our accounts of the world by exploring the category less as an individualised essence and more as a temporal process of becoming. From this perspective, being human becomes a process of ‘becoming with’, (...) performed through interactions with non-human others. This paper introduces a diverse collection of studies, originally presented at a workshop held at the University of Manchester in 2018, which explored how emergent approaches within animal studies might productively and playfully engage with the medical humanities. In each case, human health and well-being is shown to rest on the cultivation of relationships with other species. Being well is rethought and remapped as a more than human process of being well together. Collectively, this research forum invites reflection on what the medical humanities might look like from a more than human perspective. (shrink)
Some argue that theories of universals should incorporate structural universals, in order to allow for the metaphysical possibility of worlds of 'infinite descending complexity' ('onion worlds'). I argue that the possibility of such worlds does not establish the need for structural universals. So long as we admit the metaphysical possibility of emergent universals, there is an attractive alternative description of such cases.
Supervaluationism is often described as the most popular semantic treatment of indeterminacy. There???s little consensus, however, about how to fill out the bare-bones idea to include a characterization of logical consequence. The paper explores one methodology for choosing between the logics: pick a logic that norms belief as classical consequence is standardly thought to do. The main focus of the paper considers a variant of standard supervaluational, on which we can characterize degrees of determinacy. It applies the methodology above to (...) focus on degree logic. This is developed first in a basic, single-premise case; and then extended to the multipremise case, and to allow degrees of consequence. The metatheoretic properties of degree logic are set out. On the positive side, the logic is supraclassical???all classical valid sequents are degree logic valid. Strikingly, metarules such as cut and conjunction introduction fail. (shrink)
There are advantages to thrift over honest toil. If we can make do without numbers we avoid challenging questions over the metaphysics and epistemology of such entities; and we have a good idea, I think, of what a nominalistic metaphysics should look like. But minimizing ontology brings its own problems; for it seems to lead to error theory— saying that large swathes of common-sense and best science are false. Should recherche philosophical arguments really convince us to give all this up? (...) Such Moorean considerations are explicitly part of the motivation for the recent resurgence of structured metaphysics, which allow a minimal (perhaps nominalistic) fundamental ontology, while avoiding error-theory by adopting a permissive stance towards ontology that can be argued to be grounded in the fundamental. This paper evaluates the Moorean arguments, identifying key epistemological assumptions. On the assumption that Moorean arguments can be used to rule out error-theory, I examine deflationary ‘representationalist’ rivals to the structured metaphysics reaction. Quinean paraphrase, fictionalist claims about syntax and semantics are considered and criticized. In the final section, a ‘direct’ deflationary strategy is outlined and the theoretical obligations that it faces are articulated. The position advocated may have us talking a lot like a friend of structured metaphysics—but with a very different conception of what we’re up to. (shrink)
Seeking a scientific basis for understanding and treating mental illness, and inspired by the work of Ivan Pavlov, American physiologists, psychiatrists and psychologists in the 1920s turned to nonhuman animals. This paper examines how new constructs such as “experimental neurosis” emerged as tools to enable psychiatric comparison across species. From 1923 to 1962, the Cornell “Behavior Farm” was a leading interdisciplinary research center pioneering novel techniques to experimentally study nonhuman psychopathology. Led by the psychobiologist Howard Liddell, work at the Behavior (...) Farm formed part of an ambitious program to develop new preventative and therapeutic techniques and bring psychiatry into closer relations with physiology and medicine. At the heart of Liddell’s activities were a range of nonhuman animals, including pigs, sheep, goats and dogs, each serving as a proxy for human patients. We examine how Pavlov’s conceptualization of ‘experimental neurosis’ was used by Liddell to facilitate comparison across species and communication between researchers and clinicians. Our close reading of his experimental system demonstrates how unexpected animal behaviors and emotions were transformed into experimental virtues. However, to successfully translate such behaviors from the animal laboratory into the field of human psychopathology, Liddell increasingly reached beyond, and, in effect, redefined, the Pavlovian method to make it compatible and compliant with an ethological approach to the animal laboratory. We show how the resultant Behavior Farm served as a productive “hybrid” place, containing elements of experiment and observation, laboratory and field. It was through the building of close and more naturalistic relationships with animals over extended periods of time, both normal and pathological, and within and outside of the experimental space, that Liddell could understand, manage, and make useful the myriad behavioral complexities that emerged from the life histories of experimental animals, the researchers who worked with them, and their shared relationships to the wider physical and social environments. (shrink)
In some sense, survival seems to be an intrinsic matter. Whether or not you survive some event seems to depend on what goes on with you yourself —what happens in the environment shouldn’t make a difference. Likewise, being a person at a time seems intrinsic. The principle that survival seems intrinsic is one factor which makes personal fission puzzles so awkward. Fission scenarios present cases where if survival is an intrinsic matter, it appears that an individual could survive twice over. (...) But it’s well known that standard notions of “intrinsicality” won’t do to articulate the sense in which survival is intrinsic, since ‘personhood’ appears to be a maximal property. We formulate a sense in which survival and personhood (and perhaps other maximal properties) may be almost intrinsic—a sense that would suffice, for example, to ground fission arguments. It turns out that this notion of almost-intrinsicality allows us to formulate a new version of the problem of the many. (shrink)
The ArgumentIs genetic counseling a form of eugenics? To some extent, the answer depends upon how the terms “eugenics” and “genetic counseling” are defined. This paper reviews the eugenic implications of four models of genetic counseling. The complexities of slapping the eugenic label on genetic counseling are illustrated with three cases drawn from clinical practice. However, even though genetic counseling is not always a eugenic activity, genetic counselors work in a medical/ financial setting that has the net eugenic effect of, (...) and profits from, reducing the number of people with genetic disorders. (shrink)