Argues for the primacy of the phylogenetic system as the general reference system in biology. This book, first published in 1966, generated significant controversy and opened possibilities for evolutionary biology.
When developing phylogenetic systematics, the entomologist WilliHennig adopted elements from Nicolai Hartmann’s ontology. In this historical essay I take on the task of documenting this adoption. I argue that in order to build a metaphysical foundation for phylogenetic systematics, Hennig adopted from Hartmann four main metaphysical theses. These are (1) that what is real is what is temporal; (2) that the criterion of individuality is to have duration; (3) that species are supra-individuals; and (4) that there (...) are levels of reality, each of which may be subject to different kinds of law. Reliance on Hartmann’s metaphysics allowed Hennig to ground some of the main theoretical principles of phylogenetic systematics, namely that the biological categories—from the semaphoront to the highest rank—have reality and individuality despite not being universals, and that they form a hierarchy of levels, each of which may require different kinds of explanation. Hartmann’s metaphysics thereby provided a philosophical justification for Hennig’s phylogenetic systematics, both as a theory and as a method of classification. (shrink)
In Phylogenetic Systematics (1966), WilliHennig conflates the Linnaean hierarchy with what Hennig refers to as the divisional hierarchy. In doing so, he lays the foundations of that school of biological taxonomy known as cladism on a philosophically ambiguous basis. This paper compares and contrasts the two hierarchies and demonstrates that Hennig conflates them. It shows that Hennig's followers also conflate them. Finally, it illuminates five persistent problems in cladism by suggesting that they arise from (...)Hennig's original confusion. (shrink)
This paper takes a hierarchical approach to the question whether species are individuals or natural kinds. The thesis defended here is that species are spatiotemporally located complex wholes (individuals), that are composed of (i.e., include) causally interdependent parts, which collectively also instantiate a homeostatic property cluster (HPC) natural kind. Species may form open or closed genetic systems that are dynamic in nature, that have fuzzy boundaries due to the processual nature of speciation, that may have leaky boundaries as is manifest (...) in lateral gene transfer and introgression, that may be of multiple origins through hybridization, and that may split and merge and split again over time. The identity conditions of species qua individuals will have to be anchored in their history, rather than in their unique evolutionary origin. Species qua historically conditioned HPC natural kinds requires the kind to be mereologically structured, subject to the part-whole relation rather than the membership relation. This implies that there can be more than one kind of natural kinds. (shrink)
During the early twentieth century, the Swiss Zoologist Adolf Naef (1883–1949) established himself as a leader in German comparative anatomy and higher level systematics. He is generally labeled an ‘idealistic morphologist’, although he himself called his research program ‘systematic morphology’. The idealistic morphology that flourished in German biology during the first half of the twentieth century was a rather heterogeneous movement, within which Adolf Naef worked out a special theoretical system of his own. Following a biographical sketch, we present an (...) English translation of a previously unpublished typescript from Naef’s estate, which Naef intended as the introduction to a textbook on Comparative Anatomy for which he was unable to find a publisher before his sudden death in 1949. The typescript contains Naef’s mature thoughts with unprecedented conciseness, focus, and clarity. The density of Naef’s text warrants a historical and contextual explication of its content. (shrink)
The German tradition of considering species, and higher taxonomic entities, as individuals begins with the temporalization of natural history, thus pre-dating Darwin’s ‘Origin’ of 1859. In the tradition of German Naturphilosophie as developed by Friedrich Schelling, species came to be seen as parts of a complex whole that encompasses all (living) nature. Species were comprehended as dynamic entities that earn individuality by virtue of their irreversible passage through time. Species individuality was conceived in terms of species taxa forming a spatiotemporally (...) located relational system (complex whole), a conception of species that was easily assimilated to an evolutionary world view. However, the dynamics of an evolutionary process driven by variation and natural selection created a tension between continuity in nature as opposed to the discreteness and relative stasis of species. As a consequence, some authors such as Ernst Haeckel and Karl August Möbius denied the reality of species, while others explicitly linked the reality and individuality of species to their temporal duration. The mature conception of species as individuals, as formulated by Ludwig von Bertalanffy and adopted by WilliHennig, is one of an historically conditioned, spatiotemporally located, causally integrated, dynamic yet transiently homeostatically stabilized relational system. (shrink)
RESUMEN: La biología evolucionista no ha logrado definir un concepto de especie que satisfaga a todos sus colaboradores. El presente panorama crítico de las principales propuestas y sus respectivas dificultades apunta, por un lado, a ilustrar los procesos de formación de conceptos en las ciencias empíricas y, por otro, a socavar la visión parateológica del conocimiento y la verdad que inspiró inicialmente a la ciencia moderna y prevalece aún entre muchas personas educadas. El artículo se divide en dos partes. La (...) primera atiende al concepto biológico de especie adoptado por Theodosius Dobzhansky y Ernst Mayr alrededor de 1940, así como a las alternativas introducidas para superar sus limitaciones. La segunda parte estudia la tradición “cladista” fundada por WilliHennig y sus ramificaciones. Varios conceptos de especie que no era fácil integrar en estos dos grupos se omitieron en aras de la coherencia y la brevedad de la exposición.ABSTRACT: Evolutionary biology has not suceeded in defining a concept of species that will satisfy all researchers. This critical survey of the main proposals and their respective difficulties tends, on the one hand, to throw light on the processes of concept formation in the empirical sciences, and, on the other, to undermine the paratheological vision of knowledge and truth that initially inspired modern science and still prevails among many educated persons. The article is divided into two parts. The first part concerns the biological concept of species which was adopted by Theodosius Dobzhansky and Ernst Mayr ca. 1940 and some alternatives which were subsequently introduced to overcome its limitations. The second part deals with several branches of the cladist tradition founded by WilliHennig. Various concepts of species that could not be easily integrated in either group were omitted for the sake of coherence and brevity. (shrink)
In the article titled ‘A new perspective on the race debate’，Robin O. Andreasen argues that contrary to popular scientific belief, human races are biologically real—it is just that we are wrong about them. Andreasen calls her contemporary biological concept of race ‘the cladistic race concept’ (or CRC). Her theory uses theory from cladistics—a systematic school founded by entomologist WilliHennig in 1950—to define human races genealogically as cladistic subspecies. In this paper I will argue that despite its promise (...) as a biological definition of human races, Andreasen's CRC is unconvincing. In particular, I will show that the central problem of the CRC is its attempt to apply cladistics below the species level. In other words, there is good reason to think that cladistic subspecies are not real, and therefore, they cannot be the target of a realist concept of race. (shrink)
Darwin oﬀered an intriguing answer to the species problem. He doubted the existence of the species category as a real category in nature, but he did not doubt the existence of those taxa called ‘‘species’’. And despite his scepticism of the species category, Darwin continued using the word ‘‘species’’. Many have said that Darwin did not understand the nature of species. Yet his answer to the species problem is both theoretically sound and practical. On the theoretical side, DarwinÕs answer is (...) conﬁrmed by contemporary biology, and it oﬀers a more satisfactory answer to the species problem than recent attempts to save the species category. On the practical side, DarwinÕs answer frees us from the search for the correct theoretical deﬁnition of ‘‘species’’. But at the same time it does not require that we banish the word ‘‘species’’ from biology as some recent sceptics of the species category advocate. Ó The WilliHennig Society 2010. (shrink)
The concept that renders morphology a tool for phylogeny reconstruction is homology. The concept of homology is rooted in pre-evolutionary idealistic morphology. The claim that the goal of idealistic morphology was the seriability of form may sound paradoxical given that this discipline proceeded within a framework of strictly delimited types. But the types only demarcate where seriability starts and where it comes to an end. Carl Gegenbaur’s was recognized as a milestone in idealistic morphology. A comparison with the second edition (...) of 1870 illustrates Gegenbaur’s turn to evolutionary morphology. The methodology remained the same–seriability of form–but the series was no longer merely descriptive or conceptual but now a historical, evolutionary one. Gegenbaur emphasized that seriability of form was possible not only between species of the same type, but also between parts of organisms of the same type. Pursuing this project, he found that different parts of organisms evolve at different rates, resulting in an incongruence between the series of parts relative to the series of species under comparison. This incongrence was called chevauchement des spécialisations by Louis Dollo, Spezialisationskreuzungen by Othenio Abel, and heterobathmy of characters by Armen Takhtajan. WilliHennig, the founder of modern methods in phylogenetic systematics, discovered that the heterobathmy of characters was a precondition for the establishment of the phylogenetic relationships based on shared derived characters. The result was a replacement of the search for ancestors by a search for relative degrees of phylogenetic relationships. (shrink)
Starting from the idea that functions are formally similar to actions in that they are described and explained in a similar way, so that both admit of an accordion effect, I turn to Anscombe’s insight that the point of practical reasoning is to render explicit the relation between the different descriptions of an action generated by the accordion effect. The upshot is, roughly, that an item has a function if what it does can be accounted for by functional reasoning. Put (...) differently, a part of a system has a function if what it does is a functional part of what the system does. (shrink)
The foundations of probability deal with the problem of modelling reasoning in face of uncertainty by a mathematical calculus, usually the standard probability calculus .The three dominating schools in the foundations of probability interpret probabilities as limiting long-run frequencies conceived as an objective property of series of repeatable experiments , or rational betting rates for an individual to bet on the unknown outcome of experiments depending on the individual’s prior assessments updated by evidence , or rational betting rates to bet (...) on the unknown outcome of experiments depending on evidence only, but not on subjective assessments .Apart from the interpretation of probability, frequentism and Bayesianism in particular also differ with respect to the advocated methodology for inference. Frequentists use tests, estimators, and confidence intervals . Bayesians usually start with a prior distribution and use the posterior distribution, which is obtained by conditioning on the evidence, in order to carry out inferences. The prior distribution either models the individual’s personal prior probability assessments or, in objective Bayesianism, is chosen according to some rules in order to allow the evidence to determine the posterior.All three approaches are riddled with difficulties . Frequentism is often accused of circularity, because the assumption of independent identically distributed outcomes is needed in order to connect observations to frequentist probabilities, but ‘iid’ is itself defined probabilistically. Subjective Bayesianism is attacked for being too …. (shrink)
Title: Thesen zur deutschen Sozial- und WirtschaftsgeschichtePublisher: Suhrkamp VerlagISBN: 3518106627Author: Eike HennigTitle: Alfred Sohn-RethelPublisher: SuhrkampISBN: 3518006304Author: Oekonomie und Klassenstruktur des deutschen Faschismus.
Descartes’ derivation of the primary qualities of matter and their role in explaining observed physical phenomena are briefly reviewed. The lesson drawn from Descartes’ methodology of explanation is that we ought to aim to reduce complex phenomena to simple unifying principles and conceptual primitives. Three proposed solutions to the apparent paradoxes in contemporary quantum physics are briefly compared with lessons taken from Descartes. It is argued that further research in this field should provide criteria for selecting modifications to the standard (...) conceptual scheme, along the lines of either visualisable causality or the physical spatial separability of all material objects. (shrink)
Willie Thompson offers a clear, jargon-free introduction to postmodernist theory and its significant impact on the study of history. This is a hotly-debated topic, and much of the literature is both polemical and inaccessible to the novice. Thompson, however, presents key ideas in a straightforward way, making these debates relevant to students' own work.
Motivation is a concept more frequently found in venues concerned with educational psychology than in ones concerned with educational philosophy. Under the influence of psychology, and its typically dualistic way of making sense of the world, motivation in education has tended to be viewed in dichotomous terms, for example, as intrinsic or extrinsic in character. Such psychology-derived theories of educational motivation operate within a dichotomous ontology, traceable to structuralist notions of agency versus (rather than within) structure, while exemplifying the tendency (...) in psychology that philosopher R. S. Peters identified over half a century ago, of seeking to provide totalizing, comprehensive theories of human behaviour in emulation of the achievements of the natural sciences. This article offers an alternative reading of motivation in terms of Foucauldian ethical self-formation that attempts to recognize motivation as arising from the individuals? socially situated and constrained agency, and that focuses on how individuals pursue learning as a way of creating a particular desired version of the self. We illustrate this approach through a vignette of Wolfgang, a Hong Kong learner of German as a third language. Although we are certainly not seeking to supplant other approaches to theorizing motivation, we believe that the approach we elaborate here contributes significantly to the repertoire of motivational research in education. (shrink)
The statement below is an outgrowth of a retreat at Tomales Bay,California, December 3-6, 1992, at which fifteen scientists and philosophersattempted to explore the question of an appropriate epistemology for consciousness research. Contributions were made by the scholars listed below and others; the final synthesis was performed by Willis Harman. The statement is submitted to the broader scientific community, and to the concerned public, to stimulate dialogue about a long-standing question, and to foster interest in an ever-deepening scientific study of (...) human consciousness. Basically, the question is: How does it happen that our powerful methods of scientific enquiry appear so ill-suited to the study of consciousness? If understanding our own consciousness is so central to understanding anything else, will we not have to take this question more seriously than has been the case so far? (shrink)
_Spinoza’s Modernity _is a major, original work of intellectual history that reassesses the philosophical project of Baruch Spinoza, uncovers his influence on later thinkers, and demonstrates how that crucial influence on Moses Mendelssohn, G. E. Lessing, and Heinrich Heine shaped the development of modern critical thought. Excommunicated by his Jewish community, Spinoza was a controversial figure in his lifetime and for centuries afterward. Willi Goetschel shows how Spinoza’s philosophy was a direct challenge to the theological and metaphysical assumptions of (...) modern European thought. He locates the driving force of this challenge in Spinoza’s Jewishness, which is deeply inscribed in his philosophy and defines the radical nature of his modernity. (shrink)
Kant’s philosophy is often treated as a closed system, without reference to how it was written or how Kant arrived at its familiar form, the critique. In fact, the style of the critique seems so artless that readers think of it as an unfortunate by-product—a style of stylelessness. In _Constituting Critique_, Willi Goetschel shows how this apparent gracelessness was deliberately achieved by Kant through a series of writing experiments. By providing an account of the process that culminated in his (...) three _Critiques_, this book offers a new perspective on Kant’s philosophical thought and practice. _Constituting Critique_ traces the stages in Kant’s development to reveal how he redefined philosophy as a critical task. Following the philosopher through the experiments of his early essays, Goetschel demonstrates how Kant tests, challenges, and transforms the philosophical essay in his pursuit of a new self-reflective literary genre. From these experiments, critique emerges as the philosophical form for the critical project of the Enlightenment. The imperatives of its transcendental style, Goetschel contends, not only constitute and inform the critical moment of Kant’s philosophical praxis, but also have an enduring place in post-Kantian philosophy and literature. By situating the _Critiques_ within the context of Kant’s early essays, this work will redirect the attention of Kant scholars to the origins of their form. It will also encourage contemporary critical theorists to reconsider their own practice through an engagement with its source in Kant. (shrink)