Six schools of thought can be detected in the development of evolutionary theory in German paleontology between 1859 and World War II. Most paleontologists were hardly affected in their research by Darwin's Origin of Species. The traditionalists accepted evolution within lower taxa but not for organisms in general. They also rejected Darwin's theory of selection. The early Darwinians accepted Darwin's theory of transmutation and theory of selection as axioms and applied them fruitfully to the fossil record, thereby laying the foundation (...) for the new research areas of phylogeny and paleo-biology. The enthusiasm of the early Darwinians faded when the fossil record and the problems of its interpretion became more widely known. The pluralists of the turn of the century invented and adopted a wealth of hypothetical mechanisms in order to explain individual features of the fossil record. They failed, however, to provide one coherent theory. Dissatisfaction with this situation led to adoption of a dogmatic neo-Lamarckism, which was regarded as a coherent theory providing a fruitful research program. The rejection of the Lamarckian mechanism early in this century left paleontologists with only one kind of evolutionary mechanism: inner causes.Like many neo-Lamarckians several orthogeneticists were highly interested in adaptation and did not see any contradiction between the inner causes of evolution and adaptation. The dominance of stratigraphical research programs in paleontology led in the 1930s and 1940s to a decrease in interest in adaptation. Stratigraphical records of taxa were accepted as meaningful in the context of evolutionary theory. Orthogenesis and the new concepts of saltation and cyclicism were amalgamated into one theory : typostrophism. This theory dominated German paleontology for decades after the war and only recently has the synthetic theory been seriously considered.Evolution was never very intensively discussed in German paleontology in the hundred years after Darwin's book. Most information used here comes from textbooks or from papers given on special occasions. It has been impossible to summarize how members of one school defended their views or discussed the ideas of competing schools. (shrink)
Evolutionary change is opportunistic, but its course is strongly constrained in several fundamental ways. These constraints (historical/phylogenetic, functional/adaptive, constructional/morphogenetic) and their dynamic relationships are discussed here and shown to constitute the conceptual framework of Constructional Morphology. Notwithstanding recent published opinions which claim that the discovery of constraints renders Neodarwinian selection theory obsolete, we regard the insights of Constructional Morphology as being entirely consistent with this theory. As is shown here in the case of the Hyracoidea, formal analysis of the constraints (...) which have framed the evolution of various characters extends our understanding of the evolution of a taxon. (shrink)
This contribution will deal with granting rights to nature. We will define rights of nature as a social process of creating institutions which are linked to philosophical discourses on perceptions of nature. The idea is to use different narratives in order to understand how rights of nature have been and can be accomplished/derived by humans. Then we will give hints for future directions of right detection embedded in eco-systems. We will specifically focus on the right derivation needed for contracting with (...) nature. We take the beaver, the wolf and the black tern as examples and generalize on case specific findings. All of them need habitats and landscapes in which they can live. The message is that landscapes and habitats are part of rights of nature and that they must be also addressed beyond individual species. Additionally, we will use different strains of thought to get hints on a practical establishing of rights of nature. (shrink)
Most people, including philosophers, tend to classify human motives as falling into one of two categories: the egoistic or the altruistic, the self-interested or the moral. According to Susan Wolf, however, much of what motivates us does not comfortably fit into this scheme. Often we act neither for our own sake nor out of duty or an impersonal concern for the world. Rather, we act out of love for objects that we rightly perceive as worthy of love--and it is (...) these actions that give meaning to our lives. Wolf makes a compelling case that, along with happiness and morality, this kind of meaningfulness constitutes a distinctive dimension of a good life. Written in a lively and engaging style, and full of provocative examples, Meaning in Life and Why It Matters is a profound and original reflection on a subject of permanent human concern. (shrink)
The article investigates Cassirer's developing interest in the cultural sciences to display how his Philosophy of Symbolic Forms constitutes a philosophy of culture. The core concept in such a philosophy of culture is the symbolic formation that both possesses a structured-structuring dimension and appears as an historical process in which culture shows itself as a temporal creation. The philosophy of culture displays 'life in meaning', that is reality as it exhibits human reality manifested in and through the medium of linguistic, (...) artistic, religious, scientific "and so on" action and behaviour. This reality, therefore, is mediation between culture and nature through human spirit. Cassirer's philosophy of culture connects back to Kant's transcendental idealism by emphasizing that any concept of reality establishes itself through a modalization of reality, e.g. that reality constitutes itself in the mode of interpretation. This makes the basis for Cassirer's characteristic understanding of hermeneutics where cultural development is regarded as drama. (shrink)
For over thirty years Susan Wolf has been writing about moral and nonmoral values and the relation between them. This volume collects Wolf's most important essays on the topics of morality, love, and meaning, ranging from her classic essay "Moral Saints" to her most recent "The Importance of Love.".
Animal studies and biopolitics are two of the most dynamic areas of interdisciplinary scholarship, but until now, they have had little to say to each other. Bringing these two emergent areas of thought into direct conversation in _Before the Law_, Cary Wolfe fosters a new discussion about the status of nonhuman animals and the shared plight of humans and animals under biopolitics. Wolfe argues that the human-animal distinction must be supplemented with the central distinction of biopolitics: the difference between those (...) animals that are members of a community and those that are deemed killable but not murderable. From this understanding, we can begin to make sense of the fact that this distinction prevails within both the human and animal domains and address such difficult issues as why we afford some animals unprecedented levels of care and recognition while subjecting others to unparalleled forms of brutality and exploitation. Engaging with many major figures in biopolitical thought—from Heidegger, Arendt, and Foucault to Agamben, Esposito, and Derrida—Wolfe explores how biopolitics can help us understand both the ethical and political dimensions of the current questions surrounding the rights of animals. (shrink)
Ernst Troeltsch's essay on socialism presents a summary account of his views on the prospects for a socialist economic order within the Weimar Republic. Troeltsch attempts to formulate a compromise that incorporates the proposals of both social conservatism and communism. Such a compromise, he insists, is possible on the basis of a realistic assessment of socialism supported by "an act of faith in the future" based upon explicitly religious resources. This essay is significant not only in relation to the (...) "religious socialism" then discussed in Germany, but also for the development of "political theology" today. (shrink)
Ernst Mach zählt zu den bedeutendsten Naturwissenschaftlern und Philosophen des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts. In der Physik gilt er als Wegbereiter von Einsteins Relativitätstheorie und Kontrahent von Boltzmanns Atomistik. In der Biologie, Psychologie und Physiologie wird er als Pionier einer empiristischen und gestalthaften „Analyse der Empfindungen“ betrachtet. In der Wissenschaftsphilosophie schließlich war er Vorbild des Wiener Kreises mit dem Verein Ernst Mach und Wegbereiter einer integrierten Wissenschaftsgeschichte und Wissenschaftstheorie. Der Band versammelt die deutschsprachigen Beiträge zum Symposium anlässlich des (...) 100. Todestages von Ernst Mach. Im Mittelpunkt der internationalen Konferenz im Juni 2016 an der Universität Wien und der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften standen Leben, Werk und Wirkung des Naturforschers und Philosophen. Der Band bietet eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme von Machs Lebenswerk vor dem Hintergrund der aktuellen Forschung und Historiografie. Die Autoren untersuchen unter anderem • seine Bedeutung für die Herausbildung einer naturwissenschaftlichen Psychologie • Machs historisch-kritische Methode • die Rolle der Kinematographie • die Rezeption durch Aleksander Bogdanov • das Verhältnis zu Sigmund Freuds Psychoanalyse Der Band erscheint in der Reihe „Veröffentlichungen des Instituts Wiener Kreis“ und richtet sich an Forschende auf den Gebieten der Wissenschaftsphilosophie, -geschichte und -theorie sowie der Kulturwissenschaften und der Wahrnehmungspsychologie. (shrink)
The concept of philosophy as a philosophical problem.--Critical idealism as a philosophy of culture.--Descartes, Leibniz, and Vico.--Hegel's theory of the State.--The philosophy of history.--Language and art I.--Language and art II.--The educational value of art.--Philosophy and politics.--Judaism and the modern political myths.--The technique of our modern political myths.--Reflections on the concept of group and the theory of perception.