We review the literature on various approaches to modeling animal intergroup conflict behavior in theoretical biology, highlight the intricacies emerging in the process of adding due biological realism to such models, and point out recent empirical findings that can inspire future theorizing.
According to realists, theories are successful because they are true, but according to selectionists, theories are successful because they have gone through a rigorous selection process. Wray claims that the realist and selectionist explanations are rivals to each other. Lee objects that they are instead complementary to each other. In my view, Lee’s objection presupposes that the realist explanation is true, and thus it begs the question against selectionists. By contrast, the selectionist explanation invokes a scientific theory, and thus it (...) is not clear whether it is a realist explanation or an antirealist explanation. Finally, the six new arguments for scientific realism in the literature truly complement the no-miracles argument. (shrink)
The great advances of the last decades both in cognitive theories and in evolutionary biology have not yet fully merged. Most evolutionary hypotheses around the mind still rely on classical cognitivism, while most theories of cognition still look for adaptive explanations. We believe that the merging of novel cognitive theories into a pluralistic account can greatly improve our understanding of both what cognition is and how it evolved.
Menopause is an evolutionary mystery: how could living longer with no capacity to reproduce possibly be advantageous? Several explanations have been offered for why female humans, unlike our closest primate relatives, have such an extensive post-reproductive lifespan. Proponents of the so-called “grandmother hypothesis” suggest that older women are able to increase their fitness by helping to care for their grandchildren as allomothers. This paper first distinguishes the grandmother hypothesis from several other hypotheses that attempt to explain menopause, and then develops (...) a formal model by which these hypotheses can be compared and tested by empirical researchers. The model is then modified and used to respond to a common objection to the grandmother hypothesis: that human fathers, rather than grandmothers, are better suited to be allomothers due to their physical strength and a high incentive to invest in their own children. However, fathers—unlike maternal grandmothers—can never be sure that the children they are caring for are their own. Incorporating paternity uncertainty into the model demonstrates the conditions under which the grandmother hypothesis is more plausible than a hypothesis that focuses on the contributions of men. (shrink)
I examine the use of the term function in Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, invoked as (1) the healthy functioning of the land community, which is dependent on (2) the maintenance of the characteristic functions of populations that are parts of the land community. The latter can be understood as referring to interactions between species that are the products of coevolution (such as parasite-host, predator-prey) and, thus, in terms of the “selected effect” account of function. The performance of these functions under (...) certain conditions maintain what Leopold took to be the healthy functioning of a land community. (shrink)
The theory of evolution of complex, including the humans system and algorithm for its constructing are a synthesis of evolutionary epistemology, philosophical anthropology and concrete scientific empirical basis in modern science,. In other words, natural philosophy is regaining the status bar element theoretical science in the era of technology-driven evolution. The co-evolutionary concept of 3-modal stable evolutionary strategy of Homo sapiens is developed. The concept based on the principle of evolutionary complementarity of anthropogenesis: value of evolutionary risk and evolutionary path (...) of human evolution are defined by descriptive (evolutionary efficiency) and creative-teleological (evolutionary correctly) parameters simultaneously, that cannot be instrumental reduced to others ones. Resulting volume of both parameters define the vectors of biological, social, cultural and techno-rationalistic human evolution by two gear mechanism ˗ genetic and cultural co-evolution and techno-humanitarian balance. The resultant each of them can estimated by the ratio of socio-psychological predispositions of humanization/dehumanization in mentality. Explanatory model and methodology of evaluation of creatively teleological evolutionary risk component of NBIC technological complex is proposed. Integral part of the model is evolutionary semantics (time-varying semantic code, the compliance of the biological, socio-cultural and techno-rationalist adaptive modules of human stable evolutionary strategy). (shrink)
Is cultural evolution needed to explain altruistic selfsacrifice? Some contend that cultural traits (e.g. beliefs, behaviors, and for some “memes”) replicate according to selection processes that have “floated free” from biology. One test case is the example of suicide kamikaze attacks in wartime Japan. Standard biological mechanisms—such as reciprocal altruism and kin selection—might not seem to apply here: The suicide pilots did not act on the expectation that others would reciprocate, and they were supposedly sacrificing themselves for country and emperor, (...) not close relatives. Yet an examination of both the historical record and the demands of evolutionary theory suggest the kamikaze phenomenon does not cry out for explanation in terms of a special non-biological selection process. This weakens the case for cultural evolution, and has interesting implications for our understanding of altruistic self-sacrifice. (shrink)
Biologists and philosophers of biology have argued that learning rules that do not lead organisms to play evolutionarily stable strategies (ESSes) in games will not be stable and thus not evolutionarily successful. This claim, however, stands at odds with the fact that learning generalization---a behavior that cannot lead to ESSes when modeled in games---is observed throughout the animal kingdom. In this paper, I use learning generalization to illustrate how previous analyses of the evolution of learning have gone wrong. It has (...) been widely argued that the function of learning generalization is to allow for swift learning about novel stimuli. I show that in evolutionary game theoretic models learning generalization, despite leading to suboptimal behavior, can indeed speed learning. I further observe that previous analyses of the evolution of learning ignored the short term success of learning rules. If one drops this assumption, I argue, it can be shown that learning generalization will be expected to evolve in these models. I also use this analysis to show how ESS methodology can be misleading, and to reject previous justifications about ESS play derived from analyses of learning. (shrink)
Although humans qualify as one of the most cooperative animal species, the scale of violent intergroup conflict among them is unparalleled. Explanations of the underlying motivations to participate in an intergroup conflict, however, remain unsatisfactory. While previous research shows that intergroup conflict increases individually costly behavior to the benefit of the in-group, it has failed to identify robust triggers of aggressive behavior directed at out-groups. Here, we present a controlled laboratory experiment which demonstrates that such aggression can be provoked systematically (...) by manipulating the extent to which the own group is perceived to be on the offensive or the defensive side of a conflict. We find direct and causal evidence that the motivation to protect the in-group is not only a predictor of retaliatory aggression, but also promotes preemptive offensive actions against out-groups if they pose a potential threat. This finding improves our understanding of the escalation of intergroup conflicts and may have important implications for their prevention, as we find in our experiment that removing out-group threat substantially reduced intergroup aggression and led to full peace. (shrink)
Skyrms, building on the work of Dretske, has recently developed a novel information-theoretic account of propositional content in simple signalling systems. Information-theoretic accounts of content traditionally struggle to accommodate the possibility of misrepresentation, and I show that Skyrms’s account is no exception. I proceed to argue, however, that a modified version of Skyrms’s account can overcome this problem. On my proposed account, the propositional content of a signal is determined not by the information that it actually carries, but by the (...) information that it would carry at the nearest separating equilibrium of the underlying evolutionary dynamics. I show that this amended account yields reasonable ascriptions of false propositional content in a well-known formal model of the evolution of communication , and close with a discussion of the serious but perhaps not insuperable difficulties we face in applying the account to examples of signalling in the real world. (shrink)
This article uses sim-max games to model perceptual categorization with the goal of answering the following question: To what degree should we expect the perceptual categories of biological actors to track properties of the world around them? I argue that an analysis of these games suggests that the relationship between real-world structure and evolved perceptual categories is mediated by successful action in the sense that organisms evolve to categorize together states of nature for which similar actions lead to similar results. (...) This conclusion indicates that both strongly realist and strongly antirealist views about perceptual categories are too simple. (shrink)
Charles Darwin famously argued that that life on earth was not the product of intelligent design, and that it instead had arisen through the entirely natural of process of evolution via natural selection. Darwin’s theory of evolution (together with Mendel’s theory of genetics) now forms the foundation of all the biological sciences. Jurassic Park, however, raises an interesting question: just how does Darwin’s theory apply to lifeforms that are the products of explicit, intelligent design? In this essay, I examine cluster (...) of issues in the philosophy of biology that turn out to be central in figuring out the answer to this question. Among other things, I discuss the difficulties in drawing sharp boundaries biological systems and non-biological systems, and between the products of natural selection and those of artificial selection. I also consider more generally how the process of evolution via natural selection is changed when intelligent agents begin to directly manipulate genetic material. (shrink)
A common approach in the Philosophy of Time, particularly in enquiry into the metaphysical nature of time, has been to examine various aspects of the nature of human temporal experience, and ask what, if anything, can be discerned from this about the nature of time itself. Many human traits have explanations that reside in facts about our evolutionary history. We ask whether features of human temporal experience might admit of such evolutionary explanations. We then consider the implications of any proposed (...) evolutionary explanations for the veridicality of these experiences, and for the truth-value of folk beliefs about time that are based on them. (shrink)
Can an explanation of a set of beliefs cast doubt on the things believed? In particular, can an evolutionary explanation of religious beliefs call the contents of those beliefs into question? Yes - under certain circumstances. I distinguish between natural histories of beliefs and genealogies. A natural history of a set of beliefs is an explanation that puts them down to naturalistic causes. (I try to give an account of natural explanations which favors a certain kind of ‘methodological atheism’ without (...) begging any crucial questions against theists.) A genealogy is an explanation which somehow subverts the claims believed, usually by putting down the beliefs to unreliable causal mechanisms. Some genealogies are natural histories, such as Aquinas’s explanation of the prevalence of Islam and Gibbon’s explanation of the prevalence of Christianity. But not all genealogies are natural histories and not all natural histories are genealogies: witness the Primitive Christians’ explanation of the prevalence of Paganism which relies crucially on supernatural agencies and Hume’s explanation of our moral beliefs which defines moral truth in terms of the idealized outputs of our natural belief-forming mechanisms. However both believers and non-believers postulate a natural propensity of to devotion on the part of human beings a ‘sensus divinitatis’ which often results in false positives and is therefore unreliable. Thus the evolutionary explanation of this propensity does not add much to the skeptical case against religion. I conclude by arguing, as against Plantinga that since on his own showing our sensus divinitatis often malfunctions under optimum conditions, its unreliability constitutes a defeater for the claim that Christian beliefs are properly basic. (shrink)
In this article we try to give a philosophically reflected introductory overview of the current theoretical developments in the field of evolutionary aesthetics. Our aim is not completeness. Rather, we try to depict some of the central assumptions and explanatory tools frequently used in evolutionary accounts of human aesthetical preferences and address a number of currently debated, open research questions.
Organisms inherit various kinds of developmental information and cues from their parents. The study of inheritance systems is aimed at identifying and classifying the various mechanisms and processes of heredity, the types of hereditary information that is passed on by each, the functional interaction between the different systems, and the evolutionary consequences of these properties. We present the discussion of inheritance systems in the context of several debates. First, between proponents of monism about heredity (gene-centric views), holism about heredity (Developmental (...) Systems Theory), and those stressing the role of multiple systems of inheritance. Second, between those analyzing inheritance solely in terms of replication and transmission, and views that stress the multi-generation reproduction of phenotypic traits. A third debate is concerned with different criteria that have been proposed for identifying and delimiting inheritance systems. A fourth controversy revolves around the significance of the “Lamarckian” aspects of some of the inheritance systems that have been identified, such as epigenetic inheritance and behavioral inheritance, that allow the transmission of environmentally induced characters (i.e., “soft inheritance”). (shrink)
All primates except human beings have thick coats of body hair. This suggests the primate ancestors of human beings likewise had such body hair and that, for some evolutionary reason, lost their body hair. Various theories have been put forward but none is fully adequate. This article presents the “naked love theory.” This theory locates the origin of human hairlessness in the ancestral mother—infant relationship. In this view, hairlessness is ultimately the adaptive consequence of bipedalism. Because of bipedalism, ancestral infants (...) lost their prehensile feet and thus lost the ability to grasp the mother's fur with their feet, as do other primate infants. Early bipedal mothers were thus under pressure to carry the infant. Therefore infants survived only if mothers had a strong desire to hold them. Because of the pleasure of skin-to-skin contact, the desire to hold the infant would have been stronger in mothers possessing a hairless mutation that enabled them to give birth to hairless infants. Survival of these infants would have then been greater than that of hair-covered infants. The hairlessness that began to appear in this context of maternal selection was then reinforced by sexual selection in the male—female sexual relationship. This is because a hairless sexual partner would have enabled the hairless individual to recreate the pleasure of skin-to-skin contact in the mother—infant relationship. This theory then helps to explain the evolutionary origins of romantic love. (shrink)
In a dynamic world, mechanisms allowing prediction of future situations can provide a selective advantage. We suggest that memory systems differ in the degree of flexibility they offer for anticipatory behavior and put forward a corresponding taxonomy of prospection. The adaptive advantage of any memory system can only lie in what it contributes for future survival. The most flexible is episodic memory, which we suggest is part of a more general faculty of mental time travel that allows us not only (...) to go back in time, but also to foresee, plan, and shape virtually any specific future event. We review comparative studies and find that, in spite of increased research in the area, there is as yet no convincing evidence for mental time travel in nonhuman animals. We submit that mental time travel is not an encapsulated cognitive system, but instead comprises several subsidiary mechanisms. A theater metaphor serves as an analogy for the kind of mechanisms required for effective mental time travel. We propose that future research should consider these mechanisms in addition to direct evidence of future-directed action. We maintain that the emergence of mental time travel in evolution was a crucial step towards our current success. (shrink)
In this commentary, we critique the appropriate behavioural features for evolutionary genetic analysis, the role of the environment, and the viability of a general evolutionary genetic model for all common mental disorders. In light of these issues, we suggest that the authors may have prematurely discounted the role of some of the mechanisms they review, particularly balancing selection. (Published Online November 9 2006).
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Species Counterpoint:Darwin and the Evolution of FormsRandall Everett AllsupMy intention is to tell of bodies changed to different forms; the gods, who made the changes, will help me—or so I hope—with a poem that runs from the World's beginning to our own days.1I.A recent article in a progressive monthly magazine asked by way of a thesis, "Whose music is the blues?" Under the title, the tag line read, "2003 (...) is the 'Year of the Blues.' But as a music born of oppression becomes a feel-good soundtrack for white America, just what are we celebrating?"2 I recall feeling puzzled by this rather old-fashioned topic of investigation. Anyone with access to the Internet knows that music is not for one group or another. Global file sharing has made ownership as easy as, well, sharing a file. Furthermore, the tendency to depart from ancestral forms, whether as rebellious teenagers, rock guitarists, or both, seems genetically built into us. Life is a metamorphosis and music—like life—evolves.To advance the notion that music is made for one people and not another, that it has absolute or essential qualities, opens a terribly large can of worms. We know, for example, that identity and music are linked, but the relationship is not [End Page 159] mono-directional, causal, or fixed. My relationship to the blues or Broadway show tunes for that matter is defined somewhere within a dense web of group associations, educational opportunities, even closet desires. With regard to psychological research on identity, slippery and impermanent as identity is, this research is really about similarities.3 Conservative in this light, such studies look for commonalities: their goal is to identify "what is."4Fear is often the dominant response to the evolution of a cherished form. Change, however, holds equal parts fear and promise. The Chinese word for crisis, wei-ji, means "opportunity with danger." This essay will contextualize the latter, but focus on the former. It is worth asking, for example, what might result from an examination of anomalies? Rather than attempt to identify "what is," such an inquiry would be concerned with "what else" [the abnormality] as well as "what might be" [the opportunity]. Located, I think, within the anomalies and mutations that seem to fit so well our globally connected world are new codes, altered methods for self-understanding, and interaction in the arts.Charles Darwin and The Origins of Species will provide the conceptual framework for this discussion.5 To look for help in the work of Darwin will require a crossbreeding of scientific theory and metaphor, a cross-pollination of hypothesis and the hypothetical. We will look at how the production of new forms, particularly musical forms, is shaped. Speaking metaphorically, a work of art or entertainment can be seen as an adaptation to and of its environment. We know that cultural products, like all living species, are not permanent entities. Change, Darwin stressed, carries with it purpose. To that end, he looked for variation to help him understand how and why an organism or system developed the way it did. What might be revealed if we apply this procedure to the field of music and music education? We might see eco-systems in various stages of growth, health, and decline. A look at musical forms as mutable, living creations that spring from and reflect a particular condition raises interesting questions about place and purpose.II.Only a hundred and fifty years ago, a single event—a theory!—precipitated a cultural crisis that threw down two thousand years of scientific and philosophic thought. The popular revolt that Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species fueled (and continues to fuel) called into question fundamental beliefs about how the world is made. Darwin's theory that matter and energy are in steady flux, that life is in need of constant variation, implied that fixed or universal truths are nothing more than comforts created by the mind. The Origin of Species was therefore more than a scientific revolution.6 A core tenet of Western culture was challenged by its publication: the so-called immaterial spirit, whether viewed in the [End... (shrink)
I should like to offer my greatest thanks to Paul Griffiths for providing the opportunity for this exchange, and to commentators Gillian Brown, Steven Fuller, Stefan Linquist, and Erika Milam for their generous and thought-provoking comments. I shall do my best in this space to respond to some of their concerns.
The rediscovery of Mendel's laws a century ago launched the science that William Bateson called "genetics," and led to a new view of evolution combining selection, particulate inheritance, and the newly characterized phenomenon of "mutation." This "mutationist" view clashed with the earlier view of Darwin, and the later "Modern Synthesis," by allowing discontinuity, and by recognizing mutation (or more properly, mutation-and-altered-development) as a source of creativity, direction, and initiative. By the mid-20th century, the opposing Modern Synthesis view was a prevailing (...) orthodoxy: under its influence, "evolution" was redefined as "shifting gene frequencies," that is, the sorting out of pre-existing variation without new mutations; and the notion that mutation-and-altered-development can exert a predictable influence on the course of evolutionary change was seen as heretical. Nevertheless, mutationist ideas re-surfaced: the notion of mutational determinants of directionality emerged in molecular evolution by 1962, followed in the 1980s by an interest among evolutionary developmental biologists in a shaping or creative role of developmental propensities of variation, and more recently, a recognition by theoretical evolutionary geneticists of the importance of discontinuity and of new mutations in adaptive dynamics. The synthetic challenge presented by these innovations is to integrate mutation-and-altered-development into a new understanding of the dual causation of evolutionary change--a broader and more predictive understanding that already can lay claim to important empirical and theoretical results--and to develop a research program appropriately emphasizing the emergence of variation as a cause of propensities of evolutionary change. (shrink)
The article by B. Stephan (this issue) describes characteristics and stages of change of sociobiological and socio-cultural units. However, neither analogy nor evolutionary and developmental concept are sufficiently precise. In addition, Stephan pays no attention to structural analogies between biotic and cultural change, and therefore comes to the misguided assessment that socio-cultural change is to be construed as a developmental rather than an evolutionary process.
Evolutionary game theoretic accounts of justice attempt to explain our willingness to follow certain principles of justice by appealing to robustness properties possessed by those principles. Skyrms (1996) offers one sketch of how such an account might go for divide-the-dollar, the simplest version of the Nash bargaining game, using the replicator dynamics of Taylor and Jonker (1978). In a recent article, D'Arms et al. (1998) criticize his account and describe a model which, they allege, undermines his theory. I sketch a (...) theory of evolutionary explanations of justice which avoids their methodological criticisms, and develop a spatial model of divide-the-dollar with more robust convergence properties than the models of Skyrms (1996) and D'Arms et al. (1998). (shrink)
If fast and frugal heuristics are as good as they seem to be, who needs logic and probability theory? Fast and frugal heuristics depend for their success on reliable structure in the environment. In passive environments, there is relatively little change in structure as a consequence of individual choices. But in social interactions with competing agents, the environment may be structured by agents capable of exploiting logical and probabilistic weaknesses in competitors' heuristics. Aspirations toward the ideal of a demon reasoner (...) may consequently be adaptive for direct competition with such agents. (shrink)
RÉSUMÉ: Dans «Objectivism and the Evolutionary Value of Colour Vision», Don Dedrick suggère qu'une conception raffinée de la valeur adaptative en matière de vision des couleurs conduit à une explication non objectiviste de la couleur. Le raffinement, en l'occurrence, consiste à prendre en considération le rôle que jouent les processus perceptuels internes, contraints par les exigences de l'adaptation, dans la répartition des couleurs selon les catégories familières de rouge, violet, bleu, etc. L'objectivisme, par contraste, est présenté par Dedrick comme la (...) position selon laquelle les catégories de couleur sont proprement déterminées par des facteurs externes à l'esprit — une thèse qu'il attribue à Mohan Matthen. Mon objectif dans cet article est de souligner que les éléments internalistes de l'explication de Dedrick, qui sont rappelés à la section 1, sont parfaitement compatibles avec l'objectivisme chromatique. Cet objectivisme, cependant, n'est pas la thèse que Dedrick entend mettre en cause. Je distingue, dans la section 2, la version critiquée par Dedrick, que j'appelle «l'objectivisme fort», de «l'objectivisme modéré», qui est la thèse selon laquelle la couleur elle-même est indépendante de l'esprit bien que les catégories de couleur soient déterminées par des facteurs internes. La doctrine principale de l'objectivisme même, selon ce que je soutiens, demeure neutre eu égard aux versions fortes ou modérées. Dans la section 3, cette notion centrale d'objectivisme est réconciliée avec une explication de la vision des couleurs qui fait référence à la valeur adaptative en contexte évolutionnaire. (shrink)
Modern cosmology, though a confluence of relativity theory and elementary particle physics, and with the help of very sophisticated mathematical models, tries to encompass the Universe as a whole, and to propose theories regarding its origin and evolution. But this cannot work without the evolution of several philosophical issues, concerning the epistemological status of this enterprise, its implicit or explicit extra-scientific presuppositions, as well as the real sense and interpretation of the theories and principles involved. This book provides a survey (...) of these different aspects, for it gives some essential elements of the scientific background necessary for understanding the main issues of modern cosmology, and at the same time offer a discussion of the problems arising in it; problems which are never purely scientific, nor purely philosophical. Science and philosophy are therefore again deeply interrelated, at the moment where man tries to understand the Universe and his place in it. And this not only because the legitimacy of calling cosmology a science implies the acceptance of intellectual approaches which overstep the usual criteria of physical science and have a deep philosophical connotation, but also because the evolutionary way of thinking, strongly backed by cosmology, reinforces the role of this approach in the philosophy of science and in philosophy in general. (shrink)
A functional approach to evolutionary morphology is emphasized in this paper. This perspective differs from the current structuralist trend, which emphasizes the constraining role of developmental paths. In addition, the present approach agrees with the adaptationist paradigm. It is further argued that three types of phenomena are better understood in this light: i.- the existence of evolutionary trends, ii.- the maintenance of certain structural features within a given taxon, and iii.- the irreversibility of evolution.
I address the controversy in evolutionary biology concerning which levels of biological entity (units) can and do undergo natural selection. I refine a definition of the unit of selection, first presented by William Wimsatt, that is grounded in the structure of natural selection models. I examine Elliott Sober's objection to this structural definition, the "homogeneous populations" problem; I find that neither the proposed definition nor Sober's own causal account can solve the problem. Sober, in his solution using his causal view, (...) imports precisely the information needed to make the structural definition effective. Finally, I indicate how the proposed definition can clarify which sorts of evidence could be brought to bear on the controversial case of the Myxoma virus. (shrink)
The discovery of the concrete basis for genes, and especially the clarification of mechanisms regulating gene expressions (in particular those that bear on the stepwise processing of hereditary information from the sequences of DNA nucleotides to the proteins) was to give flesh to the concept of a genetic program, for these regulations introduce relationships of order between the various elements of information contained in the genes. These order relations are then revealed during the time-dependent expression of the genetic program. They (...) can lead, in the case of a given program, to a plethora of particular outcomes, because the number of possible combinations rapidly becomes enormous. Since the discoveries of Jacob and Monod, it is clear that the genes specifying the regulatory functions will be responsible for phenotypic variability, especially for the apparently ideal adaptation of a living organism to its environment, and more generally for all the genotype-bound manifestations as they unfold in time. -/- Thus we are led to consider three particular characteristics that allow for the representation of living beings: a program, which summarizes the hereditary constraints and is, in fact, the abstract notion underlying the definition of all individuals in a given class (species); an initial state of the system that represents the context in which the program must express itself at the time of the individual's birth; and a particular outcome of each program, which coincides with individual development. The set of all outcomes constitutes the genetic envelope and allows the essential characteristics of the program to be obtained by induction. Theoretically, a structured set equivalent to the aforementioned one could be reconstructed by providing the program, the initial state, and the totality of the events of the external environment, producing any interaction whatever with the individual. -/- As a consequence, the observation of a phenotype does not tell in any straightforward way, what is the direct consequence of the expression of a particular gene, or of a specific feature of the environment. A phenocopy is a particular example of a phenotype that is the result of a gene expression mimicking a particular gene-directed phenotype, without however corresponding to a pparticular mutation of a known gene. (shrink)