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Darwinism and Developmental Systems

In Susan Oyama, Paul Griffiths & Russell D. Gray (eds.), Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution. MIT Press. pp. 195-218 (2001)

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  1. An Enactive-Developmental Systems Framing of Cognizing Systems.Amanda Corris - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):1-21.
    Organisms live not as discrete entities on which an independent environment acts, but as members of a reproductive lineage in an ongoing series of interactions between that lineage and a dynamic ecological niche. These interactions continuously shape both systems in a reciprocal manner, resulting in the emergence of reliably co-occurring configurations within and between both systems. The enactive approach to cognition describes this relationship as the structural coupling between an organism and its environment; similarly, Developmental Systems Theory emphasizes the reciprocal (...)
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  • Natural Selection According to Darwin: Cause or Effect?Ben Bradley - 2022 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 44 (2):1-26.
    In the 1940s, the ‘modern synthesis’ of Darwinism and genetics cast genetic mutation and recombination as the source of variability from which environmental events naturally select the fittest, such ‘natural selection’ constituting the cause of evolution. Recent biology increasingly challenges this view by casting genes as followers and awarding the leading role in the genesis of adaptations to the agency and plasticity of developing phenotypes—making natural selection a consequence of other causal processes. Both views of natural selection claim to capture (...)
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  • Genidentity and Biological Processes.Thomas Pradeu - 2018 - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupre (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford University Press.
    A crucial question for a process view of life is how to identify a process and how to follow it through time. The genidentity view can contribute decisively to this project. It says that the identity through time of an entity X is given by a well-identified series of continuous states of affairs. Genidentity helps address the problem of diachronic identity in the living world. This chapter describes the centrality of the concept of genidentity for David Hull and proposes an (...)
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  • Biological Individuals.Robert A. Wilson & Matthew J. Barker - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1 (1).
    The impressive variation amongst biological individuals generates many complexities in addressing the simple-sounding question what is a biological individual? A distinction between evolutionary and physiological individuals is useful in thinking about biological individuals, as is attention to the kinds of groups, such as superorganisms and species, that have sometimes been thought of as biological individuals. More fully understanding the conceptual space that biological individuals occupy also involves considering a range of other concepts, such as life, reproduction, and agency. There has (...)
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  • Biological Information.Peter Godfrey-Smith & Kim Sterelny - 2007 - In Thaddeus Metz (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University.
  • Environments of Intelligence. From Natural Information to Artficial Interaction.Hajo Greif - 2017 - London: Routledge.
    What is the role of the environment, and of the information it provides, in cognition? More specifically, may there be a role for certain artefacts to play in this context? These are questions that motivate "4E" theories of cognition (as being embodied, embedded, extended, enactive). In his take on that family of views, Hajo Greif first defends and refines a concept of information as primarily natural, environmentally embedded in character, which had been eclipsed by information-processing views of cognition. He continues (...)
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  • Origins of the Qualitative Aspects of Consciousness: Evolutionary Answers to Chalmers' Hard Problem.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2013 - In Liz Swan (ed.), Origins of Mind. Springer. pp. 259--269.
    According to David Chalmers, the hard problem of consciousness consists of explaining how and why qualitative experience arises from physical states. Moreover, Chalmers argues that materialist and reductive explanations of mentality are incapable of addressing the hard problem. In this chapter, I suggest that Chalmers’ hard problem can be usefully distinguished into a ‘how question’ and ‘why question,’ and I argue that evolutionary biology has the resources to address the question of why qualitative experience arises from brain states. From this (...)
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  • Espousing Interactions and Fielding Reactions: Addressing Laypeople's Beliefs About Genetic Determinism.David S. Moore - 2008 - Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):331 – 348.
    Although biologists and philosophers of science generally agree that genes cannot determine the forms of biological and psychological traits, students, journalists, politicians, and other members of the general public nonetheless continue to embrace genetic determinism. This article identifies some of the concerns typically raised by individuals when they first encounter the systems perspective that biologists and philosophers of science now favor over genetic determinism, and uses arguments informed by that perspective to address those concerns. No definitive statements can yet be (...)
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  • Organism-Environment Interactions in Evolutionary Theory.Bendik Hellem Aaby - 2021 - Dissertation, KU Leuven
    This dissertation concerns the active role of the organism in evolutionary theory. In particular, it concerns how our conception of the relationship between organism and environment, and the nature of natural selection, influences the causal and explanatory role of organismic activity and behavior in evolutionary explanations. The overarching aim is to argue that the behaviors and activities of organisms can serve both as the explananda (that which is explained) and the explanantia (that which explains) in evolutionary explanations. I attempt to (...)
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  • The Role of Theory-Constitutive Metaphor in Nursing Science.Jennifer Greenwood & Ann Bonner - 2008 - Nursing Philosophy 9 (3):154-168.
    The current view of theoretical statements in science is that they should be literal and precise; ambiguous and metaphorical statements are useful only as pre-theoretical, exegetical, and heuristic devices and as pedagogical tools. In this paper we argue that this view is mistaken. Literal, precise statements apply to those experiential phenomena which can be defined either conventionally by criterial attribution or by internal atomic constitution. Experiential phenomena which are defined relationally and/or functionally, like nursing, in virtue of their nature, require (...)
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  • Bridging the Gap Between Developmental Systems Theory and Evolutionary Developmental Biology†.Jason Scott Robert, Brian K. Hall & Wendy M. Olson - 2001 - Bioessays 23 (10):954-962.
    Many scientists and philosophers of science are troubled by the relative isolation of developmental from evolutionary biology. Reconciling the science of development with the science of heredity preoccupied a minority of biologists for much of the twentieth century, but these efforts were not corporately successful. Mainly in the past fifteen years, however, these previously dispersed integrating programmes have been themselves synthesized and so reinvigorated. Two of these more recent synthesizing endeavours are evolutionary developmental biology and developmental systems theory. While the (...)
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  • The End of Development.Sergio Balari & Guillermo Lorenzo - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (1):60-72.
    Recently, there has been a growing interest, both within theoretical biology and the philosophy of biology, in the possibility and desirability of a theory of development. Among the many issues raised within this debate, the questions of the spatial and temporal boundaries of development have received particular attention. In this article, noting that so far the discussion has mostly centered on the processes of morphogenesis and organogenesis, we argue that an important missing element in the equation, namely the development of (...)
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  • Cultural Niche Construction and Human Learning Environments: Investigating Sociocultural Perspectives.Jeremy R. Kendal - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (3):241-250.
    Niche construction theory can be applied to examine the influence of culturally constructed learning environments on the acquisition and retention of beliefs, values, role expectations, and skills. Thus, NCT provides a quantitative framework to account for cultural-historical contingency affecting development and cultural evolution. Learning in a culturally constructed environment is of central concern to many sociologists, cognitive scientists, and sociocultural anthropologists, albeit often from different perspectives. This article summarizes four pertinent theories from these fields—situated learning, activity theory, practice theory, and (...)
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  • Causal Parity and Externalisms: Extensions in Life and Mind. [REVIEW]Philippe Huneman - 2013 - Minds and Machines 23 (3):377-404.
    This paper questions the form and prospects of “extended theories” which have been simultaneously and independently advocated both in the philosophy of mind and in the philosophy of biology. It focuses on Extend Mind Theory (EMT) and Developmental Systems Theory (DST). It shows first that the two theories vindicate a parallel extension of received views, the former concerning extending cognition beyond the brain, the latter concerned with extending evolution and development beyond the genes. It also shows that both arguments rely (...)
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  • There and Back Again, or the Problem of Locality in Biodiversity Surveys.Ayelet Shavit & James Griesemer - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (3):273-294.
    We argue that ‘locality’, perhaps the most mundane term in ecology, holds a basic ambiguity: two concepts of space—nomothetic and idiographic—which are both necessary for a rigorous resurvey to “the same” locality in the field, are committed to different practices with no common measurement. A case study unfolds the failure of the standard assumption that an exogenous grid of longitude and latitude, as fine‐grained as one wishes, suffices for revisiting a species locality. We briefly suggest a scale‐dependent “resolution” for this (...)
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  • Genetic Information: A Metaphor in Search of a Theory.Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (3):394-412.
    John Maynard Smith has defended against philosophical criticism the view that developmental biology is the study of the expression of information encoded in the genes by natural selection. However, like other naturalistic concepts of information, this ‘teleosemantic’ information applies to many non-genetic factors in development. Maynard Smith also fails to show that developmental biology is concerned with teleosemantic information. Some other ways to support Maynard Smith’s conclusion are considered. It is argued that on any definition of information the view that (...)
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  • The Levels of Selection Debate: Philosophical Issues.Samir Okasha - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (1):74–85.
    For a number of years, the debate in evolutionary biology over the ’levels of selection’ has attracted intense interest from philosophers of science. The main question concerns the level of the biological hierarchy at which natural selection occurs. Does selection act on organisms, genes, groups, colonies, demes, species, or some combination of these? According to traditional Darwinian theory the answer is the organism -- it is the differential survival and reproduction of individual organisms that drives the evolutionary process. But there (...)
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  • The Grain of Domains: The Evolutionary-Psychological Case Against Domain-General Cognition.Anthony P. Atkinson & Michael Wheeler - 2004 - Mind and Language 19 (2):147-76.
    Prominent evolutionary psychologists have argued that our innate psychological endowment consists of numerous domainspecific cognitive resources, rather than a few domaingeneral ones. In the light of some conceptual clarification, we examine the central inprinciple arguments that evolutionary psychologists mount against domaingeneral cognition. We conclude (a) that the fundamental logic of Darwinism, as advanced within evolutionary psychology, does not entail that the innate mind consists exclusively, or even massively, of domainspecific features, and (b) that a mixed innate cognitive economy of domainspecific (...)
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  • Unknotting reciprocal causation between organism and environment.Jan Baedke, Alejandro Fábregas-Tejeda & Guido I. Prieto - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (5):1-29.
    In recent years, biologists and philosophers of science have argued that evolutionary theory should incorporate more seriously the idea of ‘reciprocal causation.’ This notion refers to feedback loops whereby organisms change their experiences of the environment or alter the physical properties of their surroundings. In these loops, in particular niche constructing activities are central, since they may alter selection pressures acting on organisms, and thus affect their evolutionary trajectories. This paper discusses long-standing problems that emerge when studying such reciprocal causal (...)
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  • Development and Microbiology.Aja Watkins - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (4):1-30.
    On the basis of findings from developmental biology, some researchers have argued that evolutionary theory needs to be significantly updated. Advocates of such a “developmental update” have, among other things, suggested that we need to re-conceptualize units of selection, that we should expand our view of inheritance to include environmental as well as genetic and epigenetic factors, that we should think of organisms and their environment as involved in reciprocal causation, and that we should reevaluate the rates of evolutionary change. (...)
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  • Genes, Structuring Powers and the Flow of Information in Living Systems.Frode Kjosavik - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):379-394.
    Minimal genetic pre-formationism is defended, in that primacy is ascribed to DNA in the structuring of molecules through molecular codes. This together with the importance of such codes for stability and variation in living systems makes DNA categorically different from other causal factors. It is argued that post-transcriptional and post-translational processing in protein synthesis does not rob DNA of this structuring role. Notions of structuring causal powers that may vary in degree, of arbitrary molecular codes that are more or less (...)
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  • The Boundaries of Development.Thomas Pradeu, Lucie Laplane, Michel Morange, Antonine Nicoglou & Michel Vervoort - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (1):1 - 3.
    This special issue of Biological Theory is focused on development; it raises the problem of the temporal and spatial boundaries of development. From a temporal point of view, when does development start and stop? From a spatial point of view, what is it exactly that "develops", and is it possible to delineate clearly the developing entity? This issue explores the possible answers to these questions, and thus sheds light on the definition of development itself.
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  • Mindreading, Mindshaping, and Evolution.Matteo Mameli - 2001 - Biology and Philosophy 16 (5):595-626.
    I present and apply some powerful tools for studying human evolution and the impact of cultural resources on it. The tools in question are a theory of niche construction and a theory about the evolutionary significance of extragenetic (and, in particular, of psychological and social) inheritance. These tools are used to show how culturally transmitted resources can be recruited by development and become generatively entrenched. The case study is constituted by those culturally transmitted items that social psychologists call ‘expectancies’. Expectancy (...)
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  • Modules and Mindreaders.Matteo Mameli - 2001 - Biology and Philosophy 16 (3):377-93.
    There are many interesting empirical and theoretical issues concerning the evolution of cognition. Despite this, recent books on the topic concentrate on two problems. One is mental modularity. The other is what distinguishes human from non-human minds. While it is easy to understand why people are interested in human uniqueness, it is not clear why modularity is the centre of attention. Fodor (2000) has a nice argument for why people _should_ be interested in modularity.
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  • Language Acquisition and EcoDevo Processes: The Case of the Lexicon-Syntax Interface.Sergio Balari, Guillermo Lorenzo & Sonia E. Sultan - 2020 - Biological Theory 15 (3):148-160.
    Ecological developmental biology considers the phenotype as actively produced through an environmentally informed process of individual development, rather than predetermined by the genotype. Accordingly, the genotype is viewed as one among many interactants that contribute formative elements; it is understood to do so no differently from the way other organism-internal and environmental resources do. Although the EcoDevo approach is evidently particularly apt to inform approaches to human development, which mostly takes shape in rich cultural environments, it is remarkable that, at (...)
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  • O Organism, Where Art Thou? Old and New Challenges for Organism-Centered Biology.Jan Baedke - 2018 - Journal of the History of Biology 52 (2):293-324.
    This paper addresses theoretical challenges, still relevant today, that arose in the first decades of the twentieth century related to the concept of the organism. During this period, new insights into the plasticity and robustness of organisms as well as their complex interactions fueled calls, especially in the UK and in the German-speaking world, for grounding biological theory on the concept of the organism. This new organism-centered biology understood organisms as the most important explanatory and methodological unit in biological investigations. (...)
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  • Current Perspectives in Philosophy of Biology.Joaquin Suarez Ruiz & Rodrigo A. Lopez Orellana - 2019 - Humanities Journal of Valparaiso 14:7-426.
    Current Perspectives in Philosophy of Biology.
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  • The natural, the secular and the supernatural.Gustavo Caponi - 2019 - Humanities Journal of Valparaiso 14:27-55.
    In Philosophy of Biology, but also in Philosophy of Mind, in Ethics, in Epistemology, and even in Aesthetics, the term naturalization is usually used in two different ways. It is often used in a meta-philosophical sense to indicate a way for doing philosophy that, in some way, would approximate this reflection to scientific research. But it is also often used in a meta-theoretical sense. In that case, it is used to characterize an explanatory operation proper to science. Sometimes, this scientific (...)
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  • Functions and Fixed Types: Biological and Other Functions in the Post-Adaptationist Era.Ulrich Krohs - 2011 - Applied ontology 6 (2):125-139.
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  • Are We Predictive Engines? Perils, Prospects, and the Puzzle of the Porous Perceiver.Andy Clark - 2013 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (3):233-253.
    The target article sketched and explored a mechanism (action-oriented predictive processing) most plausibly associated with core forms of cortical processing. In assessing the attractions and pitfalls of the proposal we should keep that element distinct from larger, though interlocking, issues concerning the nature of adaptive organization in general.
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  • Fact, Phenomenon, and Theory in the Darwinian Research Tradition.Bruce H. Weber - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (2):168-178.
    From its inception Darwinian evolutionary biology has been seen as having a problematic relationship of fact and theory. While the forging of the modern evolutionary synthesis resolved most of these issues for biologists, critics continue to argue that natural selection and common descent are “only theories.” Much of the confusion engendered by the “evolution wars” can be clarified by applying the concept of phenomena, inferred from fact, and explained by theories, thus locating where legitimate dissent may still exist. By setting (...)
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  • Evo-Devo Meets the Mind: Toward a Developmental Evolutionary Psychology.Paul E. Griffiths - 2007 - In Roger Sansom & Robert Brandon (eds.), Integrating Evolution and Development: From Theory to Practice. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. pp. 195-225.
    The emerging discipline of evolutionary developmental biology has opened up many new lines of investigation into morphological evolution. Here I explore how two of the core theoretical concepts in ‘evo-devo’ – modularity and homology – apply to evolutionary psychology. I distinguish three sorts of module – developmental, functional and mental modules and argue that mental modules need only be ‘virtual’ functional modules. Evolutionary psychologists have argued that separate mental modules are solutions to separate evolutionary problems. I argue that the structure (...)
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  • Nongenetic Selection and Nongenetic Inheritance.Matteo Mameli - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):35-71.
    According to the received view of evolution, only genes are inherited. From this view it follows that only genetically-caused phenotypic variation is selectable and, thereby, that all selection is at bottom genetic selection. This paper argues that the received view is wrong. In many species, there are intergenerationally-stable phenotypic differences due to environmental differences. Natural selection can act on these nongenetically-caused phenotypic differences in the same way it acts on genetically-caused phenotypic differences. Some selection is at bottom nongenetic selection. The (...)
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  • Developmental Systems Theory as a Process Theory.Paul Edmund Griffiths & Karola Stotz - 2018 - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupre (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 225-245.
    Griffiths and Russell D. Gray (1994, 1997, 2001) have argued that the fundamental unit of analysis in developmental systems theory should be a process – the life cycle – and not a set of developmental resources and interactions between those resources. The key concepts of developmental systems theory, epigenesis and developmental dynamics, both also suggest a process view of the units of development. This chapter explores in more depth the features of developmental systems theory that favour treating processes as fundamental (...)
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  • The Phylogeny Fallacy and the Ontogeny Fallacy.Adam Hochman - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (4):593-612.
    In 1990 Robert Lickliter and Thomas Berry identified the phylogeny fallacy, an empirically untenable dichotomy between proximate and evolutionary causation, which locates proximate causes in the decoding of ‘ genetic programs’, and evolutionary causes in the historical events that shaped these programs. More recently, Lickliter and Hunter Honeycutt argued that Evolutionary Psychologists commit this fallacy, and they proposed an alternative research program for evolutionary psychology. For these authors the phylogeny fallacy is the proximate/evolutionary distinction itself, which they argue constitutes a (...)
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  • Concepts and Objects.Ray Brassier - 2011 - In Levi R. Bryant, Nick Srnicek & Graham Harman (eds.), The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism. re.press.
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  • Sobre el efecto Baldwin Y la noción de herencia.Víctor M. Longa - 2009 - Signos Filosóficos 11 (21):43-72.
    Muchos autores consideran actualmente al efecto Baldwin (la idea de que comportamientos aprendidos pueden llegar a heredarse) como un potente mecanismo evolutivo. Sin embargo, su importancia deriva de la asunción neodarwinista de que la herencia es un mecanismo puramente genético. Desde una noción m..
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  • Rethinking Ethical Naturalism: The Implications of Developmental Systems Theory.Jared J. Kinggard - unknown
    Biological research has the capacity to inform ethical discussions. There are numerous questions about the nature of sexual orientation, intelligence, gender identity, etc., and many of these questions are commonly approached with the benefit of implicit or explicit biological commitments. The answers to these sorts of questions can have a powerful impact on social, ethical, and political positions. In this project I examine the prospect of naturalizing ethics under the umbrella of developmental systems theory. If one is committed to DST, (...)
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  • Rhythm and Cadence, Frenzy and March: Music and the Geo-Bio-Techno-Affective Assemblages of Ancient Warfare.John Protevi - 2010 - Theory and Event 13 (3).
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  • From Replicators to Heritably Varying Phenotypic Traits: The Extended Phenotype Revisited. [REVIEW]E. Jablonka - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (3):353-375.
  • Human domestication and the roles of human agency in human evolution.Lorenzo Del Savio & Matteo Mameli - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (2):1-25.
    Are humans a domesticated species? How is this issue related to debates on the roles of human agency in human evolution? This article discusses four views on human domestication: Darwin’s view; the view of those who link human domestication to anthropogenic niche construction and, more specifically, to sedentism; the view of those who link human domestication to selection against aggression and the domestication syndrome; and a novel view according to which human domestication can be conceived of in terms of a (...)
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  • The Role of Self-Organization in Developmental Systems Theory and the Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution.Anouk Barberousse - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (3):202-205.
  • Hierarchy, Determinism, and Specificity in Theories of Development and Evolution.Ute Diechmann - 2017 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 39 (4):33.
    The concepts of hierarchical organization, genetic determinism and biological specificity have played a crucial role in biology as a modern experimental science since its beginnings in the nineteenth century. The idea of genetic information and genetic determination was at the basis of molecular biology that developed in the 1940s with macromolecules, viruses and prokaryotes as major objects of research often labelled “reductionist”. However, the concepts have been marginalized or rejected in some of the research that in the late 1960s began (...)
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  • Developmental Systems and Animal Behaviour.Jason Scott Robert - 2003 - Biology and Philosophy 18 (3):477-489.
    This is a critical notice of Evolution's Eye by Susan Oyama, focusing on developmental systems theory primarily in relation to the nature-nurture debates and the explanation of behaviour.
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  • Recent Work on Individualism in the Social, Behavioural, and Biological Sciences.Robert A. Wilson - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (3):397-423.
    The social, behavioral, and a good chunk of the biological sciences concern the nature of individual agency, where our paradigm for an individual is a human being. Theories of economic behavior, of mental function and dysfunction, and of ontogenetic development, for example, are theories of how such individuals act, and of what internal and external factors are determinative of that action. Such theories construe individuals in distinctive ways.
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  • A Mixed Self: The Role of Symbiosis in Development.Thomas Pradeu - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (1):80-88.
    Since the 1950s, the common view of development has been internalist: development is seen as the result of the unfolding of potentialities already present in the egg cell. In this paper I show that this view is incorrect, because of the crucial influence of the environment on development. I focus on a fascinating example, that of the role played by symbioses in development, especially bacterial symbioses, a phenomenon found in virtually all organisms. I claim that we must consequently modify our (...)
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  • Learning, Evolution, and the Icing on the Cake.Matteo Mameli - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):141-153.
  • Extending the Extended Phenotype.Kevin N. Laland - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (3):313-325.
  • Digging the Channels of Inheritance: On How to Distinguish Between Cultural and Biological Inheritance.Maria Kronfeldner - 2021 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 376.
    Theories of cultural evolution rest on the assumption that cultural inheritance is distinct from biological inheritance. Cultural and biological inheritance are two separate so-called channels of inheritance, two sub-systems of the sum total of developmental resources traveling in distinct ways between individual agents. This paper asks: what justifies this assumption? In reply, a philosophical account is offered that points at three related but distinct criteria that (taken together) make the distinction between cultural and biological inheritance not only precise but also (...)
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  • Defining the Environment in Organism–Environment Systems.Amanda Corris - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11:1285.
    Enactivism and ecological psychology converge on the relevance of the environment in understanding perception and action. On both views, perceiving organisms are not merely passive receivers of environmental stimuli, but rather form a dynamic relationship with their environments in such a way that shapes how they interact with the world. In this paper, I suggest that while enactivism and ecological psychology enjoy a shared specification of the environment as the cognitive domain, on both accounts, the structure of the environment, itself, (...)
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