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The Structure of Biological Science

New York: Cambridge University Press (1985)

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  1. Probability in Biology: The Case of Fitness.Roberta L. Millstein - 2016 - In Alan Hájek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 601-622.
    I argue that the propensity interpretation of fitness, properly understood, not only solves the explanatory circularity problem and the mismatch problem, but can also withstand the Pandora’s box full of problems that have been thrown at it. Fitness is the propensity (i.e., probabilistic ability, based on heritable physical traits) for organisms or types of organisms to survive and reproduce in particular environments and in particular populations for a specified number of generations; if greater than one generation, “reproduction” includes descendants of (...)
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  • The nature of concepts.Denny E. Bradshaw - 1992 - Philosophical Papers 21 (1):1-20.
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  • Typology and Natural Kinds in Evo-Devo.Ingo Brigandt - 2021 - In Nuño De La Rosa Laura & Müller Gerd (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology: A Reference Guide. Springer. pp. 483-493.
    The traditional practice of establishing morphological types and investigating morphological organization has found new support from evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), especially with respect to the notion of body plans. Despite recurring claims that typology is at odds with evolutionary thinking, evo-devo offers mechanistic explanations of the evolutionary origin, transformation, and evolvability of morphological organization. In parallel, philosophers have developed non-essentialist conceptions of natural kinds that permit kinds to exhibit variation and undergo change. This not only facilitates a construal of species (...)
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  • Réduction «rôle-occupant», réduction «micro-macro» et explication réductrice a priori.Max Kistler - 2005 - Dialogue 44 (2):225-248.
    It has been argued that most truths about macroscopic states of affairs are entailed by a (hypothetical) complete descriptionPof the world in microscopic terms. In principle, micro-reductive explanations of non-microphysical truths could be constructeda priori.Against this claim, I show that reductive explanation requires knowledge about the phenomena to be reduced which cannot bea prioriextracted from microphysical information alone. Such reductions proceed in two steps: a “reductionR0” (“role-occupant”) establishes that a macroproperty M plays a certain causal role (specified in macro-terms), while (...)
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  • The rebirth of rational morphology.David Resnik - 1994 - Acta Biotheoretica 42 (1):1-14.
    This paper examines a new challenge to neo-Darwinism, a movement known as process structuralism. The process structuralist critique of neo-Darwinism holds 1) that there are general laws in biology and that biologists should search for these laws; 2) that there are general forms of morphology and development and that biologists should attempt to uncover these forms; 3) that organisms are unified wholes that cannot be understood without adopting a holistic perspective; and 4) that no special, causal primacy should be given (...)
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  • The Evolution of Complexity.Mark Bedau - 2009 - In Barberousse Anouk, Morange M. & Pradeau T. (eds.), Mapping the Future of Biology. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol 266. Springer.
  • An Experiment-based Methodology for Classical Genetics and Molecular Biology.Hsiao-fan Yeh & Ruey-lin Chen - 2017 - Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 26:39-60.
    This paper proposes an experiment-based methodology for both classical genetics and molecular biology by integrating Lindley Darden’s mechanism-centered approach and C. Kenneth Waters’s phenomenon-centered approach. We argue that the methodology basing on experiments offers a satisfactory account of the development of the two biological disciplines. The methodology considers discovery of new mechanisms, investigation of new phenomena, and construction of new theories together, in which experiments play a central role. Experimentation connects the three type of conduct, which work as both ends (...)
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  • Viability explanation.Arno Wouters - 1995 - Biology and Philosophy 10 (4):435-457.
    This article deals with a type of functional explanation, viability explanation, that has been overlooked in recent philosophy of science. Viability explanations relate traits of organisms and their environments in terms of what an individual needs to survive and reproduce. I show that viability explanations are neither causal nor historical and that, therefore, they should be accounted for as a distinct type of explanation.
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  • Data and phenomena.James Woodward - 1989 - Synthese 79 (3):393 - 472.
  • Schaffner’s Model of Theory Reduction: Critique and Reconstruction.Rasmus Gr⊘Nfeldt Winther - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (2):119-142.
    Schaffner’s model of theory reduction has played an important role in philosophy of science and philosophy of biology. Here, the model is found to be problematic because of an internal tension. Indeed, standard antireductionist external criticisms concerning reduction functions and laws in biology do not provide a full picture of the limits of Schaffner’s model. However, despite the internal tension, his model usefully highlights the importance of regulative ideals associated with the search for derivational, and embedding, deductive relations among mathematical (...)
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  • The maintenance of behavioral diversity in human societies.Christopher Wills - 1994 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (4):638-639.
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  • Reintroducing group selection to the human behavioral sciences.David Sloan Wilson & Elliott Sober - 1994 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (4):585-608.
    In both biology and the human sciences, social groups are sometimes treated as adaptive units whose organization cannot be reduced to individual interactions. This group-level view is opposed by a more individualistic one that treats social organization as a byproduct of self-interest. According to biologists, group-level adaptations can evolve only by a process of natural selection at the group level. Most biologists rejected group selection as an important evolutionary force during the 1960s and 1970s but a positive literature began to (...)
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  • Group selection: The theory replaces the bogey man.David Sloan Wilson & Elliott Sober - 1994 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (4):639-654.
    In both biology and the human sciences, social groups are sometimes treated as adaptive units whose organization cannot be reduced to individual interactions. This group-level view is opposed by a more individualistic one that treats social organization as a byproduct of self-interest. According to biologists, group-level adaptations can evolve only by a process of natural selection at the group level. Most biologists rejected group selection as an important evolutionary force during the 1960s and 1970s but a positive literature began to (...)
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  • Is economics still immersed in the old concepts of the Enlightenment era?Andrzej P. Wierzbicki - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):236-237.
  • Freud and sociobiology.N. E. Wetherick - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):319-320.
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  • Natural selection and self-organization.Bruce H. Weber & David J. Depew - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (1):33-65.
    The Darwinian concept of natural selection was conceived within a set of Newtonian background assumptions about systems dynamics. Mendelian genetics at first did not sit well with the gradualist assumptions of the Darwinian theory. Eventually, however, Mendelism and Darwinism were fused by reformulating natural selection in statistical terms. This reflected a shift to a more probabilistic set of background assumptions based upon Boltzmannian systems dynamics. Recent developments in molecular genetics and paleontology have put pressure on Darwinism once again. Current work (...)
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  • Evolution in thermodynamic perspective: An ecological approach. [REVIEW]Bruce H. Weber, David J. Depew, C. Dyke, Stanley N. Salthe, Eric D. Schneider, Robert E. Ulanowicz & Jeffrey S. Wicken - 1989 - Biology and Philosophy 4 (4):373-405.
    Recognition that biological systems are stabilized far from equilibrium by self-organizing, informed, autocatalytic cycles and structures that dissipate unusable energy and matter has led to recent attempts to reformulate evolutionary theory. We hold that such insights are consistent with the broad development of the Darwinian Tradition and with the concept of natural selection. Biological systems are selected that re not only more efficient than competitors but also enhance the integrity of the web of energetic relations in which they are embedded. (...)
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  • Rosenberg's rebellion.C. Kenneth Waters - 1990 - Biology and Philosophy 5 (2):225-239.
  • Causal regularities in the biological world of contingent distributions.C. Kenneth Waters - 1998 - Biology and Philosophy 13 (1):5-36.
    Former discussions of biological generalizations have focused on the question of whether there are universal laws of biology. These discussions typically analyzed generalizations out of their investigative and explanatory contexts and concluded that whatever biological generalizations are, they are not universal laws. The aim of this paper is to explain what biological generalizations are by shifting attention towards the contexts in which they are drawn. I argue that within the context of any particular biological explanation or investigation, biologists employ two (...)
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  • The structure of the two ecological paradigms.G. H. Walter & R. Hengeveld - 2000 - Acta Biotheoretica 48 (1):15-46.
    Ecological theory is built upon assumptions about the fundamental nature of organism-environment interactions. We argue that two mutually exclusive sets of such assumptions are available and that they have given rise to alternative approaches to studying ecology. The fundamentally different premises of these approaches render them irreconcilable with one another. In this paper, we present the first logical formalisation of these two paradigms.The more widely-accepted approach - which we label the demographic paradigm - includes both population ecology and community ecology (...)
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  • Theorizing and Representational Practices in Classical Genetics.Marion Vorms - 2011 - Biological Theory 7 (4):311-324.
    In this paper, I wish to challenge theory-biased approaches to scientific knowledge, by arguing for a study of theorizing, as a cognitive activity, rather than of theories, as abstract structures independent from the agents’ understanding of them. Such a study implies taking into account scientists’ reasoning processes, and their representational practices. Here, I analyze the representational practices of geneticists in the 1910s, as a means of shedding light on the content of classical genetics. Most philosophical accounts of classical genetics fail (...)
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  • Can a sociobiology of mind discard the will?Ian Vine - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):318-319.
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  • Has classical gene position been practically reduced?Oriol Vidal & David Teira - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (5):1-20.
    One of the defining features of the classical gene was its position. In molecular genetics, positions are defined instead as nucleotide numbers and there is no clear correspondence with its classical counterpart. However, the classical gene position did not simply disappear with the development of the molecular approach, but survived in the lab associated to different genetic practices. The survival of classical gene position would illustrate Waters’ view about the practical persistence of the genetic approach beyond reductionism and anti-reductionist claims. (...)
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  • The engagement of religion and biology: A case study in the mediating role of metaphor in the sociobiology of Lumsden & Wilson. [REVIEW]Jitse M. van der Meer - 2000 - Biology and Philosophy 15 (5):669-698.
    I claim that explanations of human behaviour by Edward O. Wilsonand Charles Lumsden are constituted by a religiously functioningmetaphysics: emergent materialism. The constitutive effects areidentified using six criteria, beginning with a metaphorical re-description of dissimilarities between levels of organization interms of the lower level, and consist of conceptual andexplanatory reductions (CER). Wilson and Lumsden practice CER,even though CER is not required by emergent materialism. Theypreconceive this practice by a re-description which conflates thelevels of organization and explain failure of CER in (...)
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  • Once more with feeling: Genes, mind and culture.Pierre L. van den Berghe - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):317-318.
  • Methodological problems in evolutionary biology V. The import of supervenience.Wim J. van der Steen - 1986 - Acta Biotheoretica 35 (3):185-191.
    Rosenberg has rightly argued that fitness is supervenient. But he has wrongly assumed that this makes “The fittest survive” nontautologous. Supervenience makes strict reduction impossible. It sheds light on disputes concerning the testability of evolutionary theory.
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  • Laws and Natural History in Biology.Wim J. Van Der Steen & Harmke Kamminga - 1991 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 42 (4):445-467.
  • The human being as a bumbling optimalist: A psychologist's viewpoint.Masanao Toda - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):235-235.
  • Being aware of consciousness and cultures.Henry Tobin & A. W. Logue - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):316-317.
  • Social experiment and biological theory.V. J. Tishchenko - 1989 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 3 (2):238 – 247.
  • Vehicles all the way down?Nicholas S. Thompson - 1994 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (4):638-638.
  • Philosophy of biology under attack: Stent vs. Rosenberg. [REVIEW]Paul Thompson - 1989 - Biology and Philosophy 4 (3):345-351.
  • Interactionism is good, but not good enough.Esther Thelen - 1988 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (4):650-650.
  • The Current Status of the Philosophy of Biology.Peter Takacs & Michael Ruse - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (1):5-48.
  • Optimal confusion.Stephanie Stolarz-Fantino & Edmund Fantino - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):234-234.
  • The nature/nurture debate: Same old wolf in new sheep's clothing?Horst D. Steklis - 1988 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (4):649-650.
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  • Can a reductionist be a pluralist?Daniel Steel - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (1):55-73.
    Pluralism is often put forth as a counter-position to reductionism. In this essay, I argue that reductionism and pluralism are in fact consistent. I propose that there are several potential goals for reductions and that the proper form of a reduction should be considered in tandem with the goal that it aims to achieve. This insight provides a basis for clarifying what version of reductionism are currently defended, for explicating the notion of a fundamental level of explanation, and for showing (...)
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  • Avoid the push-pull dilemma in explanation.Kenneth M. Steele - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):233-234.
  • Species, languages, and the horizontal/vertical distinction.David N. Stamos - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (2):171-198.
    In addition to the distinction between species as a category and speciesas a taxon, the word species is ambiguous in a very different butequally important way, namely the temporal distinction between horizontal andvertical species. Although often found in the relevant literature, thisdistinction has thus far remained vague and undefined. In this paper the use ofthe distinction is explored, an attempt is made to clarify and define it, andthen the relation between the two dimensions and the implications of thatrelation are examined. (...)
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  • Popper, laws, and the exclusion of biology from genuine science.David N. Stamos - 2007 - Acta Biotheoretica 55 (4):357-375.
    The primary purpose of this paper is to argue that biologists should stop citing Karl Popper on what a genuinely scientific theory is. Various ways in which biologists cite Popper on this matter are surveyed, including the use of Popper to settle debates on methodology in phylogenetic systematics. It is then argued that the received view on Popper—namely, that a genuinely scientific theory is an empirically falsifiable one—is seriously mistaken, that Popper’s real view was that genuinely scientific theories have the (...)
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  • Popper, falsifiability, and evolutionary biology.David N. Stamos - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (2):161-191.
    First, a brief history is provided of Popper's views on the status of evolutionary biology as a science. The views of some prominent biologists are then canvassed on the matter of falsifiability and its relation to evolutionary biology. Following that, I argue that Popper's programme of falsifiability does indeed exclude evolutionary biology from within the circumference of genuine science, that Popper's programme is fundamentally incoherent, and that the correction of this incoherence results in a greatly expanded and much more realistic (...)
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  • Buffon, Darwin, and the non-individuality of species – a reply to Jean Gayon.David N. Stamos - 1998 - Biology and Philosophy 13 (3):443-470.
    Gayon's recent claim that Buffon developed a concept of species as physical individuals is critically examined and rejected. Also critically examined and rejected is Gayon's more central thesis that as a consequence of his analysis of Buffon's species concept, and also of Darwin's species concept, it is clear that modern evolutionary theory does not require species to be physical individuals. While I agree with Gayon's conclusion that modern evolutionary theory does not require species to be physical individuals, I disagree with (...)
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  • Extremum descriptions, process laws and minimality heuristics.Elliott Sober - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):232-233.
    The examples and concepts that Shoemaker cites are rather heterogeneous. Some distinctions need to be drawn. An optimality thesis involves not just an ordering of options, but a value judgment about them. So let us begin by distinguishing minimality from optimality. And the concept of minimality can play a variety of roles, among which I distinguish between extremum descriptions, statements hypothesizing an optimizing process, and methodological recommendations. Finally, I consider how the three categories relate to Shoemaker’s question that “Who is (...)
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  • Essay Review: “What Made Ernst Unique?”.Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis - 2005 - Journal of the History of Biology 38 (3):609-614.
  • Semantics, theory, and methodological individualism in the group-selection controversy.Eric Alden Smith - 1994 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (4):636-637.
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  • Hostile aggression as social skills deficit or evolutionary strategy?Peter K. Smith - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (2):315-316.
  • Attaching Names to Biological Species: The Use and Value of Type Specimens in Systematic Zoology and Natural History Collections.Ronald Sluys - 2021 - Biological Theory 16 (1):49-61.
    Biological type specimens are a particular kind of voucher specimen stored in natural history collections. Their special status and practical use are discussed in relation to the description and naming of taxonomic zoological diversity. Our current system, known as Linnaean nomenclature, is governed by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. The name of a species is fixed by its name-bearing type specimen, linking the scientific name of a species to the type specimen first designated for that species. The name-bearing type (...)
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  • Philosophy of biology, faithful or useful?Peter B. Sloep & Wim J. van der Steen - 1991 - Biology and Philosophy 6 (1):93-98.
  • Methodology revitalized?Peter B. Sloep - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (2):231-249.
    Controversies in science have a tendency to be long-lasting. Moreover, they tend to wither rather than be solved by sorting out the arguments pro and con. Barring the sociological dimension, an important factor in the perpetuation of scientific controversies seems to be the contestants' passion for broad philosophical theses when it comes to defending their respective positions. In this paper one such controversy is analysed. It involves the alleged use of Popperian falsificationism to defend a position in (community) ecology some (...)
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  • The nature and nurture of birdsong.P. J. B. Slater - 1988 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (4):648-649.
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