12 found
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  1. Puzzles for ZFEL, McShea and Brandon’s Zero Force Evolutionary Law.Martin Barrett, Hayley Clatterbuck, Michael Goldsby, Casey Helgeson, Brian McLoone, Trevor Pearce, Elliott Sober, Reuben Stern & Naftali Weinberger - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):723-735.
    In their 2010 book, Biology’s First Law, D. McShea and R. Brandon present a principle that they call ‘‘ZFEL,’’ the zero force evolutionary law. ZFEL says (roughly) that when there are no evolutionary forces acting on a population, the population’s complexity (i.e., how diverse its member organisms are) will increase. Here we develop criticisms of ZFEL and describe a different law of evolution; it says that diversity and complexity do not change when there are no evolutionary causes.
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  2.  22
    Some Criticism of the Contextual Approach, and a Few Proposals.Brian McLoone - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (2):116-124.
    The contextual approach is a prominent framework for thinking about group selection. Here, I highlight ambiguity about what the contextual approach is. Then, I discuss problematic entailments the contextual approach has for what processes count as group selection—entailments more troublesome than typically noted. However, Sober and Wilson’s version of the Price approach, which is the main alternative to the contextual approach, is problematic too: it leads to an underappreciated paradox called the vanishing selection problem and thereby generates the wrong qualitative (...)
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  3.  6
    Thumper the Infinitesimal Rabbit: A Fictionalist Perspective on Some “Unimaginable” Model Systems in Biology.Brian McLoone - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (4):662-671.
    Fictionalists believe that scientific models are about model systems that are imaginary. Michael Weisberg has claimed that fictionalism is indefensible because many scientific models are about model systems that are unimaginable. According to a certain account of imagination, what Weisberg says is plausible. According to another, more defensible account of imagination, it is not. I discuss these issues within the context of an allegedly unimaginable model system in ecology, but the conclusions I draw are more general. I then describe how (...)
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  4.  24
    Selection Explanations of Token Traits.Brian McLoone - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):342-346.
    The “negative view” is the claim that natural selection cannot explain why a particular individual has one trait, rather than another. Here, I modify an example from Lewens (2001) to show that this claim is sometimes false. I then advance a variation on the negative view. It is the claim that selection at the organism level within a lineage cannot explain why a particular individual in that lineage has one allele, rather than another. This formulation better describes the explanatory role (...)
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  5.  27
    Why a Convincing Argument for Causalism Cannot Entirely Eschew Population-Level Properties: Discussion of Otsuka.Brian McLoone - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):11.
    Causalism is the thesis that natural selection can cause evolution. A standard argument for causalism involves showing that a hypothetical intervention on some population-level property that is identified with natural selection will result in evolution. In a pair of articles, one of which recently appeared in the pages of this journal, Jun Otsuka has put forward a quite different argument for causalism. Otsuka attempts to show that natural selection can cause evolution by considering a hypothetical intervention on an individual-level property. (...)
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  6.  10
    Selection Explanations of Token Traits.Brian McLoone - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):342-346.
    The “negative view” is the claim that natural selection cannot explain why a particular individual has one trait, rather than another. Here, I modify an example from Lewens to show that this claim is sometimes false. I then advance a variation on the negative view. It is the claim that selection at the organism level within a lineage cannot explain why a particular individual in that lineage has one allele, rather than another. This formulation better describes the explanatory role of (...)
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  7.  20
    Stochasticity, Selection, and the Evolution of Cooperation in a Two-Level Moran Model of the Snowdrift Game.Brian McLoone, Wai-Tong Louis Fan, Adam Pham, Rory Smead & Laurence Loewe - 2018 - Complexity 2018:1-14.
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  8.  24
    The Ontogeny and Evolution of Human Collaboration.Brian McLoone & Rory Smead - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (4):559-576.
    How is the human tendency and ability to collaborate acquired and how did it evolve? This paper explores the ontogeny and evolution of human collaboration using a combination of theoretical and empirical resources. We present a game theoretic model of the evolution of learning in the Stag Hunt game, which predicts the evolution of a built-in cooperative bias. We then survey recent empirical results on the ontogeny of collaboration in humans, which suggest the ability to collaborate is developmentally stable across (...)
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  9.  16
    Calculus and Counterpossibles in Science.Brian McLoone - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):12153-12174.
    A mathematical model in science can be formulated as a counterfactual conditional, with the model’s assumptions in the antecedent and its predictions in the consequent. Interestingly, some of these models appear to have assumptions that are metaphysically impossible. Consider models in ecology that use differential equations to track the dynamics of some population of organisms. For the math to work, the model must assume that population size is a continuous quantity, despite that many organisms are necessarily discrete. This means our (...)
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  10.  19
    Modeling in Biology: Looking Backward and Looking Forward.Steven Hecht Orzack & Brian McLoone - 2019 - Studia Metodologiczne 39.
    Understanding modeling in biology requires understanding how biology is organized as a discipline and how this organization influences the research practices of biologists. Biology includes a wide range of sub-disciplines, such as cell biology, population biology, evolutionary biology, molecular biology, and systems biology among others. Biologists in sub-disciplines such as cell, molecular, and systems biology believe that the use of a few experimental models allows them to discover biological universals, whereas biologists in sub-disciplines such as ecology and evolutionary biology believe (...)
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  11.  56
    Collaboration and Human Social Evolution: Review of Michael Tomasello’s Why We Cooperate. [REVIEW]Brian McLoone - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):137-147.
    Michael Tomasello’s new book Why We Cooperate explores the ontogeny and evolution of human altruism and human cooperation, paying particular attention to how such behaviors allow humans to create social institutions.
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  12.  1
    Population and Organismal Perspectives on Trait Origins.Brian McLoone - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 83:101288.
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