44 found
Order:
Disambiguations
William C. Wimsatt [44]William Church Wimsatt [1]
  1. Re-engineering philosophy for limited beings: piecewise approximations to reality.William C. Wimsatt - 2007 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
    This book offers a philosophy for error-prone humans trying to understand messy systems in the real world.
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   389 citations  
  2. Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings. Piecewise Approximations to Reality.William C. Wimsatt - 2010 - Critica 42 (124):108-117.
    No categories
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   359 citations  
  3.  66
    Adaptation and Natural Selection: A Critique of Some Current Evolutionary Thought.William C. Wimsatt - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (4):620-623.
  4.  81
    Robustness, Reliability, and Overdetermination (1981).William C. Wimsatt - 2012 - In Lena Soler (ed.), Characterizing the robustness of science: after the practice turn in philosophy of science. New York: Springer Verlag. pp. 61-78.
    The use of multiple means of determination to “triangulate” on the existence and character of a common phenomenon, object, or result has had a long tradition in science but has seldom been a matter of primary focus. As with many traditions, it is traceable to Aristotle, who valued having multiple explanations of a phenomenon, and it may also be involved in his distinction between special objects of sense and common sensibles. It is implicit though not emphasized in the distinction between (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   151 citations  
  5. Teleology and the logical structure of function statements.William C. Wimsatt - 1972 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 3 (1):1-80.
  6. Reductionism, levels of organization, and the mind-body problem.William C. Wimsatt - 1976 - In Gordon G. Globus (ed.), Consciousness and the Brain. Plenum Press.
  7. The ontology of complex systems: levels of organization, perspectives, and causal thickets.William C. Wimsatt - 1994 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 20:207-274.
    Willard van Orman Quine once said that he had a preference for a desert ontology. This was in an earlier day when concerns with logical structure and ontological simplicity reigned supreme. Ontological genocide was practiced upon whole classes of upper-level or ‘derivative’ entities in the name of elegance, and we were secure in the belief that one strayed irremediably into the realm of conceptual confusion and possible error the further one got from ontic fundamentalism. In those days, one paid more (...)
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   100 citations  
  8. Complexity and Organization.William C. Wimsatt - 1972 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1972:67-86.
  9.  85
    Reductive Explanation: A Functional Account.William C. Wimsatt - 1972 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1974:671-710.
  10. Aggregativity: Reductive heuristics for finding emergence.William C. Wimsatt - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (4):372-84.
    Most philosophical accounts of emergence are incompatible with reduction. Most scientists regard a system property as emergent relative to properties of the system's parts if it depends upon their mode of organization--a view consistent with reduction. Emergence can be analyzed as a failure of aggregativity--a state in which "the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts." Aggregativity requires four conditions, giving tools for analyzing modes of organization. Differently met for different decompositions of the system, and in different (...)
    Direct download (9 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   107 citations  
  11. Developmental Constraints, Generative Entrenchment, and the Innate-Acquired Distinction.William C. Wimsatt - 1986 - In William Bechtel (ed.), Integrating Scientific Disciplines. University of Chicago Press. pp. 185--208.
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   96 citations  
  12. Reductionism and its heuristics: Making methodological reductionism honest.William C. Wimsatt - 2006 - Synthese 151 (3):445-475.
    Methodological reductionists practice ‘wannabe reductionism’. They claim that one should pursue reductionism, but never propose how. I integrate two strains in prior work to do so. Three kinds of activities are pursued as “reductionist”. “Successional reduction” and inter-level mechanistic explanation are legitimate and powerful strategies. Eliminativism is generally ill-conceived. Specific problem-solving heuristics for constructing inter-level mechanistic explanations show why and when they can provide powerful and fruitful tools and insights, but sometimes lead to erroneous results. I show how traditional metaphysical (...)
    Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   54 citations  
  13. Emergence as non-aggregativity and the biases of reductionisms.William C. Wimsatt - 2000 - Foundations of Science 5 (3):269-297.
    Most philosophical accounts of emergence are incompatible with reduction. Most scientists regard a system property as emergent relative to properties of its parts if it depends upon their mode of organization-a view consistent with reduction. Emergence is a failure of aggregativity, in which ``the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts''. Aggregativity requires four conditions, giving powerful tools for analyzing modes of organization. Differently met for different decompositions of the system, and in different degrees, the structural conditions (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   61 citations  
  14.  60
    The Units of Selection and the Structure of the Multi-Level Genome.William C. Wimsatt - 1980 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:122 - 183.
    The reductionistic vision of evolutionary theory, "the gene's eye view of evolution" is the dominant view among evolutionary biologists today. On this view, the gene is the only unit with sufficient stability to act as a unit of selection, with individuals and groups being more ephemeral units of function, but not of selection. This view is argued to be incorrect, on several grounds. The empirical and theoretical bases for the existence of higher-level units of selection are explored, and alternative analyses (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   34 citations  
  15. Genes, memes, and cultural heredity.William C. Wimsatt - 1999 - Biology and Philosophy 14 (2):279-310.
  16. Generative Entrenchment and Evolution.Jeffrey C. Schank & William C. Wimsatt - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:33 - 60.
    The generative entrenchment of an entity is a measure of how much of the generated structure or activity of a complex system depends upon the presence or activity of that entity. It is argued that entities with higher degrees of generative entrenchment are more conservative in evolutionary changes of such systems. A variety of models of complex structures incorporating the effects of generative entrenchment are presented and we demonstrate their relevance in analyzing and explaining a variety of developmental and evolutionary (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   29 citations  
  17. Randomness and perceived-randomness in evolutionary biology.William C. Wimsatt - 1980 - Synthese 43 (2):287 - 329.
  18.  42
    Generativity, entrenchment, evolution, and innateness: philosophy, evolutionary biology, and conceptual foundations of science.William C. Wimsatt - 1999 - In V. Harcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology. pp. 137--179.
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   19 citations  
  19. Using false models to elaborate constraints on processes: Blending inheritance in organic and cultural evolution.William C. Wimsatt - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (S3):S12-S24.
    Scientific models may be more useful for false assumptions they make than true ones when one is interested not in the fit of the model, but in the form of the residuals. Modeling Darwin’s “blending” theory of inheritance shows how it illuminates features of Mendelian theory. Insufficient understanding of it leads to incorrect moves in modeling population structure. But it may prove even more useful for organizing a theory of cultural evolution. Analysis of “blending” inheritance gives new tools for recognizing (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   14 citations  
  20.  58
    Articulating Babel: An approach to cultural evolution.William C. Wimsatt - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):563-571.
    After an initial discussion of the character of interdisciplinary linkages between complex disciplines, I consider an area with confluences of many diverse disciplines—the study of cultural evolution. This must embrace not only the traditional biological sciences, but also the multiple often warring disciplines of the human sciences. This interdisciplinary articulation is in its early stages compared, e.g., to that of evolutionary biology or evolutionary developmental biology, and I try to lay out major axes along which its articulation should plausibly occur, (...)
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   8 citations  
  21.  23
    Using False Models to Elaborate Constraints on Processes: Blending Inheritance in Organic and Cultural Evolution.William C. Wimsatt - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S12-S24.
    Scientific models may be more useful for false assumptions they make than true ones when one is interested not in the fit of the model, but in the form of the residuals. Modeling Darwin's “blending” theory of inheritance shows how it illuminates features of Mendelian theory. Insufficient understanding of it leads to incorrect moves in modeling population structure. But it may prove even more useful for organizing a theory of cultural evolution. Analysis of “blending” inheritance gives new tools for recognizing (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   14 citations  
  22.  34
    Taming the Dimensions-Visualizations in Science.William C. Wimsatt - 1990 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:111 - 135.
    The role of pictures and visual modes of presentation of data in science is a topic of increasing interest to workers in artificial intelligence, problem solving, and scientists in all fields who must deal with large quantities of complex multidimensional data. Drawing on studies of animal motion, aerodynamics, morphological transformations, the history of linkage mapping, and the analysis of deterministic chaos, I focus on the strengths and limitations of our visual system, the analysis of problems particularly suited to visualization-the analysis (...)
    No categories
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   12 citations  
  23.  47
    Remembering Richard Lewontin.Stuart A. Newman, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Daniel L. Hartl, Philip Kitcher, Diane B. Paul, John Beatty, Sahotra Sarkar, Elliott Sober & William C. Wimsatt - 2021 - Biological Theory 16 (4):257-267.
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  24.  49
    Levels of Organization in the Biological Sciences.Daniel Stephen Brooks, James DiFrisco & William C. Wimsatt (eds.) - 2021 - Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
    The subject of this edited volume is the idea of levels of organization: roughly, the idea that the natural world is segregated into part-whole relationships of increasing spatiotemporal scale and complexity. The book comprises a collection of essays that raise the idea of levels into its own topic of analysis. Owing to the wide prominence of the idea of levels, the scope of the volume is aimed at theoreticians, philosophers, and practicing researchers of all stripes in the life sciences. The (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  25.  41
    On building reliable pictures with unreliable data: An evolutionary and developmental coda for the new systems biology.William C. Wimsatt - 2007 - In Fred C. Boogerd, Frank J. Bruggeman, Jan-Hendrik S. Hofmeyr & Hans V. Westerhoff (eds.), Systems Biology: Philosophical Foundations. Elsevier. pp. 103--20.
  26.  29
    Evolution and the Stability of Functional Architectures.William C. Wimsatt - 2013 - In Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. Springer. pp. 19--41.
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   5 citations  
  27.  24
    Some Problems with the Concept of 'Feedback'.William C. Wimsatt - 1970 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1970:241 - 256.
    No categories
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   9 citations  
  28. Memetics does not provide a useful way of understanding cultural evolution : a developmental perspective.William C. Wimsatt - 2010 - In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary debates in philosophy of biology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 273-291.
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   6 citations  
  29. Simple systems and phylogenetic diversity.William C. Wimsatt - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (2):267-275.
    The simple systems methodology is a powerful reductionistic research strategy. It has problems as implemented in developmental genetics because the organisms studied are few and unrepresentative. Stronger inferences require independent arguments that key traits are widely distributed phylogenetically. Evolutionary and developmental mechanisms of generative entrenchment and self-organization provide possible support, and are also necessary components of a developmental systems approach.
    Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   7 citations  
  30. Generative entrenchment and an evolutionary developmental biology for culture.William C. Wimsatt - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):364-366.
    Mesoudi et al.'s new synthesis for cultural evolution closely parallels the evolutionary synthesis of Neo-Darwinism. It too draws inspiration from population genetics, recruits other fields, and, unfortunately, also ignores development. Enculturation involves many serially acquired skills and dependencies that allow us to build a rich cumulative culture. The newer synthesis, evolutionary developmental biology, provides a key tool, generative entrenchment, to analyze them. (Published Online November 9 2006).
    Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   5 citations  
  31.  6
    Beyond the Meme.Alan Love & William C. Wimsatt - 2019 - Minneapolis, MN, USA: University of Minnesota Press.
    Contributors: Sabina Leonelli Nancy J. Nersessian Michel Janssen Jacob G. Foster James A. Evans Mark A. Bedau Marshall Abrams Gilbert B. Tostevin Salikoko S. Mufwene Massimo Maiocchi Joseph D. Martin Paul E. Smaldino Claes Andersson Anton Törnberg Petter Törnberg Beyond the Meme assembles interdisciplinary perspectives on cultural evolution, providing a nuanced understanding of it as a process in which dynamic structures interact on different scales of size and time. The volume demonstrates how a thick understanding of change in culture emerges (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  32.  66
    Models and experiments? An exploration: Review of Michael Weisberg’s Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World, Oxford, 2013.William C. Wimsatt - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (2):293-298.
    Michael Weisberg has given us a lovely book on models. It has very broad coverage of issues intersecting the nature of models and their use, an extensive consideration of long ignored “concrete” models with a rich case study, a discussion and classification of the many diverse kinds of models, and a particularly groundbreaking and innovative discussion of similarity concerning how models relate to the world. Included are insightful discussions of increasingly used “agent based” models, and the conjoint use of multiple (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  33.  6
    Taming the Dimensions-Visualizations in Science.William C. Wimsatt - 1990 - PSA Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990 (2):111-135.
    The role of pictures and visual modes of presentation of data in science is a topic of increasing interest to workers in artificial intelligence, the psychology of problem solving, and increasing numbers of scientists in all fields who must deal with problems of how to represent large quantities of complex multidimensional data in an intelligible fashion. The use of pictures is marvelously illustrated by but not limited to the biological sciences, so I will use examples from elsewhere as appropriate. With (...)
    No categories
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  34.  13
    Memetics Does Not Provide a Useful Way of Understanding Cultural Evolution.William C. Wimsatt - 2010 - In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary debates in philosophy of biology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 273–291.
    This chapter contains sections titled: Introduction Some Commonalities Can a Memetic Approach to Cultural Change Work? Memetics and Genetics Memetics and Epidemiology The Myth of Self‐replication An Alternative Approach Differential Dependency and Generative Entrenchment as Bases for a Theory of Evolutionary Change Elements of a Developmental Theory of Cultural Evolution New Predictions of This Theory Conclusion Postscript: Counterpoint Notes References.
    No categories
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  35.  5
    Explaining cultural evolution: an interdisciplinary endeavor.Alan Love & William C. Wimsatt - 2019 - In A. C. Love and W. C. Wimsatt (ed.), Beyond the Meme: Development and Structure in Cultural Evolution. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science.
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  36.  27
    Engineering Design Principles in Natural and Artificial Systems: Generative Entrenchment and Modularity.William C. Wimsatt - 2021 - In Zachary Pirtle, David Tomblin & Guru Madhavan (eds.), Engineering and Philosophy: Reimagining Technology and Social Progress. Springer Verlag. pp. 25-52.
    I see in the nature of our minds and the character of our problem-solving methodologies a search for simplifying tools that will let us model a complex world and get away with it far more often than we might suppose. As it turns out, this broad a reach to mind and world is possible because both turn on common properties of evolved complex adaptive systems. These are in effect “design principles” for the architecture of nature—all of it, from biological systems (...)
    No categories
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  37.  40
    Reductionism in biology.Sahotra Sarkar, Alan Love & William C. Wimsatt - 2018 - Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
    Reductionism concerns a set of ontological and epistemological claims, and methodological strictures based on them, about the relationship between two different scientific domains. The critical assumption is that one of these domains is privileged over the other in the sense that the concepts, rules, laws, and other elements of the privileged domain can be used to specify, constitute, or account for those of the other “reduced” domain. This specification often consists of explanation, such that the “reducing” domain is epistemically privileged (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  38.  47
    Commentary: Reengineering the Darwinian Sciences in Social Context.William C. Wimsatt - 2006 - Biological Theory 1 (4):338-341.
  39.  18
    Anthropomorphism and Science Fiction.William C. Wimsatt - 2016 - In Susan Neiman, Peter Galison & Wendy Doniger (eds.), What Reason Promises: Essays on Reason, Nature and History. De Gruyter. pp. 136-141.
    No categories
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  40. Evolution and the metabolism of error : biological practice as foundation for a scientific metaphysics.William C. Wimsatt - 2023 - In William C. Bausman, Janella K. Baxter & Oliver M. Lean (eds.), From biological practice to scientific metaphysics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  41.  60
    Function, organization, and selection.William C. Wimsatt - 1971 - Zygon 6 (2):168-172.
  42.  59
    Heuristics refound.William C. Wimsatt - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (5):766-767.
    Gigerenzer et al.'s is an extremely important book. The ecological validity of the key heuristics is strengthened by their relation to ubiquitous Poisson processes. The recognition heuristic is also used in conspecific cueing processes in ecology. Three additional classes of problem-solving heuristics are proposed for further study: families based on near-decomposability analysis, exaptive construction of functional structures, and robustness.
    Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark  
  43.  11
    Reengineering the Darwinian Sciences in Social Context.William C. Wimsatt - 2006 - Biological Theory 1 (4):341-342.
  44. Aggregate, composed, and evolved systems: Reductionistic heuristics as means to more holistic theories. [REVIEW]William C. Wimsatt - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):667-702.
    Richard Levins’ distinction between aggregate, composed and evolved systems acquires new significance as we recognize the importance of mechanistic explanation. Criteria for aggregativity provide limiting cases for absence of organization, so through their failure, can provide rich detectors for organizational properties. I explore the use of failures of aggregativity for the analysis of mechanistic systems in diverse contexts. Aggregativity appears theoretically desireable, but we are easily fooled. It may be exaggerated through approximation, conditions of derivation, and extrapolating from some conditions (...)
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   26 citations