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  1. added 2019-06-26
    The Trajectory of Evolution and its Implications for Humanity.John E. Stewart - 2019 - Journal of Big History (3):141-155.
    Does the Big History of life on Earth disclose a trajectory that has been driven by selection? If so, will the trajectory continue to apply into the future? This paper argues that such a trajectory exists, and examines some of its key implications. The most important consequence is that humanity can use the trajectory to guide how it evolves and adapts into the future. This is because the trajectory identifies a sequence of adaptations that will be favoured by selection. If (...)
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  2. added 2018-08-26
    The Origins of Life: The Managed-Metabolism Hypothesis.John E. Stewart - 2018 - Foundations of Science:1-25.
    The ‘managed-metabolism’ hypothesis suggests that a ‘cooperation barrier’ must be overcome if self-producing chemical organizations are to undergo the transition from non-life to life. This dynamical barrier prevents un-managed autocatalytic networks of molecular species from individuating into complex, cooperative organizations. The barrier arises because molecular species that could otherwise make significant cooperative contributions to the success of an organization will often not be supported within the organization, and because side reactions and other ‘free-riding’ processes will undermine cooperation. As a result, (...)
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  3. added 2018-04-08
    Evolution's Arrow: The Direction of Evolution and the Future of Humanity.John E. Stewart - 2000 - Canberra: The Chapman Press.
    Evolution's Arrow argues that evolution is directional and progressive, and that this has major consequences for humanity. Without resort to teleology, the book demonstrates that evolution moves in the direction of producing cooperative organisations of greater scale and evolvability - evolution has organised molecular processes into cells, cells into organisms, and organisms into societies. The book founds this position on a new theory of the evolution of cooperation. It shows that self-interest at the level of the genes does not prevent (...)
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  4. added 2017-09-27
    The Price Equation.Alan Macdonald - manuscript
    I give concise derivations of Price's equation and the criteria for kin and group selection, prove that kin and group selection are equivalent, and discuss the controversies about altruism.
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  5. added 2017-09-06
    Is There an Empirical Disagreement Between Genic and Genotypic Selection Models? A Response to Brandon and Nijhout.Naftali Weinberger - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):225-237.
    In a recent paper, Brandon and Nijhout argue against genic selectionism—the thesis, roughly, that evolutionary processes are best understood from the gene’s-eye point of view—by presenting a case in which genic models of selection allegedly make predictions that conflict with the (correct) predictions of higher-level genotypic selection models. Their argument, if successful, would refute the widely held belief that genic models and higher-level models are predictively equivalent. Here, I argue that Brandon and Nijhout fail to demonstrate that the models make (...)
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  6. added 2016-12-24
    The Dead Hands of Group Selection and Phenomenology -- A Review of Individuality and Entanglement by Herbert Gintis 357p (2017).Michael Starks - 2017 - In Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century: Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization-- Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 2nd Edition Feb 2018. Henderson: Michael Starks.
    Since Gintis is a senior economist and I have read some of his previous books with interest, I was expecting some more insights into behavior. Sadly he makes the dead hands of group selection and phenomenology into the centerpieces of his theories of behavior, and this largely invalidates the work. Worse, since he shows such bad judgement here, it calls into question all his previous work. The attempt to resurrect group selection by his friends at Harvard, Nowak and Wilson, a (...)
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  7. added 2016-12-15
    Another Attack on Evolution, Rationality and Civilization. A Review of Nowak and Highfield ‘SuperCooperators’ (2012).Starks Michael - 2016 - In Michael Starks (ed.), Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century: Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization-- Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 2nd Edition Feb 2018. Michael Starks. pp. 555-560.
    Nowak is (or was) a respected Harvard professor of mathematical biology with numerous well regarded publications. Sadly, he has chosen to launch an arrogant attack on science motivated by religious fervor. His recent actions show the evil consequences when universities accept money from religious groups, science journals are so awed by big names that they avoid proper peer review, and egos are permitted to get out of control. Most of this book is good, but it repeats the utterly misconceived attacks (...)
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  8. added 2016-12-15
    Altruism, Jesus and the End of the World—How the Templeton Foundation Bought a Harvard Professorship and Attacked Evolution, Rationality and Civilization. A Review of E.O. Wilson 'The Social Conquest of Earth' (2012) and Nowak and Highfield ‘SuperCooperators’ (2012).Starks Michael - 2016 - In Michael Starks (ed.), Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century: Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization-- Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 2nd Edition Feb 2018. Michael Starks. pp. 527-532.
    Famous ant-man E.O. Wilson has always been one of my heroes --not only an outstanding biologist, but one of the tiny and vanishing minority of intellectuals who at least dares to hint at the truth about our nature that others fail to grasp, or insofar as they do grasp, studiously avoid for of political expedience. Sadly, he is ending his long career in a most sordid fashion as a party to an ignorant and arrogant attack on science motivated at least (...)
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  9. added 2016-12-08
    Excellent Beauty: The Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World.Eric Dietrich - 2015 - Columbia University Press.
    Flipping convention on its head, Eric Dietrich argues that science uncovers awe-inspiring, enduring mysteries, while religion, regarded as the source for such mysteries, is a biological phenomenon. Just like spoken language, Dietrich shows that religion is an evolutionary adaptation. Science is the source of perplexing yet beautiful mysteries, however natural the search for answers may be to human existence. _Excellent Beauty_ undoes our misconception of scientific inquiry as an executioner of beauty, making the case that science has won the battle (...)
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  10. added 2016-06-13
    Adaptation, Multilevel Selection and Organismality: A Clash of Perspectives.Ellen Clarke - forthcoming - In Richard Joyce (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy. Routledge.
    The concept of adaptation is pivotal to modern evolutionary thinking, but it has long been the subject of controversy, especially in respect of the relative roles of selection versus constraints in explaining the traits of organisms. This paper tackles a different problem for the concept of adaptation: its interpretation in light of multilevel selection theory. In particular, I arbitrate a dispute that has broken out between the proponents of rival perspectives on multilevel adaptations. Many experts now say that multilevel and (...)
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  11. added 2016-03-04
    The Generational Cycle of State Spaces and Adequate Genetical Representation.Elisabeth A. Lloyd, Richard C. Lewontin & and Marcus W. Feldman - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (2):140-156.
    Most models of generational succession in sexually reproducing populations necessarily move back and forth between genic and genotypic spaces. We show that transitions between and within these spaces are usually hidden by unstated assumptions about processes in these spaces. We also examine a widely endorsed claim regarding the mathematical equivalence of kin-, group-, individual-, and allelic-selection models made by Lee Dugatkin and Kern Reeve. We show that the claimed mathematical equivalence of the models does not hold. *Received January 2007; revised (...)
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  12. added 2016-03-04
    Why the Gene Will Not Return.Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (2):287-310.
    I argue that four of the fundamental claims of those calling themselves `genic pluralists'Philip Kitcher, Kim Sterelny, and Ken Watersare defective. First, they claim that once genic selectionism is recognized, the units of selection problems will be dissolved. Second, Sterelny and Kitcher claim that there are no targets of selection. Third, Sterelny, Kitcher, and Waters claim that they have a concept of genic causation that allows them to give independent genic causal accounts of all selection processes. I argue that each (...)
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  13. added 2016-02-27
    DNA Habitats and Their RNA Inhabitants.Guenther Witzany (ed.) - 2015
    Most molecular biological concepts derive from physical chemical assumptions about the genetic code that are basically more than 40 years old. Additionally, systems biology, another quantitative approach, investigates the sum of interrelations to obtain a more holistic picture of nucleotide sequence order. Recent empirical data on genetic code compositions and rearrangements by mobile genetic elements and non-coding RNAs, together with results of virus research and their role in evolution, does not really fit into these concepts and compel a re-examination. In (...)
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  14. added 2016-02-27
    Pragmatic Turn in Biology: From Biological Molecules To.Guenther Witzany - 2014 - World Journal of Biological Chemistry 5 (3):279-285.
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  15. added 2016-02-26
    Cooperation and Its Evolution.Fritz J. McDonald - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1253-1255.
    Review of Cooperation and its Evolution, edited by Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott, and Ben Fraser.
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  16. added 2015-09-02
    Species Selection on Variability.Elisabeth A. Lloyd & Gould Stephen J. - 1993 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 90:595-599.
    this requirement for adaptations. Emergent characters are always potential adaptations. Not all selection processes produce adaptations, however. The key issue, in delineating a selection process, is the relationship between a character and fitness. The emergent character approach is more restrictive than alternative schemas that delineate selection..
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  17. added 2015-08-24
    Pathways to Pluralism About Biological Individuality.Beckett Sterner - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):609-628.
    What are the prospects for a monistic view of biological individuality given the multiple epistemic roles the concept must satisfy? In this paper, I examine the epistemic adequacy of two recent accounts based on the capacity to undergo natural selection. One is from Ellen Clarke, and the other is by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Clarke’s position reflects a strong monism, in that she aims to characterize individuality in purely functional terms and refrains from privileging any specific material properties as important in their (...)
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  18. added 2014-05-12
    Multi-Level Selection and the Explanatory Value of Mathematical Decompositions.Christopher Clarke - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4):1025-1055.
    Do multi-level selection explanations of the evolution of social traits deepen the understanding provided by single-level explanations? Central to the former is a mathematical theorem, the multi-level Price decomposition. I build a framework through which to understand the explanatory role of such non-empirical decompositions in scientific practice. Applying this general framework to the present case places two tasks on the agenda. The first task is to distinguish the various ways of suppressing within-collective variation in fitness, and moreover to evaluate their (...)
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  19. added 2014-04-14
    Individuality and Adaptation Across Levels of Selection: How Shall We Name and Generalize the Unit of Darwinism?Stephen Jay Gould & Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 1999 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 96 (21):11904-09.
    Two major clarifications have greatly abetted the understanding and fruitful expansion of the theory of natural selection in recent years: the acknowledgment that interactors, not replicators, constitute the causal unit of selection; and the recognition that interactors are Darwinian individuals, and that such individuals exist with potency at several levels of organization (genes, organisms, demes, and species in particular), thus engendering a rich hierarchical theory of selection in contrast with Darwin’s own emphasis on the organismic level. But a piece of (...)
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  20. added 2013-09-14
    Natural Selection Among Replicators, Interactors and Transactors.Donato Bergandi - 2013 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 35 (2):213-238.
    In evolutionary biology and ecology, ontological and epistemological perspectives based on the replicator and the interactor have become the background that makes it possible to transcend traditional biological levels of organization and to achieve a unified view of evolution in which replication and interaction are fundamental operating processes. Using the transactional perspective proposed originally by John Dewey and Arthur Fisher Bentley, a new ontological and methodological category is proposed here: the transactor. The transactional perspective, based on the concept of the (...)
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  21. added 2013-04-11
    Pluralism in Evolutionary Controversies: Styles and Averaging Strategies in Hierarchical Selection Theories.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, Michael J. Wade & Christopher C. Dimond - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (6):957-979.
    Two controversies exist regarding the appropriate characterization of hierarchical and adaptive evolution in natural populations. In biology, there is the Wright-Fisher controversy over the relative roles of random genetic drift, natural selection, population structure, and interdemic selection in adaptive evolution begun by Sewall Wright and Ronald Aylmer Fisher. There is also the Units of Selection debate, spanning both the biological and the philosophical literature and including the impassioned group-selection debate. Why do these two discourses exist separately, and interact relatively little? (...)
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  22. added 2011-05-31
    Art, Sexual Selection, Group Selection (Critical Notice of Denis Dutton, The Art Instinct).Mohan Matthen - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (2):337-356.
    The capacity to engage with art is a human universal present in all cultures and just about every individual human. This indicates that this capacity is evolved. In this Critical Notice of Denis Dutton's The Art Instinct, I discuss various evolutionary scenarios and their consequences. Dutton and I both reject the "spandrel" approach that originates from the work of Gould and Lewontin. Dutton proposes, following work of Geoffrey Miller, that art is sexually selected--that art-production is a sign of a fit (...)
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