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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 2019-06-05
    From Toys to Games: Overcoming the View of Natural Selection as a Filter.Víctor J. Luque - 2016 - Kairos 17 (1):1-24.
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  3. added 2019-02-24
    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)(Review Revised 2019).Michael Starks - 2019 - In Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century -- Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization -- Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 4th Edition Michael Starks. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 377-391.
    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 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 in (...)
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  4. added 2018-12-17
    Kin Selection: A Philosophical Analysis.Jonathan Birch - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Cambridge
    This dissertation examines the conceptual and theoretical foundations of the most general and most widely used framework for understanding social evolution, W. D. Hamilton's theory of kin selection. While the core idea is intuitive enough (when organisms share genes, they sometimes have an evolutionary incentive to help one another), its apparent simplicity masks a host of conceptual subtleties, and the theory has proved a perennial source of controversy in evolutionary biology. To move towards a resolution of these controversies, we need (...)
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  5. added 2018-04-19
    La selección natural: lenguaje, método y filosofía.Juan Ramón Álvarez - 2010 - Endoxa 24:91-122.
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  6. added 2017-08-19
    Four Pillars of Statisticalism.Denis M. Walsh, André Ariew & Mohan Matthen - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (1).
    Over the past fifteen years there has been a considerable amount of debate concerning what theoretical population dynamic models tell us about the nature of natural selection and drift. On the causal interpretation, these models describe the causes of population change. On the statistical interpretation, the models of population dynamics models specify statistical parameters that explain, predict, and quantify changes in population structure, without identifying the causes of those changes. Selection and drift are part of a statistical description of population (...)
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  7. added 2017-08-07
    Mental Evolution: A Review of Daniel Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back. [REVIEW]Charles A. Rathkopf - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1355-1368.
    From Bacteria To Bach and Back is an ambitious book that attempts to integrate a theory about the evolution of the human mind with another theory about the evolution of human culture. It is advertised as a defense of memes, but conceptualizes memes more liberally than has been done before. It is also advertised as a defense of the proposal that natural selection operates on culture, but conceptualizes natural selection as a process in which nearly all interesting parameters are free (...)
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  8. added 2017-01-27
    There is No Asymmetry of Identity Assumptions in the Debate Over Selection and Individuals.Casey Helgeson - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (1):21-31.
    A long-running dispute concerns which adaptation-related explananda natural selection can be said to explain. At issue are explananda of the form: why a given individual organism has a given adaptation rather than that same individual having another trait. It is broadly agreed that one must be ready to back up a “no” answer with an appropriate theory of trans-world identity for individuals. I argue, against the conventional wisdom, that the same is true for a “yes” answer. My conclusion recasts the (...)
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  9. added 2017-01-23
    Drift and Evolutionary Forces: Scrutinizing the Newtonian Analogy.Víctor J. Luque - 2016 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (3):397-410.
    This article analyzes the view of evolutionary theory as a theory of forces. The analogy with Newtonian mechanics has been challenged due to the alleged mismatch between drift and the other evolutionary forces. Since genetic drift has no direction several authors tried to protect its status as a force: denying its lack of directionality, extending the notion of force and looking for a force in physics which also lacks of direction. I analyse these approaches, and although this strategy finally succeeds, (...)
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  10. added 2017-01-21
    Down with Natural Selection? [REVIEW]Massimo Pigliucci - 2009 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 52 (1):134-140.
    Biologists are increasingly reexamining the conceptual structure of evolutionary theory, which dates back to the so-called Modern Synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s. Calls for an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES) cite a number of empir- ical and theoretical advances that need to be accounted for, including evolvability, evo- lutionary novelties, capacitors of phenotypic evolution, developmental plasticity, and phenotypic attractors. In Biological Emergences, however, Robert Reid outlines a theory of evolution in which natural selection plays no role or—worse—actually impedes evo- lution (...)
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  11. added 2017-01-19
    Defining Dysfunction: Natural Selection, Design, and Drawing a Line.Peter H. Schwartz - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (3):364-385.
    Accounts of the concepts of function and dysfunction have not adequately explained what factors determine the line between low‐normal function and dysfunction. I call the challenge of doing so the line‐drawing problem. Previous approaches emphasize facts involving the action of natural selection (Wakefield 1992a, 1999a, 1999b) or the statistical distribution of levels of functioning in the current population (Boorse 1977, 1997). I point out limitations of these two approaches and present a solution to the line‐drawing problem that builds on the (...)
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  12. added 2016-10-21
    Review of Adapting Minds Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature by Buller (2006).Michael Starks - 2017 - Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks 3rd Ed. (2017).
    I bought this thinking anything from Bradford books and MIT must be good. Instead it's a boring, stupid, incompetent, antiscientific and antirational piece of closet creationist trash. Heads should roll at Bradford for this atrocity! If you must then start by reading the last chapter first as he conceals a frank statement of his anti-rationality til the end. I made detailed notes on it as I thought it was a serious work of science and was going to do a long (...)
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  13. added 2016-10-21
    Review of Religion Explained The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought by Pascal Boyer (2002).Michael Starks - 2017 - Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization -- Articles and Reviews 2006-2017 3rd Ed 686p(2017).
    You can get a quick summary of this book on p 135 or 326. If you are not up to speed on evolutionary psychology you should first read one of the numerous recent texts with this term in the title. One of the best is " The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology " by Buss, but it is big and expensive. Until about 15 years ago, ´explanations´´of behavior have not really been explanations of mental processes at all, but rather vague and (...)
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  14. added 2016-10-21
    Review of Are We Hardwired by Clark and Grunstein (2000).Michael Starks - 2017 - Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks 3rd Ed. (2017).
    This is an excellent review of gene/environment interactions on behavior and, in spite of being a bit dated, is an easy and worthwhile read. They start with twin studies which show the overwhelming impact of genetics on behavior. They note the increasingly well known studies of Judith Harris which extend and summarize the facts that shared home environment has almost no effect on behavior and that adopted children grow up to be as different from their stepbrothers and sisters as people (...)
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  15. added 2016-04-26
    Interpretations of the Concepts of Resilience and Evolution in the Philosophy of Leibniz.Vincenzo De Florio - manuscript
    In this article I interpret resilience and evolution in view of the philosophy of Leibniz. First, I discuss resilience as a substance’s or a monad’s “quantity of essence” — its “degree of perfection” — which I express as the quality of the Whole with respect to the sum of the qualities of the Parts. Then I discuss evolution, which I interpret here as the autopoietic Principle that sets Itself in motion and creates all reality, including Itself. This Principle may be (...)
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  16. added 2016-03-17
    Les organismes vivants comme pièges à information.Antoine Danchin - 2008 - Ludus Vitalis 16 (30):211-212.
    Life can be defined as combining two entities that rest on completely different physico-chemical properties and on a particular way of handling information. The cell, first, is a « machine », that combines elements which are quite similar (although in a fairly fuzzy way) to those involved in a man-made factory. The machine combines two processes. First, it requires explicit compartmentalisation, including scaffolding structures similar to that of the châssis of engineered machines. In addition, cells define clearly an inside, the (...)
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  17. added 2016-03-04
    Adaptationism and the Logic of Research Questions: How to Think Clearly About Evolutionary Causes.Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (4):DOI: 10.1007/s13752-015-0214-2.
    This article discusses various dangers that accompany the supposedly benign methods in behavioral evoltutionary biology and evolutionary psychology that fall under the framework of "methodological adaptationism." A "Logic of Research Questions" is proposed that aids in clarifying the reasoning problems that arise due to the framework under critique. The live, and widely practiced, " evolutionary factors" framework is offered as the key comparison and alternative. The article goes beyond the traditional critique of Stephen Jay Gould and Richard C. Lewontin, to (...)
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  18. added 2016-03-04
    Sometimes an Orgasm is Just an Orgasm.Erika Lorraine Milam, Gillian R. Brown, Stefan Linquist, Steve Fuller & Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 2006 - Metascience 15 (3):399-435.
    I should like to offer my greatest thanks to Paul Griffiths for providing the opportunity for this exchange, and to commentators Gillian Brown, Steven Fuller, Stefan Linquist, and Erika Milam for their generous and thought-provoking comments. I shall do my best in this space to respond to some of their concerns.
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  19. added 2016-02-11
    Daniel Dennett's Intuition Pumps. [REVIEW]Brendan Shea - 2015 - Reason Papers 37 (2).
    A review of Daniel Dennett's Intuition Pumps (W.V. Norton: 2013).
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  20. added 2015-09-16
    Respuesta al comentario de Caponi, Gustavo. “Ginnobili, Santiago. ‘El estatus fenomenológico de la teoría de la selección natural’”.Santiago Ginnobili - 2014 - Ideas Y Valores 63 (154):307-311.
    Respuesta al comentario de Gustavo Caponi. “Ginnobili, Santiago. ‘El estatus fenomenológico de la teoría de la selección natural’”, Ideas y Valores LXII/152 (2013): 319-322.
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  21. added 2015-09-16
    La teoría de la selección darwiniana y la genética de poblaciones.Santiago Ginnobili - 2010 - Endoxa 24:169-184.
    Para algunos la selección natural se identifica con las diferencias de éxito de distintos organismos en la reproducción diferencial. Si esto fuese así, el principio de Hardy-Weinberg, por permitir determinar con bastante precisión bajo ciertos supuestos que la frecuencia génica en una población no es la esperada, podría ser visto como una versión cuantitativa de la selección natural cualitativa propuesta por Darwin. Es mi intención mostrar, a través del análisis de explicaciones dadas por Darwin, que la selección natural es más (...)
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  22. added 2015-09-16
    La teoría de la selección natural darwiniana (The Darwinian Theory of Natural Selection).Santiago Ginnobili - 2010 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 25 (1):37-58.
    This paper is about the reconstruction of the Darwinian Theory of Natural Selection. My aim here is to outline the fundamental law of this theory in an informal way from its applications in The Origin of Species and to make explicit its fundamental concepts. I will introduce the theory-nets of special laws that arise from the specialization of the fundamental law. I will assume the metatheoretical structuralist frame. I will also point out many consequences that my proposal has about a (...)
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  23. added 2015-09-16
    Adaptación y función - El papel de los conceptos funcionales en la teoría de la selección natural darwiniana.Santiago Ginnobili - 2009 - Ludus Vitalis 17 (31):3-24.
    La discusión acerca de funciones es de larga data en filosofía. Normalmente se describe a la revolución científica del siglo XVII como eliminando las causas finales y la teleología de la física. Sin embargo, el lenguaje funcional cumple un papel central en ciertas áreas de la práctica biológica. Esto ha llevado a muchos filósofos a intentar elucidar el concepto de función, en algunos casos para defender la relevancia de estos usos, en otros para mostrar que se trata de meras formas (...)
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  24. added 2015-03-19
    Problems for Natural Selection as a Mechanism.Joyce C. Havstad - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (3):512-523.
    Skipper and Millstein analyze natural selection and mechanism, concluding that natural selection is not a mechanism in the sense of the new mechanistic philosophy. Barros disagrees and provides his own account of natural selection as a mechanism. This discussion identifies a missing piece of Barros's account, attempts to fill in that piece, and reconsiders the revised account. Two principal objections are developed: one, the account does not characterize natural selection; two, the account is not mechanistic. Extensive and persistent variability causes (...)
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  25. added 2015-01-12
    The Logic of Metabolism and its Fuzzy Consequences.A. Danchin - 2014 - Environmental Microbiology 16 (1):19-28.
    Intermediary metabolism molecules are orchestrated into logical pathways stemming from history (L-amino acids, D-sugars) and dynamic constraints (hydrolysis of pyrophosphate or amide groups is the driving force of anabolism). Beside essential metabolites, numerous variants derive from programmed or accidental changes. Broken down, variants enter standard pathways, producing further variants. Macromolecule modification alters enzyme reactions specificity. Metabolism conform thermodynamic laws, precluding strict accuracy. Hence, for each regular pathway, a wealth of variants inputs and produces metabolites that are similar to but not (...)
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  26. added 2014-10-30
    Traits and Functions in the Evolution of Morality.Emanuele Serrelli - manuscript
    This paper is about evolutionary explanations. They come in different kinds but mostly need traits and functions. Evolutionary theory requires traits to be inheritable although not in a strong genetic sense: ideas of “inheritance pattern” and “inheritable pattern” are explored. Function is also a necessary concept, but complex and diverse, and it lacks causal power on traits. The debate on the evolution of morality is cautious and already far from naive “just-­‐so story” explanations, but theoretical analysis fleshed into morality-­‐related examples (...)
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  27. added 2014-10-30
    Darwinian Theory Reinterpreted.Nicholas Maxwell - 2010 - In N. Maxwell (ed.), Cutting God in Half - And Putting the Pieces Together Again: A New Approach to Philosophy. Pentire Press. pp. 264-300.
    It is argued that purposive action of living things plays a crucial role in Darwinian evolution. As evolution proceeds, the mechanisms of evolution evolve as well, giving an increasingly important role to purposive action - to be understood in a sense which is compatible with physics (the atom of purposiveness being the thermostat). Nine versions of Darwinian theory are distinguished. The first denies that purposive action has any role in evolution at all; each successive version gives an inceasingly important role (...)
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  28. added 2014-04-02
    A New Foundation for the Propensity Interpretation of Fitness.Charles H. Pence & Grant Ramsey - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):851-881.
    The propensity interpretation of fitness (PIF) is commonly taken to be subject to a set of simple counterexamples. We argue that three of the most important of these are not counterexamples to the PIF itself, but only to the traditional mathematical model of this propensity: fitness as expected number of offspring. They fail to demonstrate that a new mathematical model of the PIF could not succeed where this older model fails. We then propose a new formalization of the PIF that (...)
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  29. added 2014-03-05
    Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 42 (3):344-355.
    The explanatory role of natural selection is one of the long-term debates in evolutionary biology. Nevertheless, the consensus has been slippery because conceptual confusions and the absence of a unified, formal causal model that integrates different explanatory scopes of natural selection. In this study we attempt to examine two questions: (i) What can the theory of natural selection explain? and (ii) Is there a causal or explanatory model that integrates all natural selection explananda? For the first question, we argue that (...)
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  30. added 2014-02-12
    L'impronta dell'inutilità. Dalla teleologia di Aristotele alle genealogie di Darwin (pdf: Introduzione).Marco Solinas - 2012 - ETS.
    The book aims to offer a contribution to the historiographical and conceptual reconfiguration of the evolutionary revolution in the light of the centuries-old tenets of the Aristotelian biological tradition. Darwin’s breakthrough constitutes a thorough overturning of the fixist, essentialist and teleological framework created by Aristotle, a framework still dominant in the 17th Century world of Harvey and Ray, as well as Galileo, and then hegemonic until Linnaeus and Cuvier. This change is exemplified in the morphological analysis of useless parts, such (...)
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  31. added 2013-11-27
    The Role of Causal Processes in the Neutral and Nearly Neutral Theories.Michael R. Dietrich & Roberta L. Millstein - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):548-559.
    The neutral and nearly neutral theories of molecular evolution are sometimes characterized as theories about drift alone, where drift is described solely as an outcome, rather than a process. We argue, however, that both selection and drift, as causal processes, are integral parts of both theories. However, the nearly neutral theory explicitly recognizes alleles and/or molecular substitutions that, while engaging in weakly selected causal processes, exhibit outcomes thought to be characteristic of random drift. A narrow focus on outcomes obscures the (...)
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  32. added 2013-11-14
    Natural Selection, Childrearing, and the Ethics of Marriage (and Divorce): Building a Case for the Neuroenhancement of Human Relationships. [REVIEW]Brian D. Earp, Anders Sandberg & Julian Savulescu - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):561-587.
    We argue that the fragility of contemporary marriages—and the corresponding high rates of divorce—can be explained (in large part) by a three-part mismatch: between our relationship values, our evolved psychobiological natures, and our modern social, physical, and technological environment. “Love drugs” could help address this mismatch by boosting our psychobiologies while keeping our values and our environment intact. While individual couples should be free to use pharmacological interventions to sustain and improve their romantic connection, we suggest that they may have (...)
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  33. 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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  34. added 2012-11-23
    Review of Robert Trivers' The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life[REVIEW]Neil Van Leeuwen - 2013 - Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 18 (1-2):146-151.
    Here I review Robert Trivers' 2011 book _The Folly of Fools_, in which he advocates the evolutionary theory of deceit and self-deception that he pioneered in his famous preface to Richard Dawkins' _Selfish Gene_. Although the book contains a wealth of interesting discussion on topics ranging from warfare to immunology, I find it lacking on two major fronts. First, it fails to give a proper argument for its central thesis--namely, that self-deception evolved to facilitate deception of others. Second, the book (...)
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  35. added 2012-10-10
    Life’s Demons: Information and Order in Biology.Philippe M. Binder & Antoine Danchin - 2011 - EMBO Reports 12 (6):495-499.
    Two decades ago, Rolf Landauer (1991) argued that “information is physical” and ought to have a role in the scientific analysis of reality comparable to that of matter, energy, space and time. This would also help to bridge the gap between biology and mathematics and physics. Although it can be argued that we are living in the ‘golden age’ of biology, both because of the great challenges posed by medicine and the environment and the significant advances that have been made—especially (...)
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  36. added 2012-07-20
    Oyun: A New, Free Program for Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma Tournaments in the Classroom.Charles H. Pence & Lara Buchak - 2012 - Evolution Education and Outreach 5 (3):467-476.
    Evolutionary applications of game theory present one of the most pedagogically accessible varieties of genuine, contemporary theoretical biology. We present here Oyun (OY-oon, http://charlespence.net/oyun), a program designed to run iterated prisoner’s dilemma tournaments, competitions between prisoner’s dilemma strategies developed by the students themselves. Using this software, students are able to readily design and tweak their own strategies, and to see how they fare both in round-robin tournaments and in “evolutionary” tournaments, where the scores in a given “generation” directly determine contribution (...)
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  37. added 2012-02-01
    Is Evolvability Evolvable?Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Nature Reviews Genetics 9:75-82.
    In recent years, biologists have increasingly been asking whether the ability to evolve — the evolvability — of biological systems, itself evolves, and whether this phenomenon is the result of natural selection or a by-product of other evolutionary processes. The concept of evolvability, and the increasing theoretical and empirical literature that refers to it, may constitute one of several pillars on which an extended evolutionary synthesis will take shape during the next few years, although much work remains to be done (...)
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  38. added 2012-02-01
    Phenotypic Plasticity and Evolution by Genetic Assimilation.Massimo Pigliucci, Courtney Murren & Carl Schlichting - 2006 - Journal of Experimental Biology 209:2362-2367.
    In addition to considerable debate in the recent evolutionary literature about the limits of the Modern Synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s, there has also been theoretical and empirical interest in a variety of new and not so new concepts such as phenotypic plasticity, genetic assimilation and phenotypic accommodation. Here we consider examples of the arguments and counter- arguments that have shaped this discussion. We suggest that much of the controversy hinges on several misunderstandings, including unwarranted fears of a general (...)
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  39. added 2012-02-01
    Jack of All Trades, Master of Some? On the Role of Phenotypic Plasticity in Plant Invasions.Christina Richards - 2006 - Ecology Letters 9:981-993.
    Invasion biologists often suggest that phenotypic plasticity plays an important role in successful plant invasions. Assuming that plasticity enhances ecological niche breadth and therefore confers a fitness advantage, recent studies have posed two main hypotheses: (1) invasive species are more plastic than non-invasive or native ones; (2) populations in the introduced range of an invasive species have evolved greater plasticity than populations in the native range. These two hypotheses largely reflect the disparate interests of ecologists and evolutionary biologists. Because these (...)
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  40. added 2012-02-01
    Evolution of Phenotypic Plasticity: Where Are We Going Now?Massimo Pigliucci - 2005 - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20 (9):481-486.
    The study of phenotypic plasticity has progressed significantly over the past few decades. We have moved from variation for plasticity being considered as a nuisance in evolutionary studies to it being the primary target of investigations that use an array of methods, including quantitative and molecular genetics, as well as of several approaches that model the evolution of plastic responses. Here, I consider some of the major aspects of research on phenotypic plasticity, assessing where progress has been made and where (...)
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  41. added 2012-02-01
    Genetic Assimilation and a Possible Evolutionary Paradox: Can Macroevolution Sometimes Be so Fast to Pass Us By?Massimo Pigliucci - 2003 - Evolution 57 (7):1455-1464.
    The idea of genetic assimilation, that environmentally induced phenotypes may become genetically fixed and no longer require the original environmental stimulus, has had varied success through time in evolutionary biology research. Proposed by Waddington in the 1940s, it became an area of active empirical research mostly thanks to the efforts of its inventor and his collaborators. It was then attacked as of minor importance during the ‘‘hardening’’ of the neo-Darwinian synthesis and was relegated to a secondary role for decades. Recently, (...)
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  42. added 2012-02-01
    Phenotypic Plasticity.Massimo Pigliucci - 2001 - In C. W. Fox D. A. Roff (ed.), Evolutionary Ecology: Concepts and Case Studies.
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  43. added 2011-08-29
    Darwin’s Pluralism, Then and Now. [REVIEW]Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2012 - Metascience 21 (1):157-161.
    Tom Stoppard’s 1966 play (and 1990 movie) /Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead/ is a metatext – as a text, it interprets, builds upon, and refers to another text, Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Similarly, David N. Reznick’s /The Origin then and now: An interpretative guide to the Origin of Species/ (Princeton UP, 2010) is also a metatext. In this review, I turn to the history of science to evaluate whether Reznick’s book shares three families of virtues with Stoppard’s play: (i) brevity and precision, (...)
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  44. added 2011-08-29
    Prediction in Selectionist Evolutionary Theory.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):889-901.
    Selectionist evolutionary theory has often been faulted for not making novel predictions that are surprising, risky, and correct. I argue that it in fact exhibits the theoretical virtue of predictive capacity in addition to two other virtues: explanatory unification and model fitting. Two case studies show the predictive capacity of selectionist evolutionary theory: parallel evolutionary change in E. coli, and the origin of eukaryotic cells through endosymbiosis.
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  45. added 2011-08-29
    Fisherian and Wrightian Perspectives in Evolutionary Genetics and Model-Mediated Imposition of Theoretical Assumptions.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2006 - Journal of Theoretical Biology 240:218-232.
    I investigate how theoretical assumptions, pertinent to different perspectives and operative during the modeling process, are central in determining how nature is actually taken to be. I explore two different models by Michael Turelli and Steve Frank of the evolution of parasite-mediated cytoplasmic incompatility, guided, respectively, by Fisherian and Wrightian perspectives. Since the two models can be shown to be commensurable both with respect to mathematics and data, I argue that the differences between them in the (1) mathematical presentation of (...)
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  46. added 2011-08-10
    Proper Environment and the SEP Account of Biological Function.Michael Bertrand - 2013 - Synthese 190 (9):1503-1517.
    The survival enhancing propensity (SEP) account has a crucial role to play in the analysis of proper function. However, a central feature of the account, its specification of the proper environment to which functions are relativized, is seriously underdeveloped. In this paper, I argue that existent accounts of proper environment fail because they either allow too many or too few characters to count as proper functions. While SEP accounts retain their promise, they are unworkable because of their inability to specify (...)
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  47. added 2010-08-19
    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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  48. added 2010-06-15
    Drift and “Statistically Abstractive Explanation”.Mohan Matthen - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (4):464-487.
    A hitherto neglected form of explanation is explored, especially its role in population genetics. “Statistically abstractive explanation” (SA explanation) mandates the suppression of factors probabilistically relevant to an explanandum when these factors are extraneous to the theoretical project being pursued. When these factors are suppressed, the explanandum is rendered uncertain. But this uncertainty traces to the theoretically constrained character of SA explanation, not to any real indeterminacy. Random genetic drift is an artifact of such uncertainty, and it is therefore wrong (...)
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  49. added 2010-04-18
    Darwin’s Unkindly Variable: Fitness and the Tautology Problem.John S. Wilkins - manuscript
    Few problems in the philosophy of evolutionary biology are more widely disseminated and discussed than the charge of Darwinian evolution being a tautology. The history is long and complex, and the issues are many, and despite the problem routinely being dismissed as an introductory-level issue, based on misunderstandings of evolution, it seems that few agree on what exactly these misunderstandings consist of. In this paper, I will try to comprehensively review the history and the issues. Then, I will try to (...)
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  50. added 2009-04-14
    The Changeful Fate of a Groundbreaking Insight: The Darwinian Fitness Principle Caught in Different Webs of Belief.Ulrich Krohs - 2006 - Yearbook for European Culture of Science 2:107-124.
    Darwin’s explanation of biological speciation in terms of variation and natural selection has revolutionised biological thought. However, while his principle of natural selection, the fitness principle, has shaped biology until the present, its interpretation changed more than once during the almost 150 years of its history. The most striking change of the status of the principle is that, in the middle of the 20th century, it transmutated from an often disputed, groundbreaking insight into a tautology. Moreover, not only the interpretation (...)
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