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  1. Managing Variation in the Investigation of Organismal Development: Problems and Opportunities.James W. E. Lowe - 2015 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 37 (4):449-473.
    This paper aims to clarify the consequences of new scientific and philosophical approaches for the practical-theoretical framework of modern developmental biology. I highlight normal development, and the instructive-permissive distinction, as key parts of this framework which shape how variation is conceptualised and managed. Furthermore, I establish the different dimensions of biological variation: the units, temporality and mode of variation. Using the analytical frame established by this, I interpret a selection of examples as challenges to the instructive-permissive distinction. These examples include (...)
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  • Is Behavioural Flexibility Evidence of Cognitive Complexity? How Evolution Can Inform Comparative Cognition.Irina Mikhalevich, Russell Powell & Corina Logan - 2017 - Interface Focus 7.
    Behavioural flexibility is often treated as the gold standard of evidence for more sophisticated or complex forms of animal cognition, such as planning, metacognition and mindreading. However, the evidential link between behavioural flexibility and complex cognition has not been explicitly or systematically defended. Such a defence is particularly pressing because observed flexible behaviours can frequently be explained by putatively simpler cognitive mechanisms. This leaves complex cognition hypotheses open to ‘deflationary’ challenges that are accorded greater evidential weight precisely because they offer (...)
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  • Identifying Behavioral Novelty.Rachael L. Brown - 2014 - Biological Theory 9 (2):135-148.
    Although there is no in-principle impediment to an EvoDevo of behavior, such an endeavor is not as straightforward as one might think; many of the key terms and concepts used in EvoDevo are tailored to suit its traditional focus on morphology, and are consequently difficult to apply to behavior. In this light, the application of the EvoDevo conceptual toolkit to the behavioral domain requires the establishment of a set of tractable concepts that are readily applicable to behavioral characters. Here, I (...)
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  • Limitations of Natural Kind Talk in the Life Sciences: Homology and Other Cases. [REVIEW]Miles MacLeod - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (2):109-120.
    The aim of this article is to detail some reservations against the beliefs, claims, or presuppositions that current essentialist natural kind concepts (including homeostatic property cluster kinds) model grouping practices in the life sciences accurately and generally. Such concepts fit reasoning into particular preconceived epistemic and semantic patterns. The ability of these patterns to fit scientific practice is often argued in support of homeostatic property cluster accounts, yet there are reasons to think that in the life sciences kind concepts exhibit (...)
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  • Gene Names as Proper Names of Individuals: An Assessment.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):409-432.
    According to a recent suggestion, the names of gene taxa should be conceived of as referring to individuals with concrete genes as their parts, just as the names of biological species are often understood as denoting individuals with organisms as their parts. Although prima facie this suggestion might advance the debate on gene concepts in a similar way as the species-are-individuals thesis advanced the debate on species concepts, I argue that the principal arguments in support of the gene-individuality thesis are (...)
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  • Convergence as Evidence.Adrian Currie - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):763-786.
    The comparative method grants epistemic access to the biological past. Comparing lineages provides empirical traction on both hypotheses about particular lineages and models of trait evolution. Understanding this evidential role is important. Although philosophers have recently turned their attention to relations of descent, little work exists exploring the status of evidence from convergences. I argue that, where they exist, convergences play a central role in the confirmation of adaptive hypotheses. I focus on ‘analogous inferences’, show how such inferences ought to (...)
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  • Reframing the Homology Problem.Devin Gouvea - unknown
    Recent philosophical work on biological homology has generally treated its conceptual fragmentation as a problem to be solved by new accounts that either unify disparate approaches to homology or specify sharp constraints on its meaning. I show that several proposed solutions either misunderstand or ignore central features of comparative biological research, despite attempts to capture scientific practice. I conclude that the problem is incorrectly framed and that disagreements about homology may be epistemically fruitful. Empirically tractable debates are more likely to (...)
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  • Interdisciplinary Lessons for the Teaching of Biology From the Practice of Evo-Devo.Alan C. Love - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (2):255-278.
    Evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-devo) is a vibrant area of contemporary life science that should be (and is) increasingly incorporated into teaching curricula. Although the inclusion of this content is important for biological pedagogy at multiple levels of instruction, there are also philosophical lessons that can be drawn from the scientific practices found in Evo-devo. One feature of particular significance is the interdisciplinary nature of Evo-devo investigations and their resulting explanations. Instead of a single disciplinary approach being the most explanatory or (...)
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  • Interdisciplinary Lessons for the Teaching of Biology From the Practice of Evo-Devo.Alan C. Love - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (2):255–278.
    Evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-devo) is a vibrant area of contemporary life science that should be (and is) increasingly incorporated into teaching curricula. Although the inclusion of this content is important for biological pedagogy at multiple levels of instruction, there are also philosophical lessons that can be drawn from the scientific practices found in Evo-devo. One feature of particular significance is the interdisciplinary nature of Evo-devo investigations and their resulting explanations. Instead of a single disciplinary approach being the most explanatory or (...)
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  • Development and Natural Kinds.Marco J. Nathan & Andrea Borghini - 2014 - Synthese 191 (3):539-556.
    While philosophers tend to consider a single type of causal history, biologists distinguish between two kinds of causal history: evolutionary history and developmental history. This essay studies the peculiarity of development as a criterion for the individuation of biological traits and its relation to form, function, and evolution. By focusing on examples involving serial homologies and genetic reprogramming, we argue that morphology (form) and function, even when supplemented with evolutionary history, are sometimes insufficient to individuate traits. Developmental mechanisms bring in (...)
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  • Sameness in Biology.Grant Ramsey & Anne Siebels Peterson - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (2):255-275.
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  • Neural Reuse as a Source of Developmental Homology.David S. Moore & Chris Moore - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):284-285.
    Neural reuse theories should interest developmental psychologists because these theories can potentially illuminate the developmental relations among psychological characteristics observed across the lifespan. Characteristics that develop by exploiting pre-existing neural circuits can be thought of as developmental homologues. And, understood in this way, the homology concept that has proven valuable for evolutionary biologists can be used productively to study psychological/behavioral development.
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  • In What Sense Does ‘Nothing Make Sense Except in the Light of Evolution’?Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2009 - Acta Biotheoretica 57 (1-2):11-32.
    Dobzhansky argued that biology only makes sense if life on earth has a shared history. But his dictum is often reinterpreted to mean that biology only makes sense in the light of adaptation. Some philosophers of science have argued in this spirit that all work in ‘proximal’ biosciences such as anatomy, physiology and molecular biology must be framed, at least implicitly, by the selection histories of the organisms under study. Others have denied this and have proposed non-evolutionary ways in which (...)
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  • Venomous Dinosaurs and Rear-Fanged Snakes: Homology and Homoplasy Characterized. [REVIEW]Adrian Currie - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (3):701-727.
    I develop an account of homology and homoplasy drawing on their use in biological inference and explanation. Biologists call on homology and homoplasy to infer character states, support adaptationist explanations, identify evolutionary novelties and hypothesize phylogenetic relationships. In these contexts, the concepts must be understood phylogenetically and kept separate: as they play divergent roles, overlap between the two ought to be avoided. I use these considerations to criticize an otherwise attractive view defended by Gould, Hall, and Ramsey & Peterson. By (...)
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  • The Fine Structure of ‘Homology’.Aaron Novick - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):6.
    There is long-standing conflict between genealogical and developmental accounts of homology. This paper provides a general framework that shows that these accounts are compatible and clarifies precisely how they are related. According to this framework, understanding homology requires both an abstract genealogical account that unifies the application of the term to all types of characters used in phylogenetic systematics and locally enriched accounts that apply only to specific types of characters. The genealogical account serves this unifying role by relying on (...)
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  • Homology: Integrating Phylogeny and Development.Marc Ereshefsky - 2009 - Biological Theory 4 (3):225-229.
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  • Ahistorical Homology and Multiple Realizability.Sergio Balari & Guillermo Lorenzo - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (6):881-902.
    The Mind-Brain Identity Theory lived a short life as a respectable philosophical position in the late 1950s, until Hilary Putnam developed his famous argument on the multiple realizability of mental states. The argument was, and still is, taken as the definitive demonstration of the falsity of Identity Theory and the foundation on which contemporary functionalist computational cognitive science was to be grounded. In this paper, in the wake of some contemporary philosophers, we reopen the case for Identity Theory and offer (...)
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  • Microbiology and the Species Problem.Marc Ereshefsky - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):553-568.
    This paper examines the species problem in microbiology and its implications for the species problem more generally. Given the different meanings of ‘species’ in microbiology, the use of ‘species’ in biology is more multifarious and problematic than commonly recognized. So much so, that recent work in microbial systematics casts doubt on the existence of a prokaryote species category in nature. It also casts doubt on the existence of a general species category for all of life (one that includes both prokaryotes (...)
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  • How to Compare Homology Concepts: Class Reasoning About Evolution and Morphology in Phylogenetics and Developmental Biology.Miles MacLeod - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (2):141-153.
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  • Noah and the Spaceship: Evolution for Twenty-First Century Christians.Ellen Clarke - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):725-734.
    Evolution has increasingly become a topic of conflict between scientists and Christians, but Alexandre Meinesz’s recent book How Life Began aims to provide a reconciliation between the two. Here I review his somewhat unorthodox perspective on major transitions, alien origins and the meaning of life, with a critical focus on his account of the generation of multicellularity.
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  • Homology Thinking.Marc Ereshefsky - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):381-400.
    This paper explores an important type of biological explanation called ‘homology thinking.’ Homology thinking explains the properties of a homologue by citing the history of a homologue. Homology thinking is significant in several ways. First, it offers more detailed explanations of biological phenomena than corresponding analogy explanations. Second, it provides an important explanation of character similarity and difference. Third, homology thinking offers a promising account of multiple realizability in biology.
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