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  1. Biological functions and natural selection: a reappraisal.Marc Artiga - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-22.
    The goal of this essay is to assess the Selected-Effects Etiological Theory of biological function, according to which a trait has a function F if and only if it has been selected for F. First, I argue that this approach should be understood as describing the paradigm case of functions, rather than as establishing necessary and sufficient conditions for function possession. I contend that, interpreted in this way, the selected-effects approach can explain two central properties of functions and can satisfactorily (...)
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  • The Struggle for Life and Adaptation by Natural Selection.Adam Krashniak - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (3):1-16.
    While the struggle for life played an important role in the process of natural selection as it was conceived by Darwin, natural selection is commonly characterized today as a process which does not necessarily involve struggle. Nevertheless, there have been some attempts to show the importance of struggle to the process of natural selection. The present paper aims to continue these attempts and clarify the precise evolutionary role of struggle. The paper focuses on a recent dispute regarding the role of (...)
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  • Symmetry Between the Intentionality of Minds and Machines? The Biological Plausibility of Dennett’s Account.Bence Nanay - 2006 - Minds and Machines 16 (1):57-71.
    One of the most influential arguments against the claim that computers can think is that while our intentionality is intrinsic, that of computers is derived: it is parasitic on the intentionality of the programmer who designed the computer-program. Daniel Dennett chose a surprising strategy for arguing against this asymmetry: instead of denying that the intentionality of computers is derived, he endeavours to argue that human intentionality is derived too. I intend to examine that biological plausibility of Dennett’s suggestion and show (...)
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  • Teleosemantics Without Natural Selection.Marshall Abrams - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):97-116.
    Ruth Millikan and others advocate theories which attempt to naturalize wide mental content (e.g. beliefs.
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  • George Kubler and the Biological Metaphor of Art.Bence Nanay - 2018 - British Journal of Aesthetics 58 (4):423-434.
    George Kubler was one of the most important art historians of the twentieth century who is especially relevant today mainly for shifting the emphasis from high art to what is now known as ‘visual culture’ and for being the first genuinely global art historian. But what he has been most widely known for is the rejection of the biological metaphor of art—the general idea that artistic styles and movements grow, flower and then wither away. I argue that Kubler did not (...)
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  • The Negative View of Natural Selection.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):569-573.
    An influential argument due to Elliott Sober, subsequently strengthened by Denis Walsh and Joel Pust, moves from plausible premises to the bold conclusion that natural selection cannot explain the traits of individual organisms. If the argument were sound, the explanatory scope of selection would depend, surprisingly, on metaphysical considerations concerning origin essentialism. I show that the Sober-Walsh-Pust argument rests on a flawed counterfactual criterion for explanatory relevance. I further show that a more defensible criterion for explanatory relevance recently proposed by (...)
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  • Strong Liberal Representationalism.Marc Artiga - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-23.
    The received view holds that there is a significant divide between full-blown representational states and so called ‘detectors’, which are mechanisms set off by specific stimuli that trigger a particular effect. The main goal of this paper is to defend the idea that many detectors are genuine representations, a view that I call ‘Strong Liberal Representationalism’. More precisely, I argue that ascribing semantic properties to them contributes to an explanation of behavior, guides research in useful ways and can accommodate misrepresentation.
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  • Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia.James Franklin - 2003 - Sydney, Australia: Macleay Press.
    A polemical account of Australian philosophy up to 2003, emphasising its unique aspects (such as commitment to realism) and the connections between philosophers' views and their lives. Topics include early idealism, the dominance of John Anderson in Sydney, the Orr case, Catholic scholasticism, Melbourne Wittgensteinianism, philosophy of science, the Sydney disturbances of the 1970s, Francofeminism, environmental philosophy, the philosophy of law and Mabo, ethics and Peter Singer. Realist theories especially praised are David Armstrong's on universals, David Stove's on logical probability (...)
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  • The Trials of Life: Natural Selection and Random Drift.Denis M. Walsh, Andre Ariew & Tim Lewens - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (3):452-473.
    We distinguish dynamical and statistical interpretations of evolutionary theory. We argue that only the statistical interpretation preserves the presumed relation between natural selection and drift. On these grounds we claim that the dynamical conception of evolutionary theory as a theory of forces is mistaken. Selection and drift are not forces. Nor do selection and drift explanations appeal to the (sub-population-level) causes of population level change. Instead they explain by appeal to the statistical structure of populations. We briefly discuss the implications (...)
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  • Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms: Myth and Reality.Sören Häggqvist & Åsa Wikforss - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):911-933.
    The article examines the role of natural kinds in semantic theorizing, which has largely been conducted in isolation from relevant work in science, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. We argue that the Kripke–Putnam account of natural kind terms, despite recent claims to the contrary, depends on a certain metaphysics of natural kinds; that the metaphysics usually assumed—micro-essentialism—is untenable even in a ‘placeholder’ version; and that the currently popular homeostatic property cluster theory of natural kinds is correct only to an extent (...)
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  • Explaining Complex Adaptations: A Reply to Sober’s ”Reply to Neander’.Karen Neander - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (4):583-587.
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  • Natural Selection and Distributive Explanation: A Reply to Neander.Elliott Sober - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (3):384-397.
    The thesis that natural selection explains the frequencies of traits in populations, but not why individual organisms have the traits tehy do, is here defended and elaborated. A general concept of ‘distributive explanation’ is discussed.
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  • Etiological Theories of Function: A Geographical Survey.David J. Buller - 1998 - Biology and Philosophy 13 (4):505-527.
    Formulations of the essential commitment of the etiological theory of functions have varied significantly, with some individual authors' formulations even varying from one place to another. The logical geography of these various formulations is different from what is standardly assumed; for they are not stylistic variants of the same essential commitment, but stylistic variants of two non-equivalent versions of the etiological theory. I distinguish these “strong” and “weak” versions of the etiological theory (which differ with respect to the role of (...)
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  • Does the extended evolutionary synthesis entail extended explanatory power?Jan Baedke, Alejandro Fábregas-Tejeda & Francisco Vergara-Silva - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (1):1-22.
    Biologists and philosophers of science have recently called for an extension of evolutionary theory. This so-called ‘extended evolutionary synthesis’ seeks to integrate developmental processes, extra-genetic forms of inheritance, and niche construction into evolutionary theory in a central way. While there is often agreement in evolutionary biology over the existence of these phenomena, their explanatory relevance is questioned. Advocates of EES posit that their perspective offers better explanations than those provided by ‘standard evolutionary theory’. Still, why this would be the case (...)
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  • Philosophy, Drama and Literature.Rick Benitez - 2010 - In Graham Oppy & Steve Gardner (eds.), A Companion to Philosophy in Australia & New Zealand. Melbourne, Australia: Monash University Press. pp. 371-372.
    Philosophy and Literature is an internationally renowned refereed journal founded by Denis Dutton at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch. It is now published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. Since its inception in 1976, Philosophy and Literature has been concerned with the relation between literary and philosophical studies, publishing articles on the philosophical interpretation of literature as well as the literary treatment of philosophy. Philosophy and Literature has sometimes been regarded as iconoclastic, in the sense that it repudiates academic pretensions, (...)
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  • Could Evolution Explain Our Reliability About Logic?Joshua Schechter - 2013 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology 4. pp. 214.
    We are reliable about logic in the sense that we by-and-large believe logical truths and disbelieve logical falsehoods. Given that logic is an objective subject matter, it is difficult to provide a satisfying explanation of our reliability. This generates a significant epistemological challenge, analogous to the well-known Benacerraf-Field problem for mathematical Platonism. One initially plausible way to answer the challenge is to appeal to evolution by natural selection. The central idea is that being able to correctly deductively reason conferred a (...)
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  • The Reliability Challenge and the Epistemology of Logic.Joshua Schechter - 2010 - Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):437-464.
    We think of logic as objective. We also think that we are reliable about logic. These views jointly generate a puzzle: How is it that we are reliable about logic? How is it that our logical beliefs match an objective domain of logical fact? This is an instance of a more general challenge to explain our reliability about a priori domains. In this paper, I argue that the nature of this challenge has not been properly understood. I explicate the challenge (...)
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  • Biological Function, Selection, and Reduction.Richard N. Manning - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (1):69-82.
    It is widely assumed that selection history accounts of function can support a fully reductive naturalization of functional properties. I argue that this assumption is false. A problem with the alternative causal role account of function in this context is that it invokes the teleological notion of a goal in analysing real function. The selection history account, if it is to have reductive status, must not do the same. But attention to certain cases of selection history in biology, specifically those (...)
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  • Is Sex Really Necessary? And Other Questions for Lewens.Mohan Matthen - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):297-308.
    It has been claimed that certain forms of individual essentialism render the Theory of Natural Selection unable to explain why any given individual has the traits it does. Here, three reasons are offered why the Theory ought to ignore these forms of essentialism. First, the trait-distributions explained by population genetics supervene on individual-level causal links, and thus selection must have individual-level effects. Second, even if there are individuals that possess thick essences, they lie outside the domain of the Theory. Finally, (...)
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  • Teleosemantics, Selection and Novel Contents.Justin Garson & David Papineau - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (3):36.
    Mainstream teleosemantics is the view that mental representation should be understood in terms of biological functions, which, in turn, should be understood in terms of selection processes. One of the traditional criticisms of teleosemantics is the problem of novel contents: how can teleosemantics explain our ability to represent properties that are evolutionarily novel? In response, some have argued that by generalizing the notion of a selection process to include phenomena such as operant conditioning, and the neural selection that underlies it, (...)
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  • 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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  • Do Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Rest on a Mistake About Evolutionary Explanations?Andreas L. Mogensen - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (7):1799-1817.
    Many moral philosophers accept the Debunking Thesis, according to which facts about natural selection provide debunking explanations for certain of our moral beliefs. I argue that philosophers who accept the Debunking Thesis beg important questions in the philosophy of biology. They assume that past selection can explain why you or I hold certain of the moral beliefs we do. A position advanced by many prominent philosophers of biology implies that this assumption is false. According to the Negative View, natural selection (...)
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  • Die Architektur der Synthese. Entstehung und Philosophie der modernen Evolutionstheorie.Marcel Weber - 1996 - Dissertation, University of Konstanz
    This Ph.D. thesis provides a pilosophical account of the structure of the evolutionary synthesis of the 1930s and 40s. The first, more historical part analyses how classical genetics came to be integrated into evolutionary thinking, highlighting in particular the importance of chromosomal mapping of Drosophila strains collected in the wild by Dobzansky, but also the work of Goldschmidt, Sumners, Timofeeff-Ressovsky and others. The second, more philosophical part attempts to answer the question wherein the unity of the synthesis consisted. I argue (...)
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  • Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 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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  • Natural Selection and Multi-Level Causation.Maximiliano Martínez & Andrés Moya - 2011 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 3 (20130604).
    In this paper, using a multilevel approach, we defend the positive role of natural selection in the generation of organismal form. Despite the currently widespread opinion that natural selection only plays a negative role in the evolution of form, we argue, in contrast, that the Darwinian factor is a crucial (but not exclusive) factor in morphological organization. Analyzing some classic arguments, we propose incorporating the notion of ‘downward causation’ into the concept of ‘natural selection.’ In our opinion, this kind of (...)
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  • 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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  • Discussion Note : Did Darwin Really Answer Paley's Question?Brunnander Björn - unknown
    It is commonly thought that natural selection explains the rise of adaptive complexity. Razeto-Barry and Frick have recently argued in favour of this view, dubbing it the Creative View. I argue that the Creative View is mistaken if it claims that natural selection serves to answer Paley’s question. This is shown by a case that brings out the contrastive structure inherent in this demand for explanation. There is, however, a rather trivial sense in which specific environmental conditions are crucial for (...)
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  • Ce que pense un individu peut-il expliquer ce qu'il fait?Pierre Jacob - 2000 - Philosophiques 27 (1):115-138.
    Un partisan du monisme matérialiste qui souscrit au réalisme intentionnel s’engage à octroyer aux contenus des représentations mentales une efficacité causale dans la production d’effets physiques. Deux difficultés se présentent : d’une part, le caractère extrinsèque des propriétés sémantiques paraît inconciliable avec leur efficacité causale ; d’autre part, comme un matérialiste suppose que toute entité qui exemplifie une propriété sémantique exemplifie simultanément des propriétés physiques, celles-ci risquent de priver celle-là d’efficacité causale . La première section est consacrée au premier problème, (...)
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  • Le matérialisme contemporain.Paul Bernier - 2000 - Philosophiques 27 (1):99-114.
    RÉSUMÉ Dans la foulée de divers arguments antiphysicalistes visant à montrer que les qualia ne sont pas fonctionnalisables, Ned Block a proposé un autre argument de ce type, qui repose sur son expérience de pensée de la Terre inversée. L’argument de Block montrerait qu’un sujet peut avoir deux expériences de couleur du même type « phénoménal » qui seraient de deux types fonctionnels distincts puisque, selon lui, elles auraient des contenus intentionnels distincts. Il existerait donc une différence fondamentale entre le (...)
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  • 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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  • What Did Popper Learn From Lakatos?Bence Nanay - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (6):1202-1215.
    The canonical version of the history of twentieth century philosophy of science tells us that Lakatos was Popper’s disciple, but it is rarely mentioned that Popper would have learned anything from Lakatos. The aim of this paper is to examine Lakatos’ influence on Popper’s philosophical system and to argue that Lakatos did have an important, yet somewhat unexpected, impact on Popper’s thinking: he influenced Popper’s evolutionary model for ‘progress’ in science. And Lakatos’ influence sheds new light on why and how (...)
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  • The Creativity of Natural Selection? Part II: The Synthesis and Since.John Beatty - 2019 - Journal of the History of Biology 52 (4):705-731.
    This is the second of a two-part essay on the history of debates concerning the creativity of natural selection, from Darwin through the evolutionary synthesis and up to the present. In the first part, I focussed on the mid-late nineteenth century to the early twentieth, with special emphasis on early Darwinism and its critics, the self-styled “mutationists.” The second part focuses on the evolutionary synthesis and some of its critics, especially the “neutralists” and “neo-mutationists.” Like Stephen Gould, I consider the (...)
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  • The Nature of Philosophy and the Philosophy of Nature: Peter Godfrey-Smith: Philosophy of Biology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.Tim Lewens - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (4):587-596.
    Peter Godfrey-Smith’s introduction to the philosophy of biology is excellent. This review questions one implication of his book, namely that Darwin’s case for the efficacy of natural selection was hampered by his ignorance of the particulate nature of inheritance. I suggest, instead, that Darwin was handicapped by an inability to effectively engage in quantitative population thinking. I also question Godfrey-Smith’s understanding of the role that Malthusian struggle plays in linking natural selection to the origination of new adaptive traits, and I (...)
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  • Population Thinking as Trope Nominalism.Bence Nanay - 2010 - Synthese 177 (1):91 - 109.
    The concept of population thinking was introduced by Ernst Mayr as the right way of thinking about the biological domain, but it is difficult to find an interpretation of this notion that is both unproblematic and does the theoretical work it was intended to do. I argue that, properly conceived, Mayr’s population thinking is a version of trope nominalism: the view that biological property-types do not exist or at least they play no explanatory role. Further, although population thinking has been (...)
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  • Natural Selection and the Limited Nature of Environmental Resources.Bence Nanay - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (4):418-419.
    In this paper, I am clarifying and defending my argument in favor of the claim that cumulative selection can explain adaptation provided that the environmental resources are limited. Further, elaborate on what this limitation of environmental resources means and why it is relevant for the explanatory power of natural selection.
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  • Replication Without Replicators.Bence Nanay - 2011 - Synthese 179 (3):455-477.
    According to a once influential view of selection, it consists of repeated cycles of replication and interaction. It has been argued that this view is wrong: replication is not necessary for evolution by natural selection. I analyze the nine most influential arguments for this claim and defend the replication–interaction conception of selection against these objections. In order to do so, however, the replication–interaction conception of selection needs to be modified significantly. My proposal is that replication is not the copying of (...)
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  • The Function of Cognition: Godfrey-Smith's Environmental Complexity Thesis. [REVIEW]Karen Neander - 1997 - Biology and Philosophy 12 (4):567-580.
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  • The Return of the Replicator: What is Philosophically Significant in a General Account of Replication and Selection? [REVIEW]Bence Nanay - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):109-121.
    The aim of this paper is to outline a typologyof selection processes, and show that differentsub-categories have different explanatorypower. The basis of this typology of selectionprocesses is argued to be the difference ofreplication processes involved in them. Inorder to show this, I argue that: 1.Replication is necessary for selection and 2.Different types of replication lead todifferent types of selection. Finally, it isargued that this typology is philosophicallysignificant, since it contrasts cases ofselection (on the basis of the replicationprocesses involved in them) (...)
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  • Natural Selection and the Traits of Individual Organisms.Joel Pust - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (5):765-779.
    I have recently argued that origin essentialism regarding individual organisms entails that natural selection does not explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do. This paper defends this and related theses against Mohan Matthen's recent objections.
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  • Flagellant Priests.Tim Lewens - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (3):411-421.
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  • On the Explanatory Roles of Natural Selection.Patrick Forber - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):329-342.
    Can selection explain why individuals have the traits they do? This question has generated significant controversy. I will argue that the debate encompasses two separable aspects, to detrimental effect: (1) the role of selection in explaining the origin and evolution of biological traits and (2) the implications this may have for explaining why individuals have the traits they do. (1) can be settled on the basis of evolutionary theory while (2) requires additional, extra-scientific assumptions. By making a distinction between traits (...)
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  • Did Darwin Really Answer Paley’s Question?Björn Brunnander - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):309-311.
    It is commonly thought that natural selection explains the rise of adaptive complexity. Razeto-Barry and Frick have recently argued in favour of this view, dubbing it the Creative View. I argue that the Creative View is mistaken if it claims that natural selection serves to answer Paley’s question. This is shown by a case that brings out the contrastive structure inherent in this demand for explanation. There is, however, a rather trivial sense in which specific environmental conditions are crucial for (...)
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  • Dretske's Innate Modesty.Karen Neander - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (2):258-74.
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  • Merging Biological Metaphors. Creativity, Darwinism and Biosemiotics.Carlos David Suárez Pascal - 2017 - Biosemiotics 10 (3):369-378.
    Evolutionary adaptation has been suggested as the hallmark of life that best accounts for life’s creativity. However, current evolutionary approaches still fail to give an adequate account of it, even if they are able to explain both the origin of novelties and the proliferation of certain traits in a population. Although modern-synthesis Darwinism is today usually appraised as too narrow a position to cope with all the complexities of developmental and structural biology—not to say biosemiotic phenomena—, Darwinism need not be (...)
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  • Selection, Drift, and Independent Contrasts: Defending the Methodological Foundations of the FIC. [REVIEW]Armin W. Schulz - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (1):38-47.
    Felsenstein’s method of independent contrasts (FIC) is one of the most widely used approaches to the study of correlated evolution. However, it is also quite controversial: numerous researchers have called various aspects of the method into question. Among these objections, there is one that, for two reasons, stands out from the rest: first, it is rather philosophical in nature; and second, it has received very little attention in the literature thus far. This objection concerns Sober’s charge that the FIC is (...)
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  • Assessing Statistical Views of Natural Selection: Room for Non-Local Causation?Philippe Huneman - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):604-612.
    Recently some philosophers have emphasized a potentially irreconcilable conceptual antagonism between the statistical characterization of natural selection and the standard scientific discussion of natural selection in terms of forces and causes. Other philosophers have developed an account of the causal character of selectionist statements represented in terms of counterfactuals. I examine the compatibility between such statisticalism and counterfactually based causal accounts of natural selection by distinguishing two distinct statisticalist claims: firstly the suggested impossibility for natural selection to be a cause (...)
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  • The Scope of Selection: Sober and Neander on What Natural Selection Explains.D. M. Walsh - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (2):250 – 264.
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  • What Can Natural Selection Explain?Ulrich E. Stegmann - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (1):61-66.
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  • What Can Natural Selection Explain?Ulrich E. Stegmann - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (1):61-66.
    One approach to assess the explanatory power of natural selection is to ask what type of facts it can explain. The standard list of explananda includes facts like trait frequencies or the survival of particular organisms. Here, I argue that this list is incomplete: natural selection can also explain a specific kind of individual-level fact that involves traits. The ability of selection to explain this sort of fact vindicates the explanatory commitments of empirical studies on microevolution. Trait facts must be (...)
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  • Natural Selection and the Limitations of Environmental Resources.Bence Nanay - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (4):418-419.
    In this paper, I am clarifying and defending my argument in favor of the claim that cumulative selection can explain adaptation provided that the environmental resources are limited. Further, elaborate on what this limitation of environmental resources means and why it is relevant for the explanatory power of natural selection.
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