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  1. Omnipotence and Spatiotemporally Restricted Entities.Kevin Vandergriff - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 84 (1):3-29.
    Many people who claim that evolution and theism are in tension assume that God, being omnipotent, could create life in different ways. For instance, Paul Draper has argued that the fact that life evolved on earth supports naturalism over theism. However, for there to be a probabilistic tension between naturalism and theism, because of the fact of evolution, a certain background assumption must be true, namely, that God could have made biological organisms and species through an act of Genesis-style special (...)
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  • Integrative and Separationist Perspectives: Understanding the Causal Role of Cultural Transmission in Human Language Evolution.Francesco Suman - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (4):246-260.
    Biological evolution and cultural evolution are distinct evolutionary processes; they are apparent also in human language, where both processes contributed in shaping its evolution. However, the nature of the interaction between these two processes is still debated today. It is often claimed that the emergence of modern language was preceded by the evolution of a language-ready brain: the latter is usually intended as a product of biological evolution, while the former is believed to be the consequence of cultural processes. I (...)
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  • Nine Levels of Explanation.Melvin Konner - 2021 - Human Nature 32 (4):748-793.
    Tinbergen’s classic “On Aims and Methods of Ethology” (_Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie, 20_, 1963) proposed four levels of explanation of behavior, which he thought would soon apply to humans. This paper discusses the need for multilevel explanation; Huxley and Mayr’s prior models, and others that followed; Tinbergen’s differences with Lorenz on “the innate”; and Mayr’s ultimate/proximate distinction. It synthesizes these approaches with nine levels of explanation in three categories: phylogeny, natural selection, and genomics (ultimate causes); maturation, sensitive period effects, and routine (...)
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  • Beyond Networks: Mechanism and Process in Evo-Devo.James DiFrisco & Johannes Jaeger - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (6):54.
    Explanation in terms of gene regulatory networks has become standard practice in evolutionary developmental biology. In this paper, we argue that GRNs fail to provide a robust, mechanistic, and dynamic understanding of the developmental processes underlying the genotype–phenotype map. Explanations based on GRNs are limited by three main problems: the problem of genetic determinism, the problem of correspondence between network structure and function, and the problem of diachronicity, as in the unfolding of causal interactions over time. Overcoming these problems requires (...)
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  • Mayr and Tinbergen: Disentangling and Integrating.Brandon A. Conley - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (1):4.
    Research on animal behavior is typically organized according to a combination of two influential frameworks: Ernst Mayr’s distinction between proximate and ultimate causes, and Niko Tinbergen’s “four questions”. My aim is to debunk two common interpretive misconceptions about Mayr’s proximate–ultimate distinction and its relationship to Tinbergen’s four questions, and to offer a new interpretation that avoids both. The first misconception is that the proximate–ultimate distinction maps cleanly onto Tinbergen’s four questions, marking a boundary between Tinbergen’s evolutionary and survival value questions (...)
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  • Dual Causality and the Autonomy of Biology.Walter J. Bock - 2017 - Acta Biotheoretica 65 (1):63-79.
    Ernst Mayr’s concept of dual causality in biology with the two forms of causes continues to provide an essential foundation for the philosophy of biology. They are equivalent to functional and evolutionary causes with both required for full biological explanations. The natural sciences can be classified into nomological, historical nomological and historical dual causality, the last including only biology. Because evolutionary causality is unique to biology and must be included for all complete biological explanations, biology is autonomous from the physical (...)
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  • Unknotting reciprocal causation between organism and environment.Jan Baedke, Alejandro Fábregas-Tejeda & Guido I. Prieto - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (5):1-29.
    In recent years, biologists and philosophers of science have argued that evolutionary theory should incorporate more seriously the idea of ‘reciprocal causation.’ This notion refers to feedback loops whereby organisms change their experiences of the environment or alter the physical properties of their surroundings. In these loops, in particular niche constructing activities are central, since they may alter selection pressures acting on organisms, and thus affect their evolutionary trajectories. This paper discusses long-standing problems that emerge when studying such reciprocal causal (...)
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  • The Proximate-Ultimate Distinction and the Active Role of the Organism in Evolution.Bendik Hellem Aaby & Grant Ramsey - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):1-20.
    The validity and utility of the proximate-ultimate distinction in biology have recently been under debate. Opponents of the distinction argue that it rules out individual-level organismic processes from evolutionary explanations, thereby leading to an unfounded separation between organismic causation and evolutionary causation. Proponents of the proximate-ultimate distinction, on the other hand, argue that it serves an important epistemological role in forming different kinds of explanation-seeking questions in biology. In this paper we offer an interpretation the proximate-ultimate distinction not only as (...)
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  • Organism-Environment Interactions in Evolutionary Theory.Bendik Hellem Aaby - 2021 - Dissertation, KU Leuven
    This dissertation concerns the active role of the organism in evolutionary theory. In particular, it concerns how our conception of the relationship between organism and environment, and the nature of natural selection, influences the causal and explanatory role of organismic activity and behavior in evolutionary explanations. The overarching aim is to argue that the behaviors and activities of organisms can serve both as the explananda (that which is explained) and the explanantia (that which explains) in evolutionary explanations. I attempt to (...)
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  • Biosemiotics and Applied Evolutionary Epistemology: A Comparison.Nathalie Gontier & M. Facoetti - 2021 - In In: Pagni E., Theisen Simanke R. (eds) Biosemiotics and Evolution. Interdisciplinary Evolution Research, vol 6. Springer, Cham. Cham: pp. 175-199.
    Both biosemiotics and evolutionary epistemology are concerned with how knowledge evolves. (Applied) Evolutionary Epistemology thereby focuses on identifying the units, levels, and mechanisms or processes that underlie the evolutionary development of knowing and knowledge, while biosemiotics places emphasis on the study of how signs underlie the development of meaning. We compare the two schools of thought and analyze how in delineating their research program, biosemiotics runs into several problems that are overcome by evolutionary epistemologists. For one, by emphasizing signs, biosemiotics (...)
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