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Evolutionary Causation and Teleosemantics

In José Manuel Viejo & Mariano Sanjuán (eds.), Life and Mind - New Directions in the Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Sciences. Springer (2023)

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  1. The Explanatory Role of Umwelt in Evolutionary Theory: Introducing von Baer's Reflections on Teleological Development.Tiago Rama - manuscript
    Abstract: This paper argues that a central explanatory role for the concept of Umwelt in theoretical biology is to be found in developmental biology, in particular in the effort to understand development as a goal-directed and adaptive process that is controlled by the organism itself. I will reach this conclusion in two (interrelated) ways. The first is purely theoretical and relates to the current scenario in the philosophy of biology. Challenging neo-Darwinism requires a new understanding of the various components involved (...)
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  • Is a Cognitive Revolution in Theoretical Biology Underway?Tiago Rama - forthcoming - Foundations of Science.
    The foundations of biology have been a topic of debate for the past few decades. The traditional perspective of the Modern Synthesis, which portrays organisms as passive entities with limited role in evolutionary theory, is giving way to a new paradigm where organisms are recognized as active agents, actively shaping their own phenotypic traits for adaptive purposes. Within this context, this article raises the question of whether contemporary biological theory is undergoing a cognitive revolution. This inquiry can be approached in (...)
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  • The Phylogeny Fallacy and Evolutionary Causation (preprint).Tiago Rama - manuscript
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  • The Historical Transformation of Individual Concepts into Populational Ones: An Explanatory Shift in the Gestation of the Modern Synthesis.Tiago Rama - manuscript
    In this paper, I will conduct three interrelated analyses. First, I will develop an analysis of various concepts in the history of biology that used to refer to individual-level phenomena but were then reinterpreted by the Modern Synthesis in terms of populations. Second, I argue that a similar situation can be found in contemporary biological theory. While different approaches reflect on the causal role of developing organisms in evolution, proponents of the Modern Synthesis avoid any substantial change by reinterpreting and (...)
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  • Explanatory Internalism: Challenging Selected-Effect Functions (prerpint).Tiago Rama - manuscript
    Explanatory Externalism states that the only adaptive force in evolution is natural selection. Explanatory Externalism is a central thesis of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis. The etiological theory of natural selected-effect functions also advocates Explanatory Externalism. According to this theory, natural selection is the process responsible for determining the proper natural functions of traits. However, I will point out several challenges to Explanatory Externalism that are proposed primarily by developmental biology and its various subfields. Based on these challenges, this paper will (...)
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