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  1. Beyond Congruence: Evidential Integration and Inferring the Best Evolutionary Scenario.Arsham Nejad Kourki - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (5):1-25.
    Molecular methods have revolutionised virtually every area of biology, and metazoan phylogenetics is no exception: molecular phylogenies, molecular clocks, comparative phylogenomics, and developmental genetics have generated a plethora of molecular data spanning numerous taxa and collectively transformed our understanding of the evolutionary history of animals, often corroborating but at times opposing results of more traditional approaches. Moreover, the diversity of methods and models within molecular phylogenetics has resulted in significant disagreement among molecular phylogenies as well as between these and earlier (...)
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  • Angry Rats and Scaredy Cats: Lessons From Competing Cognitive Homologies.Isaac Wiegman - 2016 - Biological Theory 11 (4):224-240.
    There have been several recent attempts to think about psychological kinds as homologies. Nevertheless, there are serious epistemic challenges for individuating homologous psychological kinds, or cognitive homologies. Some of these challenges are revealed when we look at competing claims of cognitive homology. This paper considers two competing homology claims that compare human anger with putative aggression systems of nonhuman animals. The competition between these hypotheses has been difficult to resolve in part because of what I call the boundary problem: boundaries (...)
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  • Registration Pluralism and the Cartographic Approach to Data Aggregation Across Brains.Zina B. Ward - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (1):47-72.
    Neuroscience has become increasingly reliant on multi-subject research in addition to studies of unusual single patients. This research has brought with it a challenge: how are data from different human brains to be combined? The dominant strategy for aggregating data across brains is what I call the ‘cartographic approach’, which involves mapping data from individuals to a spatial template. Here I characterize the cartographic approach and argue that one of its key steps, registration, should be carried out in a way (...)
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  • Culture in Humans and Other Animals.Grant Ramsey - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (3):457-479.
    The study of animal culture is a flourishing field, with culture being recorded in a wide range of taxa, including non-human primates, birds, cetaceans, and rodents. In spite of this research, however, the concept of culture itself remains elusive. There is no universally assented to concept of culture, and there is debate over the connection between culture and related concepts like tradition and social learning. Furthermore, it is not clear whether culture in humans and culture in non-human animals is really (...)
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  • Homology Across Inheritance Systems.Russell Powell & Nicholas Shea - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (6):781-806.
    Recent work on inheritance systems can be divided into inclusive conceptions, according to which genetic and non-genetic inheritance are both involved in the development and transmission of nearly all animal behavioral traits, and more demanding conceptions of what it takes for non-genetic resources involved in development to qualify as a distinct inheritance system. It might be thought that, if a more stringent conception is adopted, homologies could not subsist across two distinct inheritance systems. Indeed, it is commonly assumed that homology (...)
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  • There is Grandeur in This View of Life: The Bio-Philosophical Implications of Convergent Evolution. [REVIEW]Russell Powell & Carlos Mariscal - 2014 - Acta Biotheoretica 62 (1):115-121.
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  • Phylogenetic Distribution and Trajectories of Visual Consciousness: Examining Feinberg and Mallatt’s Neurobiological Naturalism.Koji Ota, Daichi G. Suzuki & Senji Tanaka - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie.
    Feinberg and Mallatt, in their presentation of neurobiological naturalism, have suggested that visual consciousness was acquired by early vertebrates and inherited by a wide range of descendants, and that its neural basis has shifted to nonhomologous nervous structures during evolution. However, their evolutionary scenario of visual consciousness relies on the assumption that visual consciousness is closely linked with survival, which is not commonly accepted in current consciousness research. We suggest an alternative idea that visual consciousness is linked to a specific (...)
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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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  • The integrative approach to inferring homology: morphology and development combined.Arsham Nejad Kourki - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):1-24.
    Reconstructing ancestral species is a challenging endeavour: fossils are often scarce or enigmatic, and inferring ancestral characters based on novel molecular approaches has long been controversial. A key philosophical challenge pertinent at present is the lack of a theoretical framework capable of evaluating inferences of homology made through integration of multiple kinds of evidence. Here, I present just such a framework. I start with a brief history and critical assessment of attempts at inferring morphological homology through developmental genetics. I then (...)
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  • Model Organisms Are Not (Theoretical) Models.Arnon Levy & Adrian Currie - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):327-348.
    Many biological investigations are organized around a small group of species, often referred to as ‘model organisms’, such as the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The terms ‘model’ and ‘modelling’ also occur in biology in association with mathematical and mechanistic theorizing, as in the Lotka–Volterra model of predator-prey dynamics. What is the relation between theoretical models and model organisms? Are these models in the same sense? We offer an account on which the two practices are shown to have different epistemic characters. (...)
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  • Character Identity Mechanisms: A Conceptual Model for Comparative-Mechanistic Biology.James DiFrisco, Alan C. Love & Günter P. Wagner - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (4):1-32.
    There have been repeated attempts in the history of comparative biology to provide a mechanistic account of morphological homology. However, it is well-established that homologues can develop from diverse sets of developmental causes, appearing not to share any core causal architecture that underwrites character identity. We address this challenge with a new conceptual model of Character Identity Mechanisms. ChIMs are cohesive mechanisms with a recognizable causal profile that allows them to be traced through evolution as homologues despite having a diverse (...)
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  • Venomous Dinosaurs and Rear-Fanged Snakes: Homology and Homoplasy Characterized. [REVIEW]Adrian Mitchell 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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  • Ethnographic Analogy, the Comparative Method, and Archaeological Special Pleading.Adrian Currie - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:84-94.
    Ethnographic analogy, the use of comparative data from anthropology to inform reconstructions of past human societies, has a troubled history. Archaeologists often express concern about, or outright reject, the practice—and sometimes do so in problematically general terms. This is odd, as the use of comparative data in archaeology is the same pattern of reasoning as the ‘comparative method’ in biology, which is a well-developed and robust set of inferences which play a central role in discovering the biological past. In pointing (...)
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  • Developmental Causation and the Problem of Homology.David A. Baum - 2013 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 5 (20150505).
    While it is generally agreed that the concept of homology refers to individuated traits that have been inherited from common ancestry, we still lack an adequate account of trait individuation or inheritance. Here I propose that we utilize a counterfactual criterion of causation to link each trait with a developmental-causal (DC) gene. A DC gene is made up of the genetic information (which might or might not be physically contiguous in the genome) that is needed for the production of the (...)
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  • Recent Work in The Philosophy of Biology.Christopher J. Austin - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):anx032.
    The biological sciences have always proven a fertile ground for philosophical analysis, one from which has grown a rich tradition stemming from Aristotle and flowering with Darwin. And although contemporary philosophy is increasingly becoming conceptually entwined with the study of the empirical sciences with the data of the latter now being regularly utilised in the establishment and defence of the frameworks of the former, a practice especially prominent in the philosophy of physics, the development of that tradition hasn’t received the (...)
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