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  1. 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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  • Evolutionary Developmental Biology and the Limits of Philosophical Accounts of Mechanistic Explanation.Ingo Brigandt - 2015 - In P.-A. Braillard & C. Malaterre (eds.), Explanation in Biology: An Enquiry into the Diversity of Explanatory Patterns in the Life Sciences. Springer. pp. 135–173.
    Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) is considered a ‘mechanistic science,’ in that it causally explains morphological evolution in terms of changes in developmental mechanisms. Evo-devo is also an interdisciplinary and integrative approach, as its explanations use contributions from many fields and pertain to different levels of organismal organization. Philosophical accounts of mechanistic explanation are currently highly prominent, and have been particularly able to capture the integrative nature of multifield and multilevel explanations. However, I argue that evo-devo demonstrates the need for a (...)
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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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  • Model Organisms Are Not 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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  • The Special Science Dilemma and How Culture Solves It.Marion Godman - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):1-18.
    I argue that there is a tension between the claim that at least some kinds in the special sciences are multiply realized and the claim that the reason why kinds are prized by science is that they enter into a variety of different empirical generalizations. Nevertheless, I show that this tension ceases in the case of ‘cultural homologues’—such as specific ideologies, religions, and folk wisdom. I argue that the instances of such special science kinds do have several projectable properties in (...)
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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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  • Beyond Reduction and Pluralism: Toward an Epistemology of Explanatory Integration in Biology.Ingo Brigandt - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (3):295-311.
    The paper works towards an account of explanatory integration in biology, using as a case study explanations of the evolutionary origin of novelties-a problem requiring the integration of several biological fields and approaches. In contrast to the idea that fields studying lower level phenomena are always more fundamental in explanations, I argue that the particular combination of disciplines and theoretical approaches needed to address a complex biological problem and which among them is explanatorily more fundamental varies with the problem pursued. (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Explanation in Biology: Reduction, Pluralism, and Explanatory Aims.Ingo Brigandt - 2011 - Science & Education 22 (1):69-91.
    This essay analyzes and develops recent views about explanation in biology. Philosophers of biology have parted with the received deductive-nomological model of scientific explanation primarily by attempting to capture actual biological theorizing and practice. This includes an endorsement of different kinds of explanation (e.g., mathematical and causal-mechanistic), a joint study of discovery and explanation, and an abandonment of models of theory reduction in favor of accounts of explanatory reduction. Of particular current interest are philosophical accounts of complex explanations that appeal (...)
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  • The sociobiology of genes: the gene’s eye view as a unifying behavioural-ecological framework for biological evolution.Alexis De Tiège, Yves Van de Peer, Johan Braeckman & Koen B. Tanghe - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (1):6.
    Although classical evolutionary theory, i.e., population genetics and the Modern Synthesis, was already implicitly ‘gene-centred’, the organism was, in practice, still generally regarded as the individual unit of which a population is composed. The gene-centred approach to evolution only reached a logical conclusion with the advent of the gene-selectionist or gene’s eye view in the 1960s and 1970s. Whereas classical evolutionary theory can only work with fitness differences between individual organisms, gene-selectionism is capable of working with fitness differences among genes (...)
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  • The Origins of Larval Forms: What the Data Indicate, and What They Don't.Alessandro Minelli - 2010 - Bioessays 32 (1):5-8.
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  • Gods Above: Naturalizing Religion in Terms of Our Shared Ape Social Dominance Behavior.John S. Wilkins - 2015 - Sophia 54 (1):77-92.
    To naturalize religion, we must identify what religion is, and what aspects of it we are trying to explain. In this paper, religious social institutional behavior is the explanatory target, and an explanatory hypothesis based on shared primate social dominance psychology is given. The argument is that various religious features, including the high status afforded the religious, and the high status afforded to deities, are an expression of this social dominance psychology in a context for which it did not evolve: (...)
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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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  • Character Analysis in Cladistics: Abstraction, Reification, and the Search for Objectivity.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2009 - Acta Biotheoretica 57 (1-2):129-162.
    The dangers of character reification for cladistic inference are explored. The identification and analysis of characters always involves theory-laden abstraction—there is no theory-free “view from nowhere.” Given theory-ladenness, and given a real world with actual objects and processes, how can we separate robustly real biological characters from uncritically reified characters? One way to avoid reification is through the employment of objectivity criteria that give us good methods for identifying robust primary homology statements. I identify six such criteria and explore each (...)
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  • Convergence, Contingency & Morphospace.Adrian Mitchell Currie - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (4):583-593.
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