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  1. A Theory of Conceptual Advance: Explaining Conceptual Change in Evolutionary, Molecular, and Evolutionary Developmental Biology.Ingo Brigandt - 2006 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    The theory of concepts advanced in the dissertation aims at accounting for a) how a concept makes successful practice possible, and b) how a scientific concept can be subject to rational change in the course of history. Traditional accounts in the philosophy of science have usually studied concepts in terms only of their reference; their concern is to establish a stability of reference in order to address the incommensurability problem. My discussion, in contrast, suggests that each scientific concept consists of (...)
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  • Function, Homology and Character Individuation.Paul E. Griffiths - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (1):1-25.
    I defend the view that many biological categories are defined by homology against a series of arguments designed to show that all biological categories are defined, at least in part, by selected function. I show that categories of homology are `abnormality inclusive'—something often alleged to be unique to selected function categories. I show that classifications by selected function are logically dependent on classifications by homology, but not vice-versa. Finally, I reject the view that biologists must use considerations of selected function (...)
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  • Cognitive Modularity, Biological Modularity, and Evolvability.Claudia Lorena García - 2007 - Biological Theory 2 (1):62-73.
    I examine an argument that has recently appeared in the cognitive science literature in favor of thinking that the mind is mostly composed of Fodorian-type cognitive modules; an argument that concludes that a mind that is massively composed of classical cognitive mechanisms that are cognitively modular is more evolvable than a mind that is not cognitively modular, since a cognitive mechanism that is cognitively modular is likely to be biologically modular, and biologically modular characters are more evolvable. I argue that (...)
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  • A Biologically Informed Hylomorphism.Christopher J. Austin - 2017 - In William M. R. Simpson, Robert C. Koons & Nicholas J. Teh (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science. Routledge. pp. 185-210.
    Although contemporary metaphysics has recently undergone a neo-Aristotelian revival wherein dispositions, or capacities are now commonplace in empirically grounded ontologies, being routinely utilised in theories of causality and modality, a central Aristotelian concept has yet to be given serious attention – the doctrine of hylomorphism. The reason for this is clear: while the Aristotelian ontological distinction between actuality and potentiality has proven to be a fruitful conceptual framework with which to model the operation of the natural world, the distinction between (...)
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  • Parts and Theories in Compositional Biology.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (4):471-499.
    I analyze the importance of parts in the style of biological theorizing that I call compositional biology. I do this by investigating various aspects, including partitioning frames and explanatory accounts, of the theoretical perspectives that fall under and are guided by compositional biology. I ground this general examination in a comparative analysis of three different disciplines with their associated compositional theoretical perspectives: comparative morphology, functional morphology, and developmental biology. I glean data for this analysis from canonical textbooks and defend the (...)
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  • Prediction in Selectionist Evolutionary Theory.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):889-901.
    Selectionist evolutionary theory has often been faulted for not making novel predictions that are surprising, risky, and correct. I argue that it in fact exhibits the theoretical virtue of predictive capacity in addition to two other virtues: explanatory unification and model fitting. Two case studies show the predictive capacity of selectionist evolutionary theory: parallel evolutionary change in E. coli, and the origin of eukaryotic cells through endosymbiosis.
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  • Cognitive Modularity, Biological Modularity and Evolvability.Claudia Lorena García - 2007 - Biological Theory: Integrating Development, Evolution and Cognition (KLI) 2 (1):62-73.
    There is an argument that has recently been deployed in favor of thinking that the mind is mostly (or even exclusively) composed of cognitive modules; an argument that draws from some ideas and concepts of evolutionary and of developmental biology. In a nutshell, the argument concludes that a mind that is massively composed of cognitive mechanisms that are cognitively modular (henceforth, c-modular) is more evolvable than a mind that is not c-modular (or that is scarcely c-modular), since a cognitive mechanism (...)
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  • Part-Whole Science.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2011 - Synthese 178 (3):397-427.
    A scientific explanatory project, part-whole explanation, and a kind of science, part-whole science are premised on identifying, investigating, and using parts and wholes. In the biological sciences, mechanistic, structuralist, and historical explanations are part-whole explanations. Each expresses different norms, explananda, and aims. Each is associated with a distinct partitioning frame for abstracting kinds of parts. These three explanatory projects can be complemented in order to provide an integrative vision of the whole system, as is shown for a detailed case study: (...)
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  • Natural Kinds in Evolution and Systematics: Metaphysical and Epistemological Considerations.Ingo Brigandt - 2009 - Acta Biotheoretica 57 (1-2):77-97.
    Despite the traditional focus on metaphysical issues in discussions of natural kinds in biology, epistemological considerations are at least as important. By revisiting the debate as to whether taxa are kinds or individuals, I argue that both accounts are metaphysically compatible, but that one or the other approach can be pragmatically preferable depending on the epistemic context. Recent objections against construing species as homeostatic property cluster kinds are also addressed. The second part of the paper broadens the perspective by considering (...)
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  • Aristotelian Essentialism: Essence in the Age of Evolution.Christopher Austin - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2539-2556.
    The advent of contemporary evolutionary theory ushered in the eventual decline of Aristotelian Essentialism (Æ) – for it is widely assumed that essence does not, and cannot have any proper place in the age of evolution. This paper argues that this assumption is a mistake: if Æ can be suitably evolved, it need not face extinction. In it, I claim that if that theory’s fundamental ontology consists of dispositional properties, and if its characteristic metaphysical machinery is interpreted within the framework (...)
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  • Alguns Pensamentos Sobre a Biolinguística.Cedrix Boeckx - 2015 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 60 (2):207-221.
    Naïve depictions of the biology of language are unable to treat the real complexity observed by biologists at all levels of analysis, and consequently they do not bring us closer to an accurate depiction of the nature of human language and the human mind. The aim of this essay is to show that if a real biolinguistics is intended to be achieved we ought to be compelled to go beyond these depictions.
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  • Adaptationism.Steven Hecht Orzack - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • The Sum of the Parts: Large-Scale Modeling in Systems Biology.Fridolin Gross & Sara Green - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (10).
    Systems biologists often distance themselves from reductionist approaches and formulate their aim as understanding living systems “as a whole.” Yet, it is often unclear what kind of reductionism they have in mind, and in what sense their methodologies would offer a superior approach. To address these questions, we distinguish between two types of reductionism which we call “modular reductionism” and “bottom-up reductionism.” Much knowledge in molecular biology has been gained by decomposing living systems into functional modules or through detailed studies (...)
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  • A Pluralist Framework to Address Challenges to the Modern Synthesis in Evolutionary Theory.Philippe Huneman - 2014 - Biological Theory 9 (2):163-177.
    This paper uses formal Darwinism as elaborated by Alan Grafen to articulate an explanatory pluralism that casts light upon two strands of controversies running across evolutionary biology, viz., the place of organisms versus genes, and the role of adaptation. Formal Darwinism shows that natural selection can be viewed either physics-style, as a dynamics of alleles, or in the style of economics as an optimizing process. After presenting such pluralism, I argue first that whereas population genetics does not support optimization, optimality (...)
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  • Individuals at the Center of Biology: Rudolf Leuckart’s Polymorphismus der Individuen and the Ongoing Narrative of Parts and Wholes. With an Annotated Translation. [REVIEW]Lynn K. Nyhart & Scott Lidgard - 2011 - Journal of the History of Biology 44 (3):373 - 443.
    Rudolf Leuckart's 1851 pamphlet Ueber den Polymorphismus der Individuen (On the polymorphism of individuals) stood at the heart of naturalists' discussions on biological individuals, parts and wholes in mid-nineteenth-century Britain and Europe. Our analysis, which accompanies the first translation of this pamphlet into English, situates Leuckart's contribution to these discussions in two ways. First, we present it as part of a complex conceptual knot involving not only individuality and the understanding of compound organisms, but also the alternation of generations, the (...)
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  • Individuals at the Center of Biology: Rudolf Leuckart’s Polymorphismus der Individuen and the Ongoing Narrative of Parts and Wholes. With an Annotated Translation.Lynn K. Nyhart & Scott Lidgard - 2011 - Journal of the History of Biology 44 (3):373-443.
    Rudolf Leuckart’s 1851 pamphlet Ueber den Polymorphismus der Individuen stood at the heart of naturalists’ discussions on biological individuals, parts and wholes in mid-nineteenth-century Britain and Europe. Our analysis, which accompanies the first translation of this pamphlet into English, situates Leuckart’s contribution to these discussions in two ways. First, we present it as part of a complex conceptual knot involving not only individuality and the understanding of compound organisms, but also the alternation of generations, the division of labor in nature, (...)
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  • Book Review. [REVIEW]José B. Pereira-Leal - 2006 - Acta Biotheoretica 54 (4):295-299.
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  • How Developmental is Evolutionary Developmental Biology?Jason Scott Robert - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (5):591-611.
    Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) offers both an account of developmental processes and also new integrative frameworks for analyzing interactions between development and evolution. Biologists and philosophers are keen on evo-devo in part because it appears to offer a comfort zone between, on the one hand, what some take to be the relative inability of mainstream evolutionary biology to integrate a developmental perspective; and, on the other hand, what some take to be more intractable syntheses of development and evolution. In this (...)
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  • Typology Now: Homology and Developmental Constraints Explain Evolvability.Ingo Brigandt - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):709-725.
    By linking the concepts of homology and morphological organization to evolvability, this paper attempts to (1) bridge the gap between developmental and phylogenetic approaches to homology and to (2) show that developmental constraints and natural selection are compatible and in fact complementary. I conceive of a homologue as a unit of morphological evolvability, i.e., as a part of an organism that can exhibit heritable phenotypic variation independently of the organism’s other homologues. An account of homology therefore consists in explaining how (...)
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  • The Poverty of Taxonomic Characters.Olivier Rieppel & Maureen Kearney - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (1):95-113.
    The theory and practice of contemporary comparative biology and phylogeny reconstruction (systematics) emphasizes algorithmic aspects but neglects a concern for the evidence. The character data used in systematics to formulate hypotheses of relationships in many ways constitute a black box, subject to uncritical assessment and social influence. Concerned that such a state of affairs leaves systematics and the phylogenetic theories it generates severely underdetermined, we investigate the nature of the criteria of homology and their application to character conceptualization in the (...)
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  • Hierarchical Phylogenetics as a Quantitative Analytical Framework for Evolutionary Developmental Biology.Jeanne M. Serb & Todd H. Oakley - 2005 - Bioessays 27 (11):1158-1166.
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  • Development and Mechanistic Explanation.Fabrizzio Mc Manus - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):532-541.
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