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John S. Wilkins [13]John Wilkins [2]
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John Wilkins
University of Melbourne
John Wilkins
University of Melbourne
John S. Wilkins
University of Melbourne (PhD)
  1. Essentialism in Biology.John S. Wilkins - manuscript
    Essentialism in philosophy is the position that things, especially kinds of things, have essences, or sets of properties, that all members of the kind must have, and the combination of which only members of the kind do, in fact, have. It is usually thought to derive from classical Greek philosophy and in particular from Aristotle’s notion of “what it is to be” something. In biology, it has been claimed that pre-evolutionary views of living kinds, or as they are sometimes called, (...)
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  2. The Salem Region: Two Mindsets About Science.John S. Wilkins - 2013 - In Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (eds.), Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University of Chicago Press. pp. 397.
    This chapter distinguishes between two mindsets about science—the deductivist mindset and inductivist mindset—and explores the cognitive styles relating to authority and tradition in both science and pseudoscience. The deductivist tends to see problems as questions to be resolved by deduction from known theory or principle. The inductivist sees problems as questions to be resolved by discovery. Those leaning towards a deductivist mindset may find results that conflict with prior theoretical commitments unacceptable. The deductivist tends to be a cognitive conservative, and (...)
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  3. Philosophically Speaking, How Many Species Concepts Are There?John S. Wilkins - 2011 - Zootaxa 2765:58–60.
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  4.  96
    The Hunting of the SNaRC: A Snarky Solution to the Species Problem.Brent D. Mishler & John S. Wilkins - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (1).
    We argue that the logical outcome of the cladistics revolution in biological systematics, and the move towards rankless phylogenetic classification of nested monophyletic groups as formalized in the PhyloCode, is to eliminate the species rank along with all the others and simply name clades. We propose that the lowest level of formally named clade be the SNaRC, the Smallest Named and Registered Clade. The SNaRC is an epistemic level in the classification, not an ontic one. Naming stops at that level (...)
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  5. Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Three Domains: Fact, Value, and Religion.S. Wilkins John & E. Griffiths Paul - 2012 - In James Maclaurin Greg Dawes (ed.), A New Science of Religion. Routledge.
    Ever since Darwin people have worried about the sceptical implications of evolution. If our minds are products of evolution like those of other animals, why suppose that the beliefs they produce are true, rather than merely useful? We consider this problem for beliefs in three different domains: religion, morality, and commonsense and scientific claims about matters of empirical fact. We identify replies to evolutionary scepticism that work in some domains but not in others. One reply is that evolution can be (...)
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  6. Could God Create Darwinian Accidents?John S. Wilkins - 2012 - Zygon 47 (1):30-42.
    Abstract Charles Darwin, in his discussions with Asa Gray and in his published works, doubted whether God could so arrange it that exactly the desired contingent events would occur to cause particular outcomes by natural selection. In this paper, I argue that even a limited or neo-Leibnizian deity could have chosen a world that satisfied some arbitrary set of goals or functions in its outcomes and thus answer Darwin's conundrum. In more general terms, this supports the consistency of natural selection (...)
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  7.  76
    50 Words for Snow.John Wilkins - manuscript
    Scientists and philosophers routinely talk about phenomena, and the ways in which they relate to explanation, theory and practice in science. However, there are very few definitions of the term, which is often used synonymously with "data'', "model'' and in older literature, "hypothesis''. In this paper I will attempt to clarify how phenomena are recognized, categorized and the role they play in scientific epistemology. I conclude that phenomena are not necessarily theory-based commitments, but that they are what explanations are called (...)
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  8. When Do Evolutionary Explanations of Belief Debunk Belief?Paul Griffiths & John Wilkins - 2010 - In Darwin in the 21st Century.
    Ever since Darwin people have worried about the sceptical implications of evolution. If our minds are products of evolution like those of other animals, why suppose that the beliefs they produce are true, rather than merely useful? In this chapter we apply this argument to beliefs in three different domains: morality, religion, and science. We identify replies to evolutionary scepticism that work in some domains but not in others. The simplest reply to evolutionary scepticism is that the truth of beliefs (...)
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  9. 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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  10. Selection Without Replicators: The Origin of Genes, and the Replicator/Interactor Distinction in Etiobiology.John S. Wilkins, Ian Musgrave & Clem Stanyon - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (2):215-239.
    Genes are thought to have evolved from long-lived and multiply-interactive molecules in the early stages of the origins of life. However, at that stage there were no replicators, and the distinction between interactors and replicators did not yet apply. Nevertheless, the process of evolution that proceeded from initial autocatalytic hypercycles to full organisms was a Darwinian process of selection of favourable variants. We distinguish therefore between Neo-Darwinian evolution and the related Weismannian and Central Dogma divisions, on the one hand, and (...)
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  11. Biological Essentialism and the Tidal Change of Natural Kinds.John S. Wilkins - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (2):221-240.
    The vision of natural kinds that is most common in the modern philosophy of biology, particularly with respect to the question whether species and other taxa are natural kinds, is based on a revision of the notion by Mill in A System of Logic. However, there was another conception that Whewell had previously captured well, which taxonomists have always employed, of kinds as being types that need not have necessary and sufficient characters and properties, or essences. These competing views employ (...)
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  12. The Role of Secularism in Protecting Religion.John S. Wilkins - 2010 - In Warren Bonett (ed.), The Australian Book of Atheism. Embiggen Books.
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  13. Darwin’s Unkindly Variable: Fitness and the Tautology Problem.John S. Wilkins - manuscript
    Few problems in the philosophy of evolutionary biology are more widely disseminated and discussed than the charge of Darwinian evolution being a tautology. The history is long and complex, and the issues are many, and despite the problem routinely being dismissed as an introductory-level issue, based on misunderstandings of evolution, it seems that few agree on what exactly these misunderstandings consist of. In this paper, I will try to comprehensively review the history and the issues. Then, I will try to (...)
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  14. A Deflation of Genetic Information.John S. Wilkins - manuscript
    It is often claimed there is information in some biological entity or process, most especially in genes. Genetic “information” refers to distinct notions, either of concrete properties of molecular bonds and catalysis, in which case it is little more than a periphrasis for correlation and causal relations between physical biological objects (molecules), or of abstract properties, in which case it is mind-dependent. When information plays a causal role, nothing is added to the account by calling it “information”. In short, if (...)
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  15. Secularism Protects Religions.John S. Wilkins - 2010 - In Warren Bonett (ed.), The Australian Book of Atheism. Embiggen Books.
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