Results for 'Massimo Pregnolato'

164 found
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  1. Consciousness and Cosmos: Building an Ontological Framework.Alfredo Pereira Jr, Chris Nunn, Greg Nixon & Massimo Pregnolato - 2018 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 25 (3-4):181-205.
    Contemporary theories of consciousness are based on widely different concepts of its nature, most or all of which probably embody aspects of the truth about it. Starting with a concept of consciousness indicated by the phrase “the feeling of what happens” (the title of a book by Antonio Damásio), we attempt to build a framework capable of supporting and resolving divergent views. We picture consciousness in terms of Reality experiencing itself from the perspective of cognitive agents. Each conscious experience is (...)
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  2. Theories of Consciousness & Death.Gregory Nixon (ed.) - 2016 - New York, USA: QuantumDream.
    What happens to the inner light of consciousness with the death of the individual body and brain? Reductive materialism assumes it simply fades to black. Others think of consciousness as indicating a continuation of self, a transformation, an awakening or even alternatives based on the quality of life experience. In this issue, speculation drawn from theoretic research are presented. -/- Table of Contents Epigraph: From “The Immortal”, Jorge Luis Borges iii Editor’s Introduction: I Killed a Squirrel the Other Day, Gregory (...)
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  3. On the Concept of Biological Race and its Applicability to Humans.Massimo Pigliucci & Jonathan Kaplan - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1161-1172.
    Biological research on race has often been seen as motivated by or lending credence to underlying racist attitudes; in part for this reason, recently philosophers and biologists have gone through great pains to essentially deny the existence of biological human races. We argue that human races, in the biological sense of local populations adapted to particular environments, do in fact exist; such races are best understood through the common ecological concept of ecotypes. However, human ecotypic races do not in general (...)
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  4. Do We Need an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis?Massimo Pigliucci - 2007 - Evolution 61 (12):2743-2749.
    The Modern Synthesis (MS) is the current paradigm in evolutionary biology. It was actually built by expanding on the conceptual foundations laid out by its predecessors, Darwinism and neo-Darwinism. For sometime now there has been talk of a new Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES), and this article begins to outline why we may need such an extension, and how it may come about. As philosopher Karl Popper has noticed, the current evolutionary theory is a theory of genes, and we still lack (...)
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  5. New Atheism and the Scientistic Turn in the Atheism Movement.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 37 (1):142-153.
    The so-called “New Atheism” is a relatively well-defined, very recent, still unfold- ing cultural phenomenon with import for public understanding of both science and philosophy. Arguably, the opening salvo of the New Atheists was The End of Faith by Sam Harris, published in 2004, followed in rapid succession by a number of other titles penned by Harris himself, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Victor Stenger, and Christopher Hitchens.
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  6. An Extended Synthesis for Evolutionary Biology.Massimo Pigliucci - 2009 - Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1168:218-228.
    Evolutionary theory is undergoing an intense period of discussion and reevaluation. This, contrary to the misleading claims of creationists and other pseudoscientists, is no harbinger of a crisis but rather the opposite: the field is expanding dramatically in terms of both empirical discoveries and new ideas. In this essay I briefly trace the conceptual history of evolutionary theory from Darwinism to neo-Darwinism, and from the Modern Synthesis to what I refer to as the Extended Synthesis, a more inclusive conceptual framework (...)
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  7. Prove It! The Burden of Proof Game in Science Vs. Pseudoscience Disputes.Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (2):487-502.
    The concept of burden of proof is used in a wide range of discourses, from philosophy to law, science, skepticism, and even in everyday reasoning. This paper provides an analysis of the proper deployment of burden of proof, focusing in particular on skeptical discussions of pseudoscience and the paranormal, where burden of proof assignments are most poignant and relatively clear-cut. We argue that burden of proof is often misapplied or used as a mere rhetorical gambit, with little appreciation of the (...)
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  8. Is Evolvability Evolvable?Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Nature Reviews Genetics 9:75-82.
    In recent years, biologists have increasingly been asking whether the ability to evolve — the evolvability — of biological systems, itself evolves, and whether this phenomenon is the result of natural selection or a by-product of other evolutionary processes. The concept of evolvability, and the increasing theoretical and empirical literature that refers to it, may constitute one of several pillars on which an extended evolutionary synthesis will take shape during the next few years, although much work remains to be done (...)
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  9. The Demarcation Problem: A (Belated) Response to Laudan.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - In Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (eds.), Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University of Chicago Press. pp. 9.
    The “demarcation problem,” the issue of how to separate science from pseu- doscience, has been around since fall 1919—at least according to Karl Pop- per’s (1957) recollection of when he first started thinking about it. In Popper’s mind, the demarcation problem was intimately linked with one of the most vexing issues in philosophy of science, David Hume’s problem of induction (Vickers 2010) and, in particular, Hume’s contention that induction cannot be logically justified by appealing to the fact that “it works,” (...)
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  10. State Legitimacy and Self-Defence.Massimo Renzo - 2011 - Law and Philosophy 30 (5):575-601.
    In this paper I outline a theory of legitimacy that grounds the state’s right to rule on a natural duty not to harm others. I argue that by refusing to enter the state, anarchists expose those living next to them to the dangers of the state of nature, thereby posing an unjust threat. Since we have a duty not to pose unjust threats to others, anarchists have a duty to leave the state of nature and enter the state. This duty (...)
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  11. What Are We to Make of the Concept of Race? Thoughts of a Philosopher–Scientist.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):272-277.
    Discussions about the biological bases (or lack thereof) of the concept of race in the human species seem to be never ending. One of the latest rounds is represented by a paper by Neven Sesardic, which attempts to build a strong scientific case for the existence of human races, based on genetic, morphometric and behavioral characteristics, as well as on a thorough critique of opposing positions. In this paper I show that Sesardic’s critique falls far short of the goal, and (...)
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  12.  62
    Revolution and Intervention.Massimo Renzo - 2020 - Noûs 54 (1):533–253.
    Provided that traditional jus ad bellum principles are fulfilled, military humanitarian intervention to stop large scale violations of human rights (such as genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes) is widely regarded as morally permissible. In cases of “supreme humanitarian emergency”, not only are the victims morally permitted to rebel, but other states are also permitted to militarily intervene. Things are different if the human rights violations in question fall short of supreme humanitarian emergency. Because of the importance of respecting (...)
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  13. Species as Family Resemblance Concepts: The (Dis-)Solution of the Species Problem?Massimo Pigliucci - 2003 - Bioessays 25 (6):596-602.
    The so-called ‘‘species problem’’ has plagued evolution- ary biology since before Darwin’s publication of the aptly titled Origin of Species. Many biologists think the problem is just a matter of semantics; others complain that it will not be solved until we have more empirical data. Yet, we don’t seem to be able to escape discussing it and teaching seminars about it. In this paper, I briefly examine the main themes of the biological and philosophical liter- atures on the species problem, (...)
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  14. Why Machine-Information Metaphors Are Bad for Science and Science Education.Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry - 2011 - Science & Education 20 (5-6):471.
    Genes are often described by biologists using metaphors derived from computa- tional science: they are thought of as carriers of information, as being the equivalent of ‘‘blueprints’’ for the construction of organisms. Likewise, cells are often characterized as ‘‘factories’’ and organisms themselves become analogous to machines. Accordingly, when the human genome project was initially announced, the promise was that we would soon know how a human being is made, just as we know how to make airplanes and buildings. Impor- tantly, (...)
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  15.  69
    Rights Forfeiture and Liability to Harm.Massimo Renzo - 2017 - Journal of Political Philosophy 25 (3):324-342.
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  16. Phenotypic Plasticity.Massimo Pigliucci - 2001 - In C. W. Fox D. A. Roff (ed.), Evolutionary Ecology: Concepts and Case Studies.
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  17. The Proximate–Ultimate Distinction and Evolutionary Developmental Biology: Causal Irrelevance Versus Explanatory Abstraction.Massimo Pigliucci & Raphael Scholl - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):653-670.
    Mayr’s proximate–ultimate distinction has received renewed interest in recent years. Here we discuss its role in arguments about the relevance of developmental to evolutionary biology. We show that two recent critiques of the proximate–ultimate distinction fail to explain why developmental processes in particular should be of interest to evolutionary biologists. We trace these failures to a common problem: both critiques take the proximate–ultimate distinction to neglect specific causal interactions in nature. We argue that this is implausible, and that the distinction (...)
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  18. The Proper Role of Population Genetics in Modern Evolutionary Theory.Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Biological Theory 3 (4):316-324.
    Evolutionary biology is a field currently animated by much discussion concerning its conceptual foundations. On the one hand, we have supporters of a classical view of evolutionary theory, whose backbone is provided by population genetics and the so-called Modern Synthesis (MS). On the other hand, a number of researchers are calling for an Extended Synthe- sis (ES) that takes seriously both the limitations of the MS (such as its inability to incorporate developmental biology) and recent empirical and theoretical research on (...)
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  19. Genotype–Phenotype Mapping and the End of the ‘Genes as Blueprint’ Metaphor.Massimo Pigliucci - 2010 - Philosophical Transactions Royal Society B 365:557–566.
    In a now classic paper published in 1991, Alberch introduced the concept of genotype–phenotype (G!P) mapping to provide a framework for a more sophisticated discussion of the integration between genetics and developmental biology that was then available. The advent of evo-devo first and of the genomic era later would seem to have superseded talk of transitions in phenotypic space and the like, central to Alberch’s approach. On the contrary, this paper shows that recent empirical and theoretical advances have only sharpened (...)
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  20. The Fall and Rise of Dr. Pangloss: Adaptationism and the Spandrels Paper 20 Years Later.Massimo Pigliucci & Jonathan Kaplan - 2000 - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 15 (2):66-77.
    Twenty years have passed since Gould and Lewontin published their critique of ‘the adaptationist program’ – the tendency of some evolutionary biologists to assume, rather than demonstrate, the operation of natural selection. After the ‘Spandrels paper’, evolutionists were more careful about producing just-so stories based on selection, and paid more attention to a panoply of other processes. Then came reactions against the excesses of the anti-adaptationist movement, which ranged from a complete dismissal of Gould and Lewontin’s contribution to a positive (...)
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  21. Phenotypic Plasticity and Evolution by Genetic Assimilation.Massimo Pigliucci, Courtney Murren & Carl Schlichting - 2006 - Journal of Experimental Biology 209:2362-2367.
    In addition to considerable debate in the recent evolutionary literature about the limits of the Modern Synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s, there has also been theoretical and empirical interest in a variety of new and not so new concepts such as phenotypic plasticity, genetic assimilation and phenotypic accommodation. Here we consider examples of the arguments and counter- arguments that have shaped this discussion. We suggest that much of the controversy hinges on several misunderstandings, including unwarranted fears of a general (...)
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  22. Genetic Variance–Covariance Matrices: A Critique of the Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics Research Program.Massimo Pigliucci - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (1):1-23.
    This paper outlines a critique of the use of the genetic variance–covariance matrix (G), one of the central concepts in the modern study of natural selection and evolution. Specifically, I argue that for both conceptual and empirical reasons, studies of G cannot be used to elucidate so-called constraints on natural selection, nor can they be employed to detect or to measure past selection in natural populations – contrary to what assumed by most practicing biologists. I suggest that the search for (...)
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  23. What, If Anything, is an Evolutionary Novelty?Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):887-898.
    The idea of phenotypic novelty appears throughout the evolutionary literature. Novelties have been defined so broadly as to make the term meaningless and so narrowly as to apply only to a limited number of spectacular structures. Here I examine some of the available definitions of phenotypic novelty and argue that the modern synthesis is ill equipped at explaining novelties. I then discuss three frameworks that may help biologists get a better insight of how novelties arise during evolution but warn that (...)
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  24. The Borderlands Between Science and Philosophy.Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Quarterly Review of Biology 83 (1):7-15.
    Science and philosophy have a very long history, dating back at least to the 16th and 17th centuries, when the first scientist-philosophers, such as Bacon, Galilei, and Newton, were beginning the process of turning natural philosophy into science. Contemporary relationships between the two fields are still to some extent marked by the distrust that maintains the divide between the so-called “two cultures.” An increasing number of philosophers, however, are making conceptual contributions to sciences ranging from quantum mechanics to evolutionary biology, (...)
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  25. Why the Demarcation Problem Matters.Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry - 2013 - In Massimo Pigliucci & Maarten Boudry (eds.), Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem.
    Ever since Socrates, philosophers have been in the business of asking ques- tions of the type “What is X?” The point has not always been to actually find out what X is, but rather to explore how we think about X, to bring up to the surface wrong ways of thinking about it, and hopefully in the process to achieve an increasingly better understanding of the matter at hand. In the early part of the twentieth century one of the most (...)
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  26. Okasha’s Evolution and the Levels of Selection: Toward a Broader Conception of Theoretical Biology: Oxford University Press, Oxford. [REVIEW]Massimo Pigliucci - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):405-415.
    The debate about the levels of selection has been one of the most controversial both in evolutionary biology and in philosophy of science. Okasha’s book makes the sort of contribution that simply will not be able to be ignored by anyone interested in this field for many years to come. However, my interest here is in highlighting some examples of how Okasha goes about discussing his material to suggest that his book is part of an increasingly interesting trend that sees (...)
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  27. Mind Uploading: A Philosophical Counter-Analysis.Massimo Pigliucci - 2014 - In Russell Blackford & Damien Broderick (eds.), Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds. Wiley. pp. 119-130.
    A counter analysis of David Chalmers' claims about the possibility of mind uploading within the context of the Singularity event.
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  28. 5 Questions on Science & Religion.Massimo Pigliucci - 2014 - In Gregg D. Caruso (ed.), Science and Religion: 5 Questions. Automatic Press. pp. 163-170.
    Are science and religion compatible when it comes to understanding cosmology (the origin of the universe), biology (the origin of life and of the human species), ethics, and the human mind (minds, brains, souls, and free will)? Do science and religion occupy non-overlapping magisteria? Is Intelligent Design a scientific theory? How do the various faith traditions view the relationship between science and religion? What, if any, are the limits of scientific explanation? What are the most important open questions, problems, or (...)
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  29. ‘On the Different Ways of ‘‘Doing Theory’’ in Biology‘.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (4): 287-297.
    ‘‘Theoretical biology’’ is a surprisingly heter- ogeneous field, partly because it encompasses ‘‘doing the- ory’’ across disciplines as diverse as molecular biology, systematics, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Moreover, it is done in a stunning variety of different ways, using anything from formal analytical models to computer sim- ulations, from graphic representations to verbal arguments. In this essay I survey a number of aspects of what it means to do theoretical biology, and how they compare with the allegedly much more restricted (...)
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  30. Evolution of Phenotypic Plasticity: Where Are We Going Now?Massimo Pigliucci - 2005 - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20 (9):481-486.
    The study of phenotypic plasticity has progressed significantly over the past few decades. We have moved from variation for plasticity being considered as a nuisance in evolutionary studies to it being the primary target of investigations that use an array of methods, including quantitative and molecular genetics, as well as of several approaches that model the evolution of plastic responses. Here, I consider some of the major aspects of research on phenotypic plasticity, assessing where progress has been made and where (...)
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  31. Genetic Assimilation and a Possible Evolutionary Paradox: Can Macroevolution Sometimes Be so Fast to Pass Us By?Massimo Pigliucci - 2003 - Evolution 57 (7):1455-1464.
    The idea of genetic assimilation, that environmentally induced phenotypes may become genetically fixed and no longer require the original environmental stimulus, has had varied success through time in evolutionary biology research. Proposed by Waddington in the 1940s, it became an area of active empirical research mostly thanks to the efforts of its inventor and his collaborators. It was then attacked as of minor importance during the ‘‘hardening’’ of the neo-Darwinian synthesis and was relegated to a secondary role for decades. Recently, (...)
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  32. A Misguided Attack on Evolution. [REVIEW]Massimo Pigliucci - 2010 - Nature 464:353-354.
    Why Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini are wrong about Darwin and evolution.
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  33. What Darwin Got Wrong. [REVIEW]Massimo Pigliucci - 2010 - Philosophy Now 81:38-39.
    What Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini got wrong about Darwin and evolution.
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  34. The Evolution-Creation Wars: Why Teaching More Science Just is Not Enough.Massimo Pigliucci - 2007 - McGill Journal of Education 42 (2):285-306.
    The creation-evolution “controversy” has been with us for more than a century. Here I argue that merely teaching more science will probably not improve the situation; we need to understand the controversy as part of a broader problem with public acceptance of pseudoscience, and respond by teaching how science works as a method. Critical thinking is difficult to teach, but educators can rely on increasing evidence from neurobiology about how the brain learns, or fails to.
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  35. On the Relationship Between Science and Ethics.Massimo Pigliucci - 2003 - Zygon 38 (4):871-894.
    The relationship between ethics and science has been discussed within the framework of continuity versus discontinuity theories, each of which can take several forms. Continuity theorists claim that ethics is a science or at least that it has deep similarities with the modus operandi of science. Discontinuity theorists reject such equivalency, while at the same time many of them claim that ethics does deal with objective truths and universalizable statements, just not in the same sense as science does. I propose (...)
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  36. Sewall Wright’s Adaptive Landscapes: 1932 Vs. 1988.Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (5):591-603.
    Sewall Wright introduced the metaphor of evolution on “adaptive landscapes” in a pair of papers published in 1931 and 1932. The metaphor has been one of the most influential in modern evolutionary biology, although recent theoretical advancements show that it is deeply flawed and may have actually created research questions that are not, in fact, fecund. In this paper I examine in detail what Wright actually said in the 1932 paper, as well as what he thought of the matter at (...)
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  37. Developmental Reaction Norms: The Interactions Among Allometry, Ontogeny and Plasticity.Massimo Pigliucci, Carl Schlichting, Cynthia Jones & Kurt Schwenk - 1996 - Plant Species Biology 11:69-85.
    How micro- and macroevolutionary evolutionary processes produce phenotypic change is without question one of the most intriguing and perplexing issues facing evolutionary biologists. We believe that roadblocks to progress lie A) in the underestimation of the role of the environment, and in particular, that of the interaction of genotypes with environmental factors, and B) in the continuing lack of incorporation of development into the evolutionary synthesis. We propose the integration of genetic, environmental and developmental perspectives on the evolution of the (...)
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  38. The Extended (Evolutionary) Synthesis Debate: Where Science Meets Philosophy.Massimo Pigliucci & Leonard Finkelman - 2015 - BioScience 64 (6):511-516.
    Recent debates between proponents of the modern evolutionary synthesis (the standard model in evolutionary biology) and those of a possible extended synthesis are a good example of the fascinating tangle among empirical, theoretical, and conceptual or philosophical matters that is the practice of evolutionary biology. In this essay, we briefly discuss two case studies from this debate, highlighting the relevance of philosophical thinking to evolutionary biologists in the hope of spurring further constructive cross-pollination between the two fields.
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  39. On the Limits of Quantitative Genetics for the Study of Phenotypic Evolution.Massimo Pigliucci & Carl D. Schlichting - 1997 - Acta Biotheoretica 45 (2):143-160.
    During the last two decades the role of quantitative genetics in evolutionary theory has expanded considerably. Quantitative genetic-based models addressing long term phenotypic evolution, evolution in multiple environments (phenotypic plasticity) and evolution of ontogenies (developmental trajectories) have been proposed. Yet, the mathematical foundations of quantitative genetics were laid with a very different set of problems in mind (mostly the prediction of short term responses to artificial selection), and at a time in which any details of the genetic machinery were virtually (...)
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  40. Are Ecology and Evolutionary Biology “Soft” Sciences?Massimo Pigliucci - 2002 - Annales Zoologici Finnici 39:87-98.
    Research in ecology and evolutionary biology (evo-eco) often tries to emulate the “hard” sciences such as physics and chemistry, but to many of its practitioners feels more like the “soft” sciences of psychology and sociology. I argue that this schizophrenic attitude is the result of lack of appreciation of the full consequences of the peculiarity of the evo-eco sciences as lying in between a-historical disciplines such as physics and completely historical ones as like paleontology. Furthermore, evo-eco researchers have gotten stuck (...)
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  41. Down with Natural Selection? [REVIEW]Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 52 (1):134-140.
    Biologists are increasingly reexamining the conceptual structure of evolutionary theory, which dates back to the so-called Modern Synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s. Calls for an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES) cite a number of empir- ical and theoretical advances that need to be accounted for, including evolvability, evo- lutionary novelties, capacitors of phenotypic evolution, developmental plasticity, and phenotypic attractors. In Biological Emergences, however, Robert Reid outlines a theory of evolution in which natural selection plays no role or—worse—actually impedes evo- lution (...)
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  42. Between Holism and Reductionism: A Philosophical Primer on Emergence.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 112 (2):261-267.
    Ever since Darwin a great deal of the conceptual history of biology may be read as a struggle between two philosophical positions: reductionism and holism. On the one hand, we have the reductionist claim that evolution has to be understood in terms of changes at the fundamental causal level of the gene. As Richard Dawkins famously put it, organisms are just ‘lumbering robots’ in the service of their genetic masters. On the other hand, there is a long holistic tradition that (...)
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  43. How Organisms Respond to Environmental Changes: From Phenotypes to Molecules (and Vice Versa).Massimo Pigliucci - 1996 - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 11 (4):168-173.
    The concept of reaction norms plays a crucial role in connecting molecular and evolutionary biology.
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  44. When Science Studies Religion: Six Philosophy Lessons for Science Classes.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (1):49-67.
    It is an unfortunate fact of academic life that there is a sharp divide between science and philosophy, with scientists often being openly dismissive of philosophy, and philosophers being equally contemptuous of the naivete ́ of scientists when it comes to the philosophical underpinnings of their own discipline. In this paper I explore the possibility of reducing the distance between the two sides by introducing science students to some interesting philosophical aspects of research in evolutionary biology, using biological theories of (...)
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  45. Nonsense on Stilts About Science: Field Adventures of a Scientist- Philosopher.Massimo Pigliucci - 2012 - In J. Goodwin (ed.), Between Scientists and Citizens. CreateSpace.
    Public discussions of science are often marred by two pernicious phenomena: a widespread rejection of scientific findings (e.g., the reality of anthropogenic climate change, the conclusion that vaccines do not cause autism, or the validity of evolutionary theory), coupled with an equally common acceptance of pseudoscientific notions (e.g., homeopathy, psychic readings, telepathy, tall tales about alien abductions, and so forth). The typical reaction by scientists and science educators is to decry the sorry state of science literacy among the general public, (...)
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  46. The Nature of Evolutionary Biology: At the Borderlands Between Historical and Experimental Science.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - In Kostas Kampourakis (ed.), The Philosophy of Biology: A Companion for Educators. Springer.
    The scientific status of evolutionary theory seems to be more or less perennially under question. I am not referring here (just) to the silliness of young Earth creation- ism (Pigliucci 2002; Boudry and Braeckman 2010), or even of the barely more intel- lectually sophisticated so-called Intelligent Design theory (Recker 2010; Brigandt this volume), but rather to discussions among scientists and philosophers of science concerning the epistemic status of evolutionary theory (Sober 2010). As we shall see in what follows, this debate (...)
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  47. Landscapes, Surfaces, and Morphospaces: What Are They Good For?Massimo Pigliucci - 2012 - In E. Svensson & R. Calsbeek (eds.), The Adaptive Landscape in Evolutionary Biology. Oxford University Press. pp. 26.
    Few metaphors in biology are more enduring than the idea of Adaptive Landscapes, originally proposed by Sewall Wright (1932) as a way to visually present to an audience of typically non- mathematically savvy biologists his ideas about the relative role of natural selection and genetic drift in the course of evolution. The metaphor, how- ever, was born troubled, not the least reason for which is the fact that Wright presented different diagrams in his original paper that simply can- not refer (...)
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  48. Adaptive Landscapes, Phenotypic Space, and the Power of Metaphors. [REVIEW]Massimo Pigliucci - 2008 - Quarterly Review of Biology 83 (3):283-287.
    Metaphors play a crucial role in both science in particular and human discourse in gen- eral. Plato’s story of the cave—about people shackled to a wall and incapable of perceiv- ing the world as it really is—has stimulated thinking about epistemology and the nature of reality for more than two millennia. But metaphors can also be misleading: being too taken with Plato’s story has cost philosophers endless discussions about how to access the world “as it is,” until Kant showed us (...)
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  49. The Mismeasure of Machine: Synthetic Biology and the Trouble with Engineering Metaphors.Maarten Boudry & Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (4):660-668.
    The scientific study of living organisms is permeated by machine and design metaphors. Genes are thought of as the ‘‘blueprint’’ of an organism, organisms are ‘‘reverse engineered’’ to discover their func- tionality, and living cells are compared to biochemical factories, complete with assembly lines, transport systems, messenger circuits, etc. Although the notion of design is indispensable to think about adapta- tions, and engineering analogies have considerable heuristic value (e.g., optimality assumptions), we argue they are limited in several important respects. In (...)
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  50. From Molecules to Phenotypes? The Promise and Limits of Integrative Biology.Massimo Pigliucci - 2003 - Basic and Applied Ecology 4:297-306.
    Is integrative biology a good idea, or even possible? There has been much interest lately in the unifica- tion of biology and the integration of traditionally separate disciplines such as molecular and develop- mental biology on one hand, and ecology and evolutionary biology on the other. In this paper I ask if and under what circumstances such integration of efforts actually makes sense. I develop by example an analogy with Aristotle’s famous four “causes” that one can investigate concerning any object (...)
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