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Paul Edmund Griffiths
University of Sydney
  1. Developmental Systems Theory as a Process Theory.Paul Edmund Griffiths & Karola Stotz - 2018 - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupre (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 225-245.
    Griffiths and Russell D. Gray (1994, 1997, 2001) have argued that the fundamental unit of analysis in developmental systems theory should be a process – the life cycle – and not a set of developmental resources and interactions between those resources. The key concepts of developmental systems theory, epigenesis and developmental dynamics, both also suggest a process view of the units of development. This chapter explores in more depth the features of developmental systems theory that favour treating processes as fundamental (...)
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    Are Biological Traits Explained by Their 'Selected Effect' Functions?Joshua R. Christie, Carl Brusse, Pierrick Bourrat, Peter Takacs & Paul Edmund Griffiths - forthcoming - Australasian Philosophical Review.
    The selected effects or ‘etiological’ theory of Proper function is a naturalistic and realist account of biological teleology. It is used to analyse normativity in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of medicine and elsewhere. The theory has been developed with a simple and intuitive view of natural selection. Traits are selected because of their positive effects on the fitness of the organisms that have them. These ‘selected effects’ are the Proper functions of the traits. Proponents argue that this (...)
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  3. Genetic, Epigenetic and Exogenetic Information in Development and Evolution.Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2017 - Interface Focus 7 (5).
    The idea that development is the expression of information accumulated during evolution and that heredity is the transmission of this information is surprisingly hard to cash out in strict, scientific terms. This paper seeks to do so using the sense of information introduced by Francis Crick in his sequence hypothesis and central dogma of molecular biology. It focuses on Crick's idea of precise determination. This is analysed using an information-theoretic measure of causal specificity. This allows us to reconstruct some of (...)
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  4. The Idea of Mismatch in Evolutionary Medicine.Pierrick Bourrat & Paul Edmund Griffiths - manuscript
    Mismatch is a prominent concept in evolutionary medicine and a number of philosophers have published analyses of this concept. The word ‘mismatch’ has been used in a diversity of ways across a range of sciences, leading these authors to regard it as a vague concept in need of philosophical clarification. Here, in contrast, we concentrate on the use of mismatch in modelling and experimentation in evolutionary medicine. This reveals a rigorous theory of mismatch within which the term ‘mismatch’ is indeed (...)
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  5. A Developmental Systems Account of Human Nature.Karola Stotz & Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2018 - In Tim Lewens & Elizabeth Hannon (eds.), Why we disagree about human nature. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 00-00.
    It is now widely accepted that a scientifically credible conception of human nature must reject the folkbiological idea of a fixed, inner essence that makes us human. We argue here that to understand human nature is to understand the plastic process of human development and the diversity it produces. Drawing on the framework of developmental systems theory and the idea of developmental niche construction we argue that human nature is not embodied in only one input to development, such as the (...)
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  6. Genetic, Epigenetic and Exogenetic Information.Karola Stotz & Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2017 - In Richard Joyce (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy. London & New York: Routledge.
    We describe an approach to measuring biological information where ‘information’ is understood in the sense found in Francis Crick’s foundational contributions to molecular biology. Genes contain information in this sense, but so do epigenetic factors, as many biologists have recognized. The term ‘epigenetic’ is ambiguous, and we introduce a distinction between epigenetic and exogenetic inheritance to clarify one aspect of this ambiguity. These three heredity systems play complementary roles in supplying information for development. -/- We then consider the evolutionary significance (...)
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