15 found
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  1. Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal.Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):301-327.
    Some ‘naturalist’ accounts of disease employ a biostatistical account of dysfunction, whilst others use a ‘selected effect’ account. Several recent authors have argued that the biostatistical account offers the best hope for a naturalist account of disease. We show that the selected effect account survives the criticisms levelled by these authors relatively unscathed, and has significant advantages over the BST. Moreover, unlike the BST, it has a strong theoretical rationale and can provide substantive reasons to decide difficult cases. This is (...)
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  2. Developmental Systems Theory as a Process Theory.Paul Edmund Griffiths & Karola Stotz - 2018 - In Daniel J. Nicholson & John Dupré (eds.), Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology. Oxford, United Kingdom: 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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  3. Crossing the Milvian bridge: When do evolutionary explanations of belief debunk belief?Paul E. Griffiths & John S. Wilkins - 2015 - In Phillip R. Sloan, Gerald McKenny & Kathleen Eggleson (eds.), Darwin in the Twenty-First Century: Nature, Humanity, and God. University of Notre Dame Press. pp. 201-231.
    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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  4. Developmental Systems Theory.Paul Griffiths & Adam Hochman - 2015 - eLS:1-7.
    Developmental systems theory (DST) is a wholeheartedly epigenetic approach to development, inheritance and evolution. The developmental system of an organism is the entire matrix of resources that are needed to reproduce the life cycle. The range of developmental resources that are properly described as being inherited, and which are subject to natural selection, is far wider than has traditionally been allowed. Evolution acts on this extended set of developmental resources. From a developmental systems perspective, development does not proceed according to (...)
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  5. Biological Information, Causality and Specificity - an Intimate Relationship.Karola Stotz & Paul E. Griffiths - 2017 - In Sara Imari Walker, Paul Davies & George Ellis (eds.), From Matter to Life: Information and Causality. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 366-390.
    In this chapter we examine the relationship between biological information, the key biological concept of specificity, and recent philosophical work on causation. We begin by showing how talk of information in the molecular biosciences grew out of efforts to understand the sources of biological specificity. We then introduce the idea of ‘causal specificity’ from recent work on causation in philosophy, and our own, information theoretic measure of causal specificity. Biological specificity, we argue, is simple the causal specificity of certain biological (...)
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  6. The idea of mismatch in evolutionary medicine.Pierrick Bourrat & Paul Edmund Griffiths - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    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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  7. 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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  8. Signals that make a Difference.Brett Calcott, Paul E. Griffiths & Arnaud Pocheville - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx022.
    Recent work by Brian Skyrms offers a very general way to think about how information flows and evolves in biological networks — from the way monkeys in a troop communicate, to the way cells in a body coordinate their actions. A central feature of his account is a way to formally measure the quantity of information contained in the signals in these networks. In this paper, we argue there is a tension between how Skyrms talks of signalling networks and his (...)
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  9. 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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  10. A Developmental Systems Account of Human Nature.Karola Stotz & Paul Griffiths - 2018 - In Elizabeth Hannon & Tim Lewens (eds.), Why We Disagree About Human Nature. Oxford: 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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  11. What are biological sexes?Paul E. Griffiths - manuscript
    Biological sexes (male, female, hermaphrodite) are defined by different gametic strategies for reproduction. Sexes are regions of phenotypic space which implement those gametic reproductive strategies. Individual organisms pass in and out of these regions – sexes - one or more times during their lives. Importantly, sexes are life-history stages rather than applying to organisms over their entire lifespan. This fact has been obscured by concentrating on humans, and ignoring species which regularly change sex, as well as those with non-genetic or (...)
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  12. Genetic, epigenetic and exogenetic information.Karola Stotz & Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2016 - In Richard Joyce (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy. 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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  13. The case against direct realism.Paul H. Griffiths - manuscript
    Analytic philosophy took a wrong turn when it rehabilitated direct realism. From the perspective of cognitive science, it seems that we can have the directness-claim or the realism-claim but not both together. Up until the mid-1900s the vast majority of philosophers dismissed direct realism as hopelessly naïve, but by the close of the century it had become the orthodoxy within analytic philosophy. In contrast, mainstream cognitive science has remained constant in its opposition to the directness-claim, and when the directness-claim is (...)
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  14. A new objection to representationalist direct realism.Paul H. Griffiths - manuscript
    Representationalism (aka intentionalism) has been the most significant weapon in the late twentieth century defence of direct realism. However, although the representationalist objection to the Phenomenal Principle might provide an effective response to the arguments from illusion and hallucination, plausible representationalist theories of perception are, when fleshed-out, incompatible with metaphysical direct realism’s directness-claim. Indeed within cognitive science, direct perception is the avowedly-radical anti-representationalist heterodoxy. Drawing on both the philosophy and cognitive science, we develop a robust argument against representationalist direct realism (...)
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  15. Against Direct Realism (near final draft).Paul Griffiths - 2021 - Philosophy Now 146 (October/November):12-13.
    Up until the middle years of the twentieth century, the vast majority of philosophers rejected theories of direct perception, but by its close direct realism had become the new orthodoxy. On the other hand, mainstream cognitive science has been consistent in its rejection of direct perception. And, moreover, when direct perception is championed by an avowedly radical Gibsonian minority it is at the expense of questioning the realist assumptions that underpin contemporary analytic philosophy. So here is a dilemma for direct (...)
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