76 found
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  1. Biological normativity: a new hope for naturalism?Walter Veit - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (2):291-301.
    Since Boorse [Philos Sci 44(4):542–573, 1977] published his paper “Health as a theoretical concept” one of the most lively debates within philosophy of medicine has been on the question of whether health and disease are in some sense ‘objective’ and ‘value-free’ or ‘subjective’ and ‘value-laden’. Due to the apparent ‘failure’ of pure naturalist, constructivist, or normativist accounts, much in the recent literature has appealed to more conciliatory approaches or so-called ‘hybrid accounts’ of health and disease. A recent paper by Matthewson (...)
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  2. Complexity and the Evolution of Consciousness.Walter Veit - 2023 - Biological Theory 18 (3):175-190.
    This article introduces and defends the “pathological complexity thesis” as a hypothesis about the evolutionary origins of minimal consciousness, or sentience, that connects the study of animal consciousness closely with work in behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology. I argue that consciousness is an adaptive solution to a design problem that led to the extinction of complex multicellular animal life following the Avalon explosion and that was subsequently solved during the Cambrian explosion. This is the economic trade-off problem of having to (...)
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  3. Model Pluralism.Walter Veit - 2019 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (2):91-114.
    This paper introduces and defends an account of model-based science that I dub model pluralism. I argue that despite a growing awareness in the philosophy of science literature of the multiplicity, diversity, and richness of models and modeling practices, more radical conclusions follow from this recognition than have previously been inferred. Going against the tendency within the literature to generalize from single models, I explicate and defend the following two core theses: any successful analysis of models must target sets of (...)
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  4. Health, consciousness, and the evolution of subjects.Walter Veit - 2022 - Synthese 201 (1):1-24.
    The goal of this programmatic paper is to highlight a close connection between the core problem in the philosophy of medicine, i.e. the concept of health, and the core problem of the philosophy of mind, i.e. the concept of consciousness. I show when we look at these phenomena together, taking the evolutionary perspective of modern state-based behavioural and life-history theory used as the teleonomic tool to Darwinize the agent- and subject-side of organisms, we will be in a better position to (...)
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  5. A Philosophy for the Science of Animal Consciousness.Walter Veit - 2023 - New York: Routledge.
    This book attempts to advance Donald Griffin's vision of the "final, crowning chapter of the Darwinian revolution" by developing a philosophy for the science of animal consciousness. It advocates a Darwinian bottom-up approach that treats consciousness as a complex, evolved, and multidimensional phenomenon in nature rather than a mysterious all-or-nothing property immune to the tools of science and restricted to a single species. -/- The so-called emergence of a science of consciousness in the 1990s has at best been a science (...)
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  6. Perspectival pluralism for animal welfare.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-14.
    Animal welfare has a long history of disregard. While in recent decades the study of animal welfare has become a scientific discipline of its own, the difficulty of measuring animal welfare can still be vastly underestimated. There are three primary theories, or perspectives, on animal welfare - biological functioning, natural living and affective state. These come with their own diverse methods of measurement, each providing a limited perspective on an aspect of welfare. This paper describes a perspectival pluralist account of (...)
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  7. Procreative Beneficence and Genetic Enhancement.Walter Veit - 2018 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 32 (1):75-92.
    Imagine a world where everyone is healthy, intelligent, long living and happy. Intuitively this seems wonderful albeit unrealistic. However, recent scienti c breakthroughs in genetic engineering, namely CRISPR/Cas bring the question into public discourse, how the genetic enhancement of humans should be evaluated morally. In 2001, when preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), enabled parents to select between multiple embryos, Julian Savulescu introduced the principle of procreative bene cence (PPB), stating that parents have the obligations to choose (...)
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  8. Towards a Comparative Study of Animal Consciousness.Walter Veit - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (4):292-303.
    In order to develop a true biological science of consciousness, we have to remove humans from the center of reference and develop a bottom-up comparative study of animal minds, as Donald Griffin intended with his call for a “cognitive ethology.” In this article, I make use of the pathological complexity thesis (Veit 2022a, b, c ) to show that we can firmly ground a comparative study of animal consciousness by drawing on the resources of state-based behavioral life history theory. By (...)
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  9. The sentience shift in animal research.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2022 - The New Bioethics 28 (4):299-314.
    One of the primary concerns in animal research is ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals. Modern views on animal welfare emphasize the role of animal sentience, i.e. the capacity to experience subjective states such as pleasure or suffering, as a central component of welfare. The increasing official recognition of animal sentience has had large effects on laboratory animal research. The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness (Low et al., University of Cambridge, 2012) marked an official scientific recognition of the presence of sentience (...)
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  10. The Measurement Problem of Consciousness.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Philosophical Topics 48 (1):85-108.
    This paper addresses what we consider to be the most pressing challenge for the emerging science of consciousness: the measurement problem of consciousness. That is, by what methods can we determine the presence of and properties of consciousness? Most methods are currently developed through evaluation of the presence of consciousness in humans and here we argue that there are particular problems in application of these methods to nonhuman cases—what we call the indicator validity problem and the extrapolation problem. The first (...)
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  11. Cognitive Enhancement and the Threat of Inequality.Walter Veit - 2018 - Journal of Cognitive Enhancement 2 (4):1-7.
    As scientific progress approaches the point where significant human enhancements could become reality, debates arise whether such technologies should be made available. This paper evaluates the widespread concern that human enhancements will inevitably accentuate existing inequality and analyzes whether prohibition is the optimal public policy to avoid this outcome. Beyond these empirical questions, this paper considers whether the inequality objection is a sound argument against the set of enhancements most threatening to equality, i.e., cognitive enhancements. In doing so, I shall (...)
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  12. Phenomenology Applied to Animal Health and Suffering.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - In Susi Ferrarello (ed.), Phenomenology of Bioethics: Technoethics and Lived Experience. Springer. pp. 73-88.
    What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to be sick? These two questions are much closer to one another than has hitherto been acknowledged. Indeed, both raise a number of related, albeit very complex, philosophical problems. In recent years, the phenomenology of health and disease has become a major topic in bioethics and the philosophy of medicine, owing much to the work of Havi Carel (2007, 2011, 2018). Surprisingly little attention, however, has been given to (...)
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  13. Evolution of multicellularity: cheating done right.Walter Veit - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (3):34.
    For decades Darwinian processes were framed in the form of the Lewontin conditions: reproduction, variation and differential reproductive success were taken to be sufficient and necessary. Since Buss and the work of Maynard Smith and Szathmary biologists were eager to explain the major transitions from individuals to groups forming new individuals subject to Darwinian mechanisms themselves. Explanations that seek to explain the emergence of a new level of selection, however, cannot employ properties that would already have to exist on that (...)
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  14. Existential Nihilism: The Only Really Serious Philosophical Problem.Walter Veit - 2018 - Journal of Camus Studies:211–232.
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  15. Racial Justice Requires Ending the War on Drugs.Brian D. Earp, Jonathan Lewis, Carl L. Hart & Walter Veit - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (4):4-19.
    Historically, laws and policies to criminalize drug use or possession were rooted in explicit racism, and they continue to wreak havoc on certain racialized communities. We are a group of bioethicists, drug experts, legal scholars, criminal justice researchers, sociologists, psychologists, and other allied professionals who have come together in support of a policy proposal that is evidence-based and ethically recommended. We call for the immediate decriminalization of all so-called recreational drugs and, ultimately, for their timely and appropriate legal regulation. We (...)
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  16. Can ‘eugenics’ be defended?Francesca Minerva, Diana S. Fleischman, Peter Singer, Nicholas Agar, Jonathan Anomaly & Walter Veit - 2021 - Monash Bioethics Review 39 (1):60-67.
    In recent years, bioethical discourse around the topic of ‘genetic enhancement’ has become increasingly politicized. We fear there is too much focus on the semantic question of whether we should call particular practices and emerging bio-technologies such as CRISPR ‘eugenics’, rather than the more important question of how we should view them from the perspective of ethics and policy. Here, we address the question of whether ‘eugenics’ can be defended and how proponents and critics of enhancement should engage with each (...)
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  17. Scaffolding Natural Selection.Walter Veit - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (2):163-180.
    Darwin provided us with a powerful theoretical framework to explain the evolution of living systems. Natural selection alone, however, has sometimes been seen as insufficient to explain the emergence of new levels of selection. The problem is one of “circularity” for evolutionary explanations: how to explain the origins of Darwinian properties without already invoking their presence at the level they emerge. That is, how does evolution by natural selection commence in the first place? Recent results in experimental evolution suggest a (...)
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  18. Confined Freedom and Free Confinement: The Ethics of Captivity in Life of Pi.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - In Adam T. Bogar & Rebeka Sara Szigethy (eds.), Critical Insights: Life of Pi. Ipswich, MA: Salem Press. pp. 119-134.
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  19. Representing the Autism Spectrum.Robert Chapman & Walter Veit - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics 20 (4):46-48.
    Volume 20, Issue 4, May 2020, Page 46-48.
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  20. Life, mind, agency: Why Markov blankets fail the test of evolution.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2022 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 45:e214.
    There has been much criticism of the idea that Friston's free-energy principle can unite the life and mind sciences. Here, we argue that perhaps the greatest problem for the totalizing ambitions of its proponents is a failure to recognize the importance of evolutionary dynamics and to provide a convincing adaptive story relating free-energy minimization to organismal fitness.
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  21. Modeling Morality.Walter Veit - 2019 - In Matthieu Fontaine, Cristina Barés-Gómez, Francisco Salguero-Lamillar, Lorenzo Magnani & Ángel Nepomuceno-Fernández (eds.), Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology: Inferential Models for Logic, Language, Cognition and Computation. Springer Verlag. pp. 83–102.
    Unlike any other field, the science of morality has drawn attention from an extraordinarily diverse set of disciplines. An interdisciplinary research program has formed in which economists, biologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and even philosophers have been eager to provide answers to puzzling questions raised by the existence of human morality. Models and simulations, for a variety of reasons, have played various important roles in this endeavor. Their use, however, has sometimes been deemed as useless, trivial and inadequate. The role of models (...)
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  22. Drawing the boundaries of animal sentience.Walter Veit & Bryce Huebner - 2020 - Animal Sentience 29 (13).
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  23. Metaphors in arts and science.Walter Veit & Ney Milan - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-24.
    Metaphors abound in both the arts and in science. Due to the traditional division between these enterprises as one concerned with aesthetic values and the other with epistemic values there has unfortunately been very little work on the relation between metaphors in the arts and sciences. In this paper, we aim to remedy this omission by defending a continuity thesis regarding the function of metaphor across both domains, that is, metaphors fulfill any of the same functions in science as they (...)
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  24. Recognizing the Diversity of Cognitive Enhancements.Walter Veit, Brian D. Earp, Nadira Faber, Nick Bostrom, Justin Caouette, Adriano Mannino, Lucius Caviola, Anders Sandberg & Julian Savulescu - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 11 (4):250-253.
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  25. “The essence of autism: fact or artefact?”.Walter Veit - forthcoming - Molecular Psychiatry.
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  26. Evolutionary biology meets consciousness: essay review of Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka’s The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (1):1-11.
    In this essay, we discuss Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka’s The Evolution of the Sensitive Soul from an interdisciplinary perspective. Constituting perhaps the longest treatise on the evolution of consciousness, Ginsburg and Jablonka unite their expertise in neuroscience and biology to develop a beautifully Darwinian account of the dawning of subjective experience. Though it would be impossible to cover all its content in a short book review, here we provide a critical evaluation of their two key ideas—the role of Unlimited (...)
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  27. Experimental philosophy of medicine and the concepts of health and disease.Walter Veit - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics:1-18.
    If one had to identify the biggest change within the philosophical tradition in the twenty-first century, it would certainly be the rapid rise of experimental philosophy to address differences in intuitions about concepts. It is, therefore, surprising that the philosophy of medicine has so far not drawn on the tools of experimental philosophy in the context of a particular conceptual debate that has overshadowed all others in the field: the long-standing dispute between so-called naturalists and normativists about the concepts of (...)
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  28. Evaluating Tradeoffs between Autonomy and Wellbeing in Supported Decision Making.Julian Savulescu, Heather Browning, Brian D. Earp & Walter Veit - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (11):21-24.
    A core challenge for contemporary bioethics is how to address the tension between respecting an individual’s autonomy and promoting their wellbeing when these ideals seem to come into conflict (Not...
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  29. Agential thinking.Walter Veit - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5):13393-13419.
    In his 2009 monograph, Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, Peter Godfrey-Smith accuses biologists of demonstrating ‘Darwinian Paranoia’ when they engage in what he dubs ‘agential thinking’. But as Daniel Dennett points out, he offers neither an illuminating set of examples nor an extended argument for this assertion, deeming it to be a brilliant propaganda stroke against what is actually a useful way of thinking. Compared to the dangers of teleological thinking in biology, the dangers of agential thinking have unfortunately rarely (...)
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  30. Petition to Include Cephalopods as “Animals” Deserving of Humane Treatment under the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.New England Anti-Vivisection Society, American Anti-Vivisection Society, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Jennifer Jacquet, Becca Franks, Judit Pungor, Jennifer Mather, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Lori Marino, Greg Barord, Carl Safina, Heather Browning & Walter Veit - forthcoming - Harvard Law School Animal Law and Policy Clinic:1–30.
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  31. Drawing the boundaries of animal sentience.Walter Veit & Bryce Huebner - 2020 - Animal Sentience 13 (29).
    We welcome Mikhalevich & Powell’s (2020) (M&P) call for a more “‘inclusive”’ animal ethics, but we think their proposed shift toward a moral framework that privileges false positives over false negatives will require radically revising the paradigm assumption in animal research: that there is a clear line to be drawn between sentient beings that are part of our moral community and nonsentient beings that are not.
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  32. In Science We Trust? Being Honest About the Limits of Medical Research During COVID-19.Walter Veit, Rebecca Brown & Brian D. Earp - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (1):22-24.
    As a result of the world-wide COVID-19 epidemic, an internal tension in the goals of medicine has come to the forefront of public debate. Medical professionals are continuously faced with a tug of...
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  33. Ethics of Mixed Martial Arts.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - In Jason Holt & Marc Ramsay (eds.), The Philosophy of Mixed Martial Arts: Squaring the Octagon. Routledge. pp. 134-149.
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  34. Evolving resolve.Walter Veit & David Spurrett - 2021 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44.
    The broad spectrum revolution brought greater dependence on skill and knowledge, and more demanding, often social, choices. We adopt Sterelny's account of how cooperative foraging paid the costs associated with longer dependency, and transformed the problem of skill learning. Scaffolded learning can facilitate cognitive control including suppression, whereas scaffolded exchange and trade, including inter-temporal exchange, can help develop resolve.
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  35. The rationale of rationalization.Walter Veit, Joe Dewhurst, Krzysztof Dołęga, Max Jones, Shaun Stanley, Keith Frankish & Daniel C. Dennett - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43:e53.
    While we agree in broad strokes with the characterisation of rationalization as a “useful fiction,” we think that Fiery Cushman's claim remains ambiguous in two crucial respects: the reality of beliefs and desires, that is, the fictional status of folk-psychological entities and the degree to which they should be understood as useful. Our aim is to clarify both points and explicate the rationale of rationalization.
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  36. More Than Zombies: Considering the Animal Subject in De-Extinction.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2022 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 25 (2):121-124.
    Katz (2022) provides a range of arguments drawn from the environmental philosophy literature to criticize the conceptualisation and practice of de-extinction. The discussion is almost completely de...
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  37. Does birth matter?Walter Veit - 2022 - Journal of Medical Ethics 48 (3):194-195.
    This paper is a response to a recent paper by Bobier and Omelianchuk in which they argue that the critics of Giubilini and Minerva’s defence of infanticide fail to adequately justify a moral difference at birth. They argue that such arguments would lead to an intuitively less plausible position: that late-term abortions are permissible, thus creating a dilemma for those who seek to argue that birth matters. I argue that the only way to resolve this dilemma, is to bite the (...)
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  38. Enhancement technologies and inequality.Walter Veit - 2018 - In Cristian Saborido, Sergi Oms & Javier González de Prado (eds.), Proceedings of the IX Conference of the Spanish Society of Lógic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science. pp. 471–476.
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  39. The evolution of knowledge during the Cambrian explosion.Walter Veit - 2021 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44:e174.
    Phillips et al. make a compelling case for a reversal in the current paradigm in “other minds” research by considering the representation of other people's knowledge more basic than the attribution of belief. Unfortunately, they only discuss primates. In this commentary, I argue that the representation of others' knowledge is an evolutionary ancient trait, first appearing during the Cambrian explosion.
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  40. Health, Agency, and the Evolution of Consciousness.Walter Veit - 2022 - Dissertation, The University of Sydney
    This goal of this thesis in the philosophy of nature is to move us closer towards a true biological science of consciousness in which the evolutionary origin, function, and phylogenetic diversity of consciousness are moved from the field’s periphery of investigations to its very centre. Rather than applying theories of consciousness built top-down on the human case to other animals, I argue that we require an evolutionary bottomup approach that begins with the very origins of subjective experience in order to (...)
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  41. Model Diversity and the Embarrassment of Riches.Walter Veit - unknown
    In a recent special issue dedicated to Dani Rodrik’s (2015) influential monograph Economics Rules, Grüne-Yanoff and Marchionni (2018) raise a potentially damning problem for Rodrik’s suggestion that progress in economics should be understood and measured laterally, by a continuous expansion of new models. They argue that this could lead to an “embarrassment of riches”, i.e. the rapid expansion of our model library to such an extent that we become unable to choose between the available models, and thus needs to be (...)
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  42.  85
    Theory Roulette: Choosing that Climate Change is not a Tragedy of the Commons.Jakob Ortmann & Walter Veit - 2023 - Environmental Values 32 (1):65-89.
    Climate change mitigation has become a paradigm case both for externalities in general and for the game-theoretic model of the Tragedy of the Commons (ToC) in particular. This situation is worrying, as we have reasons to suspect that some models in the social sciences are apt to be performative to the extent that they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Framing climate change mitigation as a hardly solvable coordination problem may force us into a worse situation, by changing real-world behaviour to fit (...)
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  43. Utilitarian Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic for Non-Pandemic Diseases.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (12):39-42.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique set of challenges for national governments regarding how to deal with a major international pandemic of almost unprecedented scope. As the pandemic consti...
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  44. Extending animal welfare science to include wild animals.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - forthcoming - Animal Sentience:1-4.
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  45. Why Socio-Political Beliefs Trump Individual Morality: An Evolutionary Perspective.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 11 (4):290-292.
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  46. Dennett and Spinoza.Walter Veit - 2020 - Australasian Philosophical Review 4 (3):259-265.
    ABSTRACT This paper compares Spinoza with Daniel Dennett and uncovers a number of striking parallels. Genevieve Lloyd’s recent work on Spinoza reveals a picture of a philosopher that anticipated many of Dennett’s later ideas. Both share a fervent opposition to Descartes’ conception of mind and body and endorse a strikingly similar naturalist philosophy. It is the goal of this paper to tease out these connections and once again highlight the richness of a Spinozist lens of the world.
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  47. Freedom and animal welfare.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2021 - Animals 4 (11):1148.
    The keeping of captive animals in zoos and aquariums has long been controversial. Many take freedom to be a crucial part of animal welfare and, on these grounds, criticise all forms of animal captivity as harmful to animal welfare, regardless of their provisions. Here, we analyse what it might mean for freedom to matter to welfare, distinguishing between the role of freedom as an intrinsic good, valued for its own sake and an instrumental good, its value arising from the increased (...)
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  48. Enhancement technologies and inequality.Walter Veit - 2018 - Proceedings of the IX Conference of the Spanish Society of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science.
    Recognizing the variety of dystopian science-fiction novels and movies, from Brave New World to Gattaca and more recently Star Trek, on the future of humanity in which eugenic policies are implemented, genetic engineering has been getting a bad reputation for valid but arguably, mostly historical reasons. In this paper, I critically examine the claim from Mehlman & Botkin (1998: ch. 6) that human enhancement will inevitably accentuate existing inequality in a free market and analyze whether prohibition is the optimal public (...)
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  49. Developmental Programming, Evolution, and Animal Welfare: A Case for Evolutionary Veterinary Science.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 1.
    The conditions animals experience during the early developmental stages of their lives can have critical ongoing effects on their future health, welfare, and proper development. In this paper we draw on evolutionary theory to improve our understanding of the processes of developmental programming, particularly Predictive Adaptive Responses (PAR) that serve to match offspring phenotype with predicted future environmental conditions. When these predictions fail, a mismatch occurs between offspring phenotype and the environment, which can have long-lasting health and welfare effects. Examples (...)
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  50. Improving invertebrate welfare.Heather Browning & Walter Veit - 2020 - Animal Sentience 29 (4).
    Mikhalevich & Powell (2020) argue that it is wrong, both scientifically and morally, to dismiss the evidence for sentience in invertebrates. They do not offer any examples, however, of how their welfare should be considered or improved. We draw on animal welfare science to suggest some ways that would not be excessively demanding.
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