dunnettreader + evolution   39

Book Event: Jenny Davidson’s "Breeding: A Partial History of the 18thC" | The Valve - A Literary Organ |- May 2009
Note - this doesn't appear organized by tag in their archives
Book Event: Jenny Davidson’s Breeding
Posted by Scott Eric Kaufman on 05/25/09
Beginning tomorrow, The Valve will be hosting a book event on Jenny Davidson‘s Breeding: A Partial History of the Eighteenth Century. Peter Gay has already reviewed the book for Bookforum, which is rather remarkable when you consider this was an academic book published by a university press—then again, it’s a rather remarkable book.
The introduction and first two chapters are available online.
cultural_history  Enlightenment  evolution  reviews  aristocracy  mechanism  18thC  inheritance  books  literary_history  Scottish_Enlightenment  novels  nature-nurture  fiction  nobility  intellectual_history  materialism  character-formation  social_order  determinism  human_nature  natural_history  French_Enlightenment 
june 2017 by dunnettreader
Alberto Acerbi & Alex Mesoudi,If we are all cultural Darwinians what’s the fuss about? Clarifying recent disagreements in the field of cultural evolution | SpringerLink
Acerbi, A. & Mesoudi, A. Biol Philos (2015) 30: 481. doi:10.1007/s10539-015-9490-2 -- Biology & Philosophy, July 2015, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 481–503 -- Cultural evolution studies are characterized by the notion that culture evolves accordingly to broadly Darwinian principles. Yet how far the analogy between cultural and genetic evolution should be pushed is open to debate. Here, we examine a recent disagreement that concerns the extent to which cultural transmission should be considered a preservative mechanism allowing selection among different variants, or a transformative process in which individuals recreate variants each time they are transmitted. The latter is associated with the notion of “cultural attraction”. This issue has generated much misunderstanding and confusion. We first clarify the respective positions, noting that there is in fact no substantive incompatibility between cultural attraction and standard cultural evolution approaches, beyond a difference in focus. Whether cultural transmission should be considered a preservative or reconstructive process is ultimately an empirical question, and we examine how both preservative and reconstructive cultural transmission has been studied in recent experimental research in cultural evolution. Finally, we discuss how the relative importance of preservative and reconstructive processes may depend on the granularity of analysis and the domain being studied. -- Keywords -- Cultural attraction, Cultural attractors, Cultural evolution, Cultural transmission
article  cultural_attractors  evolution-social  evolution-group_selection  evolution-as-model  evolution  cultural_change  cultural_transmission  cultural_influence  gene-culture_coevolution  social_process 
august 2016 by dunnettreader
Peter Taylor - A Short Response to Lynch’s Counter-Criticisms| Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective (2016)
Last in series of Lynch paper, Taylor comment, Lynch response and Taylor counter comment Taylor (U Mass Boston) is apparently even more disdainful than Lynch of Fuller, but he's sceptical of the Darwinian "selection" model (not the "natural' part apparently) and would go after Fuller without being completely wedded to Darwin, whereas Lynch sees questioning Darwinian basis of emerging multilevel evolutionary process as just begging for the sort of unholy alliance between fundies and "prigressive" apocalyptic types like Fuller. Downloaded the 4 pieces. (1) Lynch, William T. “Darwinian Social Epistemology: Science and Religion as Evolutionary Byproducts Subject to Cultural Evolution.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 2 (2016): 26-68. (2) Taylor, Peter J. “Questioning the Darwinism that Lynch Presents as a Viable Basis for Humans to Pursue Science.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 2 (2016): 85-87. (3) Lynch, William T. “Complexity, Natural Selection, and Cultural Evolution.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 3 (2016): 64-72.
evolution  sociology_of_knowledge  forum  Darwinism  intelligent_design  epigenetics  downloaded  gene-culture_coevolution  complexity  sociology_of_religion  genetics  emergence  sociology_of_science_ 
may 2016 by dunnettreader
Martin Meisel, “On the Age of the Universe” | BRANCH
The Charles Darwin-inspired debate over the Age of the Earth that pitted contemporary Physics against the theory and practice of contemporary Geology was intimately tied to recent unsettling projections on the thermodynamic fate of the universe. The leading voices in the debate were William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin, and Thomas Henry Huxley, Darwin’s most able champion. The argument—resolved only in the next century—has exemplary value as an intractable dissonance between two vigorous and well established, but not entirely secure scientific disciplines. And its content laid some of the groundwork for the pessimism that qualified the cult of progress and the whiggish habits of cultural and material complacency towards the end of the century. - reviews 18thC theories as well -- download pdf to iPhone-DBox
universe-age  Shelley_Mary  Shelley  Cuvier  Buffon  cosmology  age_of_the_earth  Darwin  Darwinism  entropy  Byron  time  intellectual_history  evolution  physics  astronomy  geology  18thC  Kelvin  downloaded  Franklin_Ben  chronology  19thC  history_of_science  law_of_conservation 
january 2016 by dunnettreader
Jonathan Kaplan - The end of the Adaptive Landscape metaphor?, Biology and Philosophy (2008) | via Researchgate
Biology and Philosophy (Impact Factor: 1.19). 11/2008; 23(5):625-638. DOI: 10.1007/s10539-008-9116-z -- ABSTRACT -- The concepts of adaptive/fitness landscapes and adaptive peaks are a central part of much of contemporary evolutionary biology;the concepts are introduced in introductory texts, developed in more detail in graduate-level treatments, and are used extensively in papers published in the major journals in the field. The appeal of visualizing the process of evolution in terms of the movement of populations on such landscapes is very strong; as one becomes familiar with the metaphor, one often develops the feeling that it is possible to gain deep insights into evolution by thinking about the movement of populations on landscapes consisting of adaptive valleys and peaks. But, since Wright first introduced the metaphor in 1932, the metaphor has been the subject of persistent confusion, from equivocation over just what the features of the landscape are meant to represent to how we ought to expect the landscapes to look. Recent advances—conceptual, empirical, and computational—have pointed towards the inadequacy and indeed incoherence of the landscapes as usually pictured. I argue that attempts to reform the metaphor are misguided; it is time to give up the pictorial metaphor of the landscape entirely and rely instead on the results of formal modeling, however difficult such results are to understand in ‘intuitive’ terms. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  philosophy_of_science  biology  genetics  evolutionary_biology  natural_selection  evolution  scientific_method  modelling  levels_of_analyis  causation-evolutionary  downloaded 
january 2016 by dunnettreader
Design Arguments for the Existence of God | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Table of Contents -- 1. The Classical Versions of the Design Argument -- a. Scriptural Roots and Aquinas's Fifth Way -- b.The Argument from Simple Analogy -- c. Paley's Watchmaker Argument -- d. Guided Evolution **--** 2. Contemporary Versions of the Design Argument. -- a. The Argument from. -- b. Irreducible Biochemical Complexity -- c. The Argument from Biological Information. -- d. The Fine-Tuning Arguments -- (i) The Argument from Suspicious Improbability -- (ii) The Confirmatory Argument. **--** 3. The Scientifically Legitimate Uses of Design Inferences. **--** 4.References and Further Reading -- downloaded pdf to Note
intellectual_history  ancient_philosophy  medieval_philosophy  17thC  18thC  19thC  20thC  philosophy_of_religion  theology  natural_religion  rational_religion  Newtonianism  creation  design-nature  God-existence  God-attributes  Aquinas  analogy  Paley  complexity  cosmology  cosmological-fine-tuning  intelligent_design  creationism  natural_philosophy  evolution  Bible-as-history  bibliography  downloaded 
august 2015 by dunnettreader
Emmanuel Bezy, review - Jean-Marie Schaeffer, La fin de l’exception humaine (2007) -- Pour une histoire naturelle de l’homme - La Vie des idées - 21 janvier 2008
Gallimard, 2007, 446 p., 21,50 euros. -- Dans son dernier essai, Jean-Marie Schaeffer s’éloigne de ses thèmes habituels de recherche (le langage, la littérature, la fiction, l’esthétique) et propose une réflexion générale sur l’humanité. Il s’agit de dessiner une perspective qui inscrirait cette dernière en continuité avec le vivant. Il présente ce travail comme l’explicitation de l’arrière-plan de ces précédents travaux. L’ambition est de prendre le contre-pied de ce que l’auteur appelle la « Thèse » selon laquelle l’humanité constituerait une exception parmi les vivants. (...) qu’il pense a conduit à une survalorisation des savoirs spéculatifs au détriment des savoirs empiriques. C’est à critiquer cette vision du monde, véritable obstacle au progrès scientifique, et à redonner toute sa légitimité au naturalisme que son ouvrage est consacré. -- downloaded pdf to Note
books  reviews  French_intellectuals  French_language  philosophy  human_nature  metaphysics  imago_dei  animals  reason  speculative_philosoohy  philosophical_anthropology  philosophy_of_language  epistemology-naturalism  lit_crit  aesthetics  philosophy_of_science  mind  cogito  natural_kinds  essence  naturalism  empiricism  biology  evolution  evolutionary_biology  downloaded 
july 2015 by dunnettreader
Book Announcement: From Aristotle’s teleology to Darwin’s genealogy
see kindle sample - covers why scientific revolution didn't have the sort of impact that mathematization had in physical sciences - claims that yhe cornerstones of thinkijg re human sciences remained essentialist and fixistmore due to late scholastic snd Rensissance incorporation of Aristotelian principles than religiously driven creationusm - they fid converge and, especially in Anglo countries, reinflorced by 18thC "natural theology" - Darwin uses the anomalies that have no adaptationist utility, like sightless moles, to blow up the functionalist teleological foundation of yhe Aristotelian approach to species
Pocket  17thc  18thc  19thc  Darwin  ancient_greece  aristotle  bible-as-history  biology  books  creationist  deism  early_modern  evolution  geology  history_of_science  intellectual_history  kindle-available  medieval  natural_theology  physiology  renaissance  scholasticism  scientific_revolution 
july 2015 by dunnettreader
Karl Giberson (part 2 of 2) creating Adam, again and again - Peter Enns - June 2015
Today’s post is the second of two by Karl Giberson and is adapted from his newly published Saving the Original Sinner: How Christians Have Used the Bible’s… -- not clear whether they take up the first shock to the historical Adam centuries before Darwinism - discovery of the New World, and then moves toward scientific racism that debated whether humans were single or multiple species - and during same period, geology pushing back age of the earth far beyond an historically plausible frame for the literalist reading of Genesis
Instapaper  books  religious_history  Christianity  theology  change-intellectual  change-religious  creation  Adam  original_sin  theodicy  Bible-as-history  Early_Christian  Augustine  evolution  evolutionary_biology  cosmology  death  Biblical_exegesis  Biblical_criticism  Biblical_authority  science-and-religion  Darwinism  Fall  Genesis  from instapaper
june 2015 by dunnettreader
Herbert Gintis - Gene–culture coevolution and the nature of human sociality | Royal Society - Issue Theme "Human Niche Construction" - Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 27 March 2011, vol. 366, no. 1566, 878-888
Human characteristics are the product of gene–culture coevolution, which is an evolutionary dynamic involving the interaction of genes and culture over long time periods. Gene–culture coevolution is a special case of niche construction. Gene–culture coevolution is responsible for human other-regarding preferences, a taste for fairness, the capacity to empathize and salience of morality and character virtues. -- Keywords: gene–culture coevolution, sociobiology, epistatic information transfer -- Published 14 February 2011 doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0310 -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  gene-culture_coevolution  sociobiology  social_theory  genetics  cultural_change  social_process  niche_construction  evolution  evolution-social  evolutionary_biology  human_nature  character  preferences  altruism  fairness  empathy  moral_sentiments  moral_psychology  morality-innate  morality-conventional  virtue  tradition  cultural_transmission  evolution-group_selection  downloaded  EF-add 
february 2015 by dunnettreader
Kim Sterelny - From hominins to humans: how sapiens became behaviourally modern | Royal Society - Issue Theme " Human Niche Construction " - Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 27 March 2011, vol. 366, no. 1566, 809-822
Philosophy Program and Tempo and Mode, Australian National University and Philosophy Program, Victoria University of Wellington -- This paper contributes to a debate in the palaeoarchaeological community about the major time-lag between the origin of anatomically modern humans and the appearance of typically human cultural behaviour. Why did humans take so long—at least 100,000 years—to become ‘behaviourally modern’? The transition is often explained as a change in the intrinsic cognitive competence of modern humans: often in terms of a new capacity for symbolic thought, or the final perfection of language. These cognitive breakthrough models are not satisfactory, for they fail to explain the uneven palaeoanthropological record of human competence. Many supposed signature capacities appear (and then disappear) before the supposed cognitive breakthrough; many of the signature capacities disappear again after the breakthrough. So, instead of seeing behavioural modernity as a simple reflection of a new kind of mind, this paper presents a niche construction conceptual model of behavioural modernity. Humans became behaviourally modern when they could reliably transmit accumulated informational capital to the next generation, and transmit it with sufficient precision for innovations to be preserved and accumulated. In turn, the reliable accumulation of culture depends on the construction of learning environments, not just intrinsic cognitive machinery. I argue that the model is (i) evolutionarily plausible: the elements of the model can be assembled incrementally, without implausible selective scenarios; (ii) the model coheres with the broad palaeoarchaeological record; (iii) the model is anthropologically and ethnographically plausible; and (iv) the model is testable, though only in coarse, preliminary ways. - Keywords : niche construction, behavioural modernity, hominins -- doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0301 -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  sociobiology  anthropology  paleontology  prehistoric  evolution  evolution-social  evolutionary_biology  genetics  gene-culture_coevolution  niche_construction  brain  social_process  cultural_change  learning  cognition  cognition-social  cultural_transmission  downloaded  EF-add 
february 2015 by dunnettreader
Luke Rendell, Laurel Fogarty and Kevin N. Laland - Runaway cultural niche construction | Royal Society Issue Theme " Human Niche Construction " - Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 27 March 2011 vol. 366 no. 1566, 823-835
School of Biology, University of St Andrews, -- Cultural niche construction is a uniquely potent source of selection on human populations, and a major cause of recent human evolution. Previous theoretical analyses have not, however, explored the local effects of cultural niche construction. Here, we use spatially explicit coevolutionary models to investigate how cultural processes could drive selection on human genes by modifying local resources. We show that cultural learning, expressed in local niche construction, can trigger a process with dynamics that resemble runaway sexual selection. Under a broad range of conditions, cultural niche-constructing practices generate selection for gene-based traits and hitchhike to fixation through the build up of statistical associations between practice and trait. This process can occur even when the cultural practice is costly, or is subject to counteracting transmission biases, or the genetic trait is selected against. Under some conditions a secondary hitchhiking occurs, through which genetic variants that enhance the capability for cultural learning are also favoured by similar dynamics. We suggest that runaway cultural niche construction could have played an important role in human evolution, helping to explain why humans are simultaneously the species with the largest relative brain size, the most potent capacity for niche construction and the greatest reliance on culture. Keywords: niche construction, cultural transmission, gene–culture coevolution, human evolution, spatially explicit models -- doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0256 -- didn't download
article  sociobiology  anthropology  genetics  gene-culture_coevolution  niche_construction  social_theory  social_process  change-social  cultural_transmission  evolution  evolution-social  evolutionary_biology  human_nature  evolution-group_selection  EF-add 
february 2015 by dunnettreader
Jeremy Kendal, Jamshid J. Tehrani and John Odling-Smee - Human niche construction in interdisciplinary focus | Royal Society - Theme Issue "Human Niche Construction" Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 27 March 2011, vol. 366, no. 1566, 785-792
doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0306 Jeremy Kendal1 and Jamshid J. Tehrani - Centre for the Coevolution of Biology and Culture, Department of Anthropology, University of Durham -- John Odling-Smee - School of Anthropology, University of Oxford -- Issue introduction -- Niche construction is an endogenous causal process in evolution, reciprocal to the causal process of natural selection. It works by adding ecological inheritance, comprising the inheritance of natural selection pressures previously modified by niche construction, to genetic inheritance in evolution. Human niche construction modifies selection pressures in environments in ways that affect both human evolution, and the evolution of other species. Human ecological inheritance is exceptionally potent because it includes the social transmission and inheritance of cultural knowledge, and material culture. Human genetic inheritance in combination with human cultural inheritance thus provides a basis for gene–culture coevolution, and multivariate dynamics in cultural evolution. Niche construction theory potentially integrates the biological and social aspects of the human sciences. We elaborate on these processes, and provide brief introductions to each of the papers published in this theme issue. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  evolution  evolution-social  evolutionary_biology  sociobiology  human_nature  genetics  gene-culture_coevolution  niche_construction  ecology  species  environment  social_theory  social_process  change-social  cultural_change  cultural_transmission  downloaded  EF-add 
february 2015 by dunnettreader
Paul A. Lewis - An Analytical Core for Sociolgy: A Complex, Hayekian Analysis (2014, Review of Behavioral Economics, Forthcoming) :: SSRN
Lewis, Paul A., An Analytical Core for Sociolgy: A Complex, Hayekian Analysis (November 11, 2014). Review of Behavioral Economics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2522810 -- King's College London - Department of Political Economy -- This paper develops a Hayekian perspective on Herbert Gintis, and Dirk Helbing's, attempts to develop a unified analytical approach to the social sciences. Like Hayek, Gintis and Helbing view both the economy, and also the human mind, as a complex adaptive system. Their emphasis on emergence, on group selection, on the social relations that structure people’s interactions, and on the importance of motivations stemming from so-called 'social preferences', sees them develop themes present in Hayek's own work, often in ways that build on and strengthen Hayek's own analysis. However, Gintis and Helbing's continued commitment to a model of people as maximising their expected utility, and to general equilibrium theory, arguably leaves them less able than Hayek to do justice to the importance of innovation, novelty and radical uncertainty in the economic process. -- Number of Pages in PDF File: 24 -- Keywords: Gintis, complexity, evolution, emergence, Hayek, reductionism, behavioral economics, equilibrium, order, uncertainty. -- downloaded pdf to Note
paper  SSRN  social_theory  Hayek  Gintis  complexity  complex_adaptive_systems  evolution-as-model  evolution-social  evolutionary_biology  evolution  emergence  behavioral_economics  behavioralism  evolution-group_seledtion  rationality-economics  rational_choice  rationality-bounded  utility  social_order  uncertainty  reductionism  equilibrium  Innovation  economic_theory  economic_sociology  downloaded  EF-add 
february 2015 by dunnettreader
Marta Florio and Wieland B. Huttner - Neural progenitors, neurogenesis and the evolution of the neocortex (2014) | Development - online Journal of development biology
REVIEW - Abstract - The neocortex is the seat of higher cognitive functions and, in evolutionary terms, is the youngest part of the mammalian brain. Since its origin, the neocortex has expanded in several mammalian lineages, and this is particularly notable in humans. This expansion reflects an increase in the number of neocortical neurons, which is determined during development and primarily reflects the number of neurogenic divisions of distinct classes of neural progenitor cells. Consequently, the evolutionary expansion of the neocortex and the concomitant increase in the numbers of neurons produced during development entail interspecies differences in neural progenitor biology. Here, we review the diversity of neocortical neural progenitors, their interspecies variations and their roles in determining the evolutionary increase in neuron numbers and neocortex size. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  neuroscience  evolutionary_biology  evolution  brain  brain-development  primates  human_nature  genetics  molecular_biology  downloaded  EF-add 
november 2014 by dunnettreader
Jeremy Dunham, review - W. J. Mander (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // September 22, 2014
This volume is a hugely important contribution to scholarship on 19thC philosophy. ...for many important aspects of British philosophy in the 19thC the scholarship is almost non-existent. As Mander notes in the introduction, when we hear "19thC philosophy", we are more likely to think of 'the great systems of continental thought'. This volume shows that the British tradition boasts a remarkably rich and varied range of philosophical resources, and that it deserves the level of scholarship that the British traditions of the 17thC and 18thC are beginning to enjoy. In a review of another recent volume on 19thC philosophy Frederick Beiser argued that 'No period ... stands in more need of an original historian than 19thC philosophy. The standard tropes and figures do no justice to its depths, riches, and powers'. One of this present volume's greatest virtues is that it answers Beiser's plea as well as offering an impressive number of very original contributions.... It does an outstanding job of introducing a wide range of philosophical figures and ideas that will be unknown... It also includes excellent contributions on well-known philosophers and orientates the reader to the secondary literature.... The... volume provides a clear and comprehensive picture of how 19thC philosophy was practised and understood during the period. -- The Handbook has 6 parts: (1) Logic and Scientific Method; (2) Metaphysics; (3) Science and Philosophy; (4) Ethical, Social, and Political Thought; (5) Religious Philosophy; and, (6) The Practice of Philosophy. As Mander states, these classifications come from our contemporary perspective, and we should not expect the work of 19thC philosophers to neatly fit within them. Nonetheless, the individual authors [present] the aspects of a philosopher or school.. that fits within these categories while ... making clear how these aspects fit within a larger philosophical perspective ....
books  reviews  amazon.com  find  intellectual_history  19thC  British_history  Scottish_Enlightenment  Common_Sense  German_Idealism  British_Idealism  Kant  Hegelian  Mill  Sidgwick  Marx  Newman_JH  metaphysics  epistemology  empiricism  mind  perception  ideas-theories  idealism-transcendental  moral_philosophy  moral_psychology  social_theory  Coleridge  philosophy_of_religion  philosophy_of_science  philosophy_of_social_science  science-and-religion  scientific_method  Darwinism  evolution  evolution-as-model  evolutionary_biology  evolution-social  Spencer_Herbert  political_philosophy  intelligentsia  elite_culture  professionalization  university  Evernote 
october 2014 by dunnettreader
Jack Miles - Tilting Against Naïve Materialism: On Thomas Nagel's "Mind and Cosmos" | The Los Angeles Review of Books - Feb 2013
Nagel is a professed scientific realist. He does not put scientific knowledge in scare quotes. He believes that reason is reliable and that science does engage reality. But when an account of the origin of reason that links it entirely to reproductive success has this self-subversive corollary, he chooses to trust reason and question the account rather than trust the account and question reason.Here, for this reviewer, is the core challenge, the core disturbance, of this challenging and intentionally disruptive work. Mind and Cosmos, which has been taken as an oblique defense of creationism, is actually a defense of reason. Yet it is also a fabulous effort of the imagination. The place of imagination, of fantasy, even of dream-life in the history of human thought is a large one. Nagel admits that he is not a scientist, but it would call for imagination and not just analysis for a scientist in any given field to begin thinking past contemporary science as a whole toward the contours of what might someday succeed it. Unless one is a scientific Whig, one must strongly suspect that something someday will indeed succeed it. Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos does not build a road to that destination, but it is much to have gestured toward a gap in the hills through which a road might someday run. -- Swift would agree
books  reviews  kindle-available  philosophy_of_science  evolutionary_biology  evolution  Darwinism  Nagel  reason  epistemology  teleology  monism  panpsychic_monism  materialism  reductionism  truth  Swift  historiography-Whig  history_of_science  consciousness  mind  cosmology  imagination  creativity  human_nature  evo_psych  EF-add 
august 2014 by dunnettreader
Devin Henry - "The Failure of Evolution in Antiquity" in Blackwell Companion to Ancient Science, Medicine and Technology (2014)
Devin Henry, The University of Western Ontario -- This paper traces the emergence and rejection of evolutionary thinking in antiquity. It examines Empedocles' original theory of evolution and why his ideas failed to gain traction among his predecessors. -- Devin Henry. "The Failure of Evolution in Antiquity" Blackwell Companion to Ancient Science, Medicine and Technology. Ed. Georgia Irby. Blackwell-Wiley, 2014. -- downloaded pdf to Note
intellectual_history  history_of_science  philosophy_of_science  natural_philosophy  biology  ancient_philosophy  ancient_Greece  evolutionary_biology  evolution  time  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Richard Marshall interview - Peter Godfrey-Smith - philosophy of biology » 3:AM Magazine April 2014
Peter Godfrey-Smith is the go-to guy in the philosophy of biology. He is forever evolving his thoughts on externalism, complexity and why we shouldn’t expect a settled outcome, the contribution of pragmatists to philosophy of biology, why Fodor gets it wrong, on how best to understand what science is, on Darwinian theory, Darwinian populations, on why Richard Dawkins and David Hull are wrong and on the contribution of philosophy to biology. Like Cool Hand Luke, this one bites like a ‘gator!
philosophy_of_science  biology  evolution  evolutionary_biology  pragmatism  mind  mind-body  language  Darwinism  behavioralism  EF-add 
april 2014 by dunnettreader
Olivier Rieppel - New Essentialism in Biology | JSTOR: Philosophy of Science, Vol. 77, No. 5 (December 2010), pp. 662-673
The architects of the modern synthesis banned essentialism from evolutionary theory. This rejection of essentialism was motivated by Darwin’s theory of natural selection, and the continuity of evolutionary transformation. Contemporary evolutionary biology witnesses a renaissance of essentialism in three contexts: “origin essentialism” with respect to species and supraspecific taxa, the bar coding of species on the basis of discontinuities of DNA variation between populations, and the search for laws of evolutionary developmental biology. Such “new essentialism” in contemporary biology must be of a new kind that accommodates relational (extrinsic) properties as historical essences and cluster concepts of natural kinds.
article  jstor  paywall  evolution  evolutionary_biology  species  genetics  natural_kinds  essentialism  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Bence Nanay - Population thinking as trope nominalism | JSTOR: Synthese, Vol. 177, No. 1 (November 2010), pp. 91-109
The concept of population thinking was introduced by Ernst Mayr as the right way of thinking about the biological domain, but it is difficult to find an interpretation of this notion that is both unproblematic and does the theoretical work it was intended to do. I argue that, properly conceived, Mayr's population thinking is a version of trope nominalism: the view that biological property-types do not exist or at least they play no explanatory role. Further, although population thinking has been traditionally used to argue against essentialism about biological kinds, recently it has been suggested that it may be consistent with at least some forms of essentialism—ones that construe essential properties as relational. I argue that if population thinking is a version of trope nominalism, then, as Mayr originally claimed, it rules out any version of essentialism about biological kinds. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  jstor  philosophy_of_science  evolution  evolutionary_biology  universals  natural_kinds  essentialism  species  bibliography  downloaded  EF-add 
january 2014 by dunnettreader
Kenan Malik - HOW HUMAN IS CULTURE? | Pandaemonium Dec 2013
Enlightenment philosophes talked more of ‘civilisation’ than of culture and through that notion they tried to express three key ideas. First, they saw civilisation as a single phenomenon, an expression of human universalities, rather than of human differences. Second they understood it as transformative, as an expression of human agency. Culture was as much about our emancipation from nature as of our embodiment in it. And third, it expressed their belief in progress – technological, moral and social.

The Romantic view of culture developed through the nineteenth century directly in response to such Enlightenment beliefs. Romantics saw not a single civilisation, but a plurality of cultures, each rooted in a particular people’s history and myth. Culture, therefore, was an expression of differences, not of universals; and of a putative past, rather than of a potential future. Anthropologists influenced by this tradition came to view culture as functional rather than as transformative, that is, as something essential for social integration and stability, and hence downplayed the role of agency in human life.
intellectual_history  18thC  19thC  20thC  culture  anthropology  human_nature  evolution  evolution-social  social_theory  social_sciences  EF-add 
december 2013 by dunnettreader
The Paradox of Automatic Planning [FIERY CUSHMAN:] HeadCon '13 What's new in social science: Part III | Edge.org
Neurosciences at Brown - some interesting stuff about stimulus-response and basal ganglia that can control both motor response and seems to interact with working memory for goal oriented action -- but where he thinks research is going is the pretty obvious bio-cultural synthesis. Scary that brain researchers on cognition that are hooked with artificial intelligence modeling seem to ignore the humanities perspectives -- quote -- In the literature right now there's a debate between two rival theories for what makes humans unique. One theory calls itself the "cognitive niche" and it basically says what makes us unique is that we can think very, very carefully and hard about things in a controlled way. Another hypothesis calls itself the "cultural niche", and it says, no, what makes us unique is that we get for free the answers to problems culturally. Other people have worked it out through trial and error and they tell us.

What I find really exciting is the idea that it's not just that both of those things are true but that they're codependent. That in principle you could not make the mathematics of controlled cognition work, you couldn't solve the computational intractability without the support of cultural input, and that cultural knowledge wouldn't be much good if you couldn't flexibly reassemble it in the way that hierarchical representations allow you to.
neuroscience  cognition  cognition-social  evolutionary_biology  evolution  evolution-social  human_nature  EF-add 
december 2013 by dunnettreader
Roy F. Baumeister - Do You Really Have Free Will? Of course. Here’s how it evolved. | Slate Sept 2013
Lots of links re silliness that's either mostly semantics or the worst sorts of reductionism that gleefully embraces impoverished materialism.
free_will  neuroscience  mind  mind-body  scientism  links  evolution  evolutionary_biology 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
Selected sources for “The Social Life of Genes” | David Dobbs's NEURON CULTURE
Finally made time to create a list of selected reading/sources for my Pacific Standard article “The Social Life of Genes.” (A few of you had asked.)

The list is below, and also at http://daviddobbs.net/smoothpebbles/selected-references-for-social-life-of-genes/
bibliography  genetics  evolution  biocultural_evolution 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
New Approach to Explaining Evolution’s Big Bang - NYTimes.com Sept 2013
The name Myllokunmingia may not ring a bell, but it is worth knowing. This 520-million-year-old creature was the size of a guppy, with a tiny swordfish-like fin running high over its back. The fossils it has left behind preserve traces of a skull. Myllokunmingia emerged during one of the most important phases in the history of life, an evolutionary boom known as the Cambrian explosion (named for the geological period when it took place). Over the course of about 20 million years, the oldest known fossils of most of the major groups of living animals appear, revealing a rapid diversification of life that led directly to humans.
evolution  geology 
september 2013 by dunnettreader
John V. Pickstone: Sketching Together the Modern Histories of Science, Technology, and Medicine (2011)
JSTOR: Isis, Vol. 102, No. 1 (March 2011), pp. 123-133 -- roundup and looking forward article in issue Focus: Between and Beyond “Histories of Science” and “Histories of Medicine” -- downloaded pdf to Note -- This essay explores ways to “write together” the awkwardly jointed histories of “science” and “medicine”—but it also includes other “arts” (in the old sense) and technologies. It draws especially on the historiography of medicine, but I try to use terms that are applicable across all of science, technology, and medicine (STM). I stress the variety of knowledges and practices in play at any time and the ways in which the ensembles change. I focus on the various relations of “science” and “medicine,” as they were understood for a succession of periods—from mainly agricultural societies, through industrial societies, to our biomedical present—trying to sketch a history that encompasses daily practices and understandings as well as major conceptual and technical innovations. The model is meant to facilitate inquiry across topics and across times, including those to come.
article  jstor  historiography  sociology_of_knowledge  history_of_science  medicine  technology  biology  chemistry  physiology  natural_philosophy  mathematics  communication  IT  evolution  university  academies  education  industry  Industrial_Revolution  Renaissance  Enlightenment  Scientific_Revolution  15thC  16thC  17thC  18thC  19thC  20thC  21stC 
august 2013 by dunnettreader
John E. Hare review: Angus Ritchie, From Morality to Metaphysics: The Theistic Implications of our Ethical Commitments // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews August 2013
The book looks awful but the review is quite interesting Ritchie's use of or failure to use the history of philosophy. Ritchie undertakes to show the failures of axiarchism, the view that the good has a causal role, making things to be a certain way just because it is good for them to be that way. This is a version of final causation, and is familiar to anyone who knows Aristotelian metaphysics. When Ritchie comes to discuss axiarchism without divine purposes, which is Aristotle's position, Aristotle is not mentioned. The whole move from teleology in nature (what was called in the nineteenth century 'teleonomy') to teleology confined to the purposes of designers (as in Duns Scotus, for example) is examined as though there had not been centuries of discussion about it. ..... The other quibble is about Robert M. Adams. Ritchie attributes to Adams the view that because God is loving, God will perform the most loving action (169). But Adams would deny the maximization thesis implied here. More importantly, Ritchie thinks that if we ground moral obligation in God's character as loving, that means we do not ground it in God's will. Adams would deny the dichotomy here, because he thinks that God's willing and God's character are necessarily harmonious (Finite and Infinite Goods, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, 47f). For Adams, God does constitute our obligations by command, which is an expression of will, but it is the expression of a loving will, not an arbitrary one (except in the antique sense of 'arbitrary' in which it means 'within a person's discretion,' in Latin arbitrium).
books  reviews  theism  metaethics  evolution  God-attributes  voluntarism  causation  teleology  obligation  EF-add 
august 2013 by dunnettreader
Doug Hill: Erewhon: The 1872 Fantasy Novel That Anticipated Thomas Nagel's Problems With Darwinism Today - Atlantic Mobile
Like Nagel, Butler believed purposefulness imbues all of creation. He was not an avowed atheist, as Nagel is, but he did eschew and dismiss conventional notions of deity in favor of what can be described as a scientifically-informed pantheism. 

Teleology doesn't suggest that the amoeba knew it was going to evolve into a fish, Butler said, any more than the first person who used a tea kettle necessarily envisioned a steam engine. We get from amoeba to fish, or from tea kettle to steam engine, incrementally. Change is driven by an inclination to adapt at each step along the way. 

Perhaps the most dramatic shift since Butler wrote has to do with the evolution of technology. If the transhumanists are right, the uprising of the machines is almost upon us. There's still time to ban them, I suppose, although in Erewhon a civil war was necessary to enforce that course of action.
19thC  21stC  intellectual_history  Darwin  evolution  materialism  teleology  philosophy_of_science  mind  EF-add 
august 2013 by dunnettreader
Geerat J. Vermeij: A Historical Conspiracy: Competition, Opportunity, and the Emergence of Direction in History [eScholarship] | Cliodynamics 2:1 2011

Vermeij, Geerat J, University of California, Davis

I describe historical patterns that I believe would emerge in any system characterized by living things competing for locally scarce resources. I then consider the search for patterns and their explanation in the context of an intellectual climate dominated by anti-adaptationist rhetoric and doubts about the validity of scientific approaches to history. Notwithstanding this hostile environment, I present a summary of the economic principles that in my view not only account for historical patterns but also serve to predict future trends and postdict past ones not yet known. A positive feedback between consumers and resources – a historical conspiracy of sorts – implies the existence of inherent directions in the history of living things, including humans.

Downloaded pdf to Note
historiography  social_theory  big_history  complexity  evolution  downloaded  EF-add 
august 2013 by dunnettreader
Smith & Rupell: What Anthropologists Should Know About the New Evolutionary Synthesis 2011
Structure and Dynamics: eJournal of Anthropological and Related Sciences
Very useful review article re new evolutionary mechanisms in the emerging post-genome synthesis beyond neo-Darwinism
evolution  anthropology  biocultural_evolution  EF-add 
july 2013 by dunnettreader

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