dunnettreader + evolutionary_biology   58

Nicolas Claidière and Dan Sperber - Imitation explains the propagation, not the stability of animal culture (2008) - Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences
For acquired behaviour to count as cultural, two conditions must be met: it must propagate in a social group, and it must remain stable across generations in the process of propagation. It is commonly assumed that imitation is the mechanism that explains both the spread of animal culture and its stability. We review the literature on transmission chain studies in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and other animals, and we use a formal model to argue that imitation, which may well play a major role in the propagation of animal culture, cannot be considered faithful enough to explain its stability. We consider the contribution that other psychological and ecological factors might make to the stability of animal culture observed in the wild. -- Keywords: imitation, cultural evolution, animal culture -- See addendum commentary "The natural selection of fidelity in social learning" in Commun Integr Biol, volume 3 (2010) -- Both downloaded to Tab S2
article  downloaded  imitation  cognitive_science  cognition-social  cultural_transmission  cultural_stability  social_learning  cultural_change  evolution-as-model  evolutionary_biology  evolution-social  evolution-group_selection  cultural_evolution  natural_selection  sociobiology  socialization  epistemology-social 
august 2016 by dunnettreader
Nicolas Claidière and Dan Sperber - The natural selection of fidelity in social learning (2010) - Communicative and Integrative Biology
Follow-up to Royal Society article -- Social learning mechanisms are usually assumed to explain both the spread and the persistence of cultural behavior. In a recent article, we showed that the fidelity of social learning commonly found in transmission chain experiments is not high enough to explain cultural stability. Here we want to both enrich and qualify this conclusion by looking at the case of song transmission in song birds, which can be faithful to the point of being true replication. We argue that this high fidelity results from natural selection pressure on cognitive mechanisms. This observation strengthens our main argument. Social learning mechanisms are unlikely to be faithful enough to explain cultural stability because they are generally selected not for high fidelity but for generalization and adjustment to the individual’s needs, capacities and situation.
Key words: cultural evolution, bird song, imitation, memetic, social learning, transmission chain study
article  evolutionary_biology  evolution-social  social_learning  cultural_transmission  imitation  cultural_change  cultural_evolution  cultural_stability  tradition  cognitive_science  social_process  cognition-social  cognition 
august 2016 by dunnettreader
Andrew Gelman - More on replication crisis - Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science
The replication crisis in social psychology (and science more generally) will not be solved by better statistics or by preregistered replications. It can only…
Instapaper  scientific_method  social_psychology  evolutionary_biology  evo_psych  statistics  from instapaper
march 2016 by dunnettreader
Alberto Acerbi , Alex Mesoudi - If we are all cultural Darwinians what’s the fuss about? - Springer - Biology & Philosophy (2015)
If we are all cultural Darwinians what’s the fuss about? Clarifying recent disagreements in the field of cultural evolution, 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”. -- 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. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  evolutionary_biology  evolution-social  gene-culture_coevolution  cultural_change  cultural_transmission  cultural_attractors  cultural_exchange  cultural_influence  cultural_diversity  downloaded 
february 2016 by dunnettreader
Krasnow et al - Group Cooperation without Group Selection: Modest Punishment Can Recruit Much Cooperation, PLoS ONE (April 2015) | via Researchgate
Max M Krasnow, Andrew W Delton, Leda Cosmides, John Tooby -- PLoS ONE 04/2015; 10(4):e0124561. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0124561 (Impact Factor: 3.23). -- ABSTRACT -- Humans everywhere cooperate in groups to achieve benefits not attainable by individuals. Individual effort is often not automatically tied to a proportionate share of group benefits. This decoupling allows for free-riding, a strategy that (absent countermeasures) outcompetes cooperation. Empirically and formally, punishment potentially solves the evolutionary puzzle of group cooperation. Nevertheless, standard analyses appear to show that punishment alone is insufficient, because second-order free riders (those who cooperate but do not punish) can be shown to outcompete punishers. Consequently, many have concluded that other processes, such as cultural or genetic group selection, are required. Here, we present a series of agent-based simulations that show that group cooperation sustained by punishment easily evolves by individual selection when you introduce into standard models more biologically plausible assumptions about the social ecology and psychology of ancestral humans. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  biocultural_evolution  evolutionary_biology  evolution-social  evo_psych  natural_selection  cooperation  free-riding  evolution-group_selection  game_theory  punishment-altruistic  norms  agent-based_models  downloaded 
january 2016 by dunnettreader
Inclusive fitness theory and eusociality, Nature, 2011 - Everybody & his cousins reckoned by the dozens defending the theory | via Researchgate
Nature, 03/2011; 471(7339):E1-4; author reply E9-10. DOI: 10.1038/nature09831 (Impact Factor: 41.46). STRATOSOHERIC IMPACT, 100+ cites, so see Researchgate for bibliography -- Source: PubMed -- ABSTRACT -- Arising from M. A. Nowak, C. E. Tarnita & E. O. Wilson 466, 1057-1062 (2010); Nowak et al. reply. Nowak et al. argue that inclusive fitness theory has been of little value in explaining the natural world, and that it has led to negligible progress in explaining the evolution of eusociality. However, we believe that their arguments are based upon a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory and a misrepresentation of the empirical literature. We will focus our comments on three general issues. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  biology  evolutionary_biology  evolution-social  evo_psych  natural_selection  empiricism  scientific_method  eusociality  cooperation  bibliography 
january 2016 by dunnettreader
Todd K Shackelford and James R Liddle - An overview of evolutionary psychology, Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Cognitive science (2014) | via Researchgate
Understanding the mind from an evolutionary perspective: An overview of evolutionary psychology, Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Cognitive science, 05/2014; 5(3). DOI: 10.1002/wcs.1281 (Impact Factor: 0.79). -- ABSTRACT --
The theory of evolution by natural selection provides the only scientific explanation for the existence of complex adaptations. The design features of the brain, like any organ, are the result of selection pressures operating over deep time. Evolutionary psychology posits that the human brain comprises a multitude of evolved psychological mechanisms, adaptations to specific and recurrent problems of survival and reproduction faced over human evolutionary history. Although some mistakenly view evolutionary psychology as promoting genetic determinism, evolutionary psychologists appreciate and emphasize the interactions between genes and environments. This approach to psychology has led to a richer understanding of a variety of psychological phenomena, and has provided a powerful foundation for generating novel hypotheses. Critics argue that evolutionary psychologists resort to storytelling, but as with any branch of science, empirical testing is a vital component of the field, with hypotheses standing or falling with the weight of the evidence. Evolutionary psychology is uniquely suited to provide a unifying theoretical framework for the disparate subdisciplines of psychology. An evolutionary perspective has provided insights into several subdisciplines of psychology, while simultaneously demonstrating the arbitrary nature of dividing psychological science into such subdisciplines. Evolutionary psychologists have amassed a substantial empirical and theoretical literature, but as a relatively new approach to psychology, many questions remain, with several promising directions for future research. For further resources related to this article, see the WIREs website. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  Wiley  evolutionary_biology  biocultural_evolution  evo_psych  psychology  mind  neuroscience  natural_selection  bibliography  downloaded 
january 2016 by dunnettreader
Melissa Emery Thompson and Alexander V Georgiev - Issue Intro - High Price of Success: Costs of Mating Effort in Male Primates, International Journal of Primatology (2014) | via Researchgate
Melissa Emery Thompson, U of New Mexico, and Alexander V Georgiev, U of Chicago -- Issue Intro -- International Journal of Primatology, 08/2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10764-014-9790-4 (Impact Factor: 1.99). -- ABSTRACT
While males are generally the low investing sex when it comes to offspring care, males of many species experience intense and persistent mating effort. Mating effort incurs a variety of costs which are expected to have non-negligible effects on fitness, as well as how reproductive tactics are selected and investment in mating activity is moderated over time. This special issue features contributions investigating the costs of male mating effort across primate species. Here, we place these exciting new works in context, addressing the specific types of mating effort expected for male primates and the significance of these costs for our understanding of primate life histories and socioecology. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  primatology  evolutionary_biology  sexual_practices  behavior-male  natural_selection  sociobiology  mating  behavior-animals  downloaded 
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
Paul Newall interview with John Dupré: The Disunity of Science (2006) - The Galilean Library
John Dupré is a professor of philosophy of science in the Department of Sociology and Philosophy at Exeter University in the UK, and also the director of Egenis, the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society. I was able to ask him about several keys areas of his work and relate it to contemporary issues in both science and the philosophy of science. -- Hits all my hot buttons. Anti mathematization of economics and its divorce from empiricism, disdainful of evo-devo psych, the Centre is part of a larger program looking at impacts of genetics and biology, from philosophy through sociology, economics, politics, art and humanities. Pal of Nancy Cartwright, Philip Kitcher and part of the "Stanford School". Author of Darwin's Legacy on Kindle -- downloaded page as pdf to Note
interview  philosophy_of_science  scientific_method  scientific_culture  scientism  methodology  laws_of_nature  empiricism  pragmatism  genetics  evolutionary_biology  molecular_biology  epigenetics  evo_psych  economic_models  mathematization  kindle  downloaded 
july 2015 by dunnettreader
Paul Newall interview with John Wilkins: Biology and Philosophy (2008) - The Galilean Library
John S. Wilkins is a sessional lecturer at the University of Queensland in philosophy. He runs a philosophy of biology blog, Evolving Thoughts, which is part of the Seed Magazine stable of science blogs. John worked in publishing and printing for 25 years while he eventually finished his philosophy studies with a PhD from the University of Melbourne. He used to boast that he had never learned anything of direct practical use, which is a bit of a stretch as he also has a computing diploma. -- author of my Kindle book, Species. -- converted page for downloaded pdf to Note
interview  history_of_science  intellectual_history  sociology_of_knowledge  sociology_of_science_&_technology  biology  evolutionary_biology  species  metaphysics  epistemology  downloaded 
july 2015 by dunnettreader
The Evolution of Phylogenetic Systematics - Edited by Andrew Hamilton - E-Book - University of California Press
.. aims to make sense of the rise of phylogenetic systematics—its methods, its objects of study, and its theoretical foundations—with contributions from historians, philosophers, and biologists. (...) an intellectual agenda for the study of systematics and taxonomy in a way that connects classification with larger historical themes in the biological sciences, including morphology, experimental and observational approaches, evolution, biogeography, debates over form and function, character transformation, development, and biodiversity. It aims to provide frameworks for answering the question: how did systematics become phylogenetic? -- the 1st Chapter excerpt is a fabulous history of "waves" of new species identification of primarily mammals tied to intellectual, social, economic, cultural and geopolitical history -- his case study is the shift to N American museums organizing large numbers of surveys collecting many samples that gave data on varieties within same species, varying ecologies, etc in the "inner frontiers" in the late19thC and early 20thC -- possible due to "the logic of capital" (railroads penetrating regions to foreclose competition, land speculators), curators leaving the city to obtain materials for the fashion in diaoramas, patronage newly attracted, white collar middle class embracing self-improvement via nature study on holiday, new conservationist attitudes toward Nature etc.
books  kindle-available  biology  taxonomies  species  natural_history  evolutionary_biology  phylogenetics  history_of_science  18thC  19thC  20thC  public_sphere  science-public  cultural_history  cultural_change  material_culture  frontier  leisure  exploration  colonialism  imperialism  museums  collections  virtuosos  scientific_culture  nature  nature-mastery  conservation  self-development 
july 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
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
Erin Wais - Trained Incapacity: Thorstein Veblen and Kenneth Burke | KB Journal (2006)
Erin Wais, University of Minnesota -- Abstract: Recently, a leading sociologist claimed that the phrase “trained incapacity” does not appear in the works of Thorstein Veblen. Kenneth Burke, who attributed the phrase to Veblen in Permanence and Change, was later unsure of its origins. This essay shows that, indeed, Veblen did coin the term, using it particularly in reference to problematic tendencies in business. Burke, on the other hand, gave the term an expansive application to human symbol-using generally. -- see very interesting discussion of "screens" in Darwin and neo-Darwinism evolutionary_biology downloaded as pdf to Note
article  social_theory  economic_sociology  economic_culture  epistemology-social  Veblen  Burke_Kenneth  epistemic_closure  change-social  symbolic_interaction  evolutionary_biology  downloaded 
may 2015 by dunnettreader
Raymond Boudon - Utilité ou Rationalité (2002) | Scribd
21 page article -- Explains why "rational choice" fails as explanatory theory in lots of collective action, public opinion, game theory, etc. -- domains where decisions to act aren't based exclusively on instrumental, consequentialist, cost-benefit calculative, and egoistic (directly concerned with impact on self) forms of, and context for, reasoning. Boudon finds "rational choice" superior to hand-wavy explanations that are speculative "black boxes" -- e.g. (1) sociobiology or evo-devo that we're hardwired, (2) Kahneman and Tversky heuristics and biases -- fascinating observations but aren't explanatory, (3) social/cultural explanations such as "socialization" which are tautological or a black box that provide no mechanisms that can differentiate situations or variations in outcomes. E.g. in Roman Empire peasants were more likely to remain pagan and soldiers were more likely to be attracted to the new religion. "Socialization" doesn't explain why soldiers raised in the traditional religious milieu and belief system were more likely to change their beliefs. Great examples of how rationality includes cognitive processes dealing with (1) non-instrumental contexts - e.g. identification with communitarian concerns ranging from voting to immigration policies, (2) aligning actions with one's judgment of what's more likely "true" based on core beliefs and how one has learned to evaluate "evidence" [e.g. Swedes are even more likely to reject "lump of labor" than Americans!] (3) axiological reasoning, including norms of fairness that may be fairly universal (e.g. reaction to Antigone, ultimatum game) or specific to a culture (e.g. due process in political application of "rule of law") -- see article for his tripartite classification of rationality and types of cognition that "rational choice" rejects in its definition. He thinks Weber and Adam Smith got there before, and better than, Becker.
article  Scribd  social_theory  mechanisms-social_theory  evolutionary_biology  evo_psych  rational_choice  rationality-economics  rationality-bounded  rationality  reasons  Weber  Smith  Becker_Gary  Simon_Herbert  fairness  community  identity  norms  epistemology-social  game_theory  altruism  cognitive_bias  cognition  cognition-social  democracy  citizens  voting  political_participation  collective_action  political_culture  public_choice  public_opinion  common_good  socialization  social_psychology  cost-benefit  self-interest  self-interest-cultural_basis  self-and-other  EF-add 
april 2015 by dunnettreader
How (not) to bring psychology and biology together | Scientia Salon
By Mark Feydk -- Published in Philosophical Studies, February 2014. -- Evolutionary psychologists often try to ‘‘bring together’’ biology and psychology by making predictions about what specific psychological mechanisms exist from theories about what patterns of behaviour would have been adaptive in the EEA for humans. This paper shows that one of the deepest methodological generalities in evolutionary biology—that proximate explanations and ultimate explanations stand in a many-to-many relation—entails that this inferential strategy is unsound. Ultimate explanations almost never entail the truth of any particular proximate hypothesis. But of course it does not follow that there are no other ways of ‘‘bringing together’’ biology and psychology. Accordingly, this paper explores one other strategy for doing just that, the pursuit of a very specific kind of consilience. However, I argue that inferences reflecting the pursuit of this kind of consilience with the best available theories in contemporary evolutionary biology indicate that psychologists should have a preference for explanations of adaptive behavior in humans that refer to learning and other similarly malleable psychological mechanisms—and not modules or instincts or any other kind of relatively innate and relatively non-malleable psychological mechanism. -- Downloaded pdf to Note
article  philosophy_of_science  evo_psych  evolutionary_biology  gene-culture_coevolution  psychology  human_nature  downloaded 
march 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 ....
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october 2014 by dunnettreader
Oren Harman review - Sean B. Carroll, Brave Genius : A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize - "Chance and Necessity" Revisited | The Los Angeles Review of Books - July 2014
IN THE FALL of 1970, Éditions du Seuil published Le hasard et la nécessité, a monograph by the French molecular biologist Jacques Monod,. Chance and Necessity was a slim book laden with technical details of oligomeric proteins, teleonomic structures, and microscopic perturbations. Despite the technical jargon, the book sold over 200,000 copies in its first year and became a best seller in Germany and Japan. It was bested in France only by Erich Segal’s Love Story. What explains its popularity? Monod was an eminent scientist, to be sure: he’d received the 1965 Nobel Prize with André Lwoff and François Jacob for “discoveries concerning genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis.” But the resonance of Chance and Necessity is best explained by two epigraphs that adorned its opening page, stoic reminders that this was an affair well beyond the confines of mere science. The first is a dramatic statement by the Greek philosopher Democritus: “Everything existing in the Universe is the fruit of chance and necessity.” The second epigram, more than anything, best explains the book’s salience: a lengthy quotation from Albert Camus’s essay The Myth of Sisyphus. “The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart”; it ends, “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” Sean B. Carroll, the American developmental molecular geneticist, reveals the deep friendship between Camus and Monod in Brave Genius. Their relationship, Carroll finds, not only illuminates the work of both men, but also unlocks the political and philosophical contingencies of a key moment in 20th-century thought.
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august 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. "Organismal Natures" | Apeiron: a journal for ancient philosophy and science (2008): 47-74.
Aristotle agrees with the negative conclusion of Galen that the growth and development of living things cannot be due to material forces operating according to chance. For Aristotle, the process of development is structured according to the form of the organism being generated by it. Development ‘follows upon’ the organism’s substantial being and exists for the sake of it rather than vice versa. This confers a certain order and direction on the process that cannot be accounted for in terms of the random motions of atoms or the undirected actions of Love and Strife (Empedocles). He accepts that natural generation involves material-level forces of the sort Democritus proposed; however, he insists that when operating by themselves these undirected causes would only produce a living thing by chance. And generation is far too regular for that. But Aristotle rejects the further inference — endorsed by Galen — that the teleological structure imposed on a developing organism must be traced to an intelligent agent that puts the organism together according to its end like some kind of internalized Demiurge. Nature, Aristotle says, does not deliberate. -- By invoking ‘natures’ as the cause of development, Galen says, Aristotle offers an account which is entirely vacuous. On the other hand, Denis Walsh has recently argued that the concept of Aristotelian natures plays the same role in development as the modern concept of phenotypic plasticity and that in this sense Aristotelian natures have an indispensable role to play contemporary evolutionary biology. -- My aim in this paper is not to defend an Aristotelian approach to modern biology but rather to explore the concept of organismal natures in the context of Aristotle’s teleology. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  intellectual_history  ancient_philosophy  Aristotle  natural_philosophy  history_of_science  biology  generation  inheritance  development-biological  teleology  design-nature  materialism  Democritus  Empedocles  Galen  forms  evolutionary_biology  downloaded  EF-add 
july 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
Brian Leiter, Michael Weisberg - Why Evolutionary Biology is (so Far) Irrelevant to Law (2007, last revised 2014) :: SSRN
U of Texas Law, Law & Econ Research Paper No. 81 -- U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 89 -- We argue that as the actual science stands today, evolutionary biology offers nothing to help with questions about legal regulation of behavior. -- Evolutionary accounts are etiological accounts of how a trait evolved. [A]n account of causal etiology could be relevant to law if (1) the account of causal etiology is scientifically well-confirmed, and (2) there is an explanation of how the well-confirmed etiology bears on questions of development (the Environmental Gap Objection). ....the accounts of causal etiology that might be relevant are not remotely well-confirmed by scientific standards. We argue, in particular, that (a) evolutionary psychology is not entitled to assume selectionist accounts of human behaviors, (b) the assumptions necessary for the selectionist accounts to be true are not warranted by standard criteria for theory choice, and (c) only confusions about levels of explanation of human behavior create the appearance that understanding the biology of behavior is important. We also note that no response to the Environmental Gap Objection has been proffered. In the concluding section of the article, we turn directly to the work of Prof Owen Jones, a leading proponent of the relevance of evolutionary biology to law, and show that he does not come to terms with any of the fundamental problems identified in this article. -- downloaded pdf to Note
paper  SSRN  legal_theory  philosophy_of_science  philosophy_of_law  philosophy_of_social_science  evolution-social  evolutionary_biology  evo_psych  causation-social  causation-evolutionary  downloaded  EF-add 
july 2014 by dunnettreader
Kenan Malik's 2009 Voltaire lecture on 'The Guilt of Science?: Race, Science and Darwinism'
By the end of the eighteenth century, then, scientists had constructed a taxonomy of nature into which humans could be fitted and out of which emerged the categories of race. This seems to lend credibility to the view that it is modernity itself, and in particular the Enlightenment, that give rise both to the idea of race and to the practice of racism. ‘Eighteenth century Europe was the cradle of racism’, the historian George Mosse, argues because ‘racism has its foundations’ in the Enlightenment ‘preoccupation with a rational universe, nature and aesthetics.’ To see why this is not the case, we need to look more closely at how Enlightenment thinkers viewed the concept of human differences. -- If any event could demonstrate the folly of giving into unreason, it is surely Nazism and the Holocaust. Yet now it is regarded as an expression of too much reason.There is no intrinsic link between the idea of race and a rational or scientific view of the world. On the contrary: what made ideas of race plausible were the growth of political sentiments hostile to both the rationalism and the humanism of the Enlightenment.
intellectual_history  cultural_history  17thC  18thC  19thC  20thC  racialism  species  biology  evolutionary_biology  Enlightenment  Counter-Enlightenment  Enlightenment_Project  humanism  anti-humanism  reason  Nazis  Holocaust  imperialism  slavery  civilizing_process  human_nature  diversity  historiography-18thC  social_theory  Social_Darwinism  Herder  Linnaeus  Locke  essentialism  essence  climate  stadial_theories  Romanticism  social_order  progress  atheism_panic  authority  class_conflict  bourgeoisie  liberalism  capitalism  equality  stratification  scientism  science_of_man  science-and-religion  positivism  social_sciences  France  Britain  British_Empire  Germany  Great_Powers  EF-add 
may 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
Anya Plutynski, review - Hsiang-Ke Chao, Szu-Ting Chen, and Roberta L. Millstein (eds.), Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // March 2014
Reviewed by Anya Plutynski, Washington University in St. Louis -- while the themes are consistent, the authors' examples, approaches and conclusions were not. I take this to be one of the strengths of the volume: reading it is like listening in on a conversation among amicable but not always like-minded peers. Some authors place a good deal of emphasis on the utility of the mechanistic perspective in addressing core problems in philosophy of science (Darden, Carl Craver and Marie Kaiser, Steel); others see mechanism as less central to characterizing scientific explanation, method, or discovery, at least in some domains (Till Grüne-Yanoff, David Teirra and Julian Reiss). While the dividing lines are not always so sharp, one can draw some rough and general conclusions: while thinking in terms of mechanisms can be enormously important, especially in applied contexts where concerns of intervention and control dominate, there are a wide array of open philosophical questions about how we use formal models in representing dynamical behavior, what kinds of statistical tools are best at assessing causal relationships, and when we have a causal relation in general that may or may not avail itself of mechanistic thinking. It seems that when and why thinking in terms of mechanism is of use is a very context specific matter.
books  reviews  philosophy_of_science  mechanism  mechanisms-social_theory  causation  causation-evolutionary  evolutionary_biology  economic_theory  economic_models  statistics  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Ruth Leyes - “Both of Us Disgusted in My Insula”: Mirror Neuron Theory and Emotional Empathy | nonsite.org March 2012
Attacks mirror neuron experiments and conclusions - ... the presuppositions of Wicker and his team can be traced most directly to the work of the American psychologist Silvan S. Tomkins, and especially to that of his follower, Paul Ekman, both of whom have proposed an evolutionary-classificatory approach to the affects. Key features of their approach include the claim that there exists a small number of basic emotions, such as disgust, which can be defined in evolutionary terms as universal or pancultural, adaptive responses of the organism; that these emotions are discrete, innate, reflex-like “affect programs” located in subcortical parts of the brain; that the basic emotions manifest themselves in distinct patterns of physiological arousal and especially in characteristic facial expressions; that according to Ekman’s “neurocultural” model for explaining commonalities and variations in human facial displays, socialization and learning may determine the range of stimuli that can “trigger” the emotions and... “display rules,” ...and that the more complex or “higher” emotions are made up of blends of the basic emotions. A further claim associated with the Basic Emotions View, ..., is that although the emotions can and do combine with the cognitive systems in the brain, they are essentially separate processes. For Freud and the “appraisal theorists” such as Richard Lazarus, Robert Solomon, Martha Nussbaum, Phoebe Ellsworth and others, emotions are embodied intentional states that are directed toward objects and depend on our beliefs and desires. But the Basic Emotion View denies this by interpreting the affects as non-intentional responses. It thus posits a constitutive disjunction between our emotions on the one hand and our knowledge of what causes and maintains them on the other, because feeling and cognition are two separate systems.
article  neuroscience  cognition  evolutionary_biology  cognition-social  epistemology-social  empathy  emotions  Smith  Nussbaum  bibliography  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Kevin Mitchell - Wiring the Brain: Reductionism! Determinism! Straw-man-ism! - Feb 2014
Good post and comments -- cmnt 1 - I like your juxtaposition of "the system is complex" and "single variants can influence a complex system". One variant at a time studies aren't inherently reductionist. We all want to know what the effects of any variant are independent of genomic background and ecology. This is an important part of genetic architecture and should not be ignored. From my point of view the problem is with the *assumptions* made when investigating the single variant effect on interindividual variation in a biological trait. One assumption (1) is that the system is complex and the single variant analysis will reveal only a piece of that complexity. Another assumption (2) is that the system is complex but can be teased apart as a sum of independent effects. Yet another assumption (3) is that the system appears complex but is really simple and can be explained by a sum of variants. The human genetics and genetic epidemiology disciplines span all of these assumptions in a non-uniform manner. I am old enough to have been a graduate student and beginning assistant professor during the linkage era that began with assumption 3 coming off the successes of Mendelian genetics and positional cloning. This off course shifted to assumption 2 during the GWAS era. I think we are now in the process of shifting toward assumption 1 as digest the largely negative results of using single variant analyses to predict disease susceptibility. I believe this shift in assumptions will continue over the next year as WGS plays out. Thanks for the post! - Jason Moore (Dartmouth)
scientific_method  genetics  biology  science-public  evolutionary_biology  materialism  reductionism  EF-add 
march 2014 by dunnettreader
Articles re "new essentialism" in biology | JSTOR: Philosophy of Science, Vol. 77, No. 5, December 2010
(1) Species Have (Partly) Intrinsic Essences (pp. 648-661) Michael Devitt. *--* (2) New Essentialism in Biology (pp. 662-673) Olivier Rieppel. *--* (3) What's Wrong with the New Biological Essentialism(pp. 674-685) Marc Ereshefsky. *--* (4) Homeostasis, Higher Taxa, and Monophyly(pp. 686-701) Richard Boyd
journal  article  jstor  philosophy_of_science  biology  evolutionary_biology  kinds  species  essence  essentialism  Darwinism 
february 2014 by dunnettreader
Tim Lewens - What Is Wrong with Typological Thinking? | JSTOR: Philosophy of Science, Vol. 76, No. 3 (July 2009), pp. 355-371
What, if anything, is wrong with typological thinking? The question is important, for some evolutionary developmental biologists appear to espouse a form of typology. I isolate four allegations that have been brought against it. They include the claim that typological thinking is mystical; the claim that typological thinking is at odds with the fact of evolution; the claim that typological thinking is committed to an objectionable metaphysical view, which Elliott Sober calls the ‘natural state model’; and finally the view (endorsed by Ron Amundson and Günter Wagner) that typological thinking—and specifically evolutionary developmental biology’s typological thinking—is committed to a peculiar form of causation that does not fit neatly into the causal models endorsed by population genetics. I argue that, properly understood, the typological thinking of evolutionary developmental biology does not run into any of these problems. -- paywall Chicago
article  jstor  paywall  philosophy_of_science  genetics  evolutionary_biology  evo_psych  causation-evolutionary  kinds  EF-add 
february 2014 by dunnettreader
Mohan Matthen review of Denis Dutton, The Art Instinct - Denis Dutton book website
Art and Selection -
Critical Notice by Mohan Matthen of The Art Instinct -- American Philosophical Association, Central Division, February 18, 2010 (forthcoming, Canadian Journal of Philosophy) -- In this book, Dutton argues for an evolutionary conception of the "art instinct", which is sure to attract the ire of many philosophers and humanists, and he does so passionately, fearlessly, and uninhibitedly. He uses the evolutionary conception to undermine some of the artistic and aesthetics-theory excesses of the twentieth century. What more could one ask from 250 pages? In my comments below, I will question some of Dutton's argumentative strategies, and use others as foils to my own views. I hope this will not mask my admiration for his achievement. The Art Instinct is a wonderful book, a must-read for anyone interested in art theory or human evolution.
books  reviews  aesthetics  human_nature  evolutionary_biology  evo_psych  theory  EF-add 
february 2014 by dunnettreader
Denis Dutton, "Aesthetics and Evolutionary Psychology" in The Oxford Handbook for Aesthetics, edited by Jerrold Levinson (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).
Starts with Aristotle and Hume - common elements of human nature that would make certain aspects of poetics common across cultures and over time and make visual and aural experiences aestheticly pleasing. Attacks 20thC extreme blank slate as cultural relativism. Goes through evolutionary psychology theories about sexual selection and fitness, including costliness of effort and display. Returns to Kant re limits on evolutionary psychology that the more reductionist of evo-devo types seem incapable of understanding.
article  books  aesthetics  intellectual_history  Aristotle  Hume  Kant  human_nature  cultural_history  relativism  judgment-aesthetics  taste  evolutionary_biology  psychology  evo_psych  EF-add 
february 2014 by dunnettreader
Alex Rosenberg :: Reflexivity, uncertainty and the unity of science - Journal of Economic Methodology [Soros special issue] - Volume 20, Issue 4 - Taylor & Francis Online
The paper argues that substantial support for Soros' claims about uncertainty and reflexivity in economics and human affairs generally are provided by the operation of both factors in the biological domain to produce substantially the same processes which have been recognized by ecologists and evolutionary biologists. In particular predator prey relations have their sources in uncertainty – i.e. the random character of variations, and frequency dependent co-evolution – reflexivity. The paper argues that despite Soros' claims, intentionality is not required to produce these phenomena, and that where it does so, in the human case, it provides no basis to deny a reasonable thesis of the methodological or causal unity of science. The argument for this conclusion is developed by starting with a biological predator/prey relation and successively introducing intentional components without affecting the nature of the process. Accepting the conclusion of this argument provides substantial additional inductive support for Soros' theory in its economic application. -- downloaded pdf to Note
article  philosophy_of_science  philosophy_of_social_science  evolutionary_biology  reflexivity  scientific_method  epistemology  uncertainty  methodology  randomness  Soros 
january 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
Ken Koford: Gould and Multilevel Evolution - JSTOR: Eastern Economic Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Spring, 2005), pp. 313-316
Nice little editor's essay - links from Adam Smith to Darwin and to multilevel evolution to eg technology process (Mokyr) and New Institutional Economics (Williamson)
Gould and Multilevel Evolution
Ken Koford
Eastern Economic Journal
Vol. 31, No. 2 (Spring, 2005) (pp. 313-316)
Page Count: 4
intellectual_history  economic_theory  evolution-social  evolutionary_biology  Innovation  institutional_economics  EF-add 
december 2013 by dunnettreader
David Sloan Wilson & John M. Gowdy - Evolution as a general theoretical framework for economics and public policy | Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 2013
1st lead article to special issue of same title -- downloaded pdf to Note -- Economic and evolutionary thinking have been entwined throughout their histories, but evolutionary theory does not function as a general theoretical framework for economics and public policy, as it does for the biological sciences. In this lead article for a special issue of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, we first describe how evolution functions as a general theoretical framework in the biological sciences. Then we consider four reasons why evolution might not need to be consulted for human-related subjects such as economics and public policy. We conclude that these reasons can be valid in particular cases, but they fail for any sizeable human-related subject area. Hence evolution can and should become a general theoretical framework for economics and public policy. The other articles in the special issue help to substantiate this claim.
paper  journal  economic_theory  economic_models  public_policy  social_theory  social_sciences  evolution-social  evolution-as-model  evo_psych  institutions  institutional_economics  organizations  evolutionary_biology  biocultural_evolution  downloaded  EF-add 
december 2013 by dunnettreader
Massimo Pigliucci interviewed by Richard Marshall. rationally speaking » 3:AM Magazine
Massimo Pigliucci keeps a beady mind’s eye on the demarcation problem between science and pseudo-science, on the fun of getting philosophy out there, on the value of philosophy and how it makes progress, on the Rupture for nerds, on his Hume tattoo, on naturalism, emergentism and a luscious ontology, on when philosophers and scientists over-reach, on Fodor on evolution, on science and ethics, on the interesting work of xphi and why we need the humanities. All told, this one lays the money down
philosophy_of_science  mind  naturalism  scientism  scientific_method  evo_psych  evolutionary_biology  virtue_ethics  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
John Mikhail - Review of Patricia S. Churchland, 'Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality':: SSRN
The treatment of these subjects is generally informative and often quite illuminating, albeit occasionally superficial. Churchland writes elegantly and presents a clear, distinctive, and forceful viewpoint on the science of morality, which draws inspiration from Aristotle, Hume, and Darwin. Her principal thesis, that moral and social values are rooted in the neurobiology of care, trust, and cooperation, deserves to be taken seriously by scientists and philosophers alike. In this review, I focus on three perceived weaknesses of Churchland’s stimulating book that likely will be of particular interest to philosophers: her interpretation of Hume, her skepticism toward innate moral principles, and her treatment of moral rules. I then conclude by making a few brief observations about the general significance of Braintrust. Keywords: Churchland, Darwin, Hume, Aristotle, Plato, morality, nativism, epistemology, computation, rules, neurobiology, care, attachment, norms, genes, evolution -- downloaded pdf to Note
books  kindle  reviews  moral_philosophy  cognition  neuroscience  Hume  naturalism  evolutionary_biology  evo_psych  epistemology  genetics  downloaded  EF-add 
september 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

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