dunnettreader + species   16

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
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
Jeffrey K. McDonough, review - Justin E. H. Smith, Divine Machines: Leibniz and the Sciences of Life // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // April 17, 2012
Justin E. H. Smith, Divine Machines: Leibniz and the Sciences of Life, Princeton University Press, 2011, 392pp., $45.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780691141787.
Reviewed by Jeffrey K. McDonough, Harvard University -- It is widely recognized that Leibniz's philosophical thought is deeply influenced by the mathematics, physics and philosophical theology of his era. Justin E. H. Smith's Divine Machines argues that many of Leibniz's most central philosophical doctrines are similarly bound up with the life sciences of his time, where the "life sciences" are understood very broadly to include fields as diverse as alchemy, medicine, taxonomy, and paleontology. Smith's groundbreaking exploration represents an important contribution to our understanding of both Leibniz's philosophy and the study of life in the early modern era. It is to be recommended to historians, philosophers, and historians of philosophy alike. Below I highlight four central topics in Smith's book, raising some reservations along the way.
books  reviews  kindle-available  intellectual_history  17thC  Leibniz  history_of_science  philosophy_of_science  metaphysics  monads  causation  species  teleology  anatomy  biology  medicine  microscope  fossils  reproduction  theodicy  creation  mechanism  organism 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
Brad Plumer - The oceans are acidifying at the fastest rate in 300 million years. How bad could it get? - Vox September 2014
Followup post on the WMO report plus IPCC info -- We know the oceans have already been acidifying rapidly, with acidity levels increasing 30% since the Industrial Revolution (...pH of ocean surface water has dropped from 8.18 to 8.07). As best scientists can tell from looking at historical data, this change is likely unprecedented in the last 300 million years. And according to the WMO's most recent report, there's no sign that this process is slowing down. So what might acidification look like in the future? That largely depends on how much extra carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere. Below is a map from the IPCC looking at what would happen if emissions keep rising at their current rate. Meanwhile, there's one final twist: As the oceans become more acidic, they're less able to absorb our carbon-dioxide emissions.The WMO says the ocean's ability to take up carbon is just 70% of what it was back before the Industrial Revolution. That capacity is expected to shrink to 20% by the end of the century. -- estimating impact on reefs and marine life -- scientists can sift through the fossil record to see how broad ocean ecosystems responded to real-life bouts of ocean acidification in the past. About 55 million years ago, carbon-dioxide levels in the Earth's atmosphere spiked (for natural reasons), leading to the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. In a 2013 study for Science, Norris and his co-authors found that this prehistoric world had few coral reefs, poorly oxygenated oceans, and a food chain that had difficulty sustaining large predators. Not good. On the bright side, there were relatively few mass extinctions. But even this isn't a perfect analogue. Among other things, the rate of ocean acidification today appears to be even faster than it was back then — and there are other stresses on marine life, like overfishing or pollution. So the impacts could be very different.
climate  ocean  geohistory  species  biology 
september 2014 by dunnettreader
Devin Henry - "Aristotle's Pluralistic Realism" | The Monist 94.2 (2011): 198-222
The University of Western Ontario -- In this paper I explore Aristotle’s views on natural kinds and the compatibility of pluralism and realism, a topic that has generated considerable interest among contemporary philosophers. I argue that, when it came to zoology, Aristotle denied that there is only one way of organizing the diversity of the living world into natural kinds that will yield a single, unified system of classification. Instead, living things can be grouped and regrouped into various cross-cutting kinds on the basis of objective similarities and differences in ways that subserve the explanatory context. Since the explanatory aims of zoology are diverse and variegated, the kinds it recognizes must be equally diverse and variegated. At the same time, there are certain constraints on which kinds can be selected. And those constraints derive more from the causal structure of the world than from the proclivities of the classifier (hence the realism). This distinguishes Aristotle’s version of pluralistic realism from those contemporary versions (like Dupré’s “promiscuous realism”) that treat all or most classifications of a given domain as equally legitimate and not just a sub-set of kinds recognized by the science that studies it. By contrast, Aristotle privileges scientifically important kinds on the basis of their role in causal investigations. On this picture natural kinds are those kinds with the sort of causal structure that allows them to enter into scientific explanations. In the final section I argue that Aristotle’s zoology should remain of interest to philosophers and biologists alike insofar as it combines a pluralistic form of realism with a rank-free approach to classification. - didn't download
article  intellectual_history  Aristotle  history_of_science  philosophy_of_science  ancient_philosophy  analytical_philosophy  natural_kinds  classification  species  explanation  causation  biology  animals  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
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
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
Dániel Margócsy - Encyclopedias, the Exchange of Curiosities, and Practices of Identification before Linnaeus (2010)
Project MUSE - Dániel Margócsy. ""Refer to folio and number": Encyclopedias, the Exchange of Curiosities, and Practices of Identification before Linnaeus." Journal of the History of Ideas 71.1 (2010): 63-89. Project MUSE. Web. 28 Aug. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>...... Available as html and pdf...... The Swiss natural historian Johann Amman came to Russia in 1733 to take a position as professor of botany and natural history at the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. As part of the job, he corresponded, and exchanged plant specimens, with the English merchant collector Peter Collinson in London, and the Swedish scholar Carolus Linnaeus, among others. After briefly reviewing Amman's correspondence with these scholars and the growing commerce in exotic specimens of natural history, I explore how encyclopedias came to facilitate the exchange of zoological specimens in particular. I argue that, during the seventeenth century, a new genre of zoological encyclopedias appeared on the scene whose design was particularly well-suited for the purposes of identification, a key practice in long-distance exchanges.

?....-- Of interest on several counts. 1) classification and taxonomy process extending Foucault observation re shift from Renaissance representation to Enlightenment classification - not just driven by demands for new forms of intelligibility, but parallel to what happening in commerce, need to support communications needed for ling distance exchange. 2) stages leading to Linnaeus. 3) encyclopedia phenomenon more generally as Republic of Letters expands geographically and in membership and becomes increasingly specialized. How new types of authority asserted, contested and accepted. Also suggestive re how garden, herb, exotic specimens ID'd, info circulated internationally - Bolingbroke's grandmother, Trumbull letter, Pope's gardening.
article  Project_MUSE  17thC  18thC  intellectual_history  cultural_history  biology  species  natural_history  publishing  commerce  Republic_of_Letters  Scientific_Revolution  gardens  Foucault  Linnaeus  Bolingbroke  Pope  EF-add 
august 2013 by dunnettreader

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