The Philosophy of Human Evolution


Author: Michael Ruse
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521117933
Category: Philosophy
Page: 271
View: 4393

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Provides a unique discussion of human evolution from a philosophical viewpoint, covering such issues as religion, race and gender.

The Philosophy of Social Evolution


Author: Jonathan Birch
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191047368
Category: Philosophy
Page: 224
View: 2212

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From mitochondria to meerkats, the natural world is full of spectacular examples of social behaviour. In the early 1960s Bill Hamilton changed the way we think about how such behaviour evolves. He introduced three key innovations - now known as Hamilton's rule, kin selection, and inclusive fitness - which have been enormously influential, but which remain the subject of fierce controversy. Hamilton's pioneering work kick-started a research program now known as social evolution theory. This is a book about the philosophical foundations and future prospects of that program. Part I, "Foundations", is a careful exposition and defence of Hamilton's ideas, with a few modifications along the way. In Part II, "Extensions", Jonathan Birch shows how these ideas can be applied to phenomena including cooperation in micro-organisms, cooperation among the cells of a multicellular organism, and culturally evolved cooperation in the earliest human societies. Birch argues that real progress can be made in understanding microbial evolution, evolutionary transitions, and human evolution by viewing them through the lens of social evolution theory, provided the theory is interpreted with care and adapted where necessary. The Philosophy of Social Evolution places social evolution theory on a firm philosophical footing and sets out exciting new directions for further work.

Science and Selection

Essays on Biological Evolution and the Philosophy of Science
Author: David L. Hull
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521644051
Category: Philosophy
Page: 267
View: 9091

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This 2001 book brings together many of David Hull's most important essays on selection in one accessible volume.

Evolution, Explanation, Ethics and Aesthetics

Towards a Philosophy of Biology
Author: Francisco J. Ayala
Publisher: Academic Press
ISBN: 0128037318
Category: Science
Page: 420
View: 6130

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Evolution, Explanation, Ethics and Aesthetics: Towards a Philosophy of Biology focuses on the dominant biological topic of evolution. It deals with the prevailing philosophical themes of how to explain the adaptation of organisms, the interplay of chance and necessity, and the recurrent topics of emergence, reductionism, and progress. In addition, the extensively treated topic of how to explain human nature as a result of natural processes and the encompassed issues of the foundations of morality and the brain-to-mind transformation is discussed. The philosophy of biology is a rapidly expanding field, not more than half a century old at most, and to a large extent is replacing the interest in the philosophy of physics that prevailed in the first two-thirds of the twentieth century. Few texts available have the benefit of being written by an eminent biologist who happens to be also a philosopher, as in this work. This book is a useful resource for seminar courses and college courses on the philosophy of biology. Researchers, academics, and students in evolutionary biology, behavior, genetics, and biodiversity will also be interested in this work, as will those in human biology and issues such as ethics, religion, and the human mind, along with professional philosophers of science and those concerned with such issues as whether evolution is compatible with religion and/or where morality comes from. Presents the unique perspective of a distinguished biologist with extensive experience in the field who has published much about the subject in a wide variety of journals and edited volumes Covers the philosophical issues related to evolution and biology in an approachable and readable style Includes the most up-to-date treatment of this burgeoning, exciting field within biology Provides the ideal guide for researchers, academics, and students in evolutionary biology, behavior, genetics, and biodiversity

The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy


Author: Richard Joyce
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317655567
Category: Philosophy
Page: 442
View: 5665

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In recent years, the relation between contemporary academic philosophy and evolutionary theory has become ever more active, multifaceted, and productive. The connection is a bustling two-way street. In one direction, philosophers of biology make significant contributions to theoretical discussions about the nature of evolution (such as "What is a species?"; "What is reproductive fitness?"; "Does selection operate primarily on genes?"; and "What is an evolutionary function?"). In the other direction, a broader group of philosophers appeal to Darwinian selection in an attempt to illuminate traditional philosophical puzzles (such as "How could a brain-state have representational content?"; "Are moral judgments justified?"; "Why do we enjoy fiction?"; and "Are humans invariably selfish?"). In grappling with these questions, this interdisciplinary collection includes cutting-edge examples from both directions of traffic. The thirty contributions, written exclusively for this volume, are divided into six sections: The Nature of Selection; Evolution and Information; Human Nature; Evolution and Mind; Evolution and Ethics; and Evolution, Aesthetics, and Art. Many of the contributing philosophers and psychologists are international leaders in their fields.

But is it Science?

The Philosophical Question in the Creation/evolution Controversy
Author: Robert T. Pennock,Michael Ruse
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: N.A
Category: Philosophy
Page: 577
View: 705

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This excellent collection, now fully updated, will inform readers about the history of the Creation/Evolution debate and bring philosophical clarity to the complex arguments on both sides.

Darwinism and Pragmatism

William James on Evolution and Self-Transformation
Author: Lucas McGranahan
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351975811
Category: Science
Page: 200
View: 906

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Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection challenges our very sense of belonging in the world. Unlike prior evolutionary theories, Darwinism construes species as mutable historical products of a blind process that serves no inherent purpose. It also represents a distinctly modern kind of fallible science that relies on statistical evidence and is not verifiable by simple laboratory experiments. What are human purpose and knowledge if humanity has no pre-given essence and science itself is our finite and fallible product? According to the Received Image of Darwinism, Darwin’s theory signals the triumph of mechanism and reductionism in all science. On this view, the individual virtually disappears at the intersection of (internal) genes and (external) environment. In contrast, William James creatively employs Darwinian concepts to support his core conviction that both knowledge and reality are in the making, with individuals as active participants. In promoting this Pragmatic Image of Darwinism, McGranahan provides a novel reading of James as a philosopher of self-transformation. Like his contemporary Nietzsche, James is concerned first and foremost with the structure and dynamics of the finite purposive individual. This timely volume is suitable for advanced undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers interested in the fields of history of philosophy, history and philosophy of science, history of psychology, American pragmatism and Darwinism.

A Devil's Chaplain

Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love
Author: Richard Dawkins
Publisher: HMH
ISBN: 0547416520
Category: Science
Page: 272
View: 517

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Essays on morality, mortality, and much more from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion. This early collection of essays from renowned evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is an enthusiastic declaration, a testament to the power of rigorous scientific examination to reveal the wonders of the world. In these essays, Dawkins revisits the meme, the unit of cultural information that he named and wrote about in his groundbreaking work, The Selfish Gene. Here also are moving tributes to friends and colleagues, including a eulogy for novelist Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; correspondence with fellow biologist Stephen Jay Gould; commentary on the events of 9/11; and visits with the famed paleoanthropologists Richard and Meave Leakey at their African wildlife preserve. Ending with a vivid note to Dawkins’s ten-year-old daughter, reminding her to remain curious, ask questions, and live the examined life, A Devil’s Chaplain is a fascinating read by “a man of firm opinions, which he expresses with clarity and punch” (Scientific American).

Evidence and Evolution

The Logic Behind the Science
Author: Elliott Sober
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139470116
Category: Science
Page: N.A
View: 6403

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How should the concept of evidence be understood? And how does the concept of evidence apply to the controversy about creationism as well as to work in evolutionary biology about natural selection and common ancestry? In this rich and wide-ranging book, Elliott Sober investigates general questions about probability and evidence and shows how the answers he develops to those questions apply to the specifics of evolutionary biology. Drawing on a set of fascinating examples, he analyzes whether claims about intelligent design are untestable; whether they are discredited by the fact that many adaptations are imperfect; how evidence bears on whether present species trace back to common ancestors; how hypotheses about natural selection can be tested, and many other issues. His book will interest all readers who want to understand philosophical questions about evidence and evolution, as they arise both in Darwin's work and in contemporary biological research.

Did Darwin Write the Origin Backwards?

Philosophical Essays on Darwin's Theory
Author: Elliott Sober
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 1616142782
Category: Philosophy
Page: 230
View: 7924

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Is it accurate to label Darwin’s theory "the theory of evolution by natural selection," given that the concept of common ancestry is at least as central to Darwin’s theory? Did Darwin reject the idea that group selection causes characteristics to evolve that are good for the group though bad for the individual? How does Darwin’s discussion of God in The Origin of Species square with the common view that he is the champion of methodological naturalism? These are just some of the intriguing questions raised in this volume of interconnected philosophical essays on Darwin. The author's approach is informed by modern issues in evolutionary biology, but is sensitive to the ways in which Darwin’s outlook differed from that of many biologists today. The main topics that are the focus of the book—common ancestry, group selection, sex ratio, and naturalism—have rarely been discussed in their connection with Darwin in such penetrating detail. Author Professor Sober is the 2008 winner of the Prometheus Prize. This biennial award, established in 2006 through the American Philosophical Association, is designed "to honor a distinguished philosopher in recognition of his or her lifetime contribution to expanding the frontiers of research in philosophy and science." This insightful collection of essays will be of interest to philosophers, biologists, and laypersons seeking a deeper understanding of one of the most influential scientific theories ever propounded. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Multilevel Selection and the Theory of Evolution

Historical and Conceptual Issues
Author: Ciprian Jeler
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319786776
Category: Science
Page: 151
View: 2418

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This book puts multilevel selection theory into a much needed historical perspective. This is achieved by discussing multilevel selection in the first half of the twentieth century, the reasons for the energetic rejection of Wynne-Edwards’ group selectionist stance in the 1960s, Elisabeth Lloyd’s contribution to the units of selection debate, Price’s hierarchical equation and its possible interpretations and, finally, species selection in macroevolutionary contexts. Another idea also seems to emerge from these studies; namely, that perhaps a more sure-footed position for multilevel selection theory would be acquired if we were to show a renewed interest in 'old group selection', i.e. in scenarios in which the differential reproduction of the groups themselves affects the frequencies of either individual-level or group-level traits. This book will be of interest to philosophers and historians of biology, as well as to theoretically inclined biologists who have an interest in multilevel selection theory.

Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature


Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521646246
Category: Philosophy
Page: 328
View: 626

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This book explains the relationship between intelligence and environmental complexity, and in so doing links philosophy of mind to more general issues about the relations between organisms and environments, and to the general pattern of 'externalist' explanations. The author provides a biological approach to the investigation of mind and cognition in nature. In particular he explores the idea that the function of cognition is to enable agents to deal with environmental complexity. The history of the idea in the work of Dewey and Spencer is considered, as is the impact of recent evolutionary theory on our understanding of the place of mind in nature.

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory


Author: Stephen Jay Gould
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674417925
Category: Science
Page: 1464
View: 1008

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The world’s most revered and eloquent interpreter of evolutionary ideas offers here a work of explanatory force unprecedented in our time—a landmark publication, both for its historical sweep and for its scientific vision. With characteristic attention to detail, Stephen Jay Gould first describes the content and discusses the history and origins of the three core commitments of classical Darwinism: that natural selection works on organisms, not genes or species; that it is almost exclusively the mechanism of adaptive evolutionary change; and that these changes are incremental, not drastic. Next, he examines the three critiques that currently challenge this classic Darwinian edifice: that selection operates on multiple levels, from the gene to the group; that evolution proceeds by a variety of mechanisms, not just natural selection; and that causes operating at broader scales, including catastrophes, have figured prominently in the course of evolution. Then, in a stunning tour de force that will likely stimulate discussion and debate for decades, Gould proposes his own system for integrating these classical commitments and contemporary critiques into a new structure of evolutionary thought. In 2001 the Library of Congress named Stephen Jay Gould one of America’s eighty-three Living Legends—people who embody the “quintessentially American ideal of individual creativity, conviction, dedication, and exuberance.” Each of these qualities finds full expression in this peerless work, the likes of which the scientific world has not seen—and may not see again—for well over a century.

Darwinism and Its Discontents


Author: Michael Ruse
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 052182947X
Category: Philosophy
Page: 316
View: 7882

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This book presents an ardent defence of Darwin's theory of evolution, exploring recent controversies such as Creationism.

Science as a Process

An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science
Author: David L. Hull
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226360490
Category: Science
Page: 600
View: 8469

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"Legend is overdue for replacement, and an adequate replacement must attend to the process of science as carefully as Hull has done. I share his vision of a serious account of the social and intellectual dynamics of science that will avoid both the rosy blur of Legend and the facile charms of relativism. . . . Because of [Hull's] deep concern with the ways in which research is actually done, Science as a Process begins an important project in the study of science. It is one of a distinguished series of books, which Hull himself edits."—Philip Kitcher, Nature "In Science as a Process, [David Hull] argues that the tension between cooperation and competition is exactly what makes science so successful. . . . Hull takes an unusual approach to his subject. He applies the rules of evolution in nature to the evolution of science, arguing that the same kinds of forces responsible for shaping the rise and demise of species also act on the development of scientific ideas."—Natalie Angier, New York Times Book Review "By far the most professional and thorough case in favour of an evolutionary philosophy of science ever to have been made. It contains excellent short histories of evolutionary biology and of systematics (the science of classifying living things); an important and original account of modern systematic controversy; a counter-attack against the philosophical critics of evolutionary philosophy; social-psychological evidence, collected by Hull himself, to show that science does have the character demanded by his philosophy; and a philosophical analysis of evolution which is general enough to apply to both biological and historical change."—Mark Ridley, Times Literary Supplement "Hull is primarily interested in how social interactions within the scientific community can help or hinder the process by which new theories and techniques get accepted. . . . The claim that science is a process for selecting out the best new ideas is not a new one, but Hull tells us exactly how scientists go about it, and he is prepared to accept that at least to some extent, the social activities of the scientists promoting a new idea can affect its chances of being accepted."—Peter J. Bowler, Archives of Natural History "I have been doing philosophy of science now for twenty-five years, and whilst I would never have claimed that I knew everything, I felt that I had a really good handle on the nature of science, Again and again, Hull was able to show me just how incomplete my understanding was. . . . Moreover, [Science as a Process] is one of the most compulsively readable books that I have ever encountered."—Michael Ruse, Biology and Philosophy

Harmonics of Evolution

The Philosophy of Individual Life, Based Upon Natural Science, as Taught by Modern Masters of the Law
Author: Florence Huntley
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: N.A
Category: Marriage
Page: 463
View: 9602

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Agents and Goals in Evolution


Author: Samir Okasha
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192546724
Category: Science
Page: 280
View: 2994

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Samir Okasha offers a philosophical perspective on evolutionary biology in Agents and Goals in Evolution. His focus is on "agential thinking", which is a mode of thought commonly employed in evolutionary biology. The paradigm case of agential thinking involves treating an evolved organism as if it were an agent pursuing a goal, such as survival or reproduction, and treating its phenotypic traits as strategies for achieving that goal, or furthering its biological interests. Agential thinking involves deliberately transposing a set of concepts - goals, interests, strategies - from rational human agents to the biological world more generally. Okasha's enquiry begins by asking whether this is justified. Is agential thinking mere anthropomorphism, or does it play a genuine intellectual role in the science? This central question leads Okasha to a series of further questions. How do we identify the "goal" that evolved organisms will behave as if they are trying to achieve? Can agential thinking ever be applied to groups or genes, rather than to individual organisms? And how does agential thinking relate to the controversies over fitness-maximization in evolutionary biology? In the final third of the book, Okasha examines the relation between the adaptive and the rational. If organisms can validly be treated as agent-like, for the purposes of evolutionary analysis, should we expect that their evolved behaviour will correspond to the behaviour of rational agents as codified in the theory of rational choice? If so, does this mean that the fitness-maximizing paradigm of the evolutionary biologist can be mapped directly to the utility-maximizing paradigm of the rational choice theorist? Okasha explores these questions using an inter-disciplinary methodology that draws on philosophy of science, evolutionary biology and economics.