Manual Sociobiology and Epistemology (Synthese Library)

Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online Sociobiology and Epistemology (Synthese Library) file PDF Book only if you are registered here. And also you can download or read online all Book PDF file that related with Sociobiology and Epistemology (Synthese Library) book. Happy reading Sociobiology and Epistemology (Synthese Library) Bookeveryone. Download file Free Book PDF Sociobiology and Epistemology (Synthese Library) at Complete PDF Library. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Here is The CompletePDF Book Library. It's free to register here to get Book file PDF Sociobiology and Epistemology (Synthese Library) Pocket Guide.

To begin with, seen in light of post-postpositivist i. Most importantly, Rescher' 5 "methods pragmatism" remains non-naturalistic, being a model not of natural but of rational selection; i. It shares this question-begging feature non-naturalism with Toulmin's model, in which a "cunning of reason" is invoked to avoid the tautology that "might is right: selective survival is success" Lakatos.

We will return to this issue in section 3. On a more general level cultural evolution than the one considered by Rescher himself scientific evolution , we will retain the idea that teaching methods instead of teaching specific ideas or behaviors is an important type of "replication by selective borrowing" Campbell.

On the other hand, if the genotype-phenotype distinction from biology is appropriately generalized one of us has attempted this in terms of a self-simplification of the phenotype in the genotype, which functions essentially as an economizing device , it becomes possible to envisage a nested hierarchy of genotype-phenotype distinctions on. Thus, the limitations of ll. Degrees of generative entrenchment. In terms of the developmental lock model, a character is generatively entrenched in proportion to the number of "downstream" features which depend on it in development.

Apart from allowing to. Considering the importance for any EE of a certain degree of environmental stability however transient , in the absence of which negative feedback would be impossible 15 , this seems to be a most desirable feature. More generally: What from the biological point of view is considered as its weakness when compared to more specific models of development such as certain genetic regulatory systems the generality of Wimsatt's approach,.

Let us make clear what we mean by this. Plotkin has warned against attempts to establish an antic identity across biological and cultural evolution, as for instance Ho and Saunders are tempted to do, and urged us rather to look for an identity of process and explanatory modes. For him, "the principal problem for theory in biology is the distinction between the genotype and the phenotype", and that distinction he uncatholically regards as "an absolute partition: information does not move back from the phenotype into the genotype".

It suffices to realize that when we move to the evolution of culture, these constraints will have to be loosened considerably; for here, one expects the genotype-phenotype interaction to be very dynamic indeed Wimsatt's developmental lock model seems to us to be especially suited to cope with various kinds of relaxation one would like to consider see, e. GeorgescuRoegen, , ch. Before we address our next questlOn, a word of our use of the terms "knowledge" and "information" is in order. The philosophically-minded reader will have remarked that we have been extremely liberal in our deployment of this vocabulary, using the concepts of "knowledge" and "information" interchangeably.

This is a deliberate choice: While awaiting a verdict in the heated debates concerning the proper use of "knowledge" and "information" Dretske, ; Engels, , we want to allow for the possibility that, say, animals do have knowledge even without beliefs! Campbell's and especially Plotkin's and Heyes' papers have useful things to say on this topic. Does knowledge evolve? While we all agree that knowledge as the product of cognition is the result of some evolution or other, and that evolution itself is a "knowledge process", we are seldom explicit about the applicability of the evolutionary.

We can only become clear on this point by differentiating between various levels of knowledge. Among contemporary epistemologists, Campbell probably did most of the work on the hierarchical nature of knowledge. Campbell, Thus, Campbell b pleads in favor of "multiperspectivalness" in. Pattern matching and contextuality are genuine features of human perception and cognition. On our understanding, this emphasis allowed for his later shift to the empirical social study of science, viz.

Moderate reductionism: the hierarchy is not reductive in the classical positivist sense. By introducing the. To our knowledge, this more "cognitivist" interpretation of evolution is taken up only by those scholars who want to. Dissipative systems and catastrophes. Aspects of evolution could then be seen as the creation of new forms through processes of shifting away from previously established equilibria. In terms of Campbell's model, a nested hierarchy of selectors would constraint the dissipative structuring. But this is pure speculation today, since in its present state, Prigogine's theory does not allow us to speak about such phenomena.

To cope with them we would need a theory of the behavior of aggregates of dissipative structures, which is not available. For the time being, we can only marvel at the complexity of the animal or human brain, and share in Prigogine's awe when he ponders that "the dynamical complexity of the human brain cannot be an accident" or that it "must have been selected for its very instability"; and.

To assess the relevance - actual or potential - of the "new physics" for EE, we will need a picture of the theory of dissipative structures, of catastrophe theory and of their mutual relationship more precise than those we are acquainted with. Is catastrophe theory a part of the theory of dissipative structures, as Prigogine implies e.

Thorn , pp. Thorn seems to claim that only his approach is explanatory, as it alone allows for the introduction of the notion of causality. But at the same time he also pretends to offer a theory which is less deterministic than Prigogine's, as it uses local deterministic features only. At the basis of Thom's theory is his classification theorem. It states that only a limited number of catastrophe types seven can occur. In contrast, Nicolis and Prigogine , p. The field of applied catastrophe theory shows considerable fragmentation, and it has been asked by Thorn himself whether his approach is really a theory after all.

Supposing catastrophe "theory" to be part and parcel of Prigogine's "theory" granting that this may be a counterfactual statement , can it then be said that the dissipative structures paradigm does not offer a full-fledged theory either Prigogine himself would readily agree , as it also branches out into various scientific disciplines using different mathematical formalisms and as it also has multifarious domains of application?

Put differently: Are there any positive criteria which would allow us to decide whether a specific problem and of course we are thinking here of cognitive evolution and development in the first place is suitable for treatment from Prigogine's or Thorn's point of view? More specifically, how are Thorn's "potential functions" and "discontinuity" to be interpreted in the domains which concern us here? Does speaking of a statistical approach to discontinuity Prigogine make sense? These are all questions awaiting further examination. Reintroducing subject and object into epistemology.

A sceptic unimpressed by the arguments referred to above may continue to maintain that dissipative structures per se do no tell us anything "about adaptive organization, or about the selection necessary to produce it, and thus nothing about the most striking and central feature of biological organization", as Wimsatt once put it cf. Depew, To him we would like to point out that Prigogine's and Thorn's theories can also be explored from a completely different point of view. In an important sense, EE or at least one widely.

The feasibility of an epistemology of disembodied. We take it that by now it should have become clear that this program is an utter failure e. Once this is realized, a thoroughly social epistemology becomes inescapable cf. Flohr, For only individual even when it is granted that ultimately, animal or human minds and individual computers of the future? Campbell, , the epistemologist will have to study the various "social system vehicles" Campbell, , influencing individual belief and scientific knowing processes cf.

Richards, Since Campbell and especially Boon and Knorr Cetina treat these processes in some detail in their respective papers, we can refrain from further discussing them here. What we mean is basically that epistemologists have been busy building epistemologies without bothering in the least about the structure of the world their theories and models.

We have caught a glimpse of the limitations of such an approach when discussing functional explanation in evolutionary biology and epistemology section 1. Summarizing, we can say that in contemporary epistemology, one witnesses a growing awareness i of the crucial role of pragmatic functional determinants of the process of cognition, i.

Against this background, it can again be seen why. Levinson, c. To round off this section, let us return to the question whether knowledge is evolving. No one taking the fact of biological evolution seriously can consistently deny that in some sense at least, knowledge is bound to evolve although this discovery has been a historical feat. For as Andy Clark put it, "Nature must be red not just in tooth and claw, but in instinct and des ide also if the teeth and claws are to be put to good use" Clark, , pp. EE, of course, lives off this discovery.

Keeping this caveat in mind, let us now look at some of the claims adherents of the second EE program - the evolution of science program - have been making. Does scientific knowledge evolve? Two opposite discussion. The important shifts in cogn1s1ng since the birth of culture have taken place at a more formal and symbolic level. In his unconstrained enthusiasm he refers to the "third evolution" of scientific thought, and credits it with the potential to have altered and reversed the phylogenetically conditioned innate perception apparatus, especially in the ancient Greek era.

More in particular, this "third evolution" he takes to imply "that the human perceiving apparatus does not follow a natural adaptation process but rather places itself outside this process" p. The scientific method would thus allow for self-transgression: "This stage does not only transcend the biological evolution of plants and animals but even the socio-cultural evolution of man, with consequences that cannot be foretold as yet" ibid.

We are convinced that no genuine EE and certainly not a thoroughly naturalized one cf. On the other hand, von Schilcher and Tennant's remark clearly shows that they are confusing as many others before them the first and the second EE programs. The alleged assumption of evolutionary epistemologists that human beliefs, scientific or other, must be somehow selected for their relevance to human survival is a persistent target of the critics of both the narrower evolution of science program and of evolutionary approaches to culture in general.

Elster, , p. Although it is true that the literature on the evolution of science program abounds with examples of superficial "biologizing" as well as with other forms of sloppy reasoning , we agree with Campbell this volume that the " Beyond literal and metaphorical extension. This is one of the very few examples we know of an attempt to consistently extend the functional "logic" of evolutionary explanation cf.

In his , Hull has explicitly pointed out that there is a third route open to EE: building more general theory. We will return to this issue in section 5. Another problem we confront in this context is that different notions of "science", "scientific knowledge" and "scientific method" are used without being made sufficiently explicit and unambiguous. For Oeser, the rationalistic view on scientific method of analytic epistemologists still holds. That is to say, he has no room for the fundamental criticism of empirical epistemologists: Neither the "social" and "opportunistic" scientist of Knorr Cetina nor the "tribal" scientist of Campbell do have a place in Oeser's system.

We think microsociology of science can provide a good antidote here see Boon's and Knorr's papers by offering valuable information on what science is "really" about 17 and even more by redeeming us from dogmatic slumber. This will become clear immediatp. Nelson, , p. We have indicated already why Rescher's and. Robert Richards, discussing Campbell's BVSR model of scientific knowledge acquisition, fell in the same anti-naturalistic trap when he wrote: "Ideas are selected and retained by men for a variety of explicit and implicit reasons: power,.

The reasons why all these authors ultimately resort to Putnam's idea that "Reason can't be naturalized" see Vollmer, , for a rebuttal are manifold. But they. Here again we think the evolutionary epistemologist can learn a great deal from the way certain economists have dealt with the problems of limited rationality Callebaut, ; for a recent review see Simon, Towards an integral epistemology? The selective forces are thus taken to be at work at the level of data and of hypothesis testing cf.

It is one of the most straightforward expositions we have seen on this particular point. However, the implications this is supposed to have for the second EE program, which Vollmer this volume , "despite. With Popper, Campbell is one of the few hardliners here:. Yes, I do, implausible as it may seem" Campbell, b, p. He thus explicitly combines the discovery issue whose philosophical relevance someone like Popper would deny with the EE program.

That this combination can be fruitful and can add to the elaboration of an adult EE is worked out in some detail in Callebaut , ch. However, this focus captures only part of the field: We do not have a full-fledged EE, able to cope with the problems of justification or even with less philosophically laden issues, such as the historical appearance of the experimental method but see Campbell, this volume, for a fresh start or the analysis of observational strategies and norms cf. Knorr, this volume. In other words, evolutionary theories of science at present can provide us with little systematic information about the intrinsic features of scientific knowledge production Campbell's ERISS: "epistemologically relevant internalist sociology of science".

Lewontin a presented a clear-cut analysis of both approaches, clarifying the issue to a considerable degree although unnecessarily cautious with respect to the prospects for an EE. We will use his excellent problem statement wherever possible in this section. The selectionist approach to evolution Lorenz, Campbell and many others EE scholars remain loyal to the Darwinian approach to evolution, i.

The most pronounced and most debated variant in this group see Richards, is Campbell's model of blind or unjustified variation and selective retention. Here the mechanisms are clear, also when the BVSR "algorithm" is applied.

Sociobiology

On the other hand, in his more recent work Campbell, , , , and this volume he has successfully taken into account internal "structural" factors of evolution. Richard Lewontin, identifying Campbell's interpretation with the trial-and-error metaphor, objects first of all that. He sums up a list of counterexamples and forgotten cases, such as hitch-hiking genes and the autopoiesis of organisms He then pleads for a model that will systematically take into account the dialectical relationship between organism and environment in the process of evolution.

All this is still at the level of the evolution of biological organisms and not that of EE proper. Extrapolating the investigation to EE, Lewontin remarks that the basic structure of the trial-and-error metaphor implies the unidirectional adaptation of organisms e. Nevertheless, in all knowledge processes constantly. Thus, not adaptation to "a fixed reality" p.

For a forceful defense of the dialectical view, see ch. The present program of EE, then, covers only parts of the integral program Lewontin has in mind. On the other hand, the adoption of a niche-elaboration model of Darwinian evolution to replace the common assumption of competition among organisms for single niches may answer in part Lewontin's criticism.

As Herbert Simon remarks, "The former theory is likely to be considerably more complicated than the latter, since it must explain the proliferation of niches as well as the proliferation of organisms to fill them. Moreover, an important part of each organism's environment in such a system is provided by the other organisms that surround it. The very creation of niches, and the eventual development of new creatures to fill them, alters the system in such a way as to allow the development of still more niches.

We have seen before section 1. The "behavior-the-motor-of-evolution" approach In the Piagetian developmental or transformational approach to change and adaptation a basically different metaphor is apparent: Instead of blind variation we have transformations,. It is often said that Piaget held a more or less Lamarckian view of things e.

Lewontin, a, p. In a formal characterization of his posltlon, Piaget himself argued in favor of Waddington's "synthesis" of Lamarckian and nea-Darwinian evolution in his theory of "epigenesis". Ontogeny and phylogeny are here taken to be mutually determining one another since "epigenesis is the result of a collaboration between the synthetic activity of the genome and the environment" in what for Piaget has to be ali equilibrium model Piaget, , p.

We will have to keep in mind that the basic problem here resides in the. Yet Piaget's theory should not be discarded altogether for assuming a fixed environment. At some level at least, the parallel between biology and epistemology may be said to break down, viz. If we agree in principle with Lewontin's critique that the. It is not incompatible with the program of an integral epistemology to think of it as both the biological and the cultural environment. In fact, some more or less explicit ideas have been. On the other hand, and coming from a rather unexpected direction, a similar reference to a deep level of cultural traditions.

It will be profitable, certainly in the scope of an.

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine

Toward a new synthesis? Time and again, scholars more or less critical of EE e. Thagard, ; Lewontin, a have warned against taking the Darwinian metaphor seriously. Their scepticism is now also being voiced by authors taking a basically sympathetic stance vis-a-vis EE, such as David Hull. In a discussion of. Now is not the time to take a particular interpretation of. Since no one can seriously deny today that science is essentially a collective phenomenon see, e.

We will return to this point immediately. If it cannot make Keeping in mind these limitations, we can still rightfully ask what advocates of EE can learn from biologists, be they neoDarwinian hardliners or challengers of the orthodoxy. As Ho and Saunders b, p. Piaget can be seen as one of them. Conrad Waddington and his Theoretical Biology Club, the "arch antisynthesist" Richard Goldschmidt, best known for his "hopeful monster" idea Gould, , p.

Yet the precipitating factors for the current turmoil seem to have been primarily some recent discoveries in molecular biology Kimura's "neutral theory" according to which many mutations may be neutral with regard to natural selection - Kimura, and in paleontology the saltationism controversy - e. According to Ho and Saunders, the neutral mutation concept "presaged the fall from dominance of the genetic theory of natural selection -. Most biologists certainly disagree.

The implications of the saltationist view for EE viz. But we would like to stress that the "new evolutionary paradigm" that authors like Ho and Saunders see emerging may in principle also shed new light on problems other than the problem of"revolutionary", non-gradual transformations: e.

This is especially clear in discussions of the origin of life, "when it is claimed that life is utterly improbable without natural selection"; cf. Now, the latter supposition contains the false assumption that we have a universe of pure numbers devoid of physics or chemistry. In fact, experiments under simulated prebiotic conditions consistently tell us that the probability space of prebiotic proteins is much more restricted The same experiments show that the other assumption implicit in such formulations - that function is a very rare and special quality created only as the result of natural selection is also false Ho and Saunders therefore vindicate Henderson's famous thesis of the "fitness of the environment".

They point to the one- sidedness of the Darwinian notion of adaptation cf. Lewontin, ; a , which misses the reciprocal in the relationship: "the environment is fit for the origination and evolution of organisms". Inherent in the alternative theory of evolution which the authors represen-. Ho and Saunders observe that what most unites the plurality of opinions voiced in their book is the emphasis on process. These are bold statements which a life-long defender of the orthodoxy such as Mayr would certainly reject: consider his plea for "population thinking" as opposed to the Platonism inherent in traditional typological thinking.

One of the standard criticisms. Richards and others have refuted this claim convincingly, and we will not repeat their arguments here. But let us make this one general remark see Callebaut, , ch. In a new evolutionary frame, the problem of direction in evolution would probably also look different cf. Thoday, For Ho and Saunders, it would. Evolution would then be considered in need of explanation "by necessity and mechanism with the least possible appeal to the contingent and teleological" ibid.

Assuming Ho and Saunders' alternative theory to be true for a moment, one can see that. We now leave this vast new subject and turn to that other Gordian knot of evolutionary theory: the problem of the units of evolution. Working in a tradition of botanists going back to Bateson, Sheldrake was one of many biologists to propose a systematic metaphorical expansion of the unit of selection: One needs not, on his view, focus on a material substratum such as the chromosome or stick exclusively to an informational unit such as the allele.

One should rather conceive of a multltude of units, some of which may even have a very unusual way of reproducing e. A very popular metaphorical unit in EE is a generalized concept of information cf. Lorenz, or knowledge see Plotkin's and Heyes' papers , apparent also in Campbell's unification of the concepts of "selector" and "learning system" as elements of hierarchical systems. The forces of evolution which are accepted are the same as those in the synthetic theory cf.

The original biological paradigm has been "blown up". There is no harm in such a procedure, provided it can be justified. An internal justification has in fact been offered by independent scholars. The "nested hierarchy of selectors" presupposes the unity of the biological world, comprising, e. The systems biologists Rupert Riedl e. Wuketits, has gone to great lengths exactly to prove that. Starting from a heterodox theoretical tradition nonevolutionist transcendental morphology in the Romantic tradition , his is a plea for the unity of nature and for the all-pervasiveness of evolution.

It is up to biologicts to test the strength and usefulness of Riedl's approach, many aspects of which are also being voiced by Ho and Saunders They arrive at these hierarchies without leaving the domain of the organisms involved,. It is a fundamental critique because it focuses precisely on the units of selection in EE. Plotkin and Odling-Smee claim that not the knowledge systems and the selectors per se are the proper units of evolution for EE to deal with; rather it are the clusters of knowledge-cum-environment units evolving in a constant dialectical relationship cf.

Their critique is again convincing, we conjecture, but it is not clear in what way this will affect the hierarchical organization Campbell and Lorenz are speaking about. This is a program that needs to be worked out in the future. A lot of fuss has been made recently about the claims of some sociobiologists especially Dawkins, , to be justified to dispense with all units of selection "higher" than the "selfish" gene: e.

According to George C. Williams, who started this razzamatazz, it is to be conceded that "it is unrealistic to. The unity of the genotype thus seems to invalidate the one- locus model of natural selection dear to the "monolithic" geneselectionists. Yet this is not a fatal objection, Williams claims.

For no matter how complicated a gene's interactions with other genes and with the environment,. One allele can always be regarded as having a certain selection. Such coefficients are numbers that can be treated algebraically, and conclusions inferred from one locus be attributed to the effect of selection acting independently at each locus. This is a daring claim, and a lot of energy has been spent in recent years in order to refute it. These arguments see most notably Wimsatt, b; Sober, ; and Lloyd, are rather technical and are not directly relevant to our theme per se.

But the upshot of this controversy, which is essentially about the possibilities and limitations of reductionistic research strategies, is of paramount interest. In a nutshell, it turns out that the "monolithic" gene-selectionists' approach as well as related forms of. Wimsatt, b. The lesson EE can learn from this is that the Scylla of reductionism and the Charybdis of anti-reductionism viz. Pluralism reigns once again cf.

Sober, " , and advocates of EE can breathe without having to worry too much at present! Dawkins shows them the way. If the conceptual toolbox scrutinized further in the vein. Hull's own work on the historical nature of conceptual. To our mind, the incorporation of a phenotypic dimension "interactors" as well as its anti-essentialist ontology species EE, even if it is not at present a unitary subject and not much more than a multiparadigm program, may thus come of. Our very special thanks go to Don Campbell, for everything.

NOTES 1 Since few readers will be acquainted with this unexpected and maybe unsollicited reference relevant to EE historiography, we add the German original to our translation of fragments 5, 6, and 8 from Brecht's "tiber 'Das Ding an sich"': 5 "Der Baum erkennt den Menschen mindestens so weit, als er die Kohlensaure erkennt. Der Begriff des Erkennens muss also weiter gefasst werden. Let us only call to mind that Descartes saw his analytical method as a genuine method of discovery as did Galileo , and that his heuristic was to be contradistinguished from a synthetic, formal- deductive exposition, on Euclidian lines, of discoveries already made.

Only later most notably in Spinoza came the latter method to be favored as "a paradigm of the luminously intelligible" Bernard Williams. We have in mind here, more than anything else, Descartes's consecretation of the "chains of reasoning" approach imputed to Euclid: " Authors working in this new field are borrowing ideas from organization theories such as Herbert Simon's, which turn out to be fertile source models Fox, Obvious lessons are to be learned from evolutionary biology We can see the role in science of laws of qualitative structure, and the power of qualitative as well as quantitative explanation.

If the "queen of the social sciences" is turning "evolutionary",. Brandon takes it that "good hard-headed mechanistic methodology" is not only compatible with, but actually entails the rejection of "all forms of reductivist metaphysics" Brandon, , p. Since compatibility and entailment are logically independent, we take it that one could endorse either a weaker or a stronger version of the mechanism-cum-nonreductivism position. According to Elster e. Hull thinks that Elster's requirement is not overly restrictive, but that "at least sometimes it can be met by social groups in their production of conceptual systems" Hull, , p'.

Mayr opposes this to typological or essentialist thinking in the Platonic-Aristotelian tradition not to be confused with what Aristotle thought himself, at least according to Mayr: Mayr, , p. The ontology underlying population thinking has important consequences. Fisher Also notice the 10 But see unexpected, almost complete convergence of the views of a Marxist anti- reductionist - Richard Lewontin and an uncompromising gene- selectionist - Richard Dawkins - on this issue.

According to Lewontin b, p. According to Dawkins , p. We are not implying that on the whole, epistemologists have only reflected on perceived past scientific successes. Considering the recent origin of the gap between science and its philosophy defined in terms of, say, the professionalization of the disciplines , this would be an utterly naive historical statement.

But we want. And, in any case, "not just the positivists but virtually every other branch or school of philosophy of science that has developed in this century and actually before, from about on, has been retrospective rather than prospective", i. See also Engels Hull , p. The long-standing goal of science is to discern in this flux some unchanging regularities.

It is these regularities that scientists attempt to capture in their theories. Scientific theories are constantly being changed, not because these regularities are changing so scientists believe but because our understanding of them is changing. In our op,n,on, the relatively large autonomy "Eigendynamik" of scientific evolution might eventually turn out to be the main obstacle hindering the construction of a full-fledged.

For reasons of identification, some items have been with an D-sign; they are all to be found in the second. Let me start with a personal remembrance. I had the privilege to meet Erwin Schrodinger at the occasion of the lectures he gave at Ghent, Belgium I believe it was in As you know, Schrodinger was one of the greatest physicists of our time; he was responsible for the discovery of one of the basic equations of quantum mechanics. But he was also quite influential in more than one field; let us only mention his epoch-making essay What is Life? His last book, My War ld View, discussed one of the basic problems of philosophy, the nature of individual read: separate, personal existence: What may individual existence mean in the context of the Universe as a whole?

For a scientist, he took a very strange approach. He did in fact not take for granted that as a physicist he could or should use the concepts of physics in order to speak about his personal world view: He went as far as to. On this I can cheerfully justify myself: because I do not think that these things have as much connection as is currently supposed with a philosophical view of the world" Schrodinger, , pp.

In fact, he discussed this problem almost uniquely in the philosophical context of the Vedas, emphasizing a pantheistic view in which the individual perspective is reduced to an illusion. Here we have a man endowed with a who is not using deep understanding of modern physics, science at all in order to deal with the relation between individual life and cosmos. As a matter of fact, Schrodinger explains why he is doing so: He is interested in a basic philosophical problem, and his conviction is that science is here of no help at all.


  • Highland Warrior.
  • The Fir Tree;
  • Account Options.
  • Sociobiology and Epistemology - James H. Fetzer - Innbundet () » Bokkilden.
  • D. REIDEL PUBLISHING COMPANY;
  • Sociobiology or Social Ecology | The Anarchist Library.
  • Kingdom Music: an anthology of Kingdom Music Proclivity.

This is a strange conclusion coming from a great physicist. How is this ,7 W Callebautand R. Pinxten eds. Here we are discussing one of the great problems of philosophy, one which should be connected with our global view of the world : How could science have nothing to say about it? Still, I believe that in a sense Schrodinger was right. The world described by the physics of Isaac Newton, the world of classical dynamics, is made of material points and motion: it is a kind of giant c lockwork in which there is no direction of time, no distinction between past and future.

To a large extent, this is also the case in quantum mechanics. Instead of material points, we here speak of wave functions, which satisfy Schrodingerts equation, in which again there is no distinction between past and future. It is obvious that in terms of these timeless descriptions, we cannot even identify the problem of personal existence. For us, individual existence is time-oriented,. The aim of this paper is to emphasize that science is evolving, and that thirty years after Schrodinger's book. Our century has. These are the. But in the very last decades, something different has begun: the emphasis is now on temporality at all levels, be it at the level of elementary particles, be it at the level of cosmology and of the global evolution of the universe, or be it at the macroscopic level to which our existence belongs.

While classical physics was postulating that the basic laws of nature were deterministic and in which time-reversible, we now enter a world diversification irreversibility play increasingly and important roles. In this sense, we can say that our period is rediscovering time. But let us first ask the question: How was time conceived of at the beginning of the century? Interestingly enough, opinion. Great thinkers such as Einstein, Bergson or Heidegger, in spite of their differences, held as a common belief that time as irreversibility is not and cannot be the object of science proper.

You all know the famous statement by Einstein, that time read: irreversibility is an illusion. This statement has always amazed me: Time is for us the main phenomenological and existential dimension; to say that time is an illusion is, in a sense, an extraordinary expression of faith in symbolic thinking. For Einstein, irreversibility was an illusion just because his equations were in. He believed that irreversibility is subjective - is something that cannot be put into the equations of physics without destroying their objective value.

Bergson came to the same conclusions through a different way. He took for granted that irreversibility cannot be taken into account by science because science is. Finally, Heidegger carne to the same conclusion: For him, time was necessarily outside science, because the perspective of Being and Time is, logically and. In fact, the problem of time has been with us since the dawn of rational thinking, since the admirable breakthrough of Greek philosophers into ontological problems. I can only evoke here the profound analysis of time as developed by Aristotle in the Book IV of his Physics: "Time is the number of motion, in the horizon of the earlier and later" 2.

Is time only a human illusion or is it a cosmic property of which man is but one of the realizations? We shall encounter this problem several times during our investigation.

Intuitional Epistemology in Ethics

I do believe that the crucial feature of our period is that we are, for the first time in the history of science,. Recent developments in both theoretical and experimental physics point out clearly that time as irreversibility is an essential ingredient of nature, and that our existential experience of time is part of a cosmic experience: Time is no longer separating us from the physical world into which man is embedded. How did we come to this conclusion? The fundamental importance of entropy is that as a result of irreversible, time-oriented processes, the entropy of the Universe considered as an isolated system is increasing.

This was an amazing statement at a time dominated by classical physics: The formulation of the second law was the first occasion where,. Since Clausius, physics is dealing with two concepts of time: time as repetition and time as degradation. But it lS obvious that we have to go beyond this duality. The negation of time,. We have therefore to reach a third concept of time which contains POSItIve, constructive aspects as well.

You cannot write history describing only the decadence of the Roman Empire: you must include as well the foundation of the Roman Empire. This is true as well for the world as a whole: The world is structured; our concept of time has to include therefore both the formation and. Anyway, thermodynamics provided historical framework of physics. Today, interest is shifted from isolated systems to non-equilibrium systems.

Let us emphasize this essential difference with the description of classical mechanics. In thermodynamics, we. This immediately brings us closer to objects like towns or living systems, which can only survive because they are embedded in their environment. Non-linearity and. New solutions emerge, which are often called dissipative structures, that means: structures whose very.

Moreover, near bifurcation points which give access to these new. The so-called Benard instability is a striking example of instability in a stationary state giving rise to such a phenomenon of spontaneous self-organization; the instability is due to a vertical temperature gradient set up in a horizontal liquid layer. The lower face is maintained to a given temperature, higher than that of the upper.

As a result of these boundary conditions, a permanent heat flux is set up, moving from bottom to top. For small differences of temperature, heat is conveyed by conduction, without convection; but when the imposed temperature gradient reaches a threshold value, the stationary state the fluid's state of 'rest' becomes unstable: Convection arises, corresponding to the coherent motion of a huge number of molecules, increasing the rate of heat transfer.

In appropriate conditions, the convection produces a complex spatial organization in the system, instead of the non-coherent state one could expect. Here we have a first instance of what I would like to call the "third time" of physics: time as irreversibility has a constructive role here. There is a basic difference with mechanics. Suppose we have some foreign celestial body approaching the earth: this would lead to a deformation of the earth's trajectory, which would remain forever: dynamical systems have no way to forget perturbations.

This is no longer the case when we include dissipation. A damped pendulum will reach a position of equilibrium, whatever the initial perturbation.

Now we can also understand in quite general terms what happens when we drive a system far away from equilibrium. Figure 1: Three types of attractors for dynamical systems. Point attractor 1a ; line limit-cycle attractor 1b ; fractal non-integer dimensional attractor 1c. We see here how non-equilibrium may become a source of order: New types of attractors, more complicated ones,. Dissipative systems may forget perturbations. These systems are characterized by attractors. The most elementary at tractors.

On figure 1a, we have a point attractor P in a two-dimensional space X1 and X2 may be concentrations of some species : whatever the initial conditions, the system will evolve necessarily towards P. On figure 1b, we have a line attractor: whatever the initial conditions, the system will eventually evolve on this line, called a limit cycle. But attractors may present a more complex structure; they may be formed of a set of points such as on figure 1c. Their distribution may be dense enough to permit us to ascribe to them an effective non zero dimensionality.

For example, the dimension of the attractor on figure 1c may be any real number between 2 and 3. Following the terminology of Benoit Mandelbrot, one may say that this is a 'fractal' attractor. Systems with fractal attractors have unique properties, reminiscent of, for example, turbulence, which we encounter in everyday experience.

They combine both fluctuations and stability. The system is driven to the attractor, and still, as the latter is formed by so "many" points, we may expect large fluctuations in the motion of different points. One speaks often of "attracting chaos". These large fluctuations are connected to a great sensitivity in respect to initial conditions. The distance between neighboring trajectories grows exponentially in time this growth is characterized by the so-called Lyapunov exponents. Attracting chaos has now been observed in a series of situations, including chemical systems or hydrodynamics; but the importance of these new concepts goes far beyond physics and chemistry properly.

Let us indicate some recently studied examples. We know that the earth climate has fluctuated violently over the past. Climatic conditions that prevailed during the last two or three hundred million years were extremely different from what they are at present. During these periods, with the exception of the quaternary era.

A striking feature of the quaternary era is. What is the source of these violent fluctuations, which have obviously played an important role in our history? There is no indication that the intensity of the solar energy may be responsible. A recent analysis by C. Nicolis has shown that these fluctuations can be modelled in terms of 4 independent variables, which form a non-linear dynamical system leading to a chaotic attractor of dimension 3. The variability of climate could have been thought of as resulting from the interplay of. The new insight is that it is not so. The temporal complexity is only due to 4 independent variables.

We may therefore speak of an intrinsic complexity or unpredictability of climate. In a quite different field, recent work has shown that the electrical activity of the brain in deep sleep as monitored by electro-encephalogram EEG may be modelled by a fractal attractor. A deep sleep EEG may be described by a 5 variables; again, this is very dynamics involving remarkable, as it shows the brain acts like a system possessing intrinsic complexity and unpredictability Babloyantz, Salazar and Nicolis, It may be this instability which permits the amplifications of inputs related to sensory impression in the awake state.

Obviously, the dynamical complexity of the human brain cannot be an accident. The brain must have been selected for its very instability. Is biological evolution the history of dynamical sytems leading to the dynamical instability which we find in the brain, and which may be the basic ingredient existence? There can be no more direct proof of the reality of irreversibility than this temporally polarized structure of the brain Ingvar, We now come to the very core of the problem.

As a result of the constructive role of irreversibility, we have to reconsider our interpretation of entropy. We also have. Till now, we have considered entropy. The classical interpretation of entropy was given by Boltzmann. Every physicist is familiar with the celebrated formula:. But let us then ask: What is Probability? Is the use of. As in the case of the quarrel of hidden variables in quantum. This was actually the view of Boltzmann himself. It is in this perspective that Born said that "irreversibility is the effect of the introduction of ignorance into the basic laws of physics" Born, quoted in Denbigh, For A.

Eddington, "The law that entropy always increases, Lewis "in several important cases unidirectional time and unidirectional causality have been invoked, but always. Figure 2. Evolution of a system in phase space r. In fact, I would like to show that this conflict can now be solved: The second law actually conveys a message concerning the very nature of the physical world in which we are embedded.

In order to come to this conclusion, we need to take into account the progress realized in the last decades in classical dynamics. A real revolution is going on in this field since the pioneering work of Poincar and Kolmogorov: Important classes. Our knowledge about the state of the system is necessarily about a given, finite number of digits, and so we are only in a position to evaluate the probability of finding ulterior states of the system in some given region of phase space.

Intuitional Epistemology in Ethics - Bedke - - Philosophy Compass - Wiley Online Library

Taking unstable systems into account thus leads necessarily to the introduction of probability. We may associate a computer calculation to the evaluation of the outcome of a coin toss. What, then will the computer. But in the finite information case, any computation will give us no more certainty about the outcome than we get by expressing the actual outcome of coin tossing in the usual terms of probability theory. This is so regardless of the precision of the initial data.

It is only in the limit of infinite precision that the computer may get rid of probabilistic concepts and give the exact outcome. But neither physical experiments, nor any computer evaluation are made with infinite precision. The situation is quite different from what intuition would say: We would have guessed that we come nearer to the exact deterministic result if we increase the precision. But it is not quite so. There remains an insuperable gap between the behavior of dynamical systems with finite precision and the deterministic behavior corresponding to infinite precision.

For stable dynamical systems, the situation is different: increasing the precision, we come closer and closer to the prediction of the deterministic dynamics. We can expect that probability and, through Boltzmann's equation, entropy, will be the expression of dynamical instability and not, as assumed by classical physics, the mere expression of our ignorance. Let us describe more finely the difference in behavior of an idealized dynamical system in which the evolution can be depicted by trajectories, and the 'real' dynamical evolution, corresponding to a system about which we have finite information.

As mentioned, physicists have usually looked at dynamical evolution in terms of trajectories in an appropriate space, called phase space. They have been working on the evolution of sets of points which occupy some volume zone in phase space. A characteristic feature of classical mechanics conservative dynamical systems is that this volume the 'measure', in the mathematical language is conserved in time. The destruction of the initial 'simple' volume gives the appearance of an approach to equilibrium, in which all the points would be uniformly distributed in the phase space.

Conservation of volume in phase space and conservation of entropy are closely related.

Sociobiology and Epistemology

Initial conditions can be restituted. Indeed, the fragments of the initial volume could be brought back simply by inverting the direction of time. But this description is an idealized one, as it is based on the traditional idea of trajectories. As we have seen, the concept of a given point in phase space loses its operational meaning for unstable dynamical systems, and we must show that we then go into a quite different description, the thermodynamical description.

This is a description in. But how does one obtain this new thermodynamical description, starting from a dynamical description? Figure 3: The baker transformation. General operation of baker transformation on state a gives state c through intermediary state b. Figure 4: Contrasting evolutions of ensembles of points in the baker transformation. Contracting, vertical fibers 4a ; dilating, horizontal fibers 4b. We may introduce a relation between distributions p and p. In the mechanical description, the world appears as a museum in which everything, including entropy, is conserved.

In the description in terms of Markovian processes, there is. We may suggest then, a simple meaning of the direction in which time flows. To grasp this idea, we may look at some dynamical systems, such as the so-called "baker transformation". The sequence of states for a given point is clearly deterministic. But any region, whatever its size, contains. We may then introduce the concept of "contracting" and "dilating" fibers Figure 4. These are peculiar objects ln phase space, whose fates are contrasting.

Let us suppose that a distribution of states is concentrated on a vertical line: At each baker. On the contrary, a distribution corresponding to a horizontal line will be duplicated, and would eventually occupy the entire phase space. Clearly, these evolutions correspond to opposite behaviors: Dilating fibers reach equilibrium in the distant future,.

Whatever numerical experiment 15 made, we never. Our time coincides with the. The world of thermodynamics is a world of processes, destroying and creating information; the extension in phase space is not conserved. Think of the evolution of. However, I would like to make a few general remarks. Quantum mechanics as usually presented has a rather odd dualistic structure. In the traditional Copenhagen interpretation,.

This leads us to a paradoxical situation: To quantum mechanics in which a wave function. This is the paradox inherent to the orthodox Copenhagen interpretation. As in classical mechanics, irreversibility in quantum mechanics means that we have to go from wave functions to appropriate, time-oriented ensembles. Then, there is no more need for a. However, some people adopt cheating as their primary strategy when they can get away with it.

These two empirical generalizations are taken as brute facts in traditional social science, but they can be explained by a sociobiology of prosocial and antisocial behavior. The empirical work to be discussed here purports to explain in detail why a few people adopt antisocial behavioral strategies. Sociopaths are by definition selfish people. This concept has continued to be a cornerstone of the field. That is, many took Dawkins to argue that, if human behavior were connected to natural selection, we would all be selfish.

Accordingly, both normal cooperators and selfish cheaters e. Moreover, critics such as Mary Midgley took Dawkins's view to involve viciously circular reasoning. Darwin's arguments for natural selection, however, do not characterize the evolutionary process itself as selfish or altruistic. Instead, he postulates traits that are functional for an individual, in the sense that adaptive traits are traits that help organisms solve problems imposed by limited resources. He provides a mechanism that explains the evolution of adaptive traits, namely, natural selection.

This advantage can occur through either altruistic traits which help others but hinder oneself in performing tasks, especially self-destructive behaviors or selfish traits which help oneself but hinder others in performing tasks, especially behaviors destructive of others. Darwinian theory itself says nothing about which traits will evolve, i. Hence, a goal of sociobiology is to show how genuine psychological and morally-relevant altruism and morality can and has evolved by natural selection. A common misinterpretation is that sociobiology substitutes biological altruism for genuine altruism.

What morality is and why selection favors it are distinct. In animal sociobiology, many studies identify situations in which honest signaling maximizes fitness and other situations in which deceptive signaling maximizes fitness. Both situations pervade human sociality. We should keep this distinction in mind as we consider an example of sociobiological research using selfish gene metaphors.

Why is sociopathy so widespread and why does it persist? Proximate explanations from behavioral genetics, child development, personality theory, learning theory, and social psychology describe a complex interaction of genetic and physiological risk factors with demographic and micro-environmental variables that predispose a portion of the population to chronic antisocial behavior. More recently, evolutionary and game theoretic models have tried to present an ultimate explanation of sociopathy as the expression of a frequency-dependent life-history strategy which is selected, in dynamic equilibrium, in response to certain varying environmental circumstances.

This paper tries to integrate the proximate, developmental models with ultimate, evolutionary ones, suggesting that two developmentally different etiologies of sociopathy emerge from two different evolutionary mechanisms. Social strategies for minimizing the incidence of sociopathic behavior in modern society should consider the two different etiologies and the factors which contribute to them. Mealey, John Maynard Smith developed game-theoretic models which let fitness optima vary according to the behavior of other individuals see the entry on evolutionary game theory.

Recall that Darwin conceived of evolution as a game of organisms against their conditions of life. Because there are winners and losers according to the criterion of which ones survive to reproduce, each organism has a risk of death and risk of reproductive failure at each moment of its lifetime. Mealey's model is a game-theoretic model in which anti-social behavior exists alongside social behaviors as evolutionarily stable strategies i.

Mealey's explanation attempted to make sense of a huge literature on sociopathy. Of course, the specific parameter values of sociobiological theories should be independently tested, insofar as that is possible. Anthropological data, for example, might shed light on social practices of ancestral human populations.

Stephen Hicks: Postmodernism: Reprise

Those data could then be used to test the plausibility of the hypothetical environments postulated by a sociobiological theory. Just as cellular biologists examine pathology to understand normal function, understanding sociopathy should shed light, not only on the sources of anti-social behavior, but on normal social functioning as well. Our detailed analysis of Mealey's explanation generalizes her method into one that can be applied to other topics, incorporating the sorts of explanatory factors critics objected were missing in early sociobiology.

First, hypothesize the behavior's adaptive function. Second, identify the type of evolutionary model s relevant to the evolution of that behavior's adaptive function. Third, connect these models to the distinctive attributes of the behavior. Fourth, postulate one or more life-history strategies. Fifth, gather multi-disciplinary evidence. Mealey's model has been evaluated by many commentators. Her two-pathway Cheater model of sociopathy has several interesting implications for issues that continually arise in evaluating sociobiology.

The following remarks serve to identify these issues and go beyond the usual dichotomies. If one's prior assumption is that mind and culture make human behavior disconnected from our biology, then work that explains behavior in terms of its ultimate function reproductive success and proximate mechanisms evolved psychological mechanisms that execute evolved strategies for reproductive success will be viewed as irrational.

This section attempts to clarify the competing assumptions of sociobiologists. From its inception, human sociobiology has been confronted with the charge that it espouses biological determinism. Biological determinism states that virtually everything significant about the human condition is explained by biological factors alone. Whereas biological determinism expands the domain of phenomena to be explained to include everything about human behavior, sociobiology restricts the domain to nothing but facts about human evolution and behavior, i.

The lesson in method is that is more effective to attempt to explain a little with a lot than to attempt to explain a lot with a little. Wilson's sociobiology Kitcher, and instead to undertake a more modest enterprise. Mealey's sociobiology of sociopathy exemplifies this more modest approach. Sociobiology studies the evolutionary significance of behavior; that is its limited domain. This specification of its domain gives its explanations of human behavior their power and their limits. It determines in what ways sociobiology is relevant or irrelevant to what we already think about human nature.

Given the immense time scale on which life on earth has changed, a behavior's evolutionary significance involves within-species and between-species similarities and differences. No other species rides in Cadillacs. Our ancestors did not ride in Cadillacs. Yet our ancestors did use their mobility to exploit different environments, and differential mobility led to differential reproductive success, which in turn accounts for within-species and between-species similarities and differences.

We are now in a position to answer an important question whose neglect has led to stalemate in the sociobiology debate: What is the import of evolutionary redescription for sociobiology? Critics are right that the behaviors they are thinking of—namely behaviors thought of in terms of cultural codes and individual decisions that put behaviors under descriptions disconnected from our evolutionary past—cannot be explained in evolutionary terms. Advocates are right that we should be able to explain evolutionary significant behaviors in evolutionary terms. Advocates are right that many human behaviors can be reconceptualized in ways that make their evolutionary significance explicit.

Both traditional nonevolutionary approaches and sociobiological approaches to explaining human nature are legitimate and compatible, and so there is no need to endorse a disconnection between evolved strategies and human behavior in order to defend nonevolutionary approaches. A large source of needless debate is therefore eliminated once we realize that evolutionary explanation normally involves redescription, reclassification, and reconceptualization. Thus, evolutionary explanations of behavior are theory-laden, i.

Mealey's study of sociopathy is a study of the evolutionary significance of sociopathy in just this sense. The point of the two-pathway Cheater model is to integrate biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors and to organize them using an evolutionary approach. The model readily fits a key point about the nature-nurture controversy made by Mark Ridley Genes of primary sociopaths give them a potential for behavior in various environments that is relatively constant, despite variations in developmental and social environments.

Genes of secondary sociopaths give them a potential for behavior in various environments that is relatively changeable in response to variations in developmental and social environments. In both sorts of sociopaths and in normal people, each behavior is a product of both genes and environment, but the two types differ in that the proximate mechanisms of behavior work differently. Human sociobiology aims to understand the evolution of human sociality.

Sociobiologists attempt to trace the evolutionary histories of particular behavioral strategies in terms of their functional roles in ancestral and current environments. The sociobiological research program faces extraordinary challenges, however. Chief among these is our ignorance of several crucial facts: the chronology of selective pressures in human ancestral and current environments, how particular strategies are activated and controlled, the possibility of radical transitions in human social organization, the relationship between biological evolution and cultural evolution, and many others.

The result is a necessarily speculative explanatory structure. Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to believe that sociobiology offers a potentially illuminating framework for understanding human behavior, one that has already achieved important insights. Spring Edition Cite this entry.