•  14
    A Chemostat Model for Evolution by Persistence: Clade Selection and Its Explanatory Autonomy
    with W. Ford Doolittle
    Philosophy of Science 90 (1): 21-38. 2023.
    Many contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology admit that selection occurs at any level of the biological hierarchy at which entities showing heritable variation in fitness are found, while insisting that fitness at any level entails differential reproduction, not differential persistence. Those who allow that persistence can be selected doubt that selection on nonreproducing entities can be reiterated, to produce “complex adaptations.” We present here a verbal model of subclones evolv…Read more
  •  9
    In this paper, I show how idealizations contribute to social activities in science, such as the recruitment of experts to a research project. These contributions have not been explicitly discussed by recent philosophical accounts of scientific idealization. These accounts have focused on how idealizations influence activities like scientific theorization, explanation, and modeling. Other accounts focus on how idealizations influence policy-making and science communication. I expand these account…Read more
  •  30
    Contrary to the common-sense view and positivist aspirations, scientific concepts are often imprecise. Many of these concepts are ambiguous, vague, or have an under-specified meaning. In this paper, I discuss how imprecise concepts promote integration in biology and thus benefit science. Previous discussions of this issue focus on the concepts of molecular gene and evolutionary novelty. The concept of molecular gene helps biologists integrate explanatory practices, while the notion of evolutiona…Read more
  •  2
    What is a lineage?
    Philosophy of Science 86 (5): 1099-1110. 2019.
    This article defends lineage pluralism; the view that biological lineages are not a single, unified type of entity. I analyze aspects of evolutionary theory, phylogenetics, and developmental biology to show that these areas appeal to distinct notions of lineage. I formulate three arguments for lineage pluralism. These arguments undercut the main motivations for lineage monism; the view that biological lineages are a single, unified type of entity. Although this view is rarely made explicit, it i…Read more
  •  34
    Rethinking Cohesion and Species Individuality
    Biological Theory 11 (3): 01-12. 2016.
    According to the species-as-individuals thesis(hereafter S-A-I), species are cohesive entities. Barker and Wilson recently pointed out that the type of cohesion exhibited by species is fundamentally different from that of organisms (paradigmatic individuals), suggesting that species are homeostatic property cluster kinds. In this article, I propose a shift in how to approach cohesion in the context of S-A-I: instead of analyzing the different types of cohesion and questioning whether species hav…Read more