•  8
    Beyond Standardization: Improving External Validity and Reproducibility in Experimental Evolution
    with Joachim Kurtz, Nina Kranke, Ana Lindeza, and S. Helene Richter
    BioScience 71 (5). 2021.
    Discussions of reproducibility are casting doubts on the credibility of experimental outcomes in the life sciences. Although experimental evolution is not typically included in these discussions, this field is also subject to low reproducibility, partly because of the inherent contingencies affecting the evolutionary process. A received view in experimental studies more generally is that standardization (i.e., rigorous homogenization of experimental conditions) is a solution to some issues of si…Read more
  •  2
    On the Meaning of “Coevolution” in Social-Ecological Studies
    Philosophical Topics 47 (1): 45-64. 2019.
    Researchers studying linked Social-Ecological Systems often use the notion of coevolution in describing the relation between humans and the rest of nature. However, most descriptions of the concept of socio-ecological coevolution remain elusive and poorly articulated. The objective of the following paper is to further specify and enrich the meaning of “coevolution” in social-ecological studies. After a critical analysis of two accounts of coevolution in ecological economics, the paper uses the f…Read more
  •  220
    Functional diversity: An epistemic roadmap
    with Christophe Malaterre, Antoine C. Dussault, Sophia Rousseau-Mermans, Gillian Barker, Beatrix E. Beisner, Frédéric Bouchard, Tanya I. Handa, Steven W. Kembel, Geneviève Lajoie, Virginie Maris, Alison D. Munson, Jay Odenbaugh, Timothée Poisot, B. Jesse Shapiro, and Curtis A. Suttle
    BioScience 10 (69): 800-811. 2019.
    Functional diversity holds the promise of understanding ecosystems in ways unattainable by taxonomic diversity studies. Underlying this promise is the intuition that investigating the diversity of what organisms actually do—i.e. their functional traits—within ecosystems will generate more reliable insights into the ways these ecosystems behave, compared to considering only species diversity. But this promise also rests on several conceptual and methodological—i.e. epistemic—assumptions that cut …Read more
  •  24
    While many recognise that rigid historical and compositional goals are inadequate in a world where climate and other global systems are undergoing unprecedented changes, others contend that promoting ecosystem services and functions encourages practices that can ultimately lower the bar of ecological management. These worries are foregrounded in discussions about 'novel ecosystems' (NEs), where some researchers and conservationists claim that NEs provide a license to trash nature as long as cert…Read more
  •  24
    On the Meaning of Biological Contingencies for Human Lives
    Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 11. 2019.
    Turning Points by Kostas Kampourakis offers a view of human life that is opposed to teleological reasoning, or more precisely to the tendency to infer design and grounds for faith while observing and explaining human life. While this common theme in the history of philosophy of science has mostly been related to Natural Theology, Kampourakis’s arguments against the “design stance” go beyond the idea that the appearance of design implies the existence of an intelligent Being responsible for the p…Read more
  •  256
    Natural selection and history
    with John Beatty
    Biology and Philosophy 24 (2): 231-246. 2009.
    In “Spandrels,” Gould and Lewontin criticized what they took to be an all-too-common conviction, namely, that adaptation to current environments determines organic form. They stressed instead the importance of history. In this paper, we elaborate upon their concerns by appealing to other writings in which those issues are treated in greater detail. Gould and Lewontin’s combined emphasis on history was three-fold. First, evolution by natural selection does not start from scratch, but always refas…Read more
  •  35
    While many recognize that rigid historical and compositional goals are inadequate in a world where climate and other global systems are undergoing unprecedented changes, others contend that promoting ecosystem services and functions encourages practices that can ultimately lower the bar of ecological management. These worries are foregrounded in discussions about Novel Ecosystems (NEs); where some researchers and conservationists claim that NEs provide a license to trash nature as long as some e…Read more
  •  84
    This essay examines the claim “path dependence entails irreversibility” from the point of view of evolutionary biology. I argue that evolutionary irreversibility possesses many faces, sometimes conflicting with path dependence. I propose an account of path dependence that does not rely on irreversibility and explains why it more naturally coexists with the notion of (contingent) irreversibility developed by the Belgian paleontologist Louis Dollo. However, I argue that we should not conceive of t…Read more
  •  89
    Historicity and experimental evolution
    Biology and Philosophy 26 (3): 339-364. 2011.
    Biologists in the last 50 years have increasingly emphasized the role of historical contingency in explaining the distribution and dynamics of biological systems. However, recent work in philosophy of biology has shown that historical contingency carries various interpretations and that we are still lacking a general understanding of historicity, i.e., a framework from which to interpret why and to what extent history matters in biological processes. Building from examples and analyses of the lo…Read more
  •  43
    Historicity and ecological restoration
    Biology and Philosophy 30 (1): 77-98. 2015.
    This paper analyzes the relevance and interconnection of two forms of historicity in ecological restoration, namely historical fidelity and path dependence. Historical fidelity is the practice of attempting to restore an ecological system to some sort of idealized past condition. Path dependence occurs when a system can evolve in alternative local equilibria, and that the order and timing of the events that follow from the initial state influence which equilibrium is reached. Using theoretical e…Read more