•  118
    Laws of biological design: A reply to John Beatty
    Biology and Philosophy 25 (3): 379-389. 2010.
    In this paper, I argue against John Beatty’s position in his paper “The Evolutionary Contingency Thesis” by counterexample. Beatty argues that there are no distinctly biological laws because the outcomes of the evolutionary processes are contingent. I argue that the heart of the Caspar–Klug theory of virus structure—that spherical virus capsids consist of 60T subunits (where T = k 2 + hk + h 2 and h and k are integers)—is a distinctly biological law even if the existence of spherical viruses is …Read more
  •  98
    Evolution without species: The case of mosaic bacteriophages
    with W. Brad Pitts
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4): 745-765. 2008.
    College of Medicine, University of South Alabama Mobile, AL 36688-0002, USA wbp501{at}jaguar1.usouthal.edu ' + u + '@' + d + ' '//-->   Abstract Recent work in viral genomics has shown that bacteriophages exhibit a high degree of mosaicism, which is most likely due to a long history of prolific horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Given these findings, we argue that each of the most plausible attempts to properly classify bacteriophages into distinct species fail. Mayr's biological species concept fa…Read more
  •  78
    Review of the evolution of morality, by Richard Joyce (review)
    Metaphilosophy 39 (4-5): 685-690. 2008.
    No Abstract
  •  64
    The recent conception of biodiversity proposed by James Maclaurin and Sterelny was developed mostly with macrobiological life in mind. They suggest that we measure biodiversity by dividing life into natural units (typically species) and quantifying the differences among units using phenetic rather than phylogenetic measures of distance. They identify problems in implementing quantitative phylogenetic notions of difference for non-prokaryotic species. I suggest that if we focus on microbiological…Read more
  •  52
    In this paper I consider Kenneth Schaffner''s(1998) rendition of ''''developmentalism'''' from the point of viewof bacteriophage biology. I argue that the fact that a viablephage can be produced from purified DNA and host cellularcomponents lends some support to the anti-developmentalist, ifthey first show that one can draw a principled distinctionbetween genetic and environmental effects. The existence ofhost-controlled phage host range restriction supports thedevelopmentalist''s insistence on …Read more
  •  49
    Prioritizing the transformative value of biodiversity
    Biology and Philosophy 22 (4): 627-632. 2007.
  •  39
    Using Ethical Reasoning to Amplify the Reach and Resonance of Professional Codes of Conduct in Training Big Data Scientists
    with Rochelle E. Tractenberg, Andrew J. Russell, Kevin T. FitzGerald, Jeff Collmann, Lee Vinsel, Michael Steinmann, and Lisa M. Dolling
    Science and Engineering Ethics 21 (6): 1485-1507. 2015.
    The use of Big Data—however the term is defined—involves a wide array of issues and stakeholders, thereby increasing numbers of complex decisions around issues including data acquisition, use, and sharing. Big Data is becoming a significant component of practice in an ever-increasing range of disciplines; however, since it is not a coherent “discipline” itself, specific codes of conduct for Big Data users and researchers do not exist. While many institutions have created, or will create, trainin…Read more
  •  38
    Philosophy of Science Matters: The Philosophy of Peter Achinstein (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2011.
    In this, the first book devoted to Peter Achinstein's influential work in philosophy of science, twenty distinguished philosophers, including four Lakatos award winners, address various aspects of Achinstein's influential views on the nature of scientific evidence, scientific explanation, and scientific realism. It includes short essays by Steve Gimbel and Jeff Maynes, Nancy Cartwright, Jordi Cat, Victor DiFate, Jerry Doppelt, Adam Goldstein, Philip Kitcher, Fred Kronz, Deborah Mayo, Greg Morgan…Read more
  •  30
    Making microbes matter: essay review of Maureen A. O’Malley’s Philosophy of Microbiology
    with James Romph, Joshua L. Ross, Elizabeth Steward, and Claire Szipszky
    Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2): 12. 2018.
    In a pioneering book, Philosophy of Microbiology, Maureen O’Malley argues for the philosophical importance of microbes through an examination of their impact on ecosystems, evolution, biological classification, collaborative behavior, and multicellular organisms. She identifies many understudied conceptual issues in the study of microbes. If philosophers follow her lead, the philosophy of biology will be expanded and enriched.
  •  27
    The Value of Beauty in Theory Pursuit: Kuhn, Duhem, and Decision Theory
    Open Journal of Philosophy 3 (1): 9-14. 2013.
    Should judgments of beauty play a guiding role in theoretical science even if beauty is not a sign of truth? In this paper I argue that they should in certain cases. If we analyze the rationality of theoretical pursuit using decision theory, a theory’s beauty can influence the utilities of the various options confronting the researcher. After considering the views of Pierre Duhem and Thomas Kuhn on aesthetics in science, I suggest that because we value freedom of inquiry we rightly allow scienti…Read more
  •  22
    The many dimensions of biodiversity
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40 (3): 235-238. 2009.
  •  21
    Ludwik Gross, Sarah Stewart, and the 1950s discoveries of Gross murine leukemia virus and polyoma virus
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 48 200-209. 2014.
  •  15
    What is a virus species? Radical pluralism in viral taxonomy
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 59 64-70. 2016.
  •  12
    Evolution without Species: The Case of Mosaic Bacteriophages: Articles
    with W. Brad Pitts
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4): 745-765. 2008.
    Recent work in viral genomics has shown that bacteriophages exhibit a high degree of mosaicism, which is most likely due to a long history of prolific horizontal gene transfer. Given these findings, we argue that each of the most plausible attempts to properly classify bacteriophages into distinct species fail. Mayr's biological species concept fails because there is no useful viral analog to sexual reproduction. Phenetic species concepts fail because they obscure the mosaicism and the rich reti…Read more
  •  11
    Why there was a Useful Plausible Analogy between Geodesic Domes and Spherical Viruses
    History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 28 (2). 2006.
    In 1962, Donald Caspar and Aaron Klug published their classic theory of virus structure. They developed their theory with an explicit analogy between spherical viruses and Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes. In this paper, I use the spherical virus-geodesic dome case to develop an account of analogy and deductive analogical inference based on the notion of an isomorphism. I also consider under what conditions there is a good reason to claim an experimentally untested analogy is plausible
  •  9
    After the Double Helix
    with Angela Creager
    Isis 99 239-272. 2008.
  •  7
    After the Double Helix
    with Angela N. H. Creager
    Isis 99 (2): 239-272. 2008.