•  420
    Biological species: Natural kinds, individuals, or what?
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (2): 225-242. 1987.
    What are biological species? Aristotelians and Lockeans agree that they are natural kinds; but, evolutionary theory shows that neither traditional philosophical approach is truly adequate. Recently, Michael Ghiselin and David Hull have argued that species are individuals. This claim is shown to be against the spirit of much modern biology. It is concluded that species are natural kinds of a sort, and that any 'objectivity' they possess comes from their being at the focus of a consilience of indu…Read more
  •  259
    Genesis revisited: Can we do better than God?
    Zygon 19 (3): 297-316. 1984.
    WE ARE FACED WITH GROWING POWERS OF MANIPULATION OF OUR HUMAN GENETIC MAKEUP. WHILE NOT DENYING THAT THESE POWERS CAN BE USED FOR GREAT GOOD, IT BEHOOVES US TO THINK NOW OF POSSIBLE UPPER LIMITS TO THE CHANGE THAT WE MIGHT WANT TO EFFECT. I ARGUE THAT THOUGHTS OF CHANGING THE HUMAN SPECIES INTO A RACE OF SUPERMEN AND SUPERWOMEN ARE BASED ON WEAK PREMISES. GENETIC FINE-TUNING MAY INDEED BE IN ORDER; WHOLESALE GENETIC CHANGE IS NOT
  •  219
    Abstract. I respond to the criticisms of David Wisdo of my position on the relationship between science and religion. I argue that although he gives a full and fair account of my position, he fails to grasp fully my use of the metaphorical basis of modern science in my argument that, because of its mechanistic commitment, there are some questions that science not only does not answer but that science does not even attempt to answer. Hence, my position stands and plays a crucial role in our under…Read more
  •  211
    Methodological Naturalism Under Attack
    South African Journal of Philosophy 24 (1): 44-60. 2005.
    Methodological naturalism is the assumption or working hypothesis that understanding nature (the physical world including humans and their thoughts and actions) can be understood in terms of unguided laws. There is no need to Suppose interventions (miracles) from outside. It does not commit one to metaphysical naturalism, the belief that there is nothing other than nature as we can see and observe it (in other words, that atheism is the right theology for the sound thinker). Recently the Intelli…Read more
  •  194
    Evolutionary ethics: A phoenix arisen
    Zygon 21 (1): 95-112. 1986.
    Evolutionary ethics has a bad reputation. But we must not remain prisoners of our past. Recent advances in Darwinian evolutionary biology pave the way for a linking of science and morality, at once more modest yet more profound than earlier excursions in this direction. There is no need to repudiate the insights of the great philosophers of the past, particularly David Hume. So humans’ simian origins really matter. The question is not whether evolution is to be linked to ethics, but how.
  •  154
    This essay looks at the Darwinian sociobiological account of morality, arguing that in major respects this philosophy should prove congenial to theChristian. It is shown how modern-day Darwinism, starting from a ‘selfish gene’ perspective, nevertheless argues that a genuine moral sense is part of our evolutionary heritage. This moral sense yields directives much in tune with Christian prescriptions. It is argued also that Darwinian sociobiology can itself offer no metaethical foundations for mor…Read more
  •  140
    Karl Popper's philosophy of biology
    Philosophy of Science 44 (4): 638-661. 1977.
    In recent years Sir Karl Popper has been turning his attention more and more towards philosophical problems arising from biology, particularly evolutionary biology. Popper suggests that perhaps neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is better categorized as a metaphysical research program than as a scientific theory. In this paper it is argued that Popper can draw his conclusions only because he is abysmally ignorant of the current status of biological thought and that Popper's criticisms of biology …Read more
  •  130
    Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution: An Analysis
    Journal of the History of Biology 8 (2). 1975.
  •  130
    Science and values: My debt to Ernan McMullin
    Zygon 47 (4): 666-685. 2012.
    Ernan McMullin's 1982 presidential address to the Philosophy of Science Association dealt with the issue of science and values, arguing that although scientists are rightfully wary of the infiltration of cultural and social values, their work is guided by “epistemic values,” such as the drive for consistency and predictive fertility. McMullin argued that it is the pursuit of these epistemic values that drives nonepistemic values from science. Using the case study of the fate of the nonepistemic …Read more
  •  130
    Moral Philosophy as Applied Science
    with Edward O. Wilson
    Philosophy 61 (236): 173-192. 1986.
    (1) For much of this century, moral philosophy has been constrained by the supposed absolute gap between is andought, and the consequent belief that the facts of life cannot of themselves yield an ethical blueprint for future action. For this reason, ethics has sustained an eerie existence largely apart from science. Its most respected interpreters still believe that reasoning about right and wrong can be successful without a knowledge of the brain, the human organ where all the decisions about …Read more
  •  125
    On the nature of the evolutionary process: The correspondence between Theodosius Dobzhansky and John C. Greene (review)
    with John C. Greene
    Biology and Philosophy 11 (4): 445-491. 1996.
    This is the correspondence (1959–1969), on the nature of the evolutionary process, between the biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky and the historian John C. Greene.
  •  123
    Does modern evolutionary theory (specifically Darwinism) pose a problem for the Christian's thinking about morality? It certainly poses threats for those who would argue that certain practices are wrong because they are “unnatural.” Liberal Christians can probably get around these questions. But at a deeper level, despite superficial similarities between its conclusions and the Love Commandment, Darwinism points to an essential relativism about morality, thereby striking at the very core of all …Read more
  •  111
    Darwinism and determinism
    Zygon 22 (4): 419-442. 1987.
    Does Darwinism generally, and human sociobiology in particular, lead to an unwarranted (and possibly socially offensive) determinism? I argue that one must separate out different senses of determinism, and that once one has done this, a Darwinian approach to human nature can be seen to shed important light on our intuitions about free will, constraint, and control.
  •  107
    The biological sciences can act as a ground for ethics
    In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary debates in philosophy of biology, Wiley-blackwell. 2010.
    This paper is interested in the relationship between evolutionary thinking and moral behavior and commitments, ethics. There is a traditional way of forging or conceiving of the relationship. This is traditional evolutionary ethics, known as Social Darwinism. Many think that this position is morally pernicious, a redescription of the worst aspects of modern, laissez-faire capitalism in fancy biological language. It is argued that, in fact, there is much more to be said for Social Darwinism than …Read more
  •  106
    Science and religion today (review)
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (2): 167-177. 2011.
    Science and religion today Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-11 DOI 10.1007/s11153-011-9316-3 Authors Michael Ruse, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047
  •  101
    The Romantic Conception of Robert J. Richards
    Journal of the History of Biology 37 (1). 2004.
    In his new book, "The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe," Robert J. Richards argues that Charles Darwin's true evolutionary roots lie in the German Romantic biology that flourished around the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is argued that Richards is quite wrong in this claim and that Darwin's roots are in the British society within which he was born, educated, and lived.
  •  95
    Philosophy After Darwin: Classic and Contemporary Readings (edited book)
    Princeton University Press. 2009.
    Introduction -- Part I: Epistemology after Darwin -- Part II: Ethics after Darwin -- Part III: The evolution of ideas -- Part IV: The evolution of rationality -- - Part V: Ethics and progress -- Part VI: The evolution of altruism.
  •  92
    Medicine as social science: The case of Freud on homosexuality
    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 6 (4): 361-386. 1981.
    This paper considers the question of whether the explanation of homosexual orientation offered by Sigmund Freud qualifies as a genuine explanation, judged by the criteria of the social sciences. It is argued that the explanation, namely that homosexual orientation is a function of atypical parental influences, is indeed an explanation of the kind found in the social sciences. Nevertheless, it is concluded that to date Freud's hypotheses about homosexuality are no more than unproven speculations.…Read more
  •  88
    Explaining Evil: Four Views (edited book)
    Bloomsbury Academic. 2019.
    In Explaining Evil four prominent philosophers, two theists and two non-theists, present their arguments for why evil exists. Taking a "position and response" format, in which one philosopher offers an account of evil and three others respond, this book guides readers through the advantages and limitations of various philosophical positions on evil, making it ideal for classroom use as well as individual study. Divided into four chapters, Explaining Evil covers Theistic Libertarianism (Richard B…Read more
  •  87
    Science, truth, and democracy (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2). 2003.
    Book Information Science, Truth, and Democracy. By Philip Kitcher. Oxford. New York. 2001. Pp. xiii + 219. US$27.50.
  •  86
    Book reviews (review)
    with John Bacon, Alan R. White, M. Glouberman, Lawrence H. Davis, Gershon Weiler, Jeffrey Bub, Ilkka Niiniluoto, Yehuda Melzer, Zeev Levy, S. Biderman, Joseph Raz, and Irwin C. Lieb
    Philosophia 5 (3): 319-384. 1975.
  •  85
    Naturalism and the scientific method
    In Stephen Bullivant & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Atheism, Oxford University Press Uk. pp. 383. 2013.
    Methodological naturalism is the claim that there is no need to invoke the supernatural, including God or gods, in giving scientific explanations. Metaphysical naturalism is the claim that there is no supernatural, including God or gods. Does methodological naturalism entail metaphysical naturalism? Many seem to think that it does, in practice if not in principle. This essay questions this assumption.
  •  82
    Genetic testing and insurance: The complexity of adverse selection
    with Maureen Durnin and Michael Hoy
    Ethical Perspectives 19 (1): 123-54. 2012.
    The debate on whether insurance companies should be allowed to use results of individuals’ genetic tests for underwriting purposes has been both lively and increasingly relevant over the past two decades. Yet there appears to be no widely agreed upon resolution regarding appropriate and effective regulation. There exists today a gamut of recommendations and actual practices addressing this phenomenon ranging from laissez-faire to voluntary industry moratoria to strict legal prohibition. One obvi…Read more