•  1172
    The Cambrian Explosion and the Origins of Embodied Cognition
    Biological Theory 8 (1): 80-92. 2013.
    Around 540 million years ago there was a sudden, dramatic adaptive radiation known as the Cambrian Explosion. This event marked the origin of almost all of the phyla (major lineages characterized by fundamental body plans) of animals that would ever live on earth, as well the appearance of many notable features such as rigid skeletons and other hard parts, complex jointed appendages, eyes, and brains. This radical evolutionary event has been a major puzzle for evolutionary biologists since Darwi…Read more
  •  340
    Animal consciousness
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2005.
  •  39
    Implicit and Explicit Goal-Directedness
    Erkenntnis 77 (2): 207-236. 2012.
    In this paper, I develop and defend a theory of what I call 'implicit goal-directedness', which is a purely causal or dynamical notion, and can be separated from the notion of 'explicit goal-directedness', which implies the representation of a goal-state. I describe the problems that plagued earlier attempts at analyzing goal-directedness in causal/dynamical terms, and then present my own novel solution. I argue that implicit goal-directedness, in the sense presented, plays an important conceptu…Read more
  •  30
    This paper takes a close look at the role of behavior in the “major transitions” in evolution—events during which inheritance and development, and therefore the process of adaptation by natural selection, are reorganized at a new level of compositional hierarchy—and at the requirements for sufficiently explaining these important events in the history of life. I argue that behavior played a crucial role in driving at least some of the major transitions. Because behavioral interactions can become …Read more
  •  27
    Two strategies for investigating the evolution of behavior
    Biology and Philosophy 26 (6): 871-889. 2011.
    In this paper I distinguish and characterize two strategies, both prominent in contemporary biology, for investigating the evolution of behavior. The ‘Lorenzian Strategy’ is taxon-focused, holistic, and particularistic, and relies heavily on naturalistic observation as well as careful experimental manipulation of target systems; it tends to produce detailed knowledge of concrete historical instances of the evolution of behavior in particular lineages. The ‘Analytic Strategy’ is principle-focused…Read more
  •  10
    The development of cognitive capacities depends on environmental conditions, including various forms of scaffolding. As a result, the evolution of cognition depends on the evolution of activities that provide scaffolding for cognitive development. Non-human animals reared and trained in environments heavily scaffolded with human social interaction can acquire non-species-typical knowledge, skills, and capacities. This can potentially shed light on some of the changes that paved the way for the e…Read more