•  278
    This volume introduces readers to emergence theory, outlines the major arguments in its defence, and summarizes the most powerful objections against it. It provides the clearest explication yet of this exciting new theory of science, which challenges the reductionist approach by proposing the continuous emergence of novel phenomena.
  •  97
    'Defending' Direct Proper Functions
    Analysis 55 (4): 299. 1995.
  •  92
    Biology and Philosophy 15 (1): 19-38. 2000.
    A persistent boast of the historical approach to functions is that functional properties are normative. The claim is that a token trait retains its functional status even when it is defective, diseased, or damaged and consequently unable to perform the relevant task. This is because historical functional categories are defined in terms of some sort of historical success -- success in natural selection, typically -- which imposes a norm upon the performance of descendent tokens. Descendents thus …Read more
  •  75
    Fred Dretske asserts that the conscious or phenomenal experiences associated with our perceptual states—e.g. the qualitative or subjective features involved in visual or auditory states—are identical to properties that things have according to our representations of them. This is Dretske's version of the currently popular representational theory of consciousness . After explicating the core of Dretske's representational thesis, I offer two criticisms. I suggest that Dretske's view fails to apply…Read more
  •  74
    This chapter contains sections titled: * 1 The Universe Is Weirdly Fine-Tuned for Life * 2 The Cosmic Code * 3 The Concept of Laws * 4 Are the Laws Real? * 5 Does a Multiverse Explain the Goldilocks Enigma? * 6 Many Scientists Hate the Multiverse Idea * 7 Who Designed the Multiverse? * 8 If There Were a Unique Final Theory, God Would Be Redundant * 9 What Exists and What Doesn’t: Who or What Gets to Decide? * 10 The Origin of the Rule That Separates What Exists From What Doesn’t * 11 Why Mind Ma…Read more
  •  65
    Discovering the functional mesh: On the methods of evolutionary psychology (review)
    Minds and Machines 6 (4): 559-585. 1996.
      The aim of this paper is to clarify and critically assess the methods of evolutionary psychology, and offer a sketch of an alternative methodology. My thesis is threefold. (1) The methods of inquiry unique to evolutionary psychology rest upon the claim that the discovery of theadaptive functions of ancestral psychological capacities leads to the discovery of thepsychological functions of those ancestral capacities. (2) But this claim is false; in fact, just the opposite is true. We first must …Read more
  •  61
    Troubles for direct proper functions
    Noûs 28 (3): 363-381. 1994.
  •  60
    Being human while trying to scientifically study human nature confronts us with our most vexing problem. Efforts to explicate the human mind are thwarted by our cultural biases and entrenched infirmities; our first-person experiences as practical agents convince us that we have capacities beyond the reach of scientific explanation. What we need to move forward in our understanding of human agency, Paul Sheldon Davies argues, is a reform in the way we study ourselves and a long overdue break with…Read more
  •  57
    Logical reasoning and domain specificity: A critique of the social exchange theory of reasoning
    with James H. Fetzer and Thomas R. Foster
    Biology and Philosophy 10 (1): 1-37. 1995.
    The social exchange theory of reasoning, which is championed by Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, falls under the general rubric evolutionary psychology and asserts that human reasoning is governed by content-dependent, domain-specific, evolutionarily-derived algorithms. According to Cosmides and Tooby, the presumptive existence of what they call cheater-detection algorithms disconfirms the claim that we reason via general-purpose mechanisms or via inductively acquired principles. We contend that th…Read more
  •  50
    Unmasking self-deception (review)
    Philosophia 32 (1-4): 413-417. 2005.
  •  43
    Darwinizing debunking arguments
    Ratio 32 (4): 275-289. 2019.
    Ratio, EarlyView.
  •  42
    The Excesses of Teleosemantics
    In J. S. McIntosh (ed.), Canadian Journal of Philosophy, University of Calgary Press. pp. 117-137. 2001.
  •  40
    Does past selective efficacy matter to psychology?
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (4): 513-514. 2002.
    Andrews et al. subscribe to the view that distinguishing selectionist from nonselectionist hypotheses – or, distinguishing adaptations from mere spandrels or exaptations – is important to the study of psychology. I offer three reasons for thinking that this view is false; that considerations of past selective efficacy have little to contribute to inquiry in psychology.
  •  37
    The Excesses of Teleosemantics
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (sup1): 117-137. 2001.
    Teleosemantics asserts that mental content is determined by natural selection. The thesis is that content is fixed by the historical conditions under which certain cognitive mechanisms—those that produce and those that interpret representational states—were selectively successful. Content is fixed by conditions of selective success. The thesis of this paper is that teleosemantics is mistaken, that content cannot be fixed by conditions of selective success, because those conditions typically outn…Read more
  •  36
    Book reviews (review)
    Philosophia 24 (3-4): 531-558. 1995.
  •  35
    Giving Reasons for What We Do
    Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (1): 135-144. 2016.
  •  10
    Targeting cancer's weaknesses : Therapeutic strategies suggested by the atavistic model
    with Charles H. Lineweaver and Mark D. Vincent
    Bioessays 36 (9): 827-835. 2014.
    In the atavistic model of cancer progression, tumor cell dedifferentiation is interpreted as a reversion to phylogenetically earlier capabilities. The more recently evolved capabilities are compromised first during cancer progression. This suggests a therapeutic strategy for targeting cancer: design challenges to cancer that can only be met by the recently evolved capabilities no longer functional in cancer cells. We describe several examples of this target‐the‐weakness strategy. Our most detail…Read more
  •  9
    From Matter to Life: Information and Causality (edited book)
    with Sara Imari Walker and George F. R. Ellis
    Cambridge University Press. 2017.
    This book tackles the most difficult and profound open questions about life and its origins from an information-based perspective.
  •  9
    Putting guidelines into practice: a tailored multi‐modal approach to improve post‐operative assessments
    with John A. Ford, Craig MacKay, Chris Peach, and Malcolm Loudon
    Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 19 (1): 106-111. 2013.
  •  6
    Has Science Abolished God?
    with Rodney Brooks, Raimond Gaita, Owen Gingerich, John Shelby Spong, Margaret Wertheim, and Adelaide Festival Corporation
    Adelaide Festival of Ideas session, Elder Hall, 8:00pm, Saturday 14 July, 2001. Chaired by Paul Davies.
  •  2
    The Accidental Universe
    Cambridge University Press, 1982. 1982.
    This book is a survey of the range of apparently miraculous accidents of nature that have enabled the universe to evolve its familiar structures (atoms, stars, galaxies, and life itself) concludes with an investigation of the so-called anthropic principle.
  •  1
    Complexity and the Arrow of Time (edited book)
    with Charles H. Lineweaver and Michael Ruse
    Cambridge University Press. 2013.
    There is a widespread assumption that the universe in general, and life in particular, is 'getting more complex with time'. This book brings together a wide range of experts in science, philosophy and theology and unveils their joint effort in exploring this idea. They confront essential problems behind the theory of complexity and the role of life within it: what is complexity? When does it increase, and why? Is the universe evolving towards states of ever greater complexity and diversity? If s…Read more
  • The Re-Emergence of Emergence: The Emergentist Hypothes (edited book)
    Oxford University Press UK. 2008.
    Much of the modern period was dominated by a `reductionist' theory of science. On this view, to explain any event in the world is to reduce it down to fundamental particles, laws, and forces. In recent years reductionism has been dramatically challenged by a radically new paradigm called `emergence'. According to this new theory, natural history reveals the continuous emergence of novel phenomena: new structures and new organisms with new causal powers. Consciousness is yet one more emergent lev…Read more