University Of Pittsburgh, HPS
Department Of Philosophy
Alumnus
Easton, Pennsylvania, United States of America
Areas of Interest
Applied Ethics
  •  9
    Eene stem uit mooi-rivier: Aan de Leden der Nederduitsch-Gereformeerde Kerk in de Hollandschafrikaansche Republiek
    with D. Van der Hoff, F. G. Wolmarans, H. S. Pretorius, G. C. Snyman, Ph Snyman, P. J. Liebenberg, J. J. Van Wyngaard, and C. A. Bothma
    Hts Theological Studies 18 (4). 1963.
  •  141
    An explication of the causal dimension of drift
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3): 521-555. 2009.
    Among philosophers, controversy over the notion of drift in population genetics is ongoing. This is at least partly because the notion of drift has an ambiguous usage among population geneticists. My goal in this paper is to explicate the causal dimension of drift, to say what causal influences are responsible for the stochasticity in population genetics models. It is commonplace for population genetics to oppose the influence of selection to that of drift, and to consider how the dynamics of po…Read more
  •  46
    Darwin, Herschel, and the role of analogy in Darwin's origin
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 35 (4): 593-611. 2004.
    In what follows, I consider the role of analogy in the first edition of Darwin’s Origin. I argue that Darwin follows Herschel’s methodology and hence exploits an analogy between artificial and natural selection that allows him generalize selection as a cause of evolutionary change. This argument strategy is not equivalent to an argument from analogy. Reading Darwin’s argument as conforming to Herschel’s two-step methodology of causal analysis followed by generalization allows us to understand th…Read more
  •  5
    Darwin, Herschel, and the role of analogy in Darwin’s origin
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 35 (4): 593-611. 2003.
    In what follows, I consider the role of analogy in the first edition of Darwin’s Origin. I argue that Darwin follows Herschel’s methodology and hence exploits an analogy between artificial and natural selection that allows him generalize selection as a cause of evolutionary change. This argument strategy is not equivalent to an argument from analogy. Reading Darwin’s argument as conforming to Herschel’s two-step methodology of causal analysis followed by generalization allows us to understand th…Read more
  •  23
    The reason why population genetics is a probabilistic theory has attracted considerable attention from philosophers. In what follows, I offer a novel account of what motivates the introduction of probabilities into classical population genetics. Probabilities make the theory easier to apply for researchers given their epistemic limitations and give the theory a recursive structure, thereby making possible inferences about the dynamics of systems over multiple generations. I argue that probabilit…Read more
  •  225
    Causal Equations without Ceteris Paribus Clauses
    Philosophy of Science 77 (4): 608-632. 2010.
    Some writers have urged that evolutionary theory produces generalizations that hold only ceteris paribus, that is, provided “everything else is equal.” Others have claimed that all laws in the special sciences, or even all laws in science generally, hold only ceteris paribus. However, if we lack a way to determine when everything else really is equal, hedging generalizations with the phrase ceteris paribus renders those generalizations vacuous. I propose a solution to this problem for the case o…Read more
  •  54
    Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (1): 192-195. 2012.
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Volume 90, Issue 1, Page 192-195, March 2012
  •  42
    Righteous modeling: the competence of classical population genetics (review)
    Biology and Philosophy 26 (6): 813-835. 2011.
    In a recent article, “Wayward Modeling: Population Genetics and Natural Selection,” Bruce Glymour claims that population genetics is burdened by serious predictive and explanatory inadequacies and that the theory itself is to blame. Because Glymour overlooks a variety of formal modeling techniques in population genetics, his arguments do not quite undermine a major scientific theory. However, his arguments are extremely valuable as they provide definitive proof that those who would deploy classi…Read more
  •  52
    In what follows, I argue that the semantic approach to scientific theories fails as a means to present the Wright—Fisher formalism (WFF) of population genetics. I offer an account of what population geneticist understand insofar as they understand the WFF, a variation on Lloyd's view that population genetics can be understood as a family of models of mid-level generality
  •  34
    Laplaceanism defended
    Biology and Philosophy 31 (3): 395-408. 2016.
    This work is a critical consideration of several arguments recently given by Elliott Sober that are aimed at undermining the Laplacean stance on probability in evolutionary theory. The Laplacean contends that the only objective probability an event has is the one assigned to it by a complete description of the relevant microparticles. Sober alleges a formal demonstration that the Laplacean stance on probability in evolutionary theory is inconsistent. But Sober’s argument contains a crucial lacun…Read more
  •  158
    Arbitrariness and Causation in Classical Population Genetics
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3): 429-444. 2014.
    I criticize some arguments against the causal interpretability of population genetics put forward by Denis Walsh ([2007], [2010]). In particular, I seek to undermine the contention that population genetics exhibits frame of reference relativity or subjectivity with respect to its formal representations. I also show that classical population genetics does not fall foul of some criteria for causal representation put forward by James Woodward ([2003]), although those criteria do undermine some caus…Read more
  •  104
    The evolution of altruism: The sober/wilson model
    Philosophy of Science 70 (1): 27-48. 2003.
    In what follows, I critique the interpretation that Sober and Wilson offer of their group selection model in Unto Others. Sober and Wilson mistakenly claim that their model operates as an example of Simpson's paradox and defend an interpretation of their model according to which groups are operated upon by natural selection. In the place of their interpretation, I offer one that parallels the mathematical calculation of the model's outcome and does not depend on the postulation of a force of gro…Read more
  •  4
    Darwin, Herschel, and the role of analogy in Darwin’s origin
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 35 (4): 593-611. 2004.
  •  42
    Major and minor groups in evolution
    Biology and Philosophy 29 (1): 1-32. 2014.
    Kerr and Godfrey-Smith argue that two mathematically equivalent, alternative formal representations drawn from population genetics, the contextualist and collectivist formalisms, may be equally good for quantifying the dynamics of some natural systems, despite important differences between the formalisms. I draw on constraints on causal representation from Woodward (Making things happen, Oxford University Press, New York, 2003) and Eberhardt and Scheines (Philos Sci 74(5):981–995, 2006) to argue…Read more