•  1189
    Scientific Models
    Philosophy Compass 6 (11): 757-764. 2011.
    This contribution provides an assessment of the epistemological role of scientific models. The prevalent view that all scientific models are representations of the world is rejected. This view points to a unified way of resolving epistemic issues for scientific models. The emerging consensus in philosophy of science that models have many different epistemic roles in science is presented and defended
  •  688
    Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Aggression
    with Elizabeth Cashdan
    Human Nature 23 (1): 1-4. 2012.
    The papers in this volume present varying approaches to human aggression, each from an evolutionary perspective. The evolutionary studies of aggression collected here all pursue aspects of patterns of response to environmental circumstances and consider explicitly how those circumstances shape the costs and benefits of behaving aggressively. All the authors understand various aspects of aggression as evolved adaptations but none believe that this implies we are doomed to continued violence, but …Read more
  •  579
    The Importance of Models in Theorizing: A Deflationary Semantic View
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992. 1992.
    I critically examine the semantic view of theories to reveal the following results. First, models in science are not the same as models in mathematics, as holders of the semantic view claim. Second, when several examples of the semantic approach are examined in detail no common thread is found between them, except their close attention to the details of model building in each particular science. These results lead me to propose a deflationary semantic view, which is simply that model constructio…Read more
  •  277
    Evolutionary psychology, adaptation and design
    In T. Heams P. Huneman & G. Lecointre M. Silberstein (eds.), Handbook of Evolutionary Thinking in the Sciences, Springer. pp. 659-673. 2014.
    I argue that Evolutionary Psychologists’ notion of adaptationism is closest to what Peter Godfrey-Smith (2001) calls explanatory adaptationism and as a result, is not a good organizing principle for research in the biology of human behavior. I also argue that adopting an alternate notion of adaptationism presents much more explanatory resources to the biology of human behavior. I proceed by introducing Evolutionary Psychology and giving some examples of alternative approaches to the biological e…Read more
  •  270
    Alternative Splicing, the Gene Concept, and Evolution
    History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 26 (1). 2004.
    Alternative splicing allows for the production of many gene products from a single coding sequence. I introduce the concept of alternative splicing via some examples. I then discuss some current hypotheses about the explanatory role of alternative splicing, including the claim that splicing is a significant contributor to the difference in complexity between the human genome and proteosome. Hypotheses such as these bring into question our working concepts of the gene. I examine several gene conc…Read more
  •  252
    How much work do scientific images do?
    Spontaneous Generations 6 (1): 115-130. 2012.
    In this paper, I defend the view that there are many scientific images that have a serious epistemic role in science but this role is not adequately accounted for by the going view of representation and its attendant theoretical commitments. The relevant view of representation is Laura Perini’s account of representation for scientific images. I draw on Adina Roskies’ work on scientific images as well as work on models in science to support my conclusion.
  •  242
    Heritability
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2015.
  •  193
    No Magic Bullet Explains the Evolution of Unique Human Traits
    Biological Theory 8 (1): 15-19. 2013.
    Here I outline the argument in Kim Sterelny’s book The Evolved Apprentice. I present some worries for Sterelny from the perspective of modelers in behavioral ecology. I go on to discuss Sterelny’s approach to moral psychology and finally introduce some potential new applications for his evolved apprentice view
  •  159
    Socializing naturalized philosophy of science
    Philosophy of Science 60 (3): 452-468. 1993.
    I propose an approach to naturalized philosophy of science that takes the social nature of scientific practice seriously. I criticize several prominent naturalistic approaches for adopting "cognitive individualism", which limits the study of science to an examination of the internal psychological mechanisms of scientists. I argue that this limits the explanatory capacity of these approaches. I then propose a three-level model of the social nature of scientific practice, and use the model to defe…Read more
  •  142
    Several prominent philosophers of science, most notably Ron Giere, propose that scientific theories are collections of models and that models represent the objects of scientific study. Some, including Giere, argue that models represent in the same way that pictures represent. Aestheticians have brought the picturing relation under intense scrutiny and presented important arguments against the tenability of particular accounts of picturing. Many of these arguments from aesthetics can be used agai…Read more
  •  133
    The theory theory thrice over: the child as scientist, Superscientist or social institution?
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (1): 117-132. 2002.
    Alison Gopnik and Andrew Meltzoff have argued for a view they call the ‘theory theory’: theory change in science and children are similar. While their version of the theory theory has been criticized for depending on a number of disputed claims, we argue that there is a fundamental problem which is much more basic: the theory theory is multiply ambiguous. We show that it might be claiming that a similarity holds between theory change in children and (i) individual scientists, (ii) a rational rec…Read more
  •  101
    Evolutionary Psychology
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2014.
    This is an updated version of my Stanford Encyclopedia entry on Evolutionary Psychology. The 2018 version contains a new section on Human Nature as well as some new material on recent developments in Evolutionary Psychology.
  •  86
      In this paper I review some theoretical exchanges and empiricalresults from recent work on human behavior and cognition in thehope of indicating some productive avenues for critical engagement.I focus particular attention on methodological debates between Evolutionary Psychologists and behavioral ecologists. I argue for a broader and more encompassing approach to the evolutionarily based study of human behavior and cognition than either of these two rivals present
  •  85
    Biological information
    In Sahotra Sarkar & Jessica Pfeifer (eds.), Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia, . 2005.
    This paper discussses various concepts of biological information with particular attention being paid to genetic information.
  •  60
    In this paper I assess Gopnik and Meltzoff's developmental psychology of science as a contribution to the understanding of scientific development. I focus on two specific aspects of Gopnik and Meltzoff's approach: the relation between their views and recapitulationist views of ontogeny and phylogeny in biology, and their overall conception of cognition as a set of veridical processes. First, I discuss several issues that arise from their appeal to evolutionary biology, focusing specifically on t…Read more
  •  50
    Debates about human nature inform every philosophical tradition from their inception (see Stevenson 2000 for many examples). Evolutionarily based criticisms of human nature are of much more recent origin. Ironically, most evolutionarily based criticisms of human nature are directed at work whose avowed goal is to biologicize human nature and even to place human nature within an evolutionary frame. Here I will focus on accounts of human nature that begin with and come after E.O. Wilson’s sociobio…Read more
  •  38
    Heredity and heritability
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
  •  31
    Integrating the multiple biological causes of human behavior
    Biology and Philosophy 20 (1): 177-190. 2005.
    I introduce a range of examples of different causal hypotheses about human mate selection. The hypotheses I focus on come from evolutionary psychology, fluctuating asymmetry research and chemical signaling research. I argue that a major obstacle facing an integrated biology of human behavior is the lack of a causal framework that shows how multiple proximate causal mechanisms can act together to produce components of our behavior.
  •  28
    Truth, selection and scientific inquiry
    Biology and Philosophy 15 (3): 425-442. 2000.
    In this paper I examine various ways in whichphilosophers have made connections between truth andnatural selection. I introduce several versions ofthe view that mechanisms of true belief generationarise as a result of natural selection and argue thatthey fail to establish a connection between truth andnatural selection. I then turn to scientific truthsand argue that evolutionary accounts of the origin ofscientific truth generation mechanisms also fail. Iintroduce David Hull's selectionist model …Read more
  •  15
    There are a number of competing hypotheses about human evolution. For example, Homo habilis and Homo erectus could have existed together, or one could have evolved from the other, and paleontological evidence may allow us to decide between these two hypotheses (see, e.g., Spoor et al., 2007). For most who work on the biology of human behavior, there is no question that human behavior is in some large part a product of evolution. But, there are competing hypotheses in this area as well. Some clai…Read more
  •  15
    Life After Evolutionary Psychology (review)
    Metascience 16 (1): 1-24. 2007.
  •  15
    Agents and norms in the new economics of science
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (2): 224-238. 2001.
    In this article, the author focuses on Philip Kitcher's and Alvin Goldman's economic models of the social character of scientific knowledge production. After introducing some relevant methodological issues in the social sciences and characterizing Kitcher's and Goldman's models, the author goes on to show that special problems arise directly from the concept of an agent invoked in the models. The author argues that the two distinct concepts of agents, borrowed from economics and cognitive psycho…Read more
  •  11
    The Ontogeny of Information: Developmental Systems and Evolution (review)
    Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 44 (3): 464-469. 2001.