COMPLEXITY AND THE FUNCTION OF MIND IN NATURE

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Complexity And The Function Of Mind In Nature

Author : Peter Godfrey-Smith
ISBN : 0521646243
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 41.11 MB
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This book explains the relationship between intelligence and environmental complexity, and in so doing links philosophy of mind to more general issues about the relations between organisms and environments, and to the general pattern of 'externalist' explanations. The author provides a biological approach to the investigation of mind and cognition in nature. In particular he explores the idea that the function of cognition is to enable agents to deal with environmental complexity. The history of the idea in the work of Dewey and Spencer is considered, as is the impact of recent evolutionary theory on our understanding of the place of mind in nature.
Category: Philosophy

Functions Selection And Mechanisms

Author : Philippe Huneman
ISBN : 9789400753044
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 52.51 MB
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This volume handles in various perspectives the concept of function and the nature of functional explanations, topics much discussed since two major and conflicting accounts have been raised by Larry Wright and Robert Cummins’ papers in the 1970s. Here, both Wright’s ‘etiological theory of functions’ and Cummins’ ‘systemic’ conception of functions are refined and elaborated in the light of current scientific practice, with papers showing how the ‘etiological’ theory faces several objections and may in reply be revisited, while its counterpart became ever more sophisticated, as researchers discovered fresh applications for it. Relying on a firm knowledge of the original positions and debates, this volume presents cutting-edge research evincing the complexities that today pertain in function theory in various sciences. Alongside original papers from authors central to the controversy, work by emerging researchers taking novel perspectives will add to the potential avenues to be followed in the future. Not only does the book adopt no a priori assumptions about the scope of functional explanations, it also incorporates material from several very different scientific domains, e.g. neurosciences, ecology, or technology. In general, functions are implemented in mechanisms; and functional explanations in biology have often an essential relation with natural selection. These two basic claims set the stage for this book’s coverage of investigations concerning both ‘functional’ explanations, and the ‘metaphysics’ of functions. It casts new light on these claims, by testing them through their confrontation with scientific developments in biology, psychology, and recent developments concerning the metaphysics of realization. Rather than debating a single theory of functions, this book presents the richness of philosophical issues raised by functional discourse throughout the various sciences.​
Category: Philosophy

Systems Theory For Pragmatic Schooling Toward Principles Of Democratic Education

Author : C. Cunningham
ISBN : 9781137449320
Genre : Education
File Size : 52.51 MB
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Writing for educators and education leaders, Cunningham shows that combining a philosophy of pragmatism with thinking about education as systems can illuminate challenges in contemporary schooling and provide practical solutions for creating a democratic education.
Category: Education

Thinking In Complexity

Author : Klaus Mainzer
ISBN : 9783540722281
Genre : Science
File Size : 44.52 MB
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This new edition also treats smart materials and artificial life. A new chapter on information and computational dynamics takes up many recent discussions in the community.
Category: Science

The Evolution Of Agency And Other Essays

Author : Kim Sterelny
ISBN : 0521645379
Genre : Science
File Size : 43.2 MB
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A leading philosopher of biology presents a collection of essays on biological evolution.
Category: Science

The Mind In Nature

Author : C. B. Martin
ISBN : 9780191614606
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 60.5 MB
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What are the most fundamental features of the world? Do minds stand outside the natural order? Is a unified picture of mental and physical reality possible? The Mind in Nature provides a staunchly realist account of the world as a unified system incorporating both the mental and the physical. C. B. Martin, an original and influential exponent of 'ontologically serious' metaphysics, echoes Locke's dictum that 'all things that exist are only particulars', and argues that properties are powerful qualities. He also spells out the implications of this view for philosophical conceptions of causation, intentionality, consciousness, and the mind-body problem. Martin emphasizes the importance of non-conscious 'vegetative' systems, which provide clear examples of intentionality in the form of representational use. The slide from representational use to consciousness involves a change in the material of use, but not the form of representation. A concluding chapter provides an argument for the view that an ontology of particular substances and properties leads ineluctably to monism: the bus we board with Locke takes us directly to the world of Spinoza and Einstein. Along the way, we are led to understand the nature of minds and conscious states of mind in a way that avoids both reductionism (the idea that mental is reducible to the non-mental) and dualism (the idea that mental substances or properties differ dramatically from physical substances and properties).
Category: Philosophy

Darwinian Populations And Natural Selection

Author : Peter Godfrey-Smith
ISBN : 9780191567780
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 38.77 MB
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In 1859 Darwin described a deceptively simple mechanism that he called "natural selection," a combination of variation, inheritance, and reproductive success. He argued that this mechanism was the key to explaining the most puzzling features of the natural world, and science and philosophy were changed forever as a result. The exact nature of the Darwinian process has been controversial ever since, however. Godfrey-Smith draws on new developments in biology, philosophy of science, and other fields to give a new analysis and extension of Darwin's idea. The central concept used is that of a "Darwinian population," a collection of things with the capacity to undergo change by natural selection. From this starting point, new analyses of the role of genes in evolution, the application of Darwinian ideas to cultural change, and "evolutionary transitions" that produce complex organisms and societies are developed. Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection will be essential reading for anyone interested in evolutionary theory
Category: Philosophy

Philosophy Of Experimental Biology

Author : Marcel Weber
ISBN : 1139453912
Genre : Science
File Size : 53.68 MB
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Philosophy of Experimental Biology explores some central philosophical issues concerning scientific research in experimental biology, including genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, developmental biology, neurobiology, and microbiology. It seeks to make sense of the explanatory strategies, concepts, ways of reasoning, approaches to discovery and problem solving, tools, models and experimental systems deployed by scientific life science researchers and also integrates developments in historical scholarship, in particular the New Experimentalism. It concludes that historical explanations of scientific change that are based on local laboratory practice need to be supplemented with an account of the epistemic norms and standards that are operative in science. This book should be of interest to philosophers and historians of science as well as to scientists.
Category: Science

Information And Meaning In Evolutionary Processes

Author : William F. Harms
ISBN : 1139451626
Genre : Science
File Size : 29.12 MB
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This book is intended to help transform epistemology - the traditional study of knowledge - into a rigorous discipline by removing conceptual roadblocks and developing formal tools required for a fully naturalized epistemology. The evolutionary approach which Harms favours begins with the common observation that if our senses and reasoning were not reliable, then natural selection would have eliminated them long ago. The challenge for some time has been how to transform these informal musings about evolutionary epistemology into a rigorous theoretical discipline capable of complementing current scientific studies of the evolution of cognition with a philosophically defensible account of meaning and justification.
Category: Science

Reasoning In Biological Discoveries

Author : Lindley Darden
ISBN : 1139458612
Genre : Science
File Size : 72.2 MB
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Reasoning in Biological Discoveries brings together a series of essays, which focus on one of the most heavily debated topics of scientific discovery. Collected together and richly illustrated, Darden's essays represent a groundbreaking foray into one of the major problems facing scientists and philosophers of science. Divided into three sections, the essays focus on broad themes, notably historical and philosophical issues at play in discussions of biological mechanism; and the problem of developing and refining reasoning strategies, including interfield relations and anomaly resolution. Darden summarizes the philosophy of discovery and elaborates on the role that mechanisms play in biological discovery. Throughout the book, she uses historical case studies to extract advisory reasoning strategies for discovery. Examples in genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology reveal the process of discovery in action.
Category: Science