Rewrite of Evolution

New theory of evolution!  Hooray! Patched a bunch of things together to make a nice story.  Fixed the little issue about fitness being circular.  Expanded natural selection to apply more generally.  Causal structure.  Epistemological foundations.  ooOoOO0Ooooooo. And it’s good fun.  I swear.  Epistemology, history of physics, evolution… makes me happy.  You should really read it. Download here. [pdf, 304kb]

Aesthetic Highs of Soccer

I love soccer as a sport.   I played it growing up and only quit when it started getting serious (too many elbows to the head in one game and I figured it just wasn’t what I was looking for any more – it gets nasty in the box).  So it concerns me that here in the good ol’ US of A many people do not seem to appreciate it. What I started thinking about was […]


If there were a verb meaning ‘to believe falsely’, it would not have any significant first person present indicative. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, II x Interesting that there is no significant first person present indicative of self disrespect.  Consider, with Moore’s Paradox in mind:  ‘I disrespect myself by sitting here, but I am doing it anyway.’ * * * * * Considering disrespect”s relation to Moore’s Paradox at issue here, it begs the question, ‘What is […]

Revision and Hypothesis Introduction

Say we have some theory that we represent with a formula of logic.  In part it looks like this: [1] …(∃z) … Pz … This says that at some point in the theory there is some object z that has property P. After much hard work, we discover that the object z with property P can be described as the combination of two more fundamental objects w and v with properties R and S: [2] […]

Hypotheses Natura Non Fingo

Newton famously wrote [1] [2]: I have not as yet been able to discover the reason for these properties of gravity from phenomena, and I do not feign hypotheses…  It is enough that gravity does really exist and acts according to the laws I have explained, and that it abundantly serves to account for all the motions of celestial bodies. as a response to those who challenged him to provide causes of gravity.  He said, […]

Against Physics as Ontologically Basic

1.  Biology is epistemically independent of physics: Let’s assume that biology is not epistemically independent of physics, i.e. to know any biology we must first know something about physics.  However, consider evolution as determined by natural selection and the struggle for survival.  We can know about the struggle for survival and natural selection without appealing to physics — just as Darwin did when he created the theory — and hence we can fundamentally understand at […]

Fodor May Yet Be Clever

I was trying to figure out what Fodor could have been thinking.  Here’s what I came up with: If we are trying to figure out what Evolution has done, then we presuppose that Evolution is capable of doing something. If Evolution is capable of doing something, then there must be some mechanism of Evolution that does the doing. Now imagine yourself in the position of the mechanism of Evolution that does the doing, i.e. the […]

Fodor’s Intensional Criticism of Evolution

Fodor’s intensional criticism of evolution is that the process of evolution is unable to make the necessary distinctions in selecting traits.   This is to say that evolution itself cannot  select for specific traits.  If evolution can’t select for traits, then we will definitely not be able to figure out what’s happening based on evolution.  Hence evolution is not a good theory. Does evolution need a mechanism to select for certain traits? No, there is no […]

On Block and Kitcher on Fodor

Ned Block and Philip Kitcher have posted a review of Fodor/Piatelli-Palmarini’s “What Darwin Got Wrong” (via Leiter). It is a well executed, though flawed, counter to Fodor’s arguments.  First they give a nice rundown of the underdetermination issue I posted about here. Then they discuss the “intensional fallacy”.  They argue that the crux of F & P’s argument can be seen as trying to split up the causal efficacious trait and the selected-for trait.  This […]