History and Philosophy of Science.Vicechair: S. Kant Vajpayee, University of Southern Mississippi
Chair: Maritza Abril, University of Southern Mississippi
Lake View I
8:30 IS SPECIES REALISM A PHILOSOPHICALLY TENABLE ten·a·ble
1. Capable of being maintained in argument; rationally defensible: a tenable theory.
Jason R. Busch, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39402
Most philosophers of biology seem to treat species taxa taxa: see taxon. as if they are ontologically real entities, and thus, are species realists. Realists claim that universals, such as justice, greenness or species, have a real, objective existence. In the philosophy of biology Philosophy of biology (also called, rarely, biophilosophy) is a subfield of philosophy of science, which deals with epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical issues in the biological and biomedical sciences. , the issue is whether the name 'species' designates a universal thing, namely a species taxon taxon (pl. taxa), in biology, a term used to denote any group or rank in the classification of organisms, e.g., class, order, family. , or designates particular organisms that resemble one another in certain relevant respects. Nominalists, on the other hand, maintain that only particular objects exist and that only the names are universal. Thus, names designate particular objects or objects taken collectively, as in a set, but do not refer to universal things. This historical debate between realism and nominalism nominalism, in philosophy, a theory of the relation between universals and particulars. Nominalism gained its name in the Middle Ages, when it was contrasted with realism. is relevant today in the recent literature in philosophy of biology with regard to species. I will investigate the viability of species realism versus species nominalism for philosophy of biology.
9:00 HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL DIMENSIONS OF THE ONTOLOGY ontology: see metaphysics.
Theory of being as such. It was originally called “first philosophy” by Aristotle. In the 18th century Christian Wolff contrasted ontology, or general metaphysics, with special metaphysical theories OF SPECIES TAXA
Kenneth J. Curry (*) and Paula J. Smithka, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406
The concept of species embodies two broad components. The species taxon is that group of individual organisms with sufficient cohesion to name the group (e.g., Homo sapiens Homo sapiens
(Latin; “wise man”)
Species to which all modern human beings belong. The oldest known fossil remains date to c. 120,000 years ago—or much earlier (c. ); the species category is the rank to which we assign species taxa in our hierarchical model In a hierarchical data model, data are organized into a tree-like structure. The structure allows repeating information using parent/child relationships: each parent can have many children but each child only has one parent. of evolution. The species taxon is the ontological component of species, while the species category is the epistemological component. The ontological component can be decomposed de·com·pose
v. de·com·posed, de·com·pos·ing, de·com·pos·es
1. To separate into components or basic elements.
2. To cause to rot.
1. into two dimensions, horizontal and vertical, which is our focus here. The horizontal dimension of species comprises those properties instantiated in individuals by which we recognize a cohesive group, the species taxon. These properties, interpreted without an historical component, inform us of a cohesive, ontological structure, albeit without relationship to other taxa. The vertical dimension of species addresses causal relationships among species, and therefore its investigation must embrace several taxa. Causal relationships inform us of the relative importance with res pect to inter-taxon relationships of properties recognized horizontally and provide logical ground for judging the ontological structure of a given taxon among other taxa. Both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of a taxon are necessary components of taxon ontology. Species concepts may reflect more strongly the vertical dimension (e.g., cladistic species, species-as-individuals) or the horizontal dimension (the biological species concept, ecological species) which leads to incomplete and confused ontology.
9:45 THE PROBLEM OF SPECIES PERSISTENCE: SOME POSITIONS REGARDING CONTEMPORARY METAPHYSICS OF SPACE-TIME
Paula J. Smithka (*) and Kenneth J. Curry, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406
We commonly say, "species exist" and "species go extinct," thus, species (however they are defined) persist for some period of time. The issue of species persistence through time is investigated using two opposing views: endurantism and perdurantism. Endurantists argue that objects exist wholly and completely at different times. Perdurantists, on the other hand, argue that time is literally a "proper part" of objects. On this view, objects have temporal as well as spatial parts. These two different metaphysical views of the persistence of objects over time, also adopt very different perspectives regarding the nature of time. Endurantists tend to be presentists, i.e., that whatever "really" exists, exists only in the present. The present time is privileged because it is what is here and now. This view takes tenses used in a language to be significant. Thus, when we understand tenses properly, we see the privileged position of the present tense pres·ent tense
The verb tense expressing action in the present time, as in She writes; she is writing.
Noun 1. present tense - a verb tense that expresses actions or states at the time of speaking
present . For example, what once existed but does not now exist, presently e xisted at some past time. Perdurantists, on the other hand, tend to be eternalists with respect to time. They argue that all times are equally "real," so there is nothing "special" or privileged about the present time. The ramifications ramifications npl → Auswirkungen pl of these views for the issue of species persistence are explored.
10:15 GEORGE AND ELIZABETH PECKHAM George William Peckham (March 23, 1845 - January 10, 1914) and Elizabeth Maria Gifford Peckham (December 19, 1854 - February 10, 1940) were early American teachers, taxonomists, ethologists, arachnologists, and entomologists, specializing in animal behavior and in the study : PIONEERING AMERICAN FIGURES IN ETHOLOGY ethology, study of animal behavior based on the systematic observation, recording, and analysis of how animals function, with special attention to physiological, ecological, and evolutionary aspects. , EVOLUTIONARY STUDIES, TAXONOMY AND SCIENCE EDUCATION
John D. Davis, St. Andrews Episcopal Middle School, Ridgeland, MS 39157
Accomplishments of the nineteenth century husband and wife team of George and Elizabeth Peckham have mostly gone unnoticed because their work is in the entomological en·to·mol·o·gy
The scientific study of insects.
ento·mo·log literature. In fact, the Peckhams publications on the behavior and classification of jumping spiders and behavior of solitary wasps were crucial in supporting the theory of sexual selection and pioneered many of the techniques and concepts associated with ethologists of the mid twentieth century! In 1880 George Peckham For American biologist, see .
George "Porky" Peckham is a British record cutting engineer, widely recognised as among the most accomplished in the business. He has been responsible for producing the master discs from which countless vinyl records have been pressed over the last organized the first American First American may refer to:
One who works with another; a fellow worker. , Mary Gifford, one of the first science graduates from Vassar. They set to work introducing Darwinian concepts into education and began their studies on the taxonomy and behavior of jumping spiders, a large group of visually oriented spiders. They were among the very first taxonomists to emphasize the value of behavior in classification. In 1889 they published one of the first studies on sex ual selection, supporting Darwin's concept against Wallace's alternative explanation of courtship behavior. In 1898 they produced On the Instincts and Habits of Solitary Wasps--a literary as well as scientific classic. Unlike the later work of Fabre, which stressed the "perfection" of insect behavior, the Peckhams identified chained behaviors subject to natural selection. The Peckhams were inseparable researchers and educators.
10:45 Divisional Business Meeting
11:00 SCIENTISTS--THE BRAHMINS OF THE MATERIAL WORLD
S. Kant Vajpayee, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406
Scientists are the Brahmins of the modem world, which is driven by our focus on the material life. By creating a separation between religion and state, we have carved out for them a secluded arena so that they are not disturbed by the hobnobbing of the spiritual issues. This enables them to concentrate on what is materially useful to us and not waste time on anything spiritual. They create for us the knowledge essential for increasing our gross domestic products (GDPs) and enhancing our standards of material living. We treat them as Brahmins by showing them some respect and never paying too much-else they fall prey to the habit of conspicuous consumption conspicuous consumption
The acquisition and display of expensive items to attract attention to one's wealth or to suggest that one is wealthy.
Noun 1. . Of all the kinds of Brahmins today such as teachers, engineers, lawyers, professors, doctors, and other professionals, scientists are undoubtedly at the top, since only they create new knowledge--others are active in simply disseminating and/or applying that knowledge. Scientists and researchers based at the institutions of higher learning higher learning
Education or academic accomplishment at the college or university level. are the keystones of the hierarchical structure of modern Brahmins. There is one difference, however. Unlike the past, we don't offer them the perk by accepting their sons also as Brahmins. Their children have to earn that title themselves, based on merit. Were religious leaders and philosophers to claim that they are the true Brahmins, scientists may accept the term Material Brahmins.
Lake View I
1:30 THE LEGACY OF ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE
Maritza Abril, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406
Alfred Russel Wallace is remembered as the man who almost got credit for the theory of evolution, but he was also a prolific field naturalist, geographer, biogeographer, anthropologist and philosopher with accomplishments substantial in their own right. This presentation focuses on his contribution to zoogeography zoogeography
defining the location and numbers of animal populations, and their variability with time. , as he is considered to have invented it. Wallace introduced a new interpretation of the concept of the geography of animals as he was the first one to base animal distribution on the theory of evolution. Wallace embraced the concept of zoogeography not only as collecting facts about animals, classifying and comparing them but also as the study of the history of animals History of Animals (or "Historia Animalium", or "On the History of Animals") is a zoological natural history text by Aristotle.
The work consists of lenghthy descriptions (Greek: historiai , their evolution, their changes through geological times, and the history of the continents of the world. His realization of the impossibility to understand geographical distribution of animals without taking into consideration all the possible changes which may have taken place in the distribution of land and masses and water converged in the formulation of Wallace's Line, a definite boundary in the Malay Archipelago. This line of demarcation line of demarcation
A zone of inflammatory reaction separating gangrenous from healthy tissue. derives from Wallace's observations of the fauna of the islands and their geological history as they resemble the Indian or the Australian regions.
2:00 A HISTORY OF ECOLOGY Ecology is generally spoken of as a new science, having only become prominent in the second half of the 20th Century. Nonetheless, ecological thinking at some level has been around for a long time, and the principles of ecology have developed gradually, closely intertwined with
Robert G. Hamilton, Mississippi College, Clinton, MS 39058
Ecology originated from studies of natural histories and species distributions in the nineteenth century. The science of ecology began to take shape as researchers investigated the relationships among organisms and the relationships between organisms and the environment. Modern ecology is a broad multidisciplinary highly quantitative science with its own philosophical approaches to science. Ecology is not, however, in any sense a political movement, nor are ecologists in any sense necessarily affiliated with any particular political movement.
2:45 MINORITIES AND AIDS RESEARCH: THE DILEMMAS OF BALANCING ETHICS
Hellen Ransom, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406
In recent years there has been a crisis growing in epidemic proportions, the calamity of acquired immune deficiency syndrome Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
A viral disease of humans caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which attacks and compromises the body's immune system. (AIDS). AIDS is a disease that does not discriminate on the basis of color, gender, religion, nationality or socio-economic background. Since its discovery, those who have contracted AIDS have been subjected to undeserved un·de·served
Not merited; unjustifiable or unfair.
unde·serv inequity. Isolation, increase in healthcare costs, and a lack of effective treatment are just some of the problems that AIDS victims have to endure. Frederic G. Reamer reamer
Rotary cutting tool of cylindrical or conical shape, used for enlarging and finishing to accurate dimensions holes that have been drilled, bored, or cored. A reamer cannot be used to start a hole. lists the critical ethical choices that face those in the midst Adv. 1. in the midst - the middle or central part or point; "in the midst of the forest"; "could he walk out in the midst of his piece?"
midmost of the AIDS crisis as those related to "privacy, mandatory screening, civil liberties, health care financing, research on human subjects, AIDS activism, treatment, and obligations of professionals" (AIDS and Ethics 3). Under ideal circumstances, AIDS victims would receive the best in health care and the support necessary for dealing with such a devastating dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. illness. However, the value that is placed upon AIDS victims is very little. This pres entation will specifically address the inadequate medical and ethical treatment that minorities with AIDS receive.
3:15 METAPHORS AND THE FOUNDATION OF SCIENCE
Robert Waltzer, Belhaven College, Jackson, MS 39202
Apparent design is acknowledged within biology and is communicated by metaphor. Design as a metaphor per se is legitimate, but the concepts imported covertly with it lead to difficulties. This presentation will characterize the difficulties with both the use of the design metaphor and the removal of the designer. Structure-function relationships are described in the same way in biology as they are in engineering, in which actual design is accepted. Without an accepted designer for biology, application of such thinking is metaphorical. Terms related to this metaphor include function and role, and can be referred to as design-related. In a structure understood as due to natural processes, such as a broken tree trunk upon which someone fell, would one say that the function of the trunk was to impale someone? No. It should be equally inappropriate to say that the function of, for instance, the kidney, is excretion. In analysis of actual design, the first assumption made is that there is a designer. Further assump tions are based upon that and include the following: that each part has a function; that each part somehow contributes to the overall function; and that we are able to detect this. In removing the designer, the subsequent assumptions make no sense. But such is done in biology. To keep the subsequent assumptions the designer must be kept or the design-related terms justified. If one avoids a priori a priori
In epistemology, knowledge that is independent of all particular experiences, as opposed to a posteriori (or empirical) knowledge, which derives from experience. commitments and evaluates the evidence and logic, one solution might be to admit the possibility of a designer.