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Darwin-L Message Log 29: 1–24 — January 1996

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

Darwin-L was an international discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences, active from 1993–1997. Darwin-L was established to promote the reintegration of a range of fields all of which are concerned with reconstructing the past from evidence in the present, and to encourage communication among scholars, scientists, and researchers in these fields. The group had more than 600 members from 35 countries, and produced a consistently high level of discussion over its several years of operation. Darwin-L was not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles Darwin, but instead addressed the entire range of historical sciences from an explicitly comparative perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology, systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical geography, historical anthropology, and related “palaetiological” fields.

This log contains public messages posted to the Darwin-L discussion group during January 1996. It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been reformatted, and error messages and personal messages accidentally posted to the group as a whole have been deleted. No genuine editorial changes have been made to the content of any of the posts. This log is provided for personal reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.

The master copy of this log is maintained in the Darwin-L Archives (rjohara.net/darwin) by Dr. Robert J. O’Hara. The Darwin-L Archives also contain additional information about the Darwin-L discussion group, the complete Today in the Historical Sciences calendar for every month of the year, a collection of recommended readings on the historical sciences, and an account of William Whewell’s concept of “palaetiology.”


---------------------------------------------
DARWIN-L MESSAGE LOG 29: 1-24 -- JANUARY 1996
---------------------------------------------

DARWIN-L
A Network Discussion Group on the
History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu is an international network discussion group on
the history and theory of the historical sciences.  Darwin-L was established
in September 1993 to promote the reintegration of a range of fields all of
which are concerned with reconstructing the past from evidence in the present,
and to encourage communication among academic professionals in these fields.
Darwin-L is not restricted to evolutionary biology nor to the work of Charles
Darwin but instead addresses the entire range of historical sciences from an
interdisciplinary perspective, including evolutionary biology, historical
linguistics, textual transmission and stemmatics, historical geology,
systematics and phylogeny, archeology, paleontology, cosmology, historical
anthropology, historical geography, and related "palaetiological" fields.

This log contains public messages posted to Darwin-L during January 1996.
It has been lightly edited for format: message numbers have been added for ease
of reference, message headers have been trimmed, some irregular lines have been
reformatted, and some administrative messages and personal messages posted to
the group as a whole have been deleted.  No genuine editorial changes have been
made to the content of any of the posts.  This log is provided for personal
reference and research purposes only, and none of the material contained herein
should be published or quoted without the permission of the original poster.
The master copy of this log is maintained in the archives of Darwin-L by
listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, and is also available on the Darwin-L Web Server
at http://rjohara.uncg.edu.  For instructions on how to retrieve copies of this
and other log files, and for additional information about Darwin-L, send the
e-mail message INFO DARWIN-L to listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu, or connect to
the Darwin-L Web Server.

Darwin-L is administered by Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu), Center for
Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts and Department of Biology, University of
North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A., and it
is supported by the Center for Critical Inquiry, University of North Carolina
at Greensboro, and the Department of History and the Academic Computing Center,
University of Kansas.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:1>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Mon Jan  1 00:16:20 1996

Date: Mon, 01 Jan 1996 01:15:58 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: List owner's monthly greeting
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Greetings and a very happy new year to all Darwin-L subscribers.  On the
first of every month I send out a short note on the status of our group,
along with a reminder of basic commands.  For additional information about
the group please visit the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu).

Darwin-L is an international discussion group for professionals in the
historical sciences.  The group is not devoted to any particular discipline,
such as evolutionary biology, but rather seeks to promote interdisciplinary
comparisons across the entire range of "palaetiology".  Darwin-L currently
has more than 600 members from over 30 countries.

Because Darwin-L does have a large membership and is sometimes a high-volume
discussion group it is important for all participants to try to keep their
postings as substantive as possible so that we can maintain a favorable
"signal-to-noise" ratio.  Personal messages should be sent by private e-mail
rather than to the group as a whole.  Subscribers who feel burdened from
time to time by the volume of their Darwin-L mail may wish to take advantage
of the digest option described below.

Because different mail systems work differently, not all subscribers see
the e-mail address of the original sender of each message in the message
header (some people only see "Darwin-L" as the source).  It is therefore
very important to include your name and e-mail address at the end of every
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appropriate.  Remember also that in most cases when you type "reply" in
response to a message from Darwin-L your reply is sent to the group as a
whole, rather than to the original sender.

The following are the most frequently used listserv commands that Darwin-L
members may wish to know.  All of these commands should be sent as regular
e-mail messages to the listserv address (listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu),
not to the address of the group as a whole (Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu).
In each case leave the subject line of the message blank and include no
extraneous text, as the command will be read and processed by the listserv
program rather than by a person.  To join the group send the message:

     SUBSCRIBE DARWIN-L Your Name

     For example: SUBSCRIBE DARWIN-L John Smith

To cancel your subscription send the message:

     UNSUBSCRIBE DARWIN-L

If you feel burdened by the volume of mail you receive from Darwin-L you
may instruct the listserv program to deliver mail to you in digest format
(one message per day consisting of the whole day's posts bundled together).
To receive your mail in digest format send the message:

     SET DARWIN-L MAIL DIGEST

To change your subscription from digest format back to one-at-a-time
delivery send the message:

     SET DARWIN-L MAIL ACK

To temporarily suspend mail delivery (when you go on vacation, for example)
send the message:

     SET DARWIN-L MAIL POSTPONE

To resume regular delivery send either the DIGEST or ACK messages above.

For a comprehensive introduction to Darwin-L with notes on our scope and
on network etiquette, and a summary of all available commands, send the
message:

     INFO DARWIN-L

To post a public message to the group as a whole simply send it as regular
e-mail to the group's address (Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu).

I thank you all for your continuing interest in Darwin-L and in the
interdisciplinary study of the historical sciences.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Dr. Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Senior Tutor, Cornelia Strong College
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:2>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Mon Jan  1 00:37:58 1996

Date: Mon, 01 Jan 1996 01:37:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: January 1 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JANUARY 1 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1737: PIER ANTONIO MICHELI dies at Florence, Italy.  Born into poverty,
Micheli's interest in and knowledge of plants won him patronage from the
Medici family and widespread recognition from the professional botanists of
his day.  He collected widely throughout Italy and central Europe, and in his
_Nova Plantarum Genera_ (Florence, 1729) he described more than 1400 new
species of plants, many of them mosses, liverworts, and lichens, in which he
had a special interest.  Micheli's extensive travel allowed him to contribute
to historical geology as well as botany, and the geological similarities he
observed between many of the quiet hills of his native Italy and the active
Vesuvius led him to infer correctly that the Italian landscape was in fact
dotted with ancient volcanos.

1778: CHARLES-ALEXANDRE LESUEUR is born at Le Havre, France.  As a young man
Lesueur will sail aboard the _Geographe_ and the _Naturaliste_ to Australia,
where, in the company of Francois Peron, he will collect tens of thousands of
zoological specimens.  Lesueur's considerable skill as an artist will enable
him to illustrate many of the expedition's finer specimens, but the early
death of Peron will delay the completion of the expedition's report, and most
of Lesueur's illustrations will never be published.  In 1815 Leuseur will sail
for North America, and will spend the next twenty-two years travelling in the
interior of the United States collecting and illustrating mollusks, insects,
fishes, and fossils.  Upon his return to France in 1837 he will be appointed
curator of the new Museum d'Histoire Naturelle du Havre, and he will die there
in December of 1846.

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.
Send the message INFO DARWIN-L to listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu or connect
to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:3>From IAP8EWH@MVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU Mon Jan  1 17:50:39 1996

Date: Mon, 01 Jan 96 15:51 PST
To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: IAP8EWH@MVS.OAC.UCLA.EDU
Subject: past time

This is in response to Bob O'Hara's question about how past time is
conceived in different languages or cultures.  In an article called
(I think) Nature and the Greeks, Erwin Schroedinger said that although
nowadays we think of ourselves as moving forward through time with the
future in front of us, the ancient Greeks thought of themselves as
moving through time facing backward toward the past.  The latter point
of view makes sense given that we know more about the past than the
future.  I don't know where the article was originally published, but
it is included in a collection of Schroedinger essays called 'What is
Life?'

Happy New Year (looking back to 1995 or forward to 1996?)

Eric Holman
iap8ewh@mvs.oac.ucla.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:4>From ddennett@diamond.tufts.edu Mon Jan  1 20:12:28 1996

Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 21:12:07 -0500 (EST)
From: Daniel Dennett <ddennett@diamond.tufts.edu>
To: "Jeremy C. Ahouse" <ahouse@hydra.rose.brandeis.edu>
Cc: Darwin List <Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: Re: rejoinder to DCD (part 1 of 2)

Jeremy Ahouse's rambling two-part response to my inserted rebuttals to
his earlier comments evades the quite sharp challenges I raised. I
demanded that he back up his attack with details. We still have no
details. He admits he doesn't know what to say about the 4 falsehoods I
claim people have (mis-)learned from Gould. He ignores my other
corrections of his errors. Enough said.

Daniel Dennett

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:5>From philjohn@uclink.berkeley.edu Tue Jan  2 14:40:26 1996

Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 12:35:08 -0800
From: Phillip E Johnson <philjohn@uclink.berkeley.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: The Dennett/Ahouse debate

_Stephen Jay Gould's Ambiguity_

Perhaps the Dennett/Ahouse controversy can be clarified with a
concrete example of the kind of statement by Gould that has led
the "ultra-Darwinists" (who would prefer to be called "modern
Darwinists") to describe him, in the words of John Maynard Smith,
as "a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth
bothering with, but who should not be publicly criticized because
he is at least on our side against the creationists," and as a
man who "is giving non-biologists a largely false picture of the
state of evolutionary theory."

In _Wonderful Life_, Gould writes that there are two theories to
explain the absence of fossil ancestors for the animal phyla that
appear first in the Cambrian rocks:

        Two different kinds of explanations for the absence
     of Precambrian ancestors have been debated for more
     than a century: the artifact theory (they did exist,
     but the fossil record hasn't preserved them), and the
     fast-transition theory (they really didn't exist, at
     least as complex invertebrates easily linked to their
     descendants, and the evolution of modern anatomical
     plans occurred with a rapidity that threatens our
     usual ideas about the stately pace of evolutionary
     change).

Then Gould describes the discovery of new phyla in the Burgess
shale as the "death knell of the artifact theory," because

     If evolution could produce ten new Cambrian phyla and
     then wipe them out just as quickly, then what about the
     surviving Cambrian groups?  Why should they have had a
     long and honorable Precambrian pedigree?  Why should
     they not have originated just before the Cambrian, as
     the fossil record, read literally, seems to indicate,
     and as the fast-transition theory proposes? [_Wonderful
     Life_ (1989), pp. 271-273]

It was reasonable for Dennett's philosopher friend to read this
passage as saying that the ancestors "really didn't exist."  The
qualifier that follows this phrase-- "at least as complex
invertebrates easily linked to their descendants" -- is
meaningless in this context.  OF COURSE there are no fossil
ancestors that can easily be identified and linked to specific
descendants; that is precisely the problem that the artifact
theory addresses by claiming that the ancestors existed but were
not preserved in the fossil record.  Insofar as Gould's fast-
transition theory contradicts the artifact theory, it must be
denying that claim.

The reason that the philosopher's interpretation seems absurd to
both Ahouse and Dennett is that it makes Gould effectively a
creationist -- and his emphatic stand against creationism is
something even Gould's detractors in evolutionary biology give
him credit for.  So Gould must not mean what he seems to be
saying, but why (Dennett asks) does a master communicator produce
such miscommunication?  Why doesn't he clear up the muddle by
explaining that he does believe in the artifact theory after all,
but had merely meant to say that the critical Darwinian
evolutionary change occurred relatively rapidly (by geological
standards) just before the Cambrian?

Perhaps the correct interpretation is that Gould still believes
as he did when he wrote in _Paleobiology_ in 1980 that Mayr-style
neo-Darwinism "as a general proposition, is effectively dead,
despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy."  Perhaps he still
believes that a "new and general theory" is needed, not just a
modification that can be reconciled with evolution as Maynard
Smith, Dawkins, Williams, and Dennett understand it.  On this
supposition the ambiguity in the expression is easily explained
as a deliberate camouflage.  Gould has learned that his anti-
Darwinian statements are read by creationists and used very
effectively in their literature to discredit the textbook
orthodoxy.  This puts his own reputation in danger, because the
one consideration that has restrained those friends and allies of
John Maynard Smith from attacking him openly (or more openly than
they already do) is that to attack a man whom the public
identifies with Darwinism would also aid the creationists.  In
this delicate situation Gould has to make his anti-Darwinian
points by implication, while holding on to a safe line of retreat
to use when necessary.  As the Dennett book and the Maynard Smith
review indicate, the patience of the orthodox party is about
exhausted, and now they are openly demanding that Gould clarify
those statements that have been "giving non-biologists a largely
false picture of the state of evolutionary theory."

Which is the correct interpretation?  Gould could easily clear up
the confusion.  If he doesn't, it is not because he doesn't
know how to, but because he doesn't want to.

Phillip E. Johnson
School of Law
University of California, Berkeley 94720
philjohn@uclink.berkeley.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:6>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Wed Jan  3 00:01:12 1996

Date: Wed, 03 Jan 1996 01:00:44 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Early dictionary society (fwd from HUMANIST)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

--begin forwarded message--------------

Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 09:49:40 -0500
From: wulfric@epas.utoronto.ca
Subject: Early dictionary society

This is to announce the existence of SIEHLDA (Societe internationale d'etudes
historiques et linguistiques des dictionnaires anciens), the International
Association for the Historical and Linguistic Study of Early Dictionaries,
founded in Lyon, France in the spring of 1995. It is an association for the
advancement of research concerned with the historical, linguistic and semiotic
analysis of early dictionaries.

Its objectives are: the publication, in print and electronic form, of
monographs and collections of articles on early dictionaries, particularly the
proceedings of colloquia and symposia; the promotion of the capture of early
dictionaries and the creation of databases through the development of
methodological tools, the distribution of bases via shared (Internet) and
individual (CD-ROM) media, and the establishment of a collection of electronic
early dictionaries; the computerization of the eight editions of the
Dictionnaire de l'Academie francaise (of which a sample base can be viewed on
the Internet at ARTFL, University of Chicago).

SIEHLDA has a web address at:

    http://www.epas.utoronto.ca:8080/~wulfric/siehlda/

where details can be found of its first published volume (on the etymologist
Gilles Menage) and of a June 1996 symposium to be held in Clermont-Ferrand on
electronic 16th-17th-century French dictionaries.

Russon Wooldridge
University of Toronto
------------
Russon Wooldridge, Department of French, Trinity College,
University of Toronto, Toronto M5S 1H8, Canada
Tel: 1-416-978-2885 -- Fax: 1-416-978-4949
E-mail: wulfric@epas.utoronto.ca
Internet: http://www.epas.utoronto.ca:8080/~wulfric/

--end forwarded message----------------

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:7>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Wed Jan  3 00:08:48 1996

Date: Wed, 03 Jan 1996 01:07:36 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: January 3 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JANUARY 3 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1822: WILLIAM NYLANDER is born at Uleaborg, Russia (now Oulu, Finland).
Following medical study at the University of Helsinki, from which he will
graduate in 1847, Nylander will travel extensively throughout Finland and
will devote himself exclusively to botany and entomology.  In 1848 he will
go to Paris to study lichens at the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, and will
soon become one of the world's leading lichenologists.  He will be appointed
to the first professorship of botany at the University of Helsinki in 1857,
but dissatisfaction with his position there will lead him to emigrate to
France, where he will remain until his death in 1899.

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.
Send the message INFO DARWIN-L to listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu or connect
to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:8>From bowens@uidaho.edu Wed Jan  3 01:49:07 1996

Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 23:48:32 -0800 (PST)
From: Bill Owens <bowens@uidaho.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: past time

I believe that the Roman God *Janus* from which we get the name of our
month of January had two faces, one looking at the past and the other
looking to the future.

regards:

Bill Owens                       "In prosperity, - it is very easy
Geography                         to find a friend; in adversity,
University of Idaho               nothing is so difficult to find!"
e-mail bowens@uidaho.edu             Epictetus

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:9>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Wed Jan  3 21:06:28 1996

Date: Wed, 03 Jan 1996 22:06:04 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Duke papyrus collection on the Web (fwd from PAPY)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Here's a beautiful collection of web pages that may be of interest
to Darwin-L readers.  It is an outstanding example of how research
collections can be made available on the Internet.

Bob O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)

--begin forwarded message--------------

Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 14:55:43 -0500 (EST)
From: "John F. Oates" <joates@acpub.duke.edu>
To: papyri-list <papy@igl.ku.dk>

The Duke Papyrus Archive on the World Wide Web at:
            http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/papyrus/
has now virtually completed the task, which began in September of 1992,
of making the Duke papyri more accessible.  Available are records and
images of all 1373 inventory numbers of papyri in the Duke University
Collection.  (About 200 images remain to be added.)  The approximately
2000 images of these texts are presented in three ways: a "thumbnail,"
a 72 dpi image and a 150 dpi version.  All images are linked to
catalogue records.

You will find on the home page an entry, "How to use the Duke Papyrus
Archive," which gives information on search procedures.  It is possible
to use key word searches or to choose from the menu of topics and
languages to find pertinent material.

The Duke Papyrus Archive Project was funded by the National Endowment for
the Humanities, an independent agency of the United States Government.
John Oates, Professor of Ancient History at Duke University, and Steven
Hensen, Assistant Director of the Special Collections Library at Duke
University, were the Co-Directors of the Project.  Peter van Minnen,
Senior Research Associate, and Suzanne Corr,  Cataloguer, were
responsible for the conservation, cataloguing and imaging, and
arrangement of the material on the web page.  Technical assistance has
been provided by Paolo Mangiafico, Library Systems Coordinator in the
Special Collections Library of Duke University.

We welcome any suggestions for refinement in the Duke Papyrus Archive.

John F. Oates (joates@acpub.duke.edu)
Peter van Minnen (pvm@mail.lib.duke.edu)

--end forwarded message----------------

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:10>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Thu Jan  4 19:15:52 1996

Date: Thu, 04 Jan 1996 20:15:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Re: Hugh Miller Memorial Sonnet
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

John Constable asks for the source of the Hugh Miller sonnet that
appeared recently in Today in the Historical Sciences.  I don't have
the original source, but I got it from the first American edition of
Miller's _Testimony of the Rocks_ (Boston: Gould & Lincoln, 1857),
where it is on the back of the inner half-title.  This book was
completed just days before Miller died, and the American publisher
has printed a series of memorials to Miller in the front of the volume
before the text.  The sonnet is one of those; no author is given, and
the only information about its source is the line "Edinburgh, December,
1856" after the last line.  If I had to guess I would say that it
was probably first printed in an Edinburgh newspaper or journal
immediately after Miller's death, but perhaps someone else on Darwin-L
will know more.

>I am at present collecting poems, both metrical and non-metrical,
>for an anthology, concentrating on materials actually by scientists...

If you come across any relating to the historical sciences I hope you'll
share them with us.  I know there are a few others scattered through
the Today... messages; most of these are about scientists, but not
by them.  There is a marvellous one about Louis Agassiz in December,
and I have seen poems about Buckland, the legendary Oxford geologist
of the 19th century.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Cornelia Strong College, 100 Foust Building
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:11>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Mon Jan  8 00:10:53 1996

Date: Mon, 08 Jan 1996 01:10:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: January 8 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JANUARY 8 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1823: ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE is born at Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales.  Following
an apprenticeship to his brother as an assistant surveyor and an interval of
school teaching, Wallace will propose to his friend Henry Walter Bates that
they take advantage of their common interest in natural history and become
commercial collectors.  Although their first expedition to South America will
be successful, their ship and nearly all their collections will be destroyed
by fire on the return voyage to England.  Undeterred, Wallace will depart on a
second expedition to the Malay Archipelago in 1854.  In March of 1858 on the
island of Gilolo, in the midst of a malarial fever, Wallace will conceive of
the idea of evolution by natural selection, and will immediately send a
manuscript to Charles Darwin that will contain a nearly perfect summary of
Darwin's own views, which were then unpublished and which Wallace had never
seen.  On the advice of Charles Lyell and J.D. Hooker, Darwin will consent to
publish, under the pressure of this coincidence, two extracts from his own
work in progress, along with the manuscript of Wallace, in the _Journal of
the Proceedings of the Linnean Society_.  Wallace's paper, "On the tendency of
varieties to depart indefinitely from the original type", will conclude thus:
"We believe we have now shown that there is a tendency in nature to the
continued progression of certain classes of _varieties_ further and further
from the original type -- a progression to which there appears no reason to
assign any definite limits -- and that the same principle which produces this
result in a state of nature will also explain why domestic varieties have a
tendency to revert to the original type.  This progression, by minute steps,
in various directions, but always checked and balanced by the necessary
conditions, subject to which alone existence can be preserved, may, it is
believed, be followed out so as to agree with all the phenomena presented by
organized beings, their extinction and succession in past ages, and all the
extraordinary modifications of form, instinct, and habits which they exhibit."

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.
Send the message INFO DARWIN-L to listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu or connect
to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:12>From LCOOK@fs2.scg.man.ac.uk Mon Jan  8 05:00:18 1996

From: Laurence Martin Cook <LCOOK@fs2.scg.man.ac.uk>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 11:01:36 GMT
Subject: Re: verse by scientists

O blest Atlantis! can the legend be
Built on wild fancies which thy name surround?
Or doth the story of thy classic ground
With the stern facts of Nature's face agree?
What if no tongue may tell?-thy halo fair
Still lingers round the isles that slumber there;
And as those towering peaks, sun-gilded, rise
Into the bosom of primeval skies,
bathed in God's glance, and ocean-girt, they stand
Like trophies left by Time to mark that shadowed land.

excerpt from a poem by T. Vernon Wollaston published in his Lyra
Devoniensis (1868) and at the front of Testacea Atlantica (1878).
Wollaston (born 1822) will write "On the variation of species" (1856)
and a number of books and papers relating to the fauna of the
Atlantic islands.

Laurence M. Cook
The Manchester Museum
University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:13>From jsl@rockvax.rockefeller.edu Mon Jan  8 14:14:57 1996

To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: McGinn on Dennett on Darwin; paradox of complexity?
Date: Mon, 08 Jan 1996 15:19:47 EST
From: Joshua Lederberg <jsl@rockvax.rockefeller.edu>

The Nov. 24th TLS has an interesting review of "Darwin's Dangerous
Idea".  One contention by McGinn:

"... there really is a puzzle about why organisms display the kind of
complexity we observe."  "Why a trend to complexity?"  "The best survivor
of all would be some hard little simple object...."

I don't see any paradox.  The universe began at very high
temperature, hence with simpler constituents.   As it expanded and
cooled, we then have numerous experiments, with local selective
advantage to some more complex structures, including eventually
intelligent ones.  Had we begun with nothing but the latter,
evolutionary diversification would have generated many simpler
"regressions", and we indeed see many of these as parasites, and
especially as viruses (mainly of quite uncertain origin).  The game
isn't over, and some "hard little simple object" like a virulent
plague bacterium may still be the ultimate winner.  And then one of
those bugs will try to outsmart the others with more complex
evolutions: hyperparasitism, phagocytosis, social cooperation and
colonial defenses.....

All of the above need invoke anything beyond contemporary Darwinism.

So any system is likely to evolve into a compound of simpler and more
complex organisms.  If we begin in historic time with primarily the
former, we will think there is a trend toward complexity.

-------
 And another:
"... the genetic transmission of acquired traits is not ruled out
conceptually and has clear advantages.  It is puzzling why Lamarck's
hypothesis is empirically false."

Well, we're still arguing about that contingency for unicellular
organisms.   With some contortions and wishful thinking, one
might squeeze DNA mechanisms into a mold that sometimes gives
the environment some role in modulating the directions of mutational
change. **  For multicellulars, there is a BIG conceptual problem
getting the learned experience of the soma to communicate with the
germ in the DNA language it understands.

** See,,e.g.

Aa Jablonka, Eva
Ab Lamb, Marion J
TI Epigenetic inheritance and evolution: the Lamarckian dimension.
PP Oxford: Oxford University Press.
DA 1995.

  Thaler DS.
  The evolution of genetic intelligence
  Science.  264(5156):224-5, 1994 Apr 8.
+++++++++++++

Reply-to: (J. Lederberg)lederberg@rockvax.rockefeller.edu
--------

Prof. Joshua Lederberg
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue
New York, NY   10021-6399

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:14>From korb@cs.monash.edu.au Tue Jan  9 03:29:11 1996

From: Kevin Korb <korb@cs.monash.edu.au>
Subject: Re: McGinn on Dennett on Darwin; paradox of complexity?
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 20:28:45 +1100 (EST)

Joshua wrote:

> The Nov. 24th TLS has an interesting review of "Darwin's Dangerous
> Idea".  One contention by McGinn:
>
> "... there really is a puzzle about why organisms display the kind of
> complexity we observe."
> "Why a trend to complexity?"
> "The best survivor of all would be some hard little simple object

Perhaps McGinn has not heard of viruses.  I should think the
"trend" is very much in the eye (?) of the beholder.

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:15>From GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu Tue Jan  9 04:03:38 1996

Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 2:02:40 -0800 (PST)
From: GREG RANSOM <GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu>
To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: the central explanatory problem in Darwinian biology

What seems to get lost in the formal tautologies of mathematical
population biology, and in the historical-path charting of paleontology
is the problem of the manifest teleology of biological organisms and
their parts which Darwin himself identified as his central problem blocking
the way to an account of the origin of species by modification and
descent.  IN order for this account of the origin of species to go through,
Darwin had to explain how plants, animals and other organisms have been
endowed by nature with manifestly teleological properties.  I discuss all
this in my working paper "Insuperable Limits to Reduction in Biology"
(98 pages) written in the winter of 1991-1992 for Alexander Rosenberg and
Larry Wright at the University of California-Riverside.  Some of the
arguments contained in that paper can now be found in Alexander Rosenberg,
_Instrumental Biology or the Disunity of Science_ (1994).  Dennett, as
a metaphysical atomist/empiricist of the Quinian/holistic camp (see Richard
McDonough, "A Culturalist account of folk psychology", in John Greenwood,
ed.  _The future of Folk Psychology_, Cambridge U. Press, or Richard
McDonough, "Towards a Non-Mechanistic Theory of Meaning", in _Mind_, Jan.
1989, vol. xcviii, no. 389, pp. 121) looks for an explanatory problem
in the computational formalism of mathematical population biology, as does
John Maynard Smith and Richard Dawkins, Gould, as a something of a
historical materialist, looks for an explanatory problem in the contingency
of the path of history.  Darwin, as a practical scientist, and not a
scientistic mathematician, or a relativistic historian, looks at the mani-
fest teleology of wings and antlers, and sees an explanatory problem
for the theory of the origin of species by modification and descent.  As
Charles Darwin explains, " .. such a conclusion [the origin of species
by descent], even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory, until it could
be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world would have
been modified, so as to acquire that perfection of structure and coadapt-
ation which justly excites our admiration."  (Charles Darwin, _The Origin
of Species_, 1964, p. 3)

Greg Ransom
Dept. of Philosophy
UC-Riverside

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:16>From g-cziko@uiuc.edu Tue Jan  9 21:39:00 1996

Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 21:39:39 -0600
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: g-cziko@uiuc.edu (CZIKO Gary)
Subject: No paradox of complexity

[from Gary Cziko]

Joshua Lederberg wrote:

>I don't see any paradox.  The universe began at very high
>temperature, hence with simpler constituents.   As it expanded and
>cooled, we then have numerous experiments, with local selective
>advantage to some more complex structures, including eventually
>intelligent ones.  Had we begun with nothing but the latter,
>evolutionary diversification would have generated many simpler
>"regressions", and we indeed see many of these as parasites, and
>especially as viruses (mainly of quite uncertain origin).  The game
>isn't over, and some "hard little simple object" like a virulent
>plague bacterium may still be the ultimate winner.  And then one of
>those bugs will try to outsmart the others with more complex
>evolutions: hyperparasitism, phagocytosis, social cooperation and
>colonial defenses.....
>
>All of the above need invoke anything beyond contemporary Darwinism.
>
>So any system is likely to evolve into a compound of simpler and more
>complex organisms.  If we begin in historic time with primarily the
>former, we will think there is a trend toward complexity.

This, I find, is very well put, except for the sentence:

>All of the above need invoke anything beyond contemporary Darwinism.

which is in desperate need of a "not" before "invoke," and I assume that it
was unintentionally omitted.

There is a wonderful diagram and caption on page 86 of Steven Jay Gould's
article in the October 1994 _Scientific American_ ("The Evolution of LIfe
on Earth", pp. 85-91) which makes the same point graphically.

It shows a very positively skewed distribution of life forms (i.e., very
long thin tail to the right) with the y-axis "frequency of occurrence" and
the x-axis "complexity."  At the extreme left there is a "left wall of
minimal complexity.  The bacteria sit at the mode (highest point) of the
distribution on the left side, with man way out right on the skinny tail.
The caption reads:

"Progress does not rule (and it not even a primary thrust of) the
evolutionary process.  For reasons of chemistry and physics, life arises
next to the "left wall" of its simplest conceivable and preservable
complexity.  This style of life (bacterial) has remained most common and
most successful.  A few creatures occasionally move to the right, thus
extending the right tail in the distribution of complexity.  Many always
move to the left, but they are absorbed within space already occupied.
Note that the bacterial mode has never changed in position, but just grown
higher."

Keeping this graph in my mind has given me a much clearer understanding of
how evolution works.  But, of course, as Joshua Lederberg (should have)
said,  all of the above need NOT invoke anything beyond contemporary
Darwinism.

--Gary Cziko

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:17>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Wed Jan 10 14:35:50 1996

Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 15:35:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Tree of life project on the World Wide Web (fwd)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

This exemplary use of the Web for research in the historical sciences
may be of interest to many Darwin-L members.  Perhaps the historical
linguists among us might be able to set up a similar project for language
phylogeny?

Bob O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)

--begin forwarded message--------------

From: tree@ag.arizona.edu (David Maddison)
Subject: Tree of Life: grand opening
Date: 5 Jan 1996 22:19:29 GMT
Organization: University of Arizona

The Tree of Life Project is having its grand opening today, 5 January 1996.

The project is a collection of WWW pages.  Each page contains information
about a group of organisms: a phylogeny, introduction, characteristics,
discussion of phylogenetic relationships, references, and so on.  The
pages are linked together (with, for example, the terminal taxon name
Green Plants on the Crown Eukaryotes page being a hypertext link to the
Green Plants page), so that combined they form a phylogenetic tree of all
living organisms.

The eventual goal is to have this Tree complete to the species level in
many different groups of organisms.  This is being accomplished with the
help of many collaborators: there are currently over 120 contributors to
the project.

The pages are distributed over the web, so that different branches of the
Tree reside on different computers.  Today there are 948 pages in the
Tree, on seven different computers on two continents.  Both the number of
pages, and the completeness of each page, will grow through time.

While the project has been online for a little over a year, it has never
been formally announced.  For this grand opening, numerous contributors
produced pages of various groups including vertebrates, frogs, green
plants, beetles, jumping spiders, etc.  There is now a searchable index of
taxon names.  And lots more pictures.

 The URL for the home page of the project is:

    http://phylogeny.arizona.edu/tree/phylogeny.html

David Maddison
Wayne Maddison

David R. Maddison
Department of Entomology
University of Arizona
Tucson,  AZ  85721
beetle@ag.arizona.edu

--end forwarded message----------------

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:18>From GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu Wed Jan 10 17:58:24 1996

Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 15:57:24 -0800 (PST)
From: GREG RANSOM <GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu>
To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: "Insuperable Limits to Reduction in Biology" (section 10)

[warning long]

Enough folks has sent me notes expressing interest in my working
paper "Insuperable Limits to Reduction in Biology" (98 pages) written
for Alexander Rosenberg and Larry Wright as a proposition in the
PH.D. program at the Dept. of Philosophy, UC-Riverside, in the winter
of 1991-1992, that I thought I might share the section of that paper of
most interest to the members of this list.  (Rosenberg has managed to
detour me away from the dissertation I had planned to write on this topic
and into a dissertation on the work of Friedrich Hayek, which some of
the members of this may be familiar with in the field of neuroscience and
complex phenomena -- Hayek is the co-originator of the Hayek-Hebb synaptic
account of learning, memory, and classification, and a critic of Popper's
work in the philosophy of biology.)

section 10 of "Insuperable Limits to Reduction in Biology", pp. 73-98.

10.  REDUCTION FROM A GOD'S EYE POINT OF VIEW

Another tack taken by some empiricist's in their attempt to motivate
the demand for the 'in principle' reducibility of teleological phenomena
in biology is to image the process of natural selection from a position
of complete omniscience -- i.e. from a God's eye point of view (compare
Rosenberg, 1985; Rosenberg, 1986; Rosenberg, 1989).  Here the empiricist's
account of teleological reduction to causal explanation typically takes
the form of a two step procedure.  In the first step the empiricist ident-
ifies teleologically patterned phenomena as the sort of phenomean which are
explained in terms of their effects.  In the second step the empiricist
demonstrates how the effects of teleological phenomena can be tied to a set
of physically characterized causal antecedents according to the causal
laws of physics and chemistry.  With the successful completion of this
second step, the reduction of teleologically explained biological phenomena
to physics and chemistry is viewed as accomplished.

The full scope of these two steps is clarified somewhat by two other
assumptions which inform the empiricist's reductive criterion for
legitimate scientific explanation.  First, the empiricist assumes that
every instance of a teleologically patterned biological phenomenon is one
which can -- in principle -- be identified as the sort of phenomena
which finds its explanation in terms of its effects.  Second, the
empiricist assumes that for every situation in which teleological
phenomena have been identified the causal antecedents and the consequence
classes of such a pattern can -- in principle -- be given physical
characterizations which may be linked by the causal laws of physics and
chemistry.

Having posted these 'in principle' caveats, the empiricists typically
goes on to claim that any biological phenomena which can be given a
legitimate teleological explanation can -- in principle -- be given a
physical explanation.  Yet troubling questions about the epistemic tatus
of the empiricist's reductive standard of scientific legitimacy are
raised by the manner in which this claim is stated.  Why, for example,
has the empiricist allowed for the mere 'in principle' reduction of
teleological explanation to the causal laws of physics and chemistry?  Why,
instead, has the empiricist not insisted upon the _in fact_ reduction of
all teleological phenomena to nomologically linked physical specifications
of their causal antecedents and consequence classes?  Why, indeed,
doesn't the empiricst propose the actual completion of teleological
reduction as his criteria for the scientific legitimacy of teleological
explanations in biology?

A clear answer to these questions has recently been put forward by
Alexander Rosenber (see Rosenberg, 1985, 1989; compare also Kitcher, 1984,
and Hayek, 1967).  Significancely, it is an answer thought to be fully
compatible with traditional empiricist intuitions about the nature of
scientific explanation.  On Rosenberg's account the empiricist's appeal
to mere 'in principle' reduction is a simple concession to the numerical
complexity of biological phenomena and to the computational limitations
of the human brain.  For Rosenberg an empiricist's appeal to 'in principle'
reduction rather than to _in fact_ reductin as the standard of scientific
legitimacy in biology simply takes into consideration the manifest truth
that while the computational capacities of the human brain are finite, the
descriptive complexities of biological phenomena are -- for all practical
purposes -- numerically infinite.

Let me ber very clear about the precise force of Rosenberg's appeal to
the cognitive limitations of the human brain and to the complexities of
biological phenomena.  ON the human side of the equation, Rosenberg argues
that the cognitive limitations which are placed upon biological reduction
can be accounted for as a simple product of the finite storage capacities
and the limited computational powers of the human brain (Rosenberg, 1989).
It is important to notice here that Rosenberg's account of the human
cognitive limitations which restrict biological reductin does not appeal
to the nature of human perceptual capacities and recognitional skiils (as
was done earlier in this paper).  Neither does his appeal to any inherent
limitation which the physical make-up of the world and of our own sensory
apporatus might place upon our perceptual access to the patters which
constitute the initional conditions and consequence classes which figure
in scientific explanations (as was done earlier in this paper).  In a
similar vein, Rosenberg's notion of complexity in biology does not reflect
the sort of mathematical, phenomenological or conceptual complexity which
is today described by those studying the mathematical patterns of non-
linear phenomena (compare Hayek, 1967, Campbell, 1984, Prigogine, 1985).
Rather, the notion of complexity which Rosenberg proposes as a restriction
upon teleological reductin is a notion which simply reflects the immensely
large number of different physical descriptions which would be required
to complete the reduction of each and every teleological explanation to
causal variables (see Rosenberg, 1985, p. 61 and p. 118; and compare
Rosenberg, 1989, p. 254 and p. 262).

Rosenberg, however, does provide a rather elegant argument which explains
just why biological phenomena should exhibit the sort of numericallly
rich descriptive complexity which -- for purely practical reasons --
prevents the complexion of teleological reduction in biology.  Rosenberg's
argument appeals to the fact that natural selection explains the
persistence of particular biological structures by reference to a
limited class of the effects of such structures.  Let me turn, then, to
Rosenberg's explanation for the fact that biological phenomana are
characterized by the sort of complexity which is naturally susceptible
to teleological explanation.

Although nearly all writers on teleology have acknowledge the practical
usefulness of teleological language to characterize the kind of
phenomena found in the biological world, few physicalist have attempted
to account for the natural applicability of this sort of expression
within the biological sciences.  Among those who have, the majority have
appealed to the fact that biological phenomena are naturally characterized
by the display of what is almost universally recognized as a plasticity
and persistence in their behavior (compare Nagel, 1977, p. 272).

Empiricists have widely interpreted this plasticity and persistence
as an indication that biological phenomena whare formed out of a
diversity of different physical structures and multiplicity of alter-
native causal pathways all of which are capable of producing or
maintaingn the very same state or effect. (compare Nagel, 1977, p. 272).
While many empiricist have felt satisfied merely with a causal inter-
pration of the readily apparent phenomenal features of biological phen-
omena, other empiricists have sought to account for the very existence
of phenomena which are marked by such qualities.  The concern here is to
explain the origin and persistence of phenomena marked by the behavioral
features of plasticity and persistence while avoiding the sort of
conceptual novelties which would take the physicalist outside the domain
of purely causal principles (compare Wright, 1968, p. 221).

Among the empiricist's who have attempted to provide such an explanation,
Alexander Rosenberg's selective account is by far the most comprehensive
(see Rosenberg, 1985, 1989).  Although Rosenberg's explicit concern is
to provide a purely causal explanation for the numerical complexity of
biological phenomena which makes the strict reductin of teleological
phenomena to causal laws practically impossible, in the course of his
account Rosenberg inadvertently provides us with a causal explanation for
the origin and persistence of biological phenomena which naturally display
the characteristics of teleological phenomena.

Rosenberg's unstated premise is that the mechanism of natural selection
provides us with a purely causal explanation for the origin and persist-
ence of phenomena which we naturally identify as teleological in character.
On this account, a multitude of diverse physical structures and alternative
causal pathways all jointely share the sort of selectively significant
common effects which lead to the further replication and persistence of
these smae structures and pathways.  IN fact, these structures and path-
ways are just the sort of phenomena which we invariably characterize as
teleological phenomena.  As Rosenberg puts it, "Natural selection 'chooses'
variants by some of their effects, those we identify as their functions."
(Rosenberg, 1989, p. 248)

Rosenberg implicitly suggest that teleological characterizatins are
naturally applicable to the sort of phenomena which are selected for
their common effects just when those common effects are produced by a
multitute of different physical structures and causal pathways.  On this
view, it is the operation of a process which selections for diverse
structures with common effects which produces phenomena which can (and are)
explained in terms of their effects.

It is crucial here to distinquish between phenomena which are defined
in terms of their effects and phenomean which are explained in terms of
their effect.  For example, in the great majority of cases we do not
identify the multiple causes of a single effect as teleological phenomena,
nor, in the great majority of cases, do we identify the replication
of the very same of identical physical structures or causal processes as
teleological phenomena.  Thus we don't identify the common effect of
acetic acid and hydrochloric acid on litmus paper as teleological pheno-
mena, although we do define these chemicals as acids on account of
their comon effect (compare Hull, 1982, p. 302).

In a similar fashion, we do not identify the replication and persistence
of the crystalline structure of a carbon diamond as teleological
phenomena and nor do we identify the replication and persistence of a
nuclear reaction as teleological phenomena.  Although the patterns of a
nuclear reaction or of a carbon crystal persist through replication,
these processes do not cout as teleological phenomena because their
causaes and effects involve entities and process which are structurally
and causally identical.

In effect, Rosenberg implicitly suggests that we are dealing with
teleological phenomena when we are dealing with a diversity of different
physcial structures and causal pathways which consistently produce the
sort of common effects which cause these various structures and pathways
to persist through replication.  As Rosenberg puts it, "A given physical
system may have idefinitely many effects on its environment.  ONly a
subest of these are actually identified functins -- i.e. selected for by
the systems' environment."  (Rosenberg, 1989, p. 251)

Rosenberg's strategy is to account not only for the natural applicability
of teleological characterizations but also for the numerical complexity
of biological phenomena by showing how functional language is used to
identify a great diversity of structures and causal pathways all of which
produce the same selective effects.  We need to take a somewhat closer
look at this argument.

Rosenberg likens Darwinian evolution to a race in which duplicate
prizes are awarded for first place in the 'race' to be selected.  The
contestants in this race are diverse physical structures and multiple
causal pathways.  The duplicate 'prize' which is awarded to these
structures and pathways is the opportunity to persist through replication.
Significantly, the criteria for winning this race is set by external
causal forces which deman a specific common effect before the prize of
replication is conferred.

Rosenberg's larger argument can be stated as the claim that the
numerical complexity of teleolgical phenomena and the natural applica-
bility of teleological language is the straightforward product of
a causal process through which a variety of different physical structures
and alternative causal pathways replicate and persist as a result of
satisfying the same winning criterion.  Of course, this criterion is to
be understood as a strictly causal criterion which consists in the
replication and persistence of these diverse structures and pathways.

Significanctly, however, Rosenberg allows that a polulation of physically
distinct structures and alternative causal pathways need not produce
strictly _identical_ common effects in order to be awarded a prize in the
race for replication and persistence.  Rather, it is sufficient for the
pruposes of replication for a structure of pathway to finish a close
second or third in the race of natural seleciton (see Rosenberg, 1989,
p. 252).  Rosenberg explains that this anomalous effect is the direct
relust of the fact tht non-selective accidents allow for the replication
and perisistence of diverse structures and pathways which produce less
than optimally adaptive effects -- producing what evolutinary biologists
call genetic drift.

It seems, then, as if Rosenberg has given us not just one, but actually
two different accounts of teleological phenomena.  On the first account,
a function or goal-directed behavior can be identified as one of a
diverse collection of different physical structures or causal pathways
all of which are capable of producing causally _identical_ effects of the
sort which will allow for the persistent representation of these
structures and processes in a population (see Rosenberg, 1989, pp. 248-
249).  ON the second account, a function or goal-directed behavior can
be identified as ne of a diverse collection of different physical structures
or causal pathways all of which are merely _similar_ rather than strictly
identical in their effects, although all of which contribute to the
replication and persistence of these very same structures (or at least
resempling structures) in the members of a particular species (see
Rosenberg, 1989, p. 252).

Under the first description, teleological phenomena can be
characterized as structurally or causally diverse phenomena with
some precisely equivalent effects.  On this account, teleological
phenomena form disjuctive classes of multiple causal pathways and
physically distinct structures which produce strictly identical
effects.  Although these are disjunctive classes, the disjuncts of
such classes will be finite and well-defined due to the strict
identify of some of their causal effects.

Rosenberg refers to such classes as 'relatively restricted functions'
and gives as a particular example the relatively restricted function
'codes for valine' which is satisfied by exactly three structurally
distinct DNA sequences.  Significancely, because the criteria for
membership within the finite disjunctive class of a relatively restricted
function is found in the precisely identical effects of diverse
structures and pathways, the members of such a class may be independently
identified or causally difined outside of the actual historical course
of the evolutionary process.

On the second account, Rosenberg broadens the criteria used to
identify a fucntion or a goal-directed behavior, extending it to
include structures and pathways which are only merely _similar_
rather than strictly identical in their effects (see Rosenberg, 1989,
pp. 252-253, especially where he says, "the systems are merely
quite similar in respect of fulfilling _one_ function." [underlining
added].).  Although Rosenberg fails to indicate just what it is
about the diverse effects of these structures and pathways which make
them all in some sense similar, let me suggest that _this similarity
need consist in nothing more than the common effect these structures
and pathways have in producing the same level of replication and
persistence of entities sharing the same historical origins and which
constitute parts of an evolving historical individual (on evolving
historical individuals see Hull, 1989, pp. 126-127).

I will refer to members of such a class as 'relatively unruly
functions' and give as an example the relatively unruly function
"protects members of the species X from birds, or snakes, or the wind,
or the sun, or will protect them from something else which is as
yet unknown" which has been satisfied by the physical structures and
or causal pathways A, B, C, D, or will be satisfied by some other
structure or pathway as yet unknown.  Like the members of the 'relatively
restricted function', the members of a 'relatively unruly function'
will constitute a disjunctive class.  But unlike the membership class
of a 'relatively restricted function' the membership class of a
'relatively unruly function' is not closed by any causal criterion
and therefore is neither well-defined nor denumberbly finite.

This conclusion is a direct result of the phenomena of evolutionary
drift which allows for the possibility of non-selective accidents
in the course of evolution.  Significantly, then, because the criteria
for membership within a relatively unruly function is only found in
the actual courseof evolution, the members of such a class cannot be
independently identified or defined outside of the actual historical
course of the evolutionary process.  Rather, the membership of such a
class can only be discovered through the inspection of the atual
actual outcome of the unfolding course of evolution (compare Stone, 1989,
pp. 126-127, on non-linear mathematics and non-linear phenomena).

As we have seen, Rosenberg wishes to show that the empiricist appeal
to 'in principle' reduction is merely a practical concession to the
numerical complexity which characterizes teleological phenomena.  His
strategy has been to show how this numerical complexity has been the
direct result of the process of natural selection.  Rosenberg's claim is
that Darwinian evolution generates a diversity of different physical
structures and causal pathways which are capable of producing the kind
of common effects which contribute to the replication and persistence of
these structures and pathways.  Rosenberg implicitly suggests that we
identify these diverse structures and pathways as teleological phenomena
just becasue they produce the kinds of effects which make it possible
to explain these structures and pathways in terms of those effects.

On Rosenberg's account, then, the teleological phenomena we readily identify
in the biological world cannot -- in principle -- be reduced reduced to
a finite list of divergent structural and causal disjunctions as a simple
result of the fact that natural selection generates so many different
ways to produce the same selectively significant effects that men with
finite brains are incapable of calculating and enumerating all of the
different relevant structures and causal pathways.  It should be obvious
that Rosenberg's argument depends only upon the existence of 'relatively
restricted functions' and could be made without reference to the class
of 'relatively unruly functions'.  In fact, Rosenberg can frequently be
read as presentinf the argument in just this form (see, for example,
Rosenberg, 1989, p. 252, where he says, "Natural selectin thus makes
functional _equivalence_-cum structural diversity the rule and not the
exception .. This difference, resulting from the operation of selection
for effects, explains why reduction goes smoothly in the physical
sciences, but apparently not at all, in biology,"  [underlining added].).

Indeed, the plausibility of Rosenberg's claim that teleological
explanations are _in principle_ reducible to the causal laws of physics
and chemistry largely relies upon the purely causal identity
conditions which are built into the category of 'relatively restricted
functions' which are defined by the fact that such functions produce
causally identical effects.  By constrast, the category of 'relatively
unruly functions' includes a collection of structures and causal
pathways non of which need produce identical effects, but which instead
merely produce effects which are in some sense 'similar'.

The challenge for Rosenberg and other empiricist is to show how the
class of 'relatively unruly functions' can _in principle_ be reduced to
the structures and causal pathways of physics and chemistry by showing
us how the similarity relation which binds the members of any particular
'relatively unruley function' can be causally specified or defined.
The criteria for a successful demonstration that this relation the
classes it defines can _in principle_ be reduced to the causal laws of
physics and chemistry is of course the standard empiricist desiderata
which demands that any scientifically reputable class or relation must
represent properties or magnitudes which co-vary in a predictably linear
fashion, such as in the relation of constant conjunction.  That is,
the physicalist must _in priciple_ be able to define _in advance_ the
classe of 'relatively unruly functions' by "distinguishing exactly
what is owing to _chance_ and what proceeds form _causes_"  (Hume, 1985,
p. 111).  And again, the physicalist must _in principle_ be able to
make such a distinction _in advance_ of the appearance of the phenomena
to be eplianed.  Let me now suggest why the physicalist will be unable
to meet this challenge.

My arguent cam be illustrated through a paralle example from the domain
of immunological theory.  The immune system is a selective system
wich produces hundreds of millions of antibodies each with its own
unique bonding surface which aderes to a different range of invading
antigen to a greater or lesser degree.  After adhering to an antigen, the
cell bearing a particular antibody responds by replicating additional
cells displaying more of the same antibody.  In fact, however, we don't
knowl the particular funcitn of any given antibody until we identify a
particular antigen to which a cell bearing that antibody has a response
(compare Edeoman, 1982, p. 32).  As Gerald Edelman explains, ".. hosts
of antibodies exist that do not 'know' what they are for, like characters
in a Pirandello play.  When a selective even occurs, however, they do
'know' what thye are for -- In an immune system a posteriorie, an
antibody stands for a particular foreign molecule.  But a priori this is
not the case; when one looks at an antibody in the immune system, one
does not know what it is for..."  (Edelman, 1985, pp. 34-35).

The a posteriori nature of functional attribution in immunology is
particularly evident in the case of antibodies which bond to no
curerntly known substance.  In effect, these antibodies have no currently
known funciton.  Consider, however, an antibody of this sort which
acts at some future date to remove an as yet unknown and therefore
undeveloped hepten (i.e. man-made antigen which does not exist naturally
in the environment) from the body.  The possibility of the existence
of such a substance is demanded by the assumption that there is such a
thing as the growht of human knowledge (compare Popper, 1957, p. vii).
As Karl Popper explains, "We cannot predict, by rational or scientific
methods, the future growth of oru scientific knowledge .. this
refutes the possibility of predicting historical developments to the
extent to which they may be influenced by the growth of our knowledge."
(Popper, 1957, p. vii)  It follwos, then, that an antibody of this
sort will acquire a purpose at some future date which no current
scientsit could predict in advance.

[cut off at page 90]

Greg Ransom
Dept. of Philosophy
UC-Riverside
gransom@ucrac1.ucr.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:19>From GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu Thu Jan 11 10:37:39 1996

Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996 8:36:40 -0800 (PST)
From: GREG RANSOM <GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu>
To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Insuperable Limits to Reduction in Biology (section 9)

I fear my last post was too abstract and too long.  Here is
a much more accessable and shorter alternative argument against
the possibility of 'in principle' reduction in biology.  It
comes for section 9 of my 1992 working paper "Insuperable Limits
to Reduction in Biology" written for Alexander Rosenberg and
Larry Wright in the Phil. Dept. of the U. of California -- Riverside.

[warning long]

section 9 of "Insuperble Limits to Reduction in Biology", pp. 62-73.

9.  TELEOLOGICAL REDUCTION BLOCKED

My suggestion is that teleological catergories based on manifestly
useful effects are what biologists call adaptations and that the
continued action of the demands of natural selection are what biologists
call the process of adaptation.  The problem created by this conceptual
division, as Richard Lewontin explains, ".. is how species can be at
all times both adapting and adapted."  (Lewontin, 1984, p. 238; compare
Darwin, 1964, p. 95).  The central paradox of evolutionary biology is
that the theory of natural selection explains the manifestly perceptible
biological features of an organism -- i.e. its gross teleological
characteristics -- by positing the indiscernible action of a process
which acts gradully upon imperceptibly small biological differences --
i.e. Darwin's 'slight variations' -- which influence long-term organism
reproduction and survival rates.  (Compare Darwin, 1964, pp. 3-4, pp.
33-35, p. 85, p. 91, p. 95, p. 460, p. 471; see also Maynard Smith, 1989,
p. 4, and p. 37-38; Williams, 1966, p. 100.)

My argument is that the explanatory gulf which exists between the
manifestly teleological properiest of organisims and the underlying
process of natural selection accounts for why evolutionary biologists
use the notion of selective competition and speak of the relative
adaptedness of teleological features -- i.e. of the relative advantage
of competeing phenotypes which are recognized as serving the same
purpose (compare Darwin, 1964, pp. 6-63, p. 433; Brandon, 1981, pp. 97-98;
Sober, 1984, p. 42).  Charles Darwin, for example, speaks of the
_relative_ selective advantage enjoyed by larger antlers, thicker fir,
the swiftest wolves, the largest glands, the most nectar, the swifter
horses (artifical selection), and shorter or longer beaks (artificial
selection).  (see Darwin, 1964, pp. 90-92).  My claim is that we use the
notion of competition when we do not know in advance the facts that
determine the actions of competitors (compare Hayek, 1978, p. 179).  Let
me suggest also that a direct consequence of the evolutionary biologists'
need for the use of the notion of competition is that a specific
hypothesis of relative adaptiveness often cannot be tested empirically
(compare Hayek, 1978, p. 180; Rosenberg, 1985, pp. 166-172; Rosenberg,
1986, p. 198)

What I will call the paradox of adaptation is manifested in especially
illuminating terms by the conceptual and observational gulf which
stants between the categorical clarity of Mendelian based population
genetics and the infinitesimally small physical gradations which
characterize most phenotypic differences -- a problem which is only
compounded by the problematic many-many relationship which exists between
genotype and phenotype (compare Lewontin, 1974; Hull, 1974, pp. 16-17;
Kitcher, 1984; Rosenberg, 1985).  As Lewontin explains, "In contradition
to the discretness of genotypic classes demanded by Mendelian analysis
lies the quasi-continuous nature of the phenotypic differences that are
the stuff of evolutionary changes."  (Lewontin, 1974, p. 21)  The problem
of phenotypic gradation is found throughout the paleontological record.
As G. G. Simpson explains, speaking of a particular phenotypic difference
in tooth character within the species which later became equine horses,
"In these cases, and generally in similar paleontological data, the
phenotypics expressins or mutations do not, even aside from the fact that
they are smaller, have the clear-cut nature of such mutations as 'forked'
in _Drosophila_ or 'sinistral' in _Partula_.  Even when such characters
first appear, frequently they cannot be classed as 'wholly present' and
'wholly absent', but already show variation both in size and in extent; for
instance, in the number and location of the teeth that show them."
(Simpson, 1944, pp. 60-61)

My claim is that the epistemic conditions which lead to the paradox
of adaptation provide gross and insuperable barriers to reduction in
biology.  The central difficulty is that the successful reduction of
teleological features to physics and chemistry requires of the evolution-
ary biologist that he solve in the most minute physical and chemical
detail what Alexander Rosenberg has described as, "the problem of rightly
distinguishing functions from other beneficial and incidental effects
of an item."  (Rosenberg, 1980, p. 75)  The problem here, as George
Williams explains, is that we lack the kind of explicit criteria which
would allow us to precisely distinguish adaptations from either fortuitous
or merely incidental effects (see Willians, 1966, p. 8 and p. 15).  In
order to acquire these criteria, however, we would need to be in an
epistemic position sufficient to precisely state, as Richard Lewontin
explains, "what are the physical schemata to which organisms are adapting
and adapted."  (Lewontin, 1984, p. 247)

Yet it is just htese physical descriptions which are irredeemably
beyond our ability to acquire in the needed detail due to our inability
to adequately identify the appropriate dimensions of the environmental
constraints which are shaping evolution through natural selection.  This
result is a consequence of the fact that we have no independent means
of ascertaining the precise selecive dimensions fo the environment which
rivals the evidence seen in the direct effects of the environment upon
a biological population itself.  In other words, because the features of
organisms provide the best evidence of the dimensions of their own niches,
we have no independent means of specifying the selective forces at work
in the environment.  As Richard Lewontin explains, "There is no way to use
adaptation as the central principle of evolution without recourse to a
predetermination of the states of nature to which this adaptation occurs,
yet there seems no way to choose these states of nature, except by
reference to already existing organisms."  (Lewontin, 1984, p. 240)

The demand for reference to the attributes of alreacy existing organisms
presents an insuperable barrier to the completed characterization of
the physical states of a selective environment.  As Rosenberg explains,
"Exactly how large the dimensionality of an evolutionary environment is
we cannot tell, because we know too little about the structe and behavior
of organisms, and about how external forces affect them."  (Rosenberg,
1983, p. 459).  This sort of difficulty is particularly acute in the field
of animal behavior, where experimental conditions in the laboratory often
diverge radically from the selective envirnment which confornts the wild
organism.  Indeed, Lewi Petronovich, citing the work of Egon Brunswik,
argues that, "systematic desing [in behavioral psychology] almost inevitably
involves the use of atypical backgrounds for the behaviors in questions
and embeds the behaviors in atypical contexts."  (Petrinovich, 1979, p. 374)
Petrinovich's conclusion is that, "If we are interested in explaining how
organisms behave in their environment .. we will have to study the
environment as carefully as we do the organism."  (Petrinovich, 1979,
p. 378)

It is easy tp see how this requirement would represent an insuperable
barrier to the fully completed physical or chemical characterization of
either organisms or environments due to the reciprocal effects which
each of these have upon the other.  As Lewontion explains, "The activity
of all living forms transforms the external world in ways that both
promote and inhibit the organism's life -- In this way the environment
is a product of the organism, just as the organism is a product of the
environment."  (Lewontin, 1984, p. 238)  My claim, then, is that if
neither organism nor environment can be fully characterized independently
of one another, then the dynamical relationship which exists between
organism and environoment will constitute an insuperable barrier to teleo-
logical reduction.

Recall that an empiricist in the Humean tradition insits that for any
legitimate teleological ascription in biology a specific physical or
chemical reduction to 'causal laws' must _in principle_ be available to
any scientist who manages to possess enough storage and computational
capacity.  For example, Ernest Nagel contends, ".. every statement about
the subject matter of a teleologcial explanation can in principle be
rendered in nonteleological language.." (Nagel, 1962, p. 421).  IN slightly
different terms, Nagel alternatively insists that, ".. every teleological
explanation is translatable into an equivalent nonteleological one."
(Nagel, 1962, p. 421).  As was suggested earlier in this paper, for the
Humean empiricist this meand that it must be possible -- at least in
theory, ie. in principle -- to reduce all of the teleological explanations
in biology to the terms of some lower-level disjunctin of universal laws
and physically characterized and nomologically defined items -- and as
Kincaid has suggested this demand, ".. minimally requires that someone or
some group of people with sufficient computational ability could provide
the relevant disjunct."  (Kincaid, 1988, p. 273)

I will now use the example of Ernest Nagel's work on 'directively
organized systems' as a meansa for showing just why it is that our
inablity to provide a completed characterization of the adaptive
environment constitutes an absolute barrier to teleological reduction
in biology.  The idea of a directly organized system is the idea
of a system which consists of several mutually independent component
sub-systems each of which are linked together by a series of causal laws
which serve to maintain the overall system at some particular goal state
(compare Nagel, 1962; see also Nagel, 1977; Rosenberg, 1985).  The
difficulty for Nagel is to provide independent grounds and objective
criteria for specifying any particular state as the actual goal state of
the system.  As David Hull explains, "Nagel's definition of teleological
systems in terms of negative feedback depends on a prior knowledge of
what counts as a goal-state."  (Hull, 1974, p. 109)

The problem here, of course, is that the only rationale beyond our
own gross and very immediate teleological perceptions for positing the
existence of a specific goal-state for a biological system consists
in the adaptive effects which the attainment and maintenance of such
a state would ahve upon a biological organism.  As suggested earlier in
this paper, however, the only way in which the precise adaptive effects
of any biological items can be ascertained is through an adequate
physical characterizatioon of the adaptive environment. The central
problem for the reductionist, as Richard Lewontin explains, is that, "..
the external world can be divided up in a non-countable infinity of
ways so that there is a non-countable infinity of conceivable ecological
niches."  (Lewontin, 1984, p. 237)  But as we have already seen, because
of the dynamically reciprocal relationship which exists between the
characterization of organism and environment, a completed physical
characterizatin of an adaptive ecological niche is not possible.  Without
a completed physical characterization of the adaptive environment there
can be no precise specification of the goal state of a system, and
without a precise specification of the goal state of the system there can
be no completely reduction of a bit of teleological phenomena to a
specific disjunct of causal laws and physical descriptions.

Consider, for example, the case of human thermal regulation.  We might
image that the process of regulating somatic relationships in
the body and the process of regulating fat cell production are
independent sub-systems which help to maintain a specific range of
internal bodily temperatures wich is the goal state of the directively
organized system of thermal regulation.  The crucial questin for the
reducitonist is this:  how are we to determine what the precise goal
stae of this system is?  My answer is that outside of the theory of
natural selection we have no means for identifying such a norm other
than our innate human ability to perceive teleological phenomena
directly.  And yet, as I have already shown earlier in this paper,
within the theory of natural selection the precise specificatin of
such a goal state is impossible.

We can see this through the example provided by Nagel of the goal
state for human thermal regulation.  Nagel suggests that we characterize
the goal state of human thermal regulation in terms of the internal
termperature required to prevent a human bieng from sustaining fatal
bodily injury.  As Nagel puts it, "Thus, the internal temperatue of the
body must remain fairly constatn if it is not to be fatally injured.
In point of fact, the temperature of the normal human bieng varies dureing
the day only from about 97.3 F to 99.1 F, and cannot fall much below
74 F or rise much above 110 F without permanent injury to the body."
Nagel, 1962, p. 409)  Surely, however, for the purposes of natural
selection the goal state of internal thermal regulation would be useless
if it did not also provide an animal with the ability to reproduce --
yet we can image a particular organism which manages to maintain a
bodily temperature which allows it to remain alive but without the ability
to reproduce.

Despite their inability to establish physically precise specifications
of the goal state for any particular system, biologists are still
won to speak of the 'given' needs of organisms and of the 'agreed upon'
functins of particular biologial features (compare Rosenberg, 1980,
p. 61).  The intersubjective perception of goal targets among evolutionary
biologists is particularly true in the case of animal behavior.  As
Larry WRight explains, "In a large number of cases the goal-directedness
of a bit of behavior is obvious on its face.  Many of our teleological
judgments are as reliable and intersubjective as the run of normal
perceptual judgments.  Occassinally there simply is no questions about it:
the rabbit is fleeing, the cat stalking, the squirrel building a nest."
(Wright, 1972, p. 206)  Wright goes on to suggest that, ".. we should view
with suspicion any analysis which contends that goal-directedness consists
in a relationship among parameters of which we are quite usually ignorant
in the context of these reliable judgments."  (Wright, 1972, p. 206)

In fact, Nagel himslef admits that his account of directively organized
systems, ".. deals only with what is assumed to be the common distinctive
structure of teleological systems .."  (nagel, 1962, p. 418)  In other
words, Nagel's own examples are not meant to be understood as completed
reduction of any particular teleogical system -- but are meant instead as
a blue-print for the logical structure of completed teleological
reductions as they are effected by practicing biologists.  As Nagel
explains, "This must suffice as an outline of the abstract structure of
goal-directed or teleological systems.  The account given deliberately
leaves undiscussed the detailed mechanisms involved in the operation of
particular teleological systems; and it simply assumes that all such
systems can in principle be analysed into parts wich are causally
relevant to the maintainance of some feature in those systems, and which
stand to each other and to environmental factors in deternate relations
capable of being formulated as general laws."  (Nagel, 1962, p. 418) Yet
as I have shown above, such an assumption is mistaken due to certain
features inherent in the structure of biological explanation.

Greg Ransom
Dept. of Philosophy
UC-Riverside
gransom@ucrac1.ucr.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:20>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Fri Jan 12 00:52:23 1996

Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 01:51:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: January 12 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JANUARY 12 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1778: WILLIAM HERBERT is born at Highclere, Hampshire, England.  A junior
member of an aristocratic family, Herbert will study at Eton and Oxford, and
then take a seat in the House of Commons.  Leaving politics for the ministry
in 1814, Herbert will move to the parish of Spofforth in Yorkshire, where he
will remain for the rest of his life.  An interest in botany will lead Herbert
to become a skilled horticulturalist, and his extensive studies of plant
hybrids will form the basis of part of Darwin's discussion of hybridism
and sterility in the _Origin of Species_ (1859).

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.
Send the message INFO DARWIN-L to listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu or connect
to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information.

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:21>From straker@unixg.ubc.ca Fri Jan 12 09:15:48 1996

Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 07:15:21 -0800 (PST)
From: Stephen Straker <straker@unixg.ubc.ca>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Tense

The small discussion about "Today in the ..." reminded me of -- here's a
blast from the late Mesozoic! -- Walter Cronkite's CBS TV show in the
1950s, "YOU ARE THERE".  Uncle Walter interviewed Julius C. BEFORE he
crossed the Rubicon, Uncle Abe on his way to the theatre, JW Booth
sitting and brooding in a saloon, etc. (I'm probably making some of this
up, but you get the idea.)

It also brought up a problem I -- though not a literary person (see
below) -- have also felt fussy about: how properly to write about past
belief?  Suppose you're writing in the past tense:  Do you say
"Copernicus believed that the earth was a planet" or do you say
"Copernicus believed that the earth is a planet"???
The first is common (and false -- what is the earth doing in 1542?);
the second is usually not preferred (yet true).  If you didn't already
KNOW the subject, you'd get the wrong impression from the first.
Consider: "Herbert believed that the indigenous people actually spoke
pure Hittite."  Just what is it that he believed?

Sometimes it matters:
"Luther believed that man was born in sin."
"Luther believed that man is born in sin."
If you didn't know the subject, you could take the first to mean that
Luther believed that once "men" were born in sin but by his day something
had happened and they no longer are.

I encounter this sort of thing all the time: a past belief is presented
as itself about the past, whereas in the past the belief is present in
both senses: present to the past believer AND for the past believer
something that is always true.  Consequently it always sounds wrong to me
when someone writes: "Darwin held that species evolved by natural
selection."

What do you think?

pedantically yours,

Stephen Straker             straker@unixg.ubc.ca
Arts One // History         (604) 822-6863
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Canada  V6T 1Z1

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:22>From jsl@rockvax.rockefeller.edu Fri Jan 12 16:02:55 1996

To: Stephen Straker <straker@unixg.ubc.ca>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Tense  -- in autobiography
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 17:07:37 EST
From: Joshua Lederberg <jsl@rockvax.rockefeller.edu>

Can you folks help me out with a related problem in narrative expression,
in autobiography?

How to locate and datestamp the voice  --of the author as a present narrator,
and as a subject whose past actions and beliefs are being described and
criticized.

To say, e.g. "I thought X" -- which "I" is that?

Have past writers dealt with this explicitly, either in comment on their
own autobiography, or on the genre?

Reply-to: (J. Lederberg)lederberg@rockvax.rockefeller.edu
--------
Prof. Joshua Lederberg
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue
New York, NY   10021-6399

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:23>From GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu Sat Jan 13 08:02:52 1996

Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996 6:01:53 -0800 (PST)
From: GREG RANSOM <GRANSOM@ucrac1.ucr.edu>
To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Insuperable Limits to Reduction in Biology (intoduction)

For those interested, here is the first page or two of my
introduction to my working paper "Insuperable Limits to Reduction
in Biology" (98 pages) written for Alexander Rosenberg and
Larry Wright in the winter of 1991-1992.  It provides a needed
context for my argument against the in principle possibility of complete
reduction to physical categories and laws in biology.

from "Insuperable Limits to Reduction in Biology"

INTRODUCTION

One of the central claims of my paper is that within the complex
sciences (like evolutionary biology) we must be satisfied with the
prediction and explanation of the abstract characteristics of a
general pattern of events -- and we can never hope for anything more
precise than a multiply-realized and often open-ended or incomplete
how-possible causal explanation of a particular event appropriately
identified as falling within a complex science (compare Hayek, 1967,
Prigogine, 1985, Kincaid, 1988, Stone, 1989, Kincaid, 1990, Brandon, 1990).
My conclusion is that the model oof science which looks to the
subsumption of particulars under causal laws as the mark of scientific
truth and metaphysical reality is inadequate for those sciences which
rely upon the direct perception of pattens which defy adequate or
exhaustive description in purely causal terms.

There is, however, a presumptive philosophical position which asserts
that teleological explanations and ascriptions in the biological
sciences are scientifically legitimate only because as a matter of
principle thse explanations may be reduced to a completed set of causal
explanations by scientists who possess sufficiently expansive cognitive
resources (compare Rosenberg, 1982, Rosenberg, 1989).  It is my aim
in this paper to establish that no such reductions are in principle
possible in the biological science due at one to innate characteristics
of our human perceptual faculties and due concurrently to certain
features which are intrinsic to the structure of biological explanation.

In spite of these insuperable limitations to causal reduction in the
biological sciences, I wish to defend the legitimacy of teleological
explanations in biology against those who would give priviledged statu
to causal explanation in the physical sciences.  Toward this end, I
intend to identify and account for the explanatory power of teleological
ascriptions by characterizing scientific explanation itself as a process
of pattern modeling.  I plan, what is more, to argue for the independent
and secure status of teleological explanations in biology by pointing
to the well-established reliability and overwhelming intersubjectivity
of our teleological perceptions which I claim suffers nothing in comparison
to the reliability and intersubjectivitiy of our perceptions of constant
conjunction.

In this paper I also propose an original characterization of the
structure of teleological phenomena and suggest a somewhat novel account
of our relation as human being to such phenomena.  My account of
teleological phenomena will unfold through the course of the middle
section of the paper.  There are, of course, a number of important
desiderata by which to judge the philosophical adequacy of any proposed
construal of our linguistic and scientific practices with respect
to teleological phenomena.  For my own money, I beleive that an
adequate construal of teleological explanation and ascription should
be able to both characterize and account for each of the following:  1)
our ability to directly comprehend and perceive teleological
phenomena without need for higher intellectual reflection; 2) erroneous
teleological ascriptions; 3) the analogy between human purposes,
artifacts and biological adaptations; and 4) metaphysical worries about
the subjective or chimerical status of teleological ascriptions.

In the following pages I attempt to show how my account of teleology
can successfully address these difficult concerns without conceding to
the 'in principle' reducibility or normatively mandated eliminatibility
of teleological ascriptions and explanations to a set of nomologically
defined physical states and a set of physical laws from physics and
chemistry.

--------------

Some references:

Larry Wright, _Teleological Explanation_.

Friedrich Hayek, "Degrees of Explanation", in Hayek, 1967.

Friedrich Hayek, "The Theory of Complex Phenomena", in Hayek, 1967.

Friedrich Hayek, "Rules, Perception, and Intelligibility", in Hayek, 1967.

Friedrich Hayek, _Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics_, 1967.

Friedrich Hayek, _The Sensory Order_, 1952.  (Hayek-Hebb learning rule)

Alexander Rosenberg, _The Structure of Biological Science_, 1985.

Greg Ransom
Dept. of Philosophy
UC-Riverside
gransom@ucrac1.ucr.edu

_______________________________________________________________________________

<29:24>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu Tue Jan 16 00:31:26 1996

Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 01:30:56 -0400 (EDT)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: January 16 -- Today in the Historical Sciences
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

JANUARY 16 -- TODAY IN THE HISTORICAL SCIENCES

1894: ALEKSANDER FEDOROVICH MIDDENDORF dies at Khellenurme, Estonia.
Middendorf received his medical degree from Dorpat University in 1837,
and continued his studies of natural history in Germany and Austria.  During
1839 he travelled with von Baer to the Kola Peninsula, and in 1843 and 1844 he
explored Siberia under the auspices of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences,
a trip that led to the founding of the Russian Geographical Society.  In the
report on his Siberian expedition, _Reise in den aussersten Norden und Osten
Sibiriens wahrend der Jahre 1843 und 1844_ (St. Petersburg, 1848-1875),
Middendorf made a number of important observations on the nature of
species and on biogeographical patterns in the polar region.

Today in the Historical Sciences is a feature of Darwin-L, an international
network discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.
Send the message INFO DARWIN-L to listserv@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu or connect
to the Darwin-L Web Server (http://rjohara.uncg.edu) for more information.

_______________________________________________________________________________
Darwin-L Message Log 29: 1-24 -- January 1996                               End

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