Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (Stud Hist Philos Sci C Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci)

Publisher: Elsevier

Journal description

In recent years Studies in History and Philosophy of Science has seen a remarkable increase in submissions of high calibre articles in the fields of the history, sociology, and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences. Elsevier Science Ltd and the Editors are delighted to present a new journal in an exciting and rapidly expanding area of science studies.Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences is devoted to historical, sociological, philosophical and ethical aspects of the life and environmental sciences, of the sciences of mind and behaviour, and of the medical and biomedical sciences and technologies. The period covered is from the middle of the nineteenth century (the time of the so-called "laboratory revolution" in medicine and the life sciences) to the present.Our editorial policy follows that of the parent journal, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science: contributions are from a wide range of countries and cultural traditions; we encourage both specialist articles, and articles combining historical, philosophical, and sociological approaches; and we favour works of interest to scientists and medics as well as to specialists in the history, philosophy and sociology of the sciences.The Editors invite original contributions in the field of the new journal. All articles and volunteered essay-reviews will be blind refereed. Contributions and proposals should be sent to Dr Marina Frasca-Spada, Associate Editor, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RH, UK, E-mail: mfs10@cam.ac.uk

Current impact factor: 0.00

Impact Factor Rankings

Additional details

5-year impact 0.00
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Website Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences website
Other titles Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences, Studies in history and philosophy of science
ISSN 1879-2499
OCLC 39204052
Material type Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Elsevier

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Authors pre-print on any website, including arXiv and RePEC
    • Author's post-print on author's personal website immediately
    • Author's post-print on open access repository after an embargo period of between 12 months and 48 months
    • Permitted deposit due to Funding Body, Institutional and Governmental policy or mandate, may be required to comply with embargo periods of 12 months to 48 months
    • Author's post-print may be used to update arXiv and RepEC
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Must link to publisher version with DOI
    • Author's post-print must be released with a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License
    • Publisher last reviewed on 03/06/2015
  • Classification
    green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Narratives may be easy to come by, but not everything is worth narrating. What merits a narrative? Here, I follow the lead of narratologists and literary theorists, and focus on one particular proposal concerning the elements of a story that make it narrative-worthy. These elements correspond to features of the natural world addressed by the historical sciences, where narratives figure so prominently. What matters is contingency. Narratives are especially good for representing contingency and accounting for contingent outcomes. This will be squared with a common view that narratives leave no room for chance. On the contrary, I will argue, tracing one path through a maze of alternative possibilities, and alluding to those possibilities along the way, is what a narrative does particularly well.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: There is a long-standing distinction in Western thought between scientific and historical modes of explanation. According to Aristotle's influential account of scientific knowledge there cannot be an explanatory science of what is contingent and accidental, such things being the purview of a descriptive history. This distinction between scientia and historia continued to inform assumptions about scientific explanation into the nineteenth century and is particularly significant when considering the emergence of biology and its displacement of the more traditional discipline of natural history. One of the consequences of this nineteenth-century transition was that while modern evolutionary theory retained significant, if often implicit, historical components, these were often overlooked as evolutionary biology sought to accommodate itself to a model of scientific explanation that involved appeals to laws of nature. These scientific aspirations of evolutionary biology sometimes sit uncomfortably with its historical dimension. This tension lies beneath recent philosophical critiques of evolutionary theory and its modes of explanation. Such critiques, however, overlook the fact that there are legitimate modes of historical explanation that do not require recourse to laws of nature. But responding to these criticisms calls for a more explicit recognition of the affinities between evolutionary biology and history.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines a series of recent histories of science that have attempted to consider how science may have developed in slightly altered historical realities. These works have, moreover, been influenced by debates in evolutionary science about the opposing forces of contingency and convergence in regard to Stephen Jay Gould's notion of "replaying life's tape." The article argues that while the historians under analysis seem to embrace contingency in order to present their counterfactual narratives, for the sake of historical plausibility they are forced to accept a fairly weak role for contingency in shaping the development of science. It is therefore argued that Simon Conway Morris's theory of evolutionary convergence comes closer to describing the restrained counterfactual worlds imagined by these historians of science than does contingency.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: I argue for differences in the cognitive efficiency of different psychologies underlying helping behavior, and present an account of the adaptive pressures that result from these differences. Specifically, I argue that organisms often face pressure to move away from only being egoistically motivated to help: non-egoistic organisms are often able to determine how to help other organisms more quickly and with less recourse to costly cognitive resources like concentration and attention. Furthermore, I also argue that, while these pressures away from pure egoism can lead to the evolution of altruists, they can also lead to the evolution of reciprocation-focused behaviorist helpers or even of reflex-driven helpers (who are neither altruists nor egoists). In this way, I seek to broaden the set of considerations typically taken into account when assessing the evolution of the psychology of helping behavior-which tend to be restricted to matters of reliability-and also try to make clearer the role of evolutionary biological considerations in the discussion of this apparently straightforwardly psychological phenomenon.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: As part of their defence of evolutionary theory, T. H. Huxley and Herbert Spencer argued that natural history was no longer a legitimate scientific discipline. They outlined a secularized concept of life from biology to argue for the validity of naturalism. Despite their support for naturalism, they offered two different responses to the decline of natural history. Whereas Huxley emphasized the creation of a biological discipline, and all that that entailed, Spencer was more concerned with constructing an entire intellectual system based on the idea of evolution. In effect, Spencer wanted to create a new scientific worldview based on evolutionary theory. This had consequences for their understanding of human history, especially of how science had evolved through the ages. It affected their conceptions of human agency, contingency, and directionality in history. Examining Huxley's and Spencer's responses to the "end" of natural history reveals some of the deep divisions within scientific naturalism and the inherent problems of naturalism in general. Whereas Huxley chose to separate the natural and the historical, Spencer opted to fuse them into a single system.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Darwin's theory of natural selection and the idea of a spontaneous order share a fundamental feature: the claim that apparent design or order do not necessarily imply a designer or rational planning. But they also present important differences, which touch upon central questions such as the evolution of morality, the role of human agency in social evolution, the existence (or not) of directionality in undesigned processes, and the presence (nor not) of a providential element in evolutionary accounts. In this article, I explore these themes and probe the relationship between the notion of a spontaneous order and the theory of evolution by natural selection. The reflections of Nobel laureate in economics, F.A. von Hayek, provide the beginning and endpoint in this voyage, for they constitute the most pronounced effort to develop a full-fledged theory combining evolution and economics in recent times. But along the way, I also investigate the influence of classical political economy on Darwin's thought, primarily that of Adam Smith, and consider the reasons for which Darwin did not refer to Smith when discussing the principle of natural selection in The Origin of Species. I conclude that the spontaneous order, as understood by Hayek, and evolution by natural selection constitute two disparate concepts.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: In addition to theorizing about the role and value of mechanisms in scientific explanation or the causal structure of the world, there is a fundamental task of getting straight what a 'mechanism' is in the first place. Broadly, this paper is about the challenge of application: the challenge of aligning one's philosophical account of a scientific concept with the manner in which that concept is actually used in scientific practice. This paper considers a case study of the challenge of application as it pertains to the concept of a mechanism: the debate about whether natural selection is a mechanism. By making clear what is and is not at stake in this debate, this paper considers various strategies for dealing with the challenge of application and makes a case for definitional pluralism about mechanism concepts.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Darwin's first publication after the Origin of Species was a volume on orchids that expanded on the theory of adaptation through natural selection introduced in his opus. Here I argue that On the Various Contrivances by which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects (1862) is not merely an empirical confirmation of his theory. In response to immediate criticisms of his metaphor of natural selection, Darwin uses Orchids to present adaptation as the result of innumerable natural laws, rather than discrete acts analogous to conscious choices. The means of selection among polliniferous plants cannot be neatly classed under the Origin's categories of artificial, natural, or sexual selection. Along with Darwin's exploration of sexual selection in his later works, Orchids serves to undo the restrictive metaphor so firmly established by the Origin and to win over those of Darwin's contemporaries who were committed advocates of natural law but suspicious of evolution by natural selection.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: This article explores the unexpected connections between the Pasteur Institute in French Guinea and the study of animal mind in early twentieth century France. At a time when the study of animal intelligence was thriving in France and elsewhere, apes were appealing research subjects both in psychological and biomedical studies. Drawing on two case studies (Guillaume/Meyerson and Urbain), and then, on someone responding negatively to those connections, Thétard, this article shows how the long reach of biomedicine (linked to the prestige of Bernard and Pasteur) impinged on French biology and played a role in the tortuous, if not unsuccessful fate of animal psychology in France in the second quarter of the twentieth century. It shows how attempts to use apes (and other zoo animals) to yield new insights on animal psychology faced heavy restrictions or experienced false starts, and examines the reasons why animal psychology could not properly thrive at that time in France. Beyond the supremacy of biomedical interests over psychological ones, this article additionally explains that some individuals used animal behaviour studies as steppingstones in careers in which they proceeded on to other topics. Finally, it illustrates the tension between non-academic and academic people at a time when animal psychology was trying to acquire scientific legitimacy, and also highlights the difficulties attached to the scientific study of animals in a multipurpose and hybrid environment such as the early twentieth century Parisian zoo and also the Pasteur Institute of French Guinea.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

  • No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: The concept of Mode 2 has often been seen as especially applicable to fields addressing grand challenges, such as climate change. Being a relatively new field-interdisciplinary in its approach, and focused on addressing such issues-sustainability science would appear to be a case in point. The aim of this paper is twofold: 1) to explore the perceived relation between Mode 2 and sustainability science, and 2) to advance the discussion of Mode 2 from a philosophical perspective. To address these questions we focus on three characteristic features of Mode 2: the notion of a distinct, but evolving framework; boundary crossing; and a problem solving capacity "on the move". We report the results of a survey carried out amongst leading sustainability scientists. The survey gives insight into the scientists' perception of Mode 2, their perception of their own field of sustainability science and the relation between the two. The free text answers reveal a tension within the field of sustainability science: with developments both towards Mode 1 and Mode 2 science. We conclude that the implementation of inter- and trans-disciplinarity is challenged by institutional and conceptual factors alike.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

  • No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

  • No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Complex environmental problems require well-researched policies that integrate knowledge from both the natural and social sciences. Epistemic differences can impede interdisciplinary collaboration, as shown by debates between conservation biologists and anthropologists who are working to preserve biological diversity and support economic development in central Africa. Disciplinary differences with regard to 1) facts, 2) rigor, 3) causal explanation, and 4) research goals reinforce each other, such that early decisions about how to define concepts or which methods to adopt may tilt research design and data interpretation toward one discipline's epistemological framework. If one of the contributing fields imposes a solution to an epistemic problem, this sets the stage for what I call disciplinary capture. Avoiding disciplinary capture requires clear communication between collaborators, but beyond this it also requires that collaborators craft research questions and innovate research designs which are different from the inherited epistemological frameworks of contributing disciplines.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: I develop a distinction between two types of psychological hedonism. Inferential hedonism (or "I-hedonism") holds that each person only has ultimate desires regarding his or her own hedonic states (pleasure and pain). Reinforcement hedonism (or "R-hedonism") holds that each person's ultimate desires, whatever their contents are, are differentially reinforced in that person's cognitive system only by virtue of their association with hedonic states. I'll argue that accepting R-hedonism and rejecting I-hedonism provides a conciliatory position on the traditional altruism debate, and that it coheres well with the neuroscientist Anthony Dickinson's theory about the evolutionary function of hedonic states, the "hedonic interface theory." Finally, I'll defend R-hedonism from potential objections.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: The existence of psychological altruism is hotly debated in the psychological and philosophical literature. In this paper I argue that even if psychological altruism does exist in some (or all) human groups, there may be no purely evolutionary explanation for existence of psychological altruism.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences