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Evolutionary Foundationalism and the Myth of the Chemical Given

23 apr 2019 18:30 - 20:00
CRI
Amphithéâtre
8 rue Charles V
75004 Paris
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Conférence de Denis Walsh (résident 2018-2019 de l'IEA de Paris) dans le cadre du cycle de conférences "Sciences in Context", organisé par le CRI et l'IEA de Paris

Sciences in Context est un nouveau cycle de conférences publiques, organisé par Muriel Mambrini et Pascal Kolbe, en collaboration avec l'Institut d'études avancées de Paris, visant à amener les concepts et les perspectives des SHS à la communauté du CRI.
Chaque conférence aura lieu le dernier mardi du mois avec des chercheurs du CRI et de l'IEA de Paris.
Les sujets de la conférence seront discutés lors d'une séance publique du Practical Philosophy Club le vendredi avant chaque conférence, afin de favoriser les échanges avec le conférencier invité.

Programme complet du cycle de conférences


Résumé

The Modern Synthesis theory of evolution is a foundationalist theory. It explains its target phenomena—the fit and diversity of biological form—by appeal to the aggregated activities of fundamental entities, ‘givens’. The ‘givens’ are genes, chemicals that encode phenotypes. Analogously, analytic philosophy also deploys foundationalist theories: of mind, language, perception, knowledge. These philosophical foundationalisms suffer from a systemic weakness; the resources of the theory radically underdetermine the phenomena they are intended to explain. I argue that Modern Synthesis foundationalism has the same shortcomings, for the same reasons. In each case, the phenomena of interest are ‘agential’ phenomena, and foundationalist theories are incapable of encompassing them. This should occasion a re-interpretation of the Modern Synthesis. We should not think of it as limning the causes of evolutionary change. Rather, we should see it as a useful, if highly idealised, abstract model of evolutionary phenomena.

23 Apr 2019 20:00
No
21079
Talks and lectures
Paris
Contemporary period (1789-…)
World or no region
Philosophy