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Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2016

Philosophy of Science

Stuart Glennan

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Capacities, Universality And Singularity, Stuart M. Glennan Jan 2016

Capacities, Universality And Singularity, Stuart M. Glennan

Stuart Glennan

In this paper I criticize Cartwright's analysis of capacities and offer an alternative analysis. I argue that Cartwright's attempt to connect capacities to her condition CC fails because individuals can exercise capacities only in certain contexts. My own analysis emphasizes three features of capacities: 1) Capacities belong to individuals; 2) Capacities are typically not metaphysically fundamental properties of individuals, but can be explained by referring to structural properties of individuals; and 3) Laws are best understood as ascriptions of capacities.


Contextual Unanimity And The Units Of Selection Problem, Stuart M. Glennan Jan 2016

Contextual Unanimity And The Units Of Selection Problem, Stuart M. Glennan

Stuart Glennan

Sober and Lewontin’s critique of genic selectionism is based upon the principle that a unit of selection should make a context‐independent contribution to fitness. Critics have effectively shown that this principle is flawed. In this paper I show that the context independence principle is an instance of a more general principle for characterizing causes,called the contextual unanimity principle. I argue that this latter principle, while widely accepted, is erroneous. What is needed is to replace the approach to causality characterized by the contextual unanimity criterion with an approach based on the concept of causal mechanism. After sketching ...