Humanities and Social Sciences

Filozofia i Nauka

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Filozofia i Nauka | 2019 | Tom 7 | Część 2 |

Abstract

Biology is a science on life. This definition, concise and most commonly used, is satisfactory for almost everybody. It is otherwise when one asks: What is life? Then it appears that no one feature can be indicated which distinguishes “the living” from “the non-living.” The author presents the sources of these difficulties and then gives his own attempt to solve the problem of definition of live—which is based on the idea of levels of the biological organization. In author’s view, to characterise the objects of research in biology we should apply not one concept of life (or of living organism) but three concepts: of organized biological matter (for the molecular and sub-cellular levels), of living organism (for the level of the specimen), and of life (for the sphere of phenomena which occur on the population-species-biocenotic level).

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Abstract

This paper presents an outline of the relationship between the categories of living individual, organism and life. I argue that although these categories are related with each other and often treated as the same, we should strive for their separation. The main argument for the distinction between the individual and life is of a methodological character: the definitions of life are mainly interested for astrobiologists and scientists working in the field of origin of life or artificial life, while the individual is important, among others, in standard evolutionary biology and ecology. Among the concepts of living individual various forms of evolutionary definition (individual as a unit of selection) currently dominate. The living individual understood in this way is not identical with a structurally limited and functionally integrated self-sustained entity, which is usually called “organism.” Moreover, the explanatory success of the evolutionary concept of individual, in my opinion, implies the adoption of some version of the evolutionary definition of life. In the last part of this paper I propose a process-evolutionary definition of life, which also indicates a relationship between the three aforementioned categories.

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Abstract

Evolutionary Developmental Biology (Evo-Devo) is becoming to be popular in psychology, and by certain is even seen as a new biology for psychology (Hofer 2014). In particular, it is about the concept of extended inheritance This concept claims to be (neo-) Lamarckian. According to it inherited is everything that contributes to resemblance across generations and that strongly affects the fitness of the offspring—starting by nuclear genes, by genes expression, maternal care, ecological niche, cultural niche, language, etc. In this paper I analyse the potential of the concept of extended inheritance on the example of transgenerational transmission of attachment style and mentalizing capacity. I present the neuroendocrine mechanism of transmission. Then I show that a) DNA methylation is complementary to neuroendocrine mechanism, but it does not revolutionize the latter as it is claimed; b) the concept of extended inheritance confounds the three questions rightly separated by Neo-Darwinism: origin of variation, fate of variation and inheritance, c) although the motivation of Evo-Devo goes against the alleged genetic determinism of neodarwinism, the concept of transgeneration inheritance is determinist (although it is an epigeneetic determinism).

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Abstract

Animal behaviour and its underlying causal factors are investigated by numerous behavioural sciences. Ethology, one of the most important classical behavioural sciences, is concerned with the description and quantification of behaviour and the analysis of a wide spectre of its causal factors. Ethology also lays stress on the importance of comparative behavioural research and field research. Specific behaviour paterns were considered by classical ethology as elements of hierarchically organised behavioural systems focused on specific functions. The notion of instinct was, however, far from unequivocal and is no more frequently used in behavioural sciences. We also know that information flow between the levels of organization existing in the nervous system and in living systems in general is multidirectional. The assumption that processes running on higher levels of organization can and should be explained solely in terms of processes running on lower levels becomes thus largely groundless. In behavioural sciences reductionism can manifest itself also as the so called law of parsimony adopted during explanations of observed phenomena (Occam’s razor, Lloyd Morgan’s canon). Since the introduction of Karl Popper’s falisifiability criterion to the methodology of scientific research, reductionistic explanations of observed phenomena are, however, less frequently proposed in behavioural sciences. Instead, an approach currently used involves experimental testing of sets of hypotheses proposing alternative explanations of the observed phenomena, not necessarily the simplest ones. Classical ethology was the so called objectivist science of behaviour: its adherents did not deny the existence of subjective phenomena in animals, however, explanations of mechanisms of investigated phenomena in terms of underlying subjective processes were not considered to be sufficient. Presently we may put forward increasingly daring hypotheses concerning subjective experiences of animals thanks to the development of advanced techniques of neuroimaging such as the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Behavioural sciences are constantly progressing and their methods become increasingly sophisticated. We can thus hope that philosophy and behavioural sciences will continue during a long time yet to contribute jointly to achieve new insights enriching our knowledge on factors influencing animal and human behaviour.

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Abstract

Two formal types of models of living processes, especially evolutionary ones, may be distinguished: the well-known mathematical type and the less-known logical one. The latter applies the terms “class” or “set”; both the terms are understood either in a collective sense (in mereology) or in a distributive sense (in set theory). These formal terms may be used among others to such organic multiplicities as populations or species of organisms, and to organic constituents (molecules, cells, organs) of living organism. Collective concepts refer to objects existing in nature, whereas distributive concepts refer to the linguistic and research constructions of models of natural objects, developed to cognitively grasp natural regularities.

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Abstract

Currently, the “Lamarckian dimension” and “Lamarckian mechanisms” are vividly discussed, indicating that they are compatible with Darwinism. However, they require an extension of Modern Synthesis to Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. Both the terms, unfortunately connected to Lamarck, really indicate a group of phenomena which can be symbolized by Jablonka’s wording: “some evolutionary changes are non-random in origin, or even result from instruction.” The Lamarckian mechanisms leading to these evolutionary changes arose, however, in the Darwinian way much earlier. This earlier stage is said too rarely, and the typical understanding of Lamarckism strongly suggests its lack. The term “Lamarckism” was and is understood very differently both at different times and in different national and ideological traditions but usually fraught with a simplified understanding of Lamarck. Most of the controversies in these issues arise from the insufficient precision of the utterance, and this from undervaluation of definition, specification of assumptions and abstract reasoning.

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to discuss possible connections between the categories of mind and life. Some authors argue that life and mind are closely connected or even are two sides of the same phenomenon. I analyze and examine this thesis in the light of different approaches to defining life: the metabolic approach (which stresses the importance of self-maintenance and self-making) and the evolutionary approach (which focuses on evolution by natural selection). The first way of defining life is Maturana and Varela' conception of autopoiesis, the second is Korzeniewski's cybernetic definition of life and van Hateren's modified Darwinian definition of life. Especially interesting is the possibility of connecting mind and life in the evolutionary framework. The text does not provide exact results, but rather it proposes possible modes of thinking of the relation of these two categories.

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Abstract

This article provides an initial analysis, from a historical standpoint, of the problematic nature of conceptualizations of the notion of gene in molecular genetics. The starting point is an historical outline of the relation between classical genetics and molecular genetics; it is indicated how the conceptual baggage of classical genetics influenced the development of the concepts of gene used later in molecular biology. I also reveal two problems of genes in the philosophy of science, i.e., skepticism concerning genes and the concept of nominal gene. I conclude that concept of gene functioning within the framework of molecular genetics should be considered from the point of view of experimentalism and pragmatism. It seems that the concept of gene on the molecular level should be conceptualized—in order to remain functional—as broadly as possible and in relation to genetic material.

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Abstract

The main topic of this article is apes’ intentional behaviour. I consider the Michael Tomasello’s concept of intentionality. I outline how different levels of intentionality presented by Tomasello could be applied to apes’ behaviour. To do so I examine few experiments and observations (in natural conditions) of apes’ behaviour and try to apply Tomasello’s intentionality concepts. My main concern is the possibility of group and shared intentionality in ape communities, which could suggest that there is some kind of culture oriented behaviour in non-human animals.

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Abstract

One of the fundamental problems in evolutionary sciences is the direction of evolution at different levels of matter organization. According to traditional teleological interpretations, the evolving systems should develop toward a final state—a goal. However, in most cases such a goal is not determinable—scientists do not know it. However, they can reveal a general tendency or a series of changes in time: a teleonomy or a directness based mainly upon an internal pattern of the evolving system although modified also by external influences. Teleonomical processes are responsible for all evolutionary processes including transitions from one level of organization to another.

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Abstract

Author’s aim is to highlight problems related to the course of regulatory processes in the structures of the living organism. In this research area the question arises what is the task of causal factors and mechanisms governing regeneration processes, including building new parts of the body. Despite the vast knowledge already gained in this field, the way to restore the functional regeneration of some structures of the organism is still to be discovered.

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Abstract

The text was created on the basis of interviews with Caltech scholars (Pasadena, USA) in 2018. The talks concerned various contemporary theories of biogenesis and the role of their philosophical premises. The researchers also addressed the issue of popularizing science. The worldview is shaped (and established) by popularizing publications. They also answered the questions how their personal beliefs influenced on research.

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Abstract

This work is a contribution to understanding the philosophical dimension of the breakthrough that took place in the 20th century historical natural science as a result of the extrapolation of Darwin’s idea of evolution to the area of inanimate matter and the formulation on this basis of a number of theories of pre-biological chemical evolution. The revealed results are the inaccurate recognition of the philosophical foundations of the broadly understood science of evolution: on the one hand, for scientists-naturalists, and on the other, in a much broader, social dimension of their research.

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Abstract

The author reviews the main elements of Richard Münch’s academic capitalism theory. By introducing categories like “audit university” or “entrepreneurial university,” the German sociologist critically sets the present academic management model against the earlier, modern-era conception of academic research as an “exchange of gifts.” In the sociological and psychological sense, the latter is a social communication structure rooted in traditional social lore, for instance the potlatch ceremonies celebrated by some North-American Indian tribes which Marcel Mauss described. Münch shows the similarities between that old “gift exchanging” model and the contemporary one with its focus on the psychosocial fundamentals of scientific praxis, and from this gradually derives the academic capitalism conception. His conclusion is the critical claim that science possesses its own, inalienable axiological autonomy and anthropological dimension, which degenerate in result of capitalism’s “colonisation” of science by means of state authority and money (here Münch refers to Jürgen Habermas’s philosophical argumentation). The author also offers many of his own reflections on the problem, which allows Münch’s analyses to be viewed in a somewhat broader context.

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Abstract

I investigate Husserl’s long-term research on revealing/constructing a proper idea of science. For Husserl this idea was of tremendous importance: it had to be the basis of forming a (the) proper philosophy (phenomenology), that is, a philosophy which was to be an exact science, a new and higher form of science. According to Husserl, the idea of science is not a free project of individual researchers, scientific communities, but the very essence of science—changeless, universal, nontransformable, non-culturally and socially loaded, ahistorical, and non-relativized to scientific praxis. It was attempt to determine a new status of philosophy which led Husserl’s to the consideration of a universal idea of science.

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Abstract

According to Descartes, it is possible to doubt successfully that there is external world, all around us, yet still to have language, in place, without any complication. According to Wittgenstein, to doubt everything about the external world except language means nothing more than to doubt everything about the external world including language. Why? No speaker is more certain about the meaning of his words than about the external things he believes to be unassailable (for example, that he has two hands and two legs). Without this constitutive connection there would be no communication of a definite sense. Wittgenstein suggests that, after the author of the Meditations on First Philosophy adopts the hypothesis of evil deceiver, we are only under the impression that we deal with language (or that we read a text). We instead deal with symptoms of something rather different. The objective of this paper is to critically reassess Wittgenstein’s criticism of the possibility of holding such a radical sceptical position.

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Abstract

This work attempts to reconstruct the culture that contributed to the philosophical way of thinking. My goal is to extract two important factors: religion carrying individual experience and the importance of certain ideas which are present in that culture. Sources of philosophical thinking can be found in the structure of polis. Only on its basis could the idea of the wise man and citizen as well as religion-oriented individual experience be raised. Greek polis paves the way for a new style of thinking by creating the conditions for its citizens to follow the ideal, regardless of the position they occupy in society. Sustainability, which should be a feature of a good citizen, is also the essence of society. Highly positioned wisdom as moral reflection tinged with religiosity allows thinking according to the laws of logos. Finally, the experience offered by the mystery cults leads to the transformation of their own existence and the emergence of a way of recognition of reality different than before. Undeniably, all the elements related to structure policies with its ideals contribute to the emergence of a new way of thinking in the form of philosophy. One could say that the philosophical objectivity is preceded by the subjectivity and rationality of its roots dating back to irrationality.

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Abstract

The aim of the article is to compare the thought collective and the interpretive community, two surprisingly similar notions formulated independently by Ludwik Fleck and Stanley Fish. In contemporary discourse, both concepts are used as synonims, while an accurate analysis of the contexts of the use of interesting terms proves that the equivalent of the interpretive community is rather thought collective, as well as the thought style, both of these concepts in the deliberations of Fish are subject to contamination. The exact repartition of the notion of interpretive community seems to be important due to the frequency of its use in works in the field of literary interpretation and cognition. The article also presents more general remarks on the functioning and possible origin of twin terms and their role in scientific cognition.

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Editorial office

REDAKTOR NACZELNY: Małgorzata Czarnocka, prof. dr hab.;

ZASTĘPCA REDAKTORA NACZELNEGO: Andrzej Łukasik, profesor UMCS;


Stanisław Czerniak,
prof. dr hab.;

Marek Hetmański, profesor UMCS;

Piotr Konderak, dr;

Włodzimierz Ługowski, prof. dr hab.;

Mariola Kuszyk-Bytniewska, dr hab.;

Mariusz Mazurek, dr,

Anna Michalska, dr,

Andrzej Ostrowski, dr hab.,

Teresa Pękala, prof. dr hab.,

Adam Romaniuk, dr, 


RADA REDAKCYJNA

Peter Bołtuć – University of Illinois (Springfield, USA)

Adrián Figueroa – Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí (Meksyk)

Igor K. Lisiejew — Instytut Filozofii Rosyjskiej Akademii Nauk (Moskwa, Rosja)

Marek Łagosz — Instytut Filozofii, Uniwersytet Wrocławski

Zbysław Muszyński — Instytut Filozofii, Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej

Sergey Niznikow   Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (Moskwa, Rosja)

Zdzisława Piątek — Instytut Filozofii, Uniwersytet Jagielloński

Aldona Pobojewska — Instytut Filozofii, Uniwersytet Łódzki

Mikhail ProninInstytut Filozofii Rosyjskiej Akademii Nauk (Moskwa, Rosja)

Vladimir Przhilenskiy   Kutafin Moscow State University (Moskwa, Rosja)

Maciej Soin — Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii Polskiej Akademii Nauk

Peter Sykora — Centrum Bioetyki, UCM University (Trnava, Słowacja)

Emilija A. Tajsina — Kazański Uniwersytet Państwowy (Kazań, Rosja)

Michał Tempczyk — Wyższa Szkoła Pedagogiki Specjalnej (Warszawa)

Carlos José B. Tiago de Oliveira — Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (Lisbona, Portugalia)

Barbara Tuchańska — Instytut Filozofii, Uniwersytet Łódzki

Paweł Zeidler — Instytut Filozofii, Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza (Poznań)

 

Contact

Adres redakcji: Instytut Filozofii i Socjologii Polskiej Akademii Nauk,
pokój 105, ul. Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warszawa

Numery telefonów:  603 160 505,

Adres elektroniczny: filozofiainauka@ifispan.waw.pl

Strona internetowa: www.filozofiainauka.ifispan.waw.pl

 

 

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