Evolution and Philosophy

Evolution and Philosophy - Evolution and Philosophy...

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Evolution and Philosophy Predictions and Explanations volution is sometimes criticised for not being a predictive science, and for not having natural laws. This relates to the issue of whether science should be like physics (see the section on the nature of science ), but the two issues raise a more general matter. It goes to the question whether explanations have to make use of natural laws, and just what are explanations anyway? One theory about explanation is called the nomological deductive (ND) theory, or less pretentiously, the hypothetical deductive theory. Due to philosophers Karl Popper and GC Hempel [cf Dray 1966 , especially the essay by A Donagan], it has the form: The idea is that if the thing to be explained is a logical, deductive, consequence of the premises and the universal laws, then you have explained it. Once you have a theory of this form, then you can predict that a phenomenon will occur if the initial conditions are right, based on the universal laws of physics, chemistry, etc: There is a version that uses statistical assumptions and permits inductive argument rather than restricting explanation to deductive argument, called the statistical inductive model (SI), but we can safely ignore it here. The prediction is a deductive consequence of a true theory and proper measurements. Since evolution cannot make predictions of this kind, and in fact any outcome is compatible with the theory, its critics say that evolution is not a complete science (see the section on the tautology of fitness ). However, there are problems with this highly idealised view of scientific explanation, and
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course BIO BSC1010 taught by Professor Gwenhauner during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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Evolution and Philosophy - Evolution and Philosophy...

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