How to tell genuine evolutionary explanations from merely good stories - Postponed Until Further Notice

Fri, March 13, 2020 1:30 PM - Fri, March 13, 2020 3:00 PM at South Kedzie, Room 530

The MSU Center for Interdisciplinarity announces a Visiting Fellow Seminar:

How to tell genuine evolutionary explanations from merely good stories

Dr. Thomas Reydon, MSU Center for Interdisciplinarity Fellow, Institute of Philosophy, Leibniz Universität Hannover

 

Abstract:

Evolutionary explanations are not only common in the biological sciences, but also widespread outside biology. What makes them so flexibly applicable is the fact that they do not have any necessary ingredients – for example, selection is a core aspect of evolution, but evolution without selection is common too. The flip side of this flexibility is that evolutionary stories are just a little too easy to come up with. So, how can we tell a genuine evolutionary explanation from just a good story? I propose that we can do this by acknowledging that evolutionary explanations are composite explanations consisting of two kinds of explanations, one processual and one historical, that must work in tandem to show how the phenomenon under consideration is the product of its evolutionary past.