12 Days to Species publication

Due 15 February! Details here

50 words for snow 7: taxing attacks on taxa

We should consider in each case what Question it is that is proposed, and what answer to it would, in the instance before us, be the most opposite or contrasted to the one to be examined. E.G. “You will find this doctrine in Bacon” may be contrasted, either with “You will find in Bacon a Read More…

50 words for snow 6: explanations and phenomena

Series Conceptual confusion The economics of cultural categories What are phenomena? What counts as sociocultural? Species Constructing phenomena Anyone who has ever had a child knows the issue with indefinite “why?” questions. The interrogator asks why for every answer that is given, until the responder gets tired or emotional. And this is not just a Read More…

50 words for snow 5: constructing phenomena

Series Conceptual confusion The economics of cultural categories What are phenomena? What counts as sociocultural? Species Constructing phenomena Explanations and phenomena There is a naive empiricist view held by nobody on close inspection, that phenomena merely present themselves to the observer, and call for explanation. At least since Kant, such a view has been untenable, Read More…

50 words for snow 4; species

  Series Conceptual confusion The economics of cultural categories What are phenomena? What counts as sociocultural? Species Constructing phenomena Explanations and phenomena All classificatory terms are impossible of exact definition. Their use always has and always will depend upon the consensus of opinion of those best qualified by wisdom, experience and natural good sense. They Read More…

50 words for snow 3: what are phenomena?

Series Conceptual confusion The economics of cultural categories What are phenomena? What counts as sociocultural? Species Constructing phenomena Explanations and phenomena If experienced observers are trained to observe natural phenomena in their environment, pace the “interference” of cultural accidents, what is it they observe? As I mentioned before, we are not born into a world of Read More…

50 words for snow 2: or, the economics of cultural categories

Series Conceptual confusion The economics of cultural categories What are phenomena? What counts as sociocultural? Species Constructing phenomena Explanations and phenomena Humans evolved in a world where knowing whether an animal was an antelope or a lion was essential for their survival: they could eat the antelope, and they could be eaten by the lion. Read More…

50 words for snow, or conceptual confusion

Series Conceptual confusion The economics of cultural categories What are phenomena? What counts as sociocultural? Species Constructing phenomena Explanations and phenomena In a well-known and generally debunked story, Inuit people have around 50 words for snow. Or so the argument by anthropologist Franz Boas goes. In fact, people who engage with the phenomena of their Read More…

Species: The evolution of the idea

I have completed and submitted the manuscript now for my revision of Species: A history of the idea, now renamed Species: the evolution of the idea. I am publishing it with CRC Press, and it is due out next year. In addition to updating and revising the historical sections of the book, I have added Read More…

Is physicalism an impoverished metaphysics?

Every so often, we read about some philosopher or other form of public intellectual who makes the claim that a physicalist ontology – a world view in which only things that can be described in terms of physics are said to exist – is impoverished. That is, there are things whereof science cannot know, &c. Read More…