Colocando a inferência à melhor explicação no contexto.

terça-feira, fevereiro 28, 2023

Putting inference to the best explanation into context

Leah Henderson

University of Groningen, Oude Boteringestraat 52, Groningen, 9712 GL, the Netherlands

Available online 1 July 2022, Version of Record 1 July 2022. 



It is often assumed that Inference to the Best Explanation, or ‘IBE’, belongs to the context of justification. But several recent developments might lead one to ask whether it is more appropriate to situate it in the context of pursuit. Peircean abduction, which has been designated as an immediate precursor to IBE, is, according to recent scholarship, best located in the context of discovery and pursuit, rather than justification. Furthermore, alleged difficulties in reconciling IBE with Bayesianism have led to a proposal for giving IBE a non-justificatory role, which is close to that of pursuit. I argue, however, that these considerations do not make a strong case for locating IBE in the context of pursuit. Although abduction plays an important role in the context of pursuit, IBE is not simply a renaming of abduction. It has been reconceptualised in a way which makes it unsuitable to operate in the context of pursuit. Considerations concerning the compatibility between IBE and Bayesianism also do not give strong grounds to locate IBE outside the context of justification. This is because we should not expect that the context of justification can be characterised in purely probabilistic terms. Thus IBE should continue to be regarded as a candidate for characterising epistemic appraisal in the context of justification.

Keywords Inference to the best explanationAbductionPeirceContext of justificationContext of pursuit

FREE PDF GRATIS: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science

Inerência e agência na origem e evolução das funções biológicas

sexta-feira, fevereiro 24, 2023

Inherency and agency in the origin and evolution of biological functions 

Stuart A Newman

Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

Published: 14 September 2022



Although discussed by 20th century philosophers in terms drawn from the sciences of non-living systems, in recent decades biological function has been considered in relationship to organismal capability and purpose. Bringing two phenomena generally neglected in evolutionary theory (i.e. inherency and agency) to bear on questions of function leads to a rejection of the adaptationist ‘selected effects’ notion of biological function. I review work showing that organisms such as the placozoans can thrive with almost no functional embellishments beyond those of their constituent cells and physical properties of their simple tissues. I also discuss work showing that individual tissue cells and their artificial aggregates exhibit agential behaviours that are unprecedented in the histories of their respective lineages. I review findings on the unique metazoan mechanism of developmental gene expression that has recruited, during evolution, inherent ancestral cellular functionalities into specialized cell types and organs of the different animal groups. I conclude that most essential functions in animal species are inherent to the cells from which they evolved, not selected effects, and that many of the others are optional ‘add-ons’, a status inimical to fitness-based models of evolution positing that traits emerge from stringent cycles of selection to meet external challenges.

Key words adaptationism, biobots, causal role, cell types, fitness, function, appropriation engine, niche construction, placozoans, selected effects

FREE PDF GRATIS: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

Definindo o cenário geológico para a origem da vida e as questões em aberto contínuas sobre seu surgimento

domingo, fevereiro 19, 2023

Setting the geological scene for the origin of life and continuing open questions about its emergence

Frances Westall 1*, André Brack 1, Alberto G. Fairén 2,3 and Mitchell D. Schulte 4

1Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire, CNRS, Orléans, France
2Centro de Astrobiología (CAB, CSIC-INTA), Madrid, Spain
3Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, United States
4NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, United States



The origin of life is one of the most fundamental questions of humanity. It has been and is still being addressed by a wide range of researchers from different fields, with different approaches and ideas as to how it came about. What is still incomplete is constrained information about the environment and the conditions reigning on the Hadean Earth, particularly on the inorganic ingredients available, and the stability and longevity of the various environments suggested as locations for the emergence of life, as well as on the kinetics and rates of the prebiotic steps leading to life. This contribution reviews our current understanding of the geological scene in which life originated on Earth, zooming in specifically on details regarding the environments and timescales available for prebiotic reactions, with the aim of providing experimenters with more specific constraints. Having set the scene, we evoke the still open questions about the origin of life: did life start organically or in mineralogical form? If organically, what was the origin of the organic constituents of life? What came first, metabolism or replication? What was the time-scale for the emergence of life? We conclude that the way forward for prebiotic chemistry is an approach merging geology and chemistry, i.e., far-from-equilibrium, wet-dry cycling (either subaerial exposure or dehydration through chelation to mineral surfaces) of organic reactions occurring repeatedly and iteratively at mineral surfaces under hydrothermal-like conditions.

A Síntese Evolutiva Estendida: o que é o debate e como pode ser o sucesso dos que querem sua extensão

quarta-feira, fevereiro 15, 2023

The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis: what is the debate about, and what might success for the extenders look like? 

Tim Lewens

Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 127, Issue 4, August 2019, Pages 707–721,

Published: 21 May 2019


Debate over the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES) ranges over three quite different domains of enquiry. Protagonists are committed to substantive positions regarding (1) empirical questions concerning (for example) the properties and prevalence of systems of epigenetic inheritance; (2) historical characterizations of the modern synthesis; and (3) conceptual/philosophical matters concerning (among other things) the nature of evolutionary processes, and the relationship between selection and adaptation. With these different aspects of the debate in view, it is possible to demonstrate the range of cross-cutting positions on offer when well-informed evolutionists consider their stance on the EES. This overview of the multiple dimensions of debate also enables clarification of two philosophical elements of the EES debate, regarding the status of niche-construction and the role of selection in explaining adaptation. Finally, it points the way to a possible resolution of the EES debate, via a pragmatic approach to evolutionary enquiry.

Key words Darwin, evolution, modern synthesis, neoDarwinism

FREE PDF GRATIS: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

Dimensões do elétron

Electron Dimensions

Relly Victoria Virgil Petrescu1, Raffaella Aversa2, Shuhui Li3, Ronald Bucinell4, Samuel P. Kozaitis5, Taher M. Abu-Lebdeh6, Antonio Apicella2 and Florian Ion Tiberiu Petrescu1

1 Bucharest Polytechnic University, Romania

2 Second University of Naples, Italy

3 University of Alabama, United States

4 Union College, United States

5 Florida Institute of Technology, United States

6 North Carolina A and T State University, United States



In this study, the theoretical principles necessary to determine the exact magnitude of a moving electron, depending on the speed of movement, will be exposed. The equations are specifically discussed to determine the radius R of the moving electron, which refers to the electron movement velocity v and the resting mass m0. The mechanical moment of inertia of a sphere around one of its diameters is determined by the relationship between the total kinetic energy of a moving electron as the sum of the two components (translatable and rotating). Using the theory of Louis de Broglie, which shows impulse preservation, the wavelength (associated with the particle) was calculated. The wave frequency (associated with the moving electron) was determined and the moving electron kinetic energy was estimated by decreasing the total resting energy of the electron from the total energy of the moving electrons.

FREE PDF GRATIS: American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Mais uma evidência de preservação bioquímica óssea endógena em espécime de Tyrannosaurus rex

sábado, fevereiro 11, 2023

 Independent Evidence for the Preservation of Endogenous Bone Biochemistry in a Specimen of Tyrannosaurus rex

by Jennifer Anné 1,*,Aurore Canoville 2,Nicholas P. Edwards 3ORCID,Mary H. Schweitzer 4,5,6 andLindsay E. Zanno 4,5

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN 46208, USA

Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein Gotha, 99867 Gotha, Germany

Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light Source, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA

Department of Biological Sciences, Campus Box 7617, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA

Paleontology, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 W. Jones St., Raleigh, NC 27601, USA

Department of Geology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 223 62 Lund, Sweden

Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Biology 2023, 12(2), 264;

Received: 29 December 2022 / Revised: 3 February 2023 / Accepted: 4 February 2023 / Published: 7 February 2023

(This article belongs to the Special Issue Paleontology in the 21st Century)

The Tyrannosaurus rex fossil known as Stan is displayed in a gallery at Christie’s auction house in New York City on September 17, 2020.

Photograph by Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Simple Summary

Our understanding of what can preserve in the fossil record, and for how long, is constantly evolving with the use of new scientific techniques and exceptional fossil discoveries. In this study, we examine the state of preservation of a Tyrannosaurus rex that died about 66 million years ago. This specimen has previously been studied using a number of advanced methods, all of which have indicated preservation of original soft tissues and bone biomolecules. Here, we use synchrotron—a type of particle accelerator—analyses to generate data identifying and quantifying elements that constitute this fossil bone. We show that trace elements incorporated by the living animal during bone deposition and remodeling, such as zinc, are preserved in the fossil bone in a pattern similar to what is seen in modern bird bones. This pattern is not observed in a microscopically well preserved, but molecularly more degraded dinosaur, a herbivorous Tenontosaurus. These data further support the preservation of original biological material in this T. rex, suggesting new possibilities for deciphering extinct species life histories. This study also highlights that preservation of original biochemistry in fossils is specimen-specific and cannot be determined by pristine appearance alone.


Biomolecules preserved in deep time have potential to shed light on major evolutionary questions, driving the search for new and more rigorous methods to detect them. Despite the increasing body of evidence from a wide variety of new, high resolution/high sensitivity analytical techniques, this research is commonly met with skepticism, as the long standing dogma persists that such preservation in very deep time (>1 Ma) is unlikely. The Late Cretaceous dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex (MOR 1125) has been shown, through multiple biochemical studies, to preserve original bone chemistry. Here, we provide additional, independent support that deep time bimolecular preservation is possible. We use synchrotron X-ray fluorescence imaging (XRF) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) to investigate a section from the femur of this dinosaur, and demonstrate preservation of elements (S, Ca, and Zn) associated with bone remodeling and redeposition. We then compare these data to the bone of an extant dinosaur (bird), as well as a second non-avian dinosaur, Tenontosaurus tilletti (OMNH 34784) that did not preserve any sign of original biochemistry. Our data indicate that MOR 1125 bone cortices have similar bone elemental distributions to that of an extant bird, which supports preservation of original endogenous chemistry in this specimen.

Keywords: synchrotron; bone remodeling; elemental analysis; molecular paleontology; diagenetic alteration


Progresso científico: por quem ou para quem?

quinta-feira, fevereiro 09, 2023

 Scientific progress: By-whom or for-whom?

Finnur Dellsén a b

a University of Iceland, Iceland

b Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway

Received 20 September 2022, Revised 24 October 2022, Available online 8 December 2022, Version of Record 8 December 2022.  


When science makes cognitive progress, who or what is it that improves in the requisite way? According to a widespread and unchallenged assumption, it is the cognitive attitudes of scientists themselves, i.e. the agents by whom scientific progress is made, that improve during progressive episodes. This paper argues against this assumption and explores a different approach. Scientific progress should be defined in terms of potential improvements to the cognitive attitudes of those for whom progress is made, i.e. the receivers rather than the producers of scientific information. This includes not only scientists themselves, but also various other individuals who utilize scientific information in different ways for the benefit of society as a whole.

FREE PDF GRATIS: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science