Evolution-for-All talk–“The Classification of Organisms, Chemicals, and Artifacts”

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From: Academic Affairs >
Subject: Evolution-for-All talk–“The Classification of Organisms, Chemicals, and Artifacts” Date: January 28, 2012 6:58:16 PM PST
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From: “Wilson, Paul Siri” > Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2012 11:04:35 -0800

This Friday, we have one of the two Evolution-for-All talks that we will have this semester:

3 Feb 2012, 3:30, CR5125 “The Classification of Organisms, Chemicals, and Artifacts”
Dr. Michael Ghiselin, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. Author of Metaphysics and the origin of species;The triumph of the Darwinian method; and The economy of nature and the evolution of sex. Host: A. Gifford

Michael Ghiselin was a big deal when I was a student. The triumph of the Darwinian method was highly recommended reading. It draws off of all Darwin’s vast work, pointing out the scientific method that Darwin employed and the type of mechanisms that Darwin used to explain natural phenomena from coral reef formation to the effects of earthworms. Sex was another topic that I found riveting at 17 (and now). The economy of nature and the evolution of sex was explicit, philosophically, that is. In addition to using economic principles to explain adaptive formations, and in addition to being part of the revival of thinking about sexual selection & gender allocations, the book uses these topics in a more abstract context to set forth an epistemology by which evolutionary arguments should be evaluated. At about the same time, Ghiselin added much clarification to our treatment of groupings (for example clades), pointing out that certain entities above the level of an ordinary organismal individual are individualistic. This thesis has been elaborated on more recently in Metaphysics and the Origin of Species. Ghiselin is a guest who for decades has shown how evolution affects how we should think.

Biologists should, of course, be interested: Ghiselin studies sea slugs. Similarly philosophers should view Ghiselin as one of their own. And Ghiselin is being hosted by Adam Gifford from the Economics Department, highlighting that connection as well.

Evolution-for-All talks are aimed to enlighten the brain-on-the-street without technical clutter. These are not the types of research talks that are full of jargon from the disciplines and statistics learned in Ph.D. programs. They are meant to be understood by EVERYONE. Please invite students and colleagues to attend this INTERDISCIPLINARY celebration.

–Paul Wilson


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