This paper analyzes modularity in biological and cultural evolution. Evolutionarily modularized or quasi-independent biological traits can vary relatively independently from other traits and have higher variability, and developmentally modularized biological traits have robust developmental processes and higher variability and heritability. First, I point out that these two concepts should not be confused. Second, by focusing on the concept of evolutionary modularity, I argue that it can increase (and actually have increased at least in some cases) evolvability also in the context of cultural evolution if cultures are modularized through looking at some specific examples of cultural evolution.
"The death of essentialism" has been widely accepted in biology and philosophy of biology for more than half a century, but recently essentialism seems to raise its head again. The purpose of this paper is to criticize one particular type of "new essentialism" called the homeostatic property cluster view of the species category. According to this view, there is the causal entanglement of properties that creates the biological units recognized as species. However, there is a significant biological phenomenon called lateral gene transfer, which undoes the entanglement, especially in microorganisms. Thus, I conclude that the view is untenable in light of our current biological knowledge, including microbiological one. In addition, I consider the reasons why we should reject species eliminativism even if we accept anti-essentialism and species pluralism.
In 1980s, Benjamin Libet and his colleagues conducted a series of experiments on voluntary acts. Its result is that certain brain potential (RP) precedes conscious will, which has excited much discussion about the existence and nature of free will. This paper shows that this result admits various interpretations about RP, conscious will, and their relation, depending on philosophical assumptions concerning free will and the relation between mind and brain. I also argue that the process of deliberation, rather than the momentary decision, should be the focus of investigation in order to elucidate the role of conscious will and the nature of free will.
In this paper, I will explore the metatheory in psychology and human science in relation to Dilthey's psychology. I will utilize two methods. First, I will examine Dilthey's psychology in late 19th-century Germany. I have found that Dilthey's psychology has two characteristics; not only empirical psychology but also metatheory of psychology. However, due to this ambiguity his psychology was criticized by both psychologists and philosophers in his day. And at the same time, the metatheory which his psychology contained vanished from the main stream of psychology. Second, I will reconsider Dilthey's psychology from these two characteristics. His empirical psychology is the foundation of various sciences in that it stands between the sciences and their object. On the other hand, his meta-psychology provides a principle to his psychology which is considered a basic science. As a result, Dilthey's meta-psychology opens up a world of a person-centered point of view to psychology and the human sciences.