Project News

March 18
Tools of the trade: the bio‑cultural evolution of the human propensity to trade

Published in Biology and Philosophy, author Armin Schulz, coordinator of the Modeling Agency Formally cluster of projects, says that the article "draws on a variety of considerations from biology, anthropology, psychology, and economics to argue that at the heart of this human-animal divergence is the particular socio-cultural-technological environment in which humans evolved. Naturalistic philosophy in action!”

March 16
Control mechanisms: explaining the integration and versatility of biological organisms

Leonardo Bich, a ‘Ramon y Cajal’ Researcher at the IAS-Research Centre for Life, Mind, and Society of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Spain, and contributor to three Agency, Directionality and Function projects, co-authored "Control Mechanisms: Explaining the Integration and Versatility of Biological Organisms" in the journal Adaptive Behavior. “We develop an account of control by examining several extensively studied control mechanisms operative in the bacterium E. coli. On our analysis, what distinguishes a control mechanism from other mechanisms is that it relies on measuring one or more variables, which results in setting constraints in the control mechanism that determine its action on flexible constraints in other mechanisms."

March 14
Mistake-making: a theoretical framework for generating research questions in biology, with illustrative application to blood clotting

The Mistakes in Living Systems team, consisting of David Oderberg (PI), Jonathan Hill (CI), Ingo Bojak (CI), and Jon Gibbins (CI), part of the ‘(Re)Conceptualizing Function and Goal-Directedness’ cluster, recently published an article in the Quarterly Review of Biology, entitled: ‘Mistake-Making: A Theoretical Framework for Generating Research Questions in Biology, with Illustrative Application to Blood Clotting’. The article is open access and available online here.

March 8
Evolution of cooperation with asymmetric social interactions

Ben Allen, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Emmanuel College, and PI of the “Natural selection for collective purpose” project, recently co-authored “Evolution of cooperation with asymmetric social interactions” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“We uncover a surprising result, that directionality can actually facilitate cooperation. We study this effect theoretically and also in empirical social networks. We suggest several practical implications, including how to modify the directions of social interactions to promote cooperation.”

March 3
Deadline 12 March! Second postdoc position available in Brazil

The "Towards a science of intrinsic purposiveness: organizational theory of ecological functions and its implications for ecological research and environmental ethics" project is seeking a second postdoc. This position requires an interest in the Organizational Approach in the Philosophy of Life Sciences (Moreno & Mossio 2015; Nunes-Neto et al. 2014). One of the main activities will be to build agent-based models to deal with functional traits and groups that contribute to the closure of constraints in ecological systems.

  • Deadline: 12 March 2022
  • Interviews: via Zoom
  • More information, including how to apply, is available here.