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Re: Symbolism of "species"

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  • pightle2000
    I m not sure I understand the approach. Would Mr. Theodoropoulos agree that we could use being and becoming instead of persistent structures and protean flux?
    Message 1 of 14 , Jun 1, 2004
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      I'm not sure I understand the approach. Would Mr. Theodoropoulos
      agree that we could use being and becoming instead of persistent
      structures and protean flux? Maybe an example of the application to
      other contexts would help me out here.

      Rhydon Jackson
    • Owen Jones
      I am having difficulty understanding species as a symbolism if the definition of species is that which is reproducable -- which appears to me to be a
      Message 2 of 14 , Jun 1, 2004
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        I am having difficulty understanding "species" as a "symbolism" if the definition of species is that which is reproducable -- which appears to me to be a pretty straight forward naturalistic definition. I cannot mate with a chimp and produce an offspring. What's symbolic about that?

        pightle2000 <rhydon@...> wrote:
        I'm not sure I understand the approach. Would Mr. Theodoropoulos
        agree that we could use being and becoming instead of persistent
        structures and protean flux? Maybe an example of the application to
        other contexts would help me out here.

        Rhydon Jackson



        In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
        et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
        ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
        �St Augustine De vera religione


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      • stromthy4
        Mr. Jones, The particular definition you put forth of reproducibility for species , as long as it is circumscribed to that limit, is fine, and though I agree
        Message 3 of 14 , Jun 1, 2004
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          Mr. Jones,

          The particular definition you put forth of reproducibility
          for "species", as long as it is circumscribed to that limit, is fine,
          and though I agree it denotes a concrete common feature of certain
          things I wouldn't say it's not a symbolism for that reason: under
          that limitation it would denote a persistent feature as part of the
          structure of those certain things, and since structure in Being is
          part of the mystery of Being, that word is denoting an aspect of the
          mystery of Being.

          Furthermore, the function of the symbolism "species" in evolution
          theory tends to transcend that limit, in the sense that it 1) sets up
          a persistent feature of structure, then 2) fits that persistent
          feature of structure into a wider theory whereby the representatives
          (each and every species) of that persistent feature of structure
          become fungible on a temporal extrapolation back to a point where not
          only the mystery of structures in Life is "explained" but also the
          mystery of Life is, if not explained, certainly explainable. But
          this is only to be passing the buck which confronts the human
          questioner, the buck which pushes incessantly and endlessly back
          through the chain of intra-mundane origins to a transcendent origin
          which is not the proper province of evolution theory, let alone of
          any of the natural sciences.

          Derek Simlik
          and --- In evforum@yahoogroups.com, Owen Jones <metaxyreality@y...>
          wrote:
          > I am having difficulty understanding "species" as a "symbolism" if
          the definition of species is that which is reproducable -- which
          appears to me to be a pretty straight forward naturalistic
          definition. I cannot mate with a chimp and produce an offspring.
          What's symbolic about that?
          >
          > pightle2000 <rhydon@n...> wrote:
          > I'm not sure I understand the approach. Would Mr. Theodoropoulos
          > agree that we could use being and becoming instead of persistent
          > structures and protean flux? Maybe an example of the application
          to
          > other contexts would help me out here.
          >
          > Rhydon Jackson
          >
          >
          >
          > In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
          > et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
          > ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
          > —St Augustine De vera religione
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT
          >
          >
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        • stromthy4
          Correction to my last post: when I said passing the buck I meant to say the opposite, that evolution is improperly stopping the buck of transcendent
          Message 4 of 14 , Jun 1, 2004
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            Correction to my last post: when I said "passing the buck" I meant to
            say the opposite, that evolution is improperly stopping the buck of
            transcendent questioning, by immanentizing its directionality and
            source through offering and/or assuming an intramundane answer.

            Derek Simlik

            --- In evforum@yahoogroups.com, "stromthy4" <stromthy4@y...> wrote:
            > Mr. Jones,
            >
            > The particular definition you put forth of reproducibility
            > for "species", as long as it is circumscribed to that limit, is
            fine,
            > and though I agree it denotes a concrete common feature of certain
            > things I wouldn't say it's not a symbolism for that reason: under
            > that limitation it would denote a persistent feature as part of the
            > structure of those certain things, and since structure in Being is
            > part of the mystery of Being, that word is denoting an aspect of
            the
            > mystery of Being.
            >
            > Furthermore, the function of the symbolism "species" in evolution
            > theory tends to transcend that limit, in the sense that it 1) sets
            up
            > a persistent feature of structure, then 2) fits that persistent
            > feature of structure into a wider theory whereby the
            representatives
            > (each and every species) of that persistent feature of structure
            > become fungible on a temporal extrapolation back to a point where
            not
            > only the mystery of structures in Life is "explained" but also the
            > mystery of Life is, if not explained, certainly explainable. But
            > this is only to be passing the buck which confronts the human
            > questioner, the buck which pushes incessantly and endlessly back
            > through the chain of intra-mundane origins to a transcendent origin
            > which is not the proper province of evolution theory, let alone of
            > any of the natural sciences.
            >
            > Derek Simlik
            > and --- In evforum@yahoogroups.com, Owen Jones
            <metaxyreality@y...>
            > wrote:
            > > I am having difficulty understanding "species" as a "symbolism"
            if
            > the definition of species is that which is reproducable -- which
            > appears to me to be a pretty straight forward naturalistic
            > definition. I cannot mate with a chimp and produce an offspring.
            > What's symbolic about that?
            > >
            > > pightle2000 <rhydon@n...> wrote:
            > > I'm not sure I understand the approach. Would Mr. Theodoropoulos
            > > agree that we could use being and becoming instead of persistent
            > > structures and protean flux? Maybe an example of the application
            > to
            > > other contexts would help me out here.
            > >
            > > Rhydon Jackson
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > In consideratione creaturarum non est vana
            > > et peritura curiositas exercenda; sed gradus
            > > ad immortalia et semper manentia faciendus.
            > > —St Augustine De vera religione
            > >
            > >
            > > Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT
            > >
            > >
            > > ---------------------------------
            > > Yahoo! Groups Links
            > >
            > > To visit your group on the web, go to:
            > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/evforum/
            > >
            > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > > evforum-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            > >
            > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
            > Service.
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > ---------------------------------
            > > Do you Yahoo!?
            > > Friends. Fun. Try the all-new Yahoo! Messenger
            > >
            > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Mark Theodoropoulos
            ... Er, no. I didn t. Derek Simlik wrote it -- as I indicated *both* fore and aft when I quoted him. History suggests (and the initial responses would tend to
            Message 5 of 14 , Jun 2, 2004
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              Martin Pagnan writes:
              >
              > Mark Theodoropoulos wrote:
              >
              > > One locus of the problem could be in the symbolism
              > > "species".
              > >
              > > [...]

              Er, no.

              I didn't.

              Derek Simlik wrote it -- as I indicated *both* fore and aft when I
              quoted him. History suggests (and the initial responses would tend to
              confirm!) that the misattribution will outlive us all.

              But thanks to Mr Pagnan for referring to the Egypt material in vol. I,
              which was at the back of my mind in appreciating Mr Simlik's remarks;
              to the Moderator for the reminder of the discussion in _The history of
              the race idea_ (already, of course, on the huge 'to read' pile); and to
              Mr Simlik for continuing the discussion.

              I should clarify, however, that my interest was not in the species
              question _per se_ except very incidentally [*footnote]. Rather it was
              the lucidity of Mr Simlik's reminder of one of Voegelin's constant
              themes: time and again he urged remembering that every single word we
              utter had to be invented by someone at some specific time for a
              specific purpose, and that now-ordinary words can bear within them
              complex questions that are by no means as obvious as our confident use
              of the words might imply.

              What I found helpful in Mr Simlik's posting was its clarity about the
              delicate nature of the language symbols in science -- whether sciences
              of substance or sciences of phaenomena -- and about maintaining
              awareness of the process that engendered the symbols. Certainly, as EV
              reminds us, there are plenty of rancorous public debates that could use
              a healthy dose of such awareness.

              Best regards,

              Mark Theodoropoulos
              Berkeley, California



              [*footnote: As it happens, one of my brothers is engaged in combating
              the trendy, well-financed, highly destructive pseudoscience of
              "invasion biology," so any new clarity about 'species' helps my
              understanding his work. Apart from that incidental interest, however,
              the 'species' concept itself was not my concern.]




              --
              <mtheo>
              producer / classics without walls
              the anti-warhorse zone / www.amural.com
              kusf 90.3fm / san francisco
            • pightle2000
              Having read Mr. Theodoropoulos s last post, I think I understand his point. Voegelin s care for thoughtful articulation seems to me one of the most helpful
              Message 6 of 14 , Jun 2, 2004
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                Having read Mr. Theodoropoulos's last post, I think I understand his
                point. Voegelin's care for thoughtful articulation seems to me one
                of the most helpful qualities in his writings, not that it's so easy
                to duplicate.

                On the biology, I also found the citations from CW3 offered by Mr.
                Wagner remarkable. What is most noteworthy there, it seems to me, is
                the exacting standards they demonstrate. This is the work of
                strenuous research ranging from the correspondence of Liebniz to the
                recent technical results of a Richard Woltereck or Felix Kaufmann,
                authors representing something close to the limits of their fields at
                the time Voegelin was writing. When Voegelin refers to "current
                biological theory," he apparently knew what he was doing.

                Of course, this was in 1933, decades before the hereditary element
                that Woltereck identified with his reaction norm was definitively
                characterized by Watson and Crick. The reaction norm got
                overshadowed in anglophone biology by Wilhelm Johannsen's genotype,
                although the term has recently gained some currency with a more
                restricted sense than Woltereck used. Perhaps Voegelin would today
                turn to something like the mammoth Developmental Plasticity and
                Evolution by Mary Jane West-Eberhard. Not that I know what I'm
                talking about, but this appears to be a pivotal work where
                Woltereck's reaction norm under the label phenotypic plasticity looks
                to be having the last, or at least the latest, laugh. Like other
                areas in contemporary physical science, a once thrilling analysis by
                fundamental units seems bogged down by holistic interference.

                While vague hereditary factors have become unambiguous molecular
                details since Woltereck's day, the notion of species has gotten more
                and more fuzzy. What to Linnaeus seemed very real, very obvious, and
                very static groups of organisms delimited and maintained by
                hereditary morphology is today a controversial subject. The
                biological species concept, which is at bottom the interfertility
                criterion recently mentioned, isn't quite supple enough to handle the
                full range of the phenomena. Again I can only speak as a layman on
                the outside, but it seems to me that the most promising among
                proposed avenues is to drop views of species as "ontic unities" and
                see them simply as convenient groupings based on genotypic
                clustering.

                Anyway, to repeat, what most strikes me are the mighty preparations
                Voegelin makes. His study manifests a sincerity, a careful manner, a
                sense of responsibility. The second most striking thing in these
                citations from CW3 is Voegelin's assertion that, "for any self-
                respecting modern scholar," the varieties of organismal form result
                from evolution. Coming in 1933, this is a more resounding
                affirmation of modern biology than the remarks in the Structures in
                Consciousness lecture.

                Leibniz, infinitesimals, infinity and Kaufmann are another story.

                Finally, Voegelin calls The Growth of the Race Idea, his 1940 English
                piece for the Review of Politics, an "elaboration" of his book on the
                topic. For those like myself who despair of getting around to the
                real thing, this is a readily available half (or less) measure. It
                also starts off with a clear discussion of the symbol/reality
                relations that occupied the forum a while back.

                Rhydon Jackson
              • pightle2000
                Thanks to Mr. Jones for the continuing engagement. I m not a scholar in any relevant sense. Still, I disagree that Darwin s acclamation among biologists is
                Message 7 of 14 , Jun 3, 2004
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                  Thanks to Mr. Jones for the continuing engagement. I'm not a scholar
                  in any relevant sense. Still, I disagree that Darwin's acclamation
                  among biologists is any less legitimate than Newton's among
                  physicists. Certainly Newton's and Darwin's scientific work
                  contributed to a socially pernicious scientism, even partially due to
                  their own questionable philosophical extrapolations. And certainly
                  their work has been largely superseded. But they both still appear
                  legitimately landmark figures in science to me.

                  Darwin's principal contributions were an accumulation sufficient
                  evidence to force a hearing for his claims and the insight that the
                  relative reproductive success of variant individuals could lead to
                  population wide variance over time. The notion that external
                  happenstance, by favoring some traits, contributes to the population
                  frequency of whatever genetic basis they have in the same manner as a
                  breeder's influence and that this natural selection accounts for
                  variation in form where no artificial selection by breeders obtains
                  seems here to stay.

                  As I understand it, this insight is not even remotely at issue in the
                  various rejuvenations underway in biology. Varying evolutionary
                  tempos, spontaneously self-organising systems, holistic ecological
                  complications, collapsing macro/micro evolution distinctions, and
                  such, regardless of how they would have surprised Darwin, seem beside
                  the point. Indeed, given his careful study, I'm sure that Voegelin
                  was aware that Woltereck sided with the "Darwinians" against their
                  saltationist, "Mendelian" opponents during the evolutionary debates
                  in the early 20th century.

                  Besides, isn't there plenty of blame to go around for modern social
                  catastrophes such as the representative capacity of a Ernst Haeckel
                  or Herbert Spencer (whose phrase "survival of the fittest" has no
                  place in contemporary biology)? Consider Voegelin's frequent
                  vehemence against ecclesiastical authorities who contributed to the
                  dominance of fideistic responses by their institutions to the
                  spectacle of modern discoveries. It appears to me that this fideism
                  not only fueled plenty of counter scientistic nonsense, but also
                  fostered the sons of Ham style racism of Haeckel's contemporaries and
                  other not so scientistic nonsense.

                  Finally, my guess is that ants lost during a river fording would be
                  sterile workers. For a fascinating look at the history of the
                  biology of castes in social insects, which naturally incorporates
                  many new insights arising from the growing emphasis on development in
                  evolution studies but also treats efforts as far back as Darwin's
                  thoughts on sterile castes, members might be interested in "One
                  hundred years of caste determination" by D. E. Wheeler in Proceedings
                  of the Congress of the International Union for the Study of Social
                  Insects, Sapporo Meeting. It is available at

                  http://w3.arizona.edu/~insects/facultyfiles/wheeler.html

                  So nobody gets the wrong idea that I have any special biological
                  expertise, I should point out that I knew nothing about this paper
                  before Mr. Jones' observations prompted me to google about for some
                  idea of the genetic distinctions between queen and worker ants.

                  Rhydon Jackson
                • Martin Pagnan
                  ... Mark, I am rereading Camu s Rebel and just came across one of his assessments of Nietzsche (page 74) As a result of his insistence that the individual
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jun 3, 2004
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                    Mark Theodoropoulos wrote:

                    > one of my brothers is engaged in combating
                    > the trendy, well-financed, highly destructive pseudoscience of
                    > "invasion biology," so any new clarity about 'species' helps my
                    > understanding his work. Apart from that incidental interest, however,
                    > the 'species' concept itself was not my concern.]
                    >
                    Mark,
                    I am rereading Camu's "Rebel" and just came across one of his
                    assessments of Nietzsche (page 74) "As a result of his insistence that
                    the individual should submerge himself in the great cycle of time, race
                    has been turned into a special aspect of the species, and the individual
                    has been made to bow before the sordid god."

                    This ties both of EV's views that have been discussed in this thread
                    (Egyptian god species and racism). However, these views of species
                    presume it to be some sort of an eternal ontological essence which
                    somehow defines individuals to a type. In modern biology a species is
                    more often defined more from the bottom up, as if genome structures
                    define species. This view is, of course, problematic. It sets aside the
                    old question of why are things as they are. There is a massive amount of
                    literature on this question and it is perhaps time that someone review
                    it in a thesis.
                    Martin P.
                  • pightle2000
                    I first heard about the new directions in biology about a year and a half ago and have since been intermittently pursuing the matter. Spurred on by the dialog
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jun 7, 2004
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                      I first heard about the new directions in biology about a year and a
                      half ago and have since been intermittently pursuing the matter.
                      Spurred on by the dialog with Mr. Jones', I've happened upon this
                      helpful online summary of many of these developments:

                      http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00000090/00/_Guide.pdf

                      Among the developments discussed there are recents effort by people
                      like Notre Dame's Lenny Moss to clarify the different senses of the
                      term 'gene'.

                      Moss has several of his results online as well. One of them might be
                      particularly interesting to the forum. His "Darwinism, Dualism, and
                      Biological Agency" is a forceful presentation of how radical the
                      exposure of evolutionary theory to developmental concerns may turn
                      out to be. Having read it, I'm convinced my earlier comment that
                      Darwin's "insight is not even remotely at issue in the various
                      rejuvenations underway in biology" overstates the case. By blurring
                      the line between variation and selection, the epigenetic
                      developmental contexts for exploiting DNA sequences as resources seem
                      to auger a biology that is really post-Darwinian in a significant
                      sense. The paper, which tries to place these findings in the
                      framework suggested by Hans Jonas' essay Philosophical Aspects of
                      Darwinism from the book The Phenomenon of Life, can be found at

                      http://www.nd.edu/~ndphilo/onlinepapers.htm

                      Rhydon Jackson
                    • Jack Elliott
                      ... i pursued this link and found that the paper was no longer at this site. did a search and found it at: http://www.nd.edu/~ndphilo/papers/darwinism.pdf in
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jun 9, 2004
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                        >
                        > Among the developments discussed there are recents effort by people
                        > like Notre Dame's Lenny Moss to clarify the different senses of the
                        > term 'gene'.
                        > Moss has several of his results online as well. One of them might be
                        > particularly interesting to the forum. His "Darwinism, Dualism, and
                        > Biological Agency" is a forceful presentation....

                        > http://www.nd.edu/~ndphilo/onlinepapers.htm
                        >

                        i pursued this link and found that the paper was no longer at this site.
                        did a search and found it at:

                        http://www.nd.edu/~ndphilo/papers/darwinism.pdf

                        in case anyone wants to pursue it. haven't read the article yet, but it
                        looks quite promising. thanks, rhydon.

                        jack



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