Research in the Ramsey Lab is focused on the conceptual foundations of evolutionary theory, the study of human and non-human animal behavior, the moral emotions, and the automated text mining of scientific literature.
Conceptual foundations of evolutionary theory
Central questions in this project are: What is the nature of key concepts in evolutionary theory, like fitness, selection, and drift? How should we understand the causal structure of evolutionary theory?
- download-icon Durand, P. and Ramsey, G. (2018) “The nature of programmed cell death” Biological Theory. DOI: 10.1007/s13752-018-0311-0
- download-icon Ramsey, G. (2016) “The causal structure of evolutionary theory” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94: 421-434. DOI: 10.1080/00048402.2015.1111398
- Ramsey, G. and Pence, C. H. (2016) Chance in Evolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. For more information, visit the University of Chicago Press website or purchase it via Amazon.
- Ramsey, G. and Pence, C. H. (2016) “Chance in evolution from Darwin to contemporary biology.” In: G. Ramsey and C.H. Pence (eds.) Chance in Evolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1-11.
- download-icon Pence, C. and Ramsey, G. (2015) “Is organismic fitness at the basis of evolutionary theory?” Philosophy of Science 82:1081–1091. DOI: 10.1086/683442
- download-icon Ramsey, G. and Pence, C. H. (2013) “Fitness: philosophical problems.” In: eLS. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0003443.pub2
- download-icon Ramsey, G. (2013) “Can fitness differences be a cause of evolution?” Philosophy & Theory in Biology 5:e401. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.6959004.0005.001.
- download-icon Pence, C.H. and Ramsey, G. (2013) “A new foundation for the propensity interpretation of fitness.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64(4): 851-881. DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axs037.
- download-icon Ramsey, G. (2013) “Organisms, traits, and population subdivisions: two arguments against the causal conception of fitness?” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64: 589-608 DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axs010.
- download-icon Ramsey, G. (2013) “Driftability.” Synthese 190: 3909-3928. DOI: 10.1007/s11229-012-0232-6.
- download-icon Ramsey, G. and Peterson, A. (2012) “Sameness in biology.” Philosophy of Science 77: 255-275. DOI: 10.1086/664744.
- download-icon Brandon, R. and Ramsey, G. (2007) “What’s Wrong with the Emergentist Statistical Interpretation of Natural Selection and Random Drift?” In: D. Hull and M. Ruse (eds.) Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- download-icon Ramsey, G. (2006) “Block fitness.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37: 484-498. DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsc.2006.06.009.
Behavior in humans and other animals
Central questions in this project are: How are concepts like culture, innovation, and altruism translated from the human realm to that of non-human animals? Are such concepts merely loose analogies, or are they capturing the same thing (same kind of process, or perhaps a homologous structure)?
- download-icon Ramsey, G. and De Block, A. (2017) “Is cultural fitness hopelessly confused?” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68: 305-328. DOI: 10.1093/bjps/axv047
- download-icon Ramsey, G. (2017) “What is animal culture?” In: K. Andrews and J. Beck (eds.) Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Animal Minds. Routledge Press, 345-353.
- download-icon Ramsey, G. (2016) “Can altruism be unified?” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 56: 32-38. DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.10.007
- download-icon De Block, A. and Ramsey, G. (2016) “The organism-centered approach to cultural evolution.” Topoi 35: 283-290. DOI: 10.1007/s11245-014-9283-2
- De Block, A. and Ramsey, G. (2015) “The life of Culture” OUP Blog, http://blog.oup.com/2015/11/the-life-of-culture/
- download-icon Ramsey, G. (2013) “Culture in humans and other animals.” Biology and Philosophy 27: 457-479. DOI: 10.1007/s10539-012-9347-x.
- download-icon Ramsey, G. and Brandon, R. (2011) “Why reciprocal altruism is not a kind of group selection.” Biology and Philosophy 26: 385-400. DOI: 10.1007/s10539-011-9261-7.
- download-icon Ramsey, G. (2007) “The Fundamental Constraint on the evolution of culture.” Biology and Philosophy 22: 401-414. DOI: 10.1007/s10539-006-9038-6.
- download-icon Ramsey, G., Bastian, M. L., and van Schaik, C. (2007) “Animal innovation defined and operationalized.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30: 393-437. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X07002373.
On the human
Central questions in this project are: What is human nature? Can human nature be a guide in ethical questions like that of human biomedical enhancement?
- download-icon Ramsey, G. (2018) “Trait bin and triat cluster accounts of human nature” In: E. Hannon and T. Lewens (eds.) Why We Disagree about Human Nature. Oxford University Press. DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198823650.001.0001
- download-iconRamsey, G. (2017) “What is human nature for?” In: A. Fuentes and A. Visala (ed.) Verbs, Bones and Brains: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Nature, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 217-230.
- download-iconRamsey, G. (2013) “Human nature in a post-essentialist world.” Philosophy of Science 80: 983-993. DOI: 10.1086/673902.
- download-icon Ramsey, G. (2012) “How human nature can inform human enhancement.” Philosophy and Technology 25: 479-483. DOI: 10.1007/s13347-012-0087-2.
The moral emotions
Central questions in this project are: What distinguishes the moral emotions from one another? Which taxa exhibit these emotions and what explains their origins?
- download-icon Deem, M. and Ramsey, G. (2016) “Guilt by association?” Philosophical Psychology 29(4): 570-585. DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2015.1126706
- download-icon Deem, M. and G. Ramsey (2016) “The Evolutionary Puzzle of Guilt: Individual or Group Selection?” Emotion Researcher, ISRE’s Sourcebook for Research on Emotion and Affect, Andrea Scarantino (ed.), http://emotionresearcher.com/the-evolutionary-puzzle-of-guilt-individual-or-group-selection/
The evoText project
Charles Pence and I are constructing a tool for the automated text mining and analysis of the evolutionary biology journal articles. The central question in this project is: What insight can we gain about the nature and history of evolutionary biology by applying text analysis tools from the digital humanities to the evolutionary biology literature?
- The evoText website http://www.evotext.org/ is still in beta. Over the coming months, we plan to implement more analysis tools and add more journal articles. Click here to read an article about evoText. This work is supported by National Science Foundation Scholars Award #1456573.
- download-icon Pence, C. and Ramsey, G. (2018) “How to do digital philosophy of science” Philosophy of Science 58: 930-941. DOI: 10.1086/699697.
- download-icon Ramsey, G. and Pence, C. H. (2016) “evoText: A new tool for analyzing the biological sciences.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57: 83-87. DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsc.2016.04.003
The Evolution Working Group
I run an interdisciplinary working group that discusses and critiques recent works on (or in some way related to) evolution. We occasionally publish reviews of the books that we discuss.
- download-icon Hollocher, H., Pence, C. H., Ramsey, G., and Wirth, M. M. (2013) “A path to success? A Review of Evolution, Development, and the Predictable Genome by David L. Stern.” Evolution and Development 15(1): 80–82. DOI: 10.1111/ede.12016.
- download-icon Hollocher, H., Fuentes, A., Pence, C. H., Ramsey, G., Sportiello, D. J., and Wirth, M. M. (2011) “[Review of] On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction.” The Quarterly Review of Biology 86(2): 137-138. DOI: 10.1086/659913.
- download-icon Pence, C. H., Hollocher, H., Nichols, R., Ramsey, G., Siu, E., and Sportiello, D. J. (2011) “[Review of] Did Darwin Write the Origin Backwards? Philosophical Essays on Darwin’s Theory.” Philosophy of Science 78(4): 705-709. DOI: 10.1086/661775.
- download-icon Ramsey, G., Hollocher, H., Fuentes, A., Pence, C. H., and Siu, E. (2010) “[Review of] Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection.” The Quarterly Review of Biology 85(4): 499-500. DOI: 10.1086/656856.