James R. Griesemer

James R. Griesemer is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Davis.

  • Developing Scaffolds in Evolution, Culture, and Cognition

    Developing Scaffolds in Evolution, Culture, and Cognition

    Linnda R. Caporael, James R. Griesemer, and William C. Wimsatt

    Empirical and philosophical perspectives on scaffolding that highlight the role of temporal and temporary resources in development across concepts of culture, cognition, and evolution.

    "Scaffolding" is a concept that is becoming widely used across disciplines. This book investigates common threads in diverse applications of scaffolding, including theoretical biology, cognitive science, social theory, science and technology studies, and human development. Despite its widespread use, the concept of scaffolding is often given short shrift; the contributors to this volume, from a range of disciplines, offer a more fully developed analysis of scaffolding that highlights the role of temporal and temporary resources in development, broadly conceived, across concepts of culture, cognition, and evolution.

    The book emphasizes reproduction, repeated assembly, and entrenchment of heterogeneous relations, parts, and processes as a complement to neo-Darwinism in the developmentalist tradition of conceptualizing evolutionary change. After describing an integration of theoretical perspectives that can accommodate different levels of analysis and connect various methodologies, the book discusses multilevel organization; differences (and reciprocality) between individuals and institutions as units of analysis; and perspectives on development that span brains, careers, corporations, and cultural cycles.

    Contributors Colin Allen, Linnda R. Caporael, James Evans, Elihu M. Gerson, Simona Ginsburg, James R. Griesemer, Christophe Heintz, Eva Jablonka, Sanjay Joshi, Shu-Chen Li, Pamela Lyon, Sergio F. Martinez, Christopher J. May, Johann Peter Murmann, Stuart A. Newman, Jeffrey C. Schank, Iddo Tavory, Georg Theiner, Barbara Hoeberg Wimsatt, William C. Wimsatt


  • Landscapes of Collectivity in the Life Sciences

    Landscapes of Collectivity in the Life Sciences

    Snait B. Gissis, Ehud Lamm, and Ayelet Shavit

    Broad perspective on collectivity in the life sciences, from microorganisms to human consensus, and the theoretical and empirical opportunities and challenges.

    Many researchers and scholars in the life sciences have become increasingly critical of the traditional methodological focus on the individual. This volume counters such methodological individualism by exploring recent and influential work in the life sciences that utilizes notions of collectivity, sociality, rich interactions, and emergent phenomena as essential explanatory tools to handle numerous persistent scientific questions in the life sciences. The contributors consider case studies of collectivity that range from microorganisms to human consensus, discussing theoretical and empirical challenges and the innovative methods and solutions scientists have devised.

    The contributors offer historical, philosophical, and biological perspectives on collectivity, and describe collective phenomena seen in insects, the immune system, communication, and human collectivity, with examples ranging from cooperative transport in the longhorn crazy ant to the evolution of autobiographical memory. They examine ways of explaining collectivity, including case studies and modeling approaches, and explore collectivity's explanatory power. They present a comprehensive look at a specific case of collectivity: the Holobiont notion (the idea of a multi-species collective, a host and diverse microorganisms) and the hologenome theory (which posits that the holobiont and its hologenome are a unit of adaption). The volume concludes with reflections on the work of the late physicist Eshel Ben-Jacob, pioneer in the study of collective phenomena in living systems.

    Contributors Oren Bader, John Beatty, Dinah R. Davison, Daniel Dor, Ofer Feinerman, Raghavendra Gadagkar, Scott F. Gilbert, Snait B. Gissis, Deborah M. Gordon, James Griesemer, Zachariah I. Grochau-Wright, Erik R. Hanschen, Eva Jablonka, Mohit Kumar Jolly, Anat Kolumbus, Ehud Lamm, Herbert Levine, Arnon Levy, Xue-Fei Li, Elisabeth A. Lloyd, Yael Lubin, Eva Maria Luef, Ehud Meron, Richard E. Michod, Samir Okasha, Simone Pika, Joan Roughgarden, Eugene Rosenberg, Ayelet Shavit, Yael Silver, Alfred I. Tauber, Ilana Zilber-Rosenberg

  • Boundary Objects and Beyond

    Boundary Objects and Beyond

    Working with Leigh Star

    Geoffrey C. Bowker, Stefan Timmermans, Adele E. Clarke, and Ellen Balka

    The multifaceted work of the late Susan Leigh Star is explored through a selection of her writings and essays by friends and colleagues.

    Susan Leigh Star (1954–2010) was one of the most influential science studies scholars of the last several decades. In her work, Star highlighted the messy practices of discovering science, asking hard questions about the marginalizing as well as the liberating powers of science and technology. In the landmark work Sorting Things Out, Star and Geoffrey Bowker revealed the social and ethical histories that are deeply embedded in classification systems. Star's most celebrated concept was the notion of boundary objects: representational forms—things or theories—that can be shared between different communities, with each holding its own understanding of the representation.

    Unfortunately, Leigh was unable to complete a work on the poetics of infrastructure that further developed the full range of her work. This volume collects articles by Star that set out some of her thinking on boundary objects, marginality, and infrastructure, together with essays by friends and colleagues from a range of disciplines—from philosophy of science to organization science—that testify to the wide-ranging influence of Star's work.

    Contributors Ellen Balka, Eevi E. Beck, Dick Boland, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Janet Ceja Alcalá, Adele E. Clarke, Les Gasser, James R. Griesemer, Gail Hornstein, John Leslie King, Cheris Kramarae, Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, Karen Ruhleder, Kjeld Schmidt, Brian Cantwell Smith, Susan Leigh Star, Anselm L. Strauss, Jane Summerton, Stefan Timmermans, Helen Verran, Nina Wakeford, Jutta Weber

    • Hardcover $81.00 £63.00
    • Paperback $40.00 £30.00
  • Transformations of Lamarckism

    Transformations of Lamarckism

    From Subtle Fluids to Molecular Biology

    Snait B. Gissis and Eva Jablonka

    A reappraisal of Lamarckism—its historical impact and contemporary significance.

    In 1809—the year of Charles Darwin's birth—Jean-Baptiste Lamarck published Philosophie zoologique, the first comprehensive and systematic theory of biological evolution. The Lamarckian approach emphasizes the generation of developmental variations; Darwinism stresses selection. Lamarck's ideas were eventually eclipsed by Darwinian concepts, especially after the emergence of the Modern Synthesis in the twentieth century. The different approaches—which can be seen as complementary rather than mutually exclusive—have important implications for the kinds of questions biologists ask and for the type of research they conduct. Lamarckism has been evolving—or, in Lamarckian terminology, transforming—since Philosophie zoologique's description of biological processes mediated by "subtle fluids." Essays in this book focus on new developments in biology that make Lamarck's ideas relevant not only to modern empirical and theoretical research but also to problems in the philosophy of biology. Contributors discuss the historical transformations of Lamarckism from the 1820s to the 1940s, and the different understandings of Lamarck and Lamarckism; the Modern Synthesis and its emphasis on Mendelian genetics; theoretical and experimental research on such "Lamarckian" topics as plasticity, soft (epigenetic) inheritance, and individuality; and the importance of a developmental approach to evolution in the philosophy of biology. The book shows the advantages of a "Lamarckian" perspective on evolution. Indeed, the development-oriented approach it presents is becoming central to current evolutionary studies—as can be seen in the burgeoning field of Evo-Devo. Transformations of Lamarckism makes a unique contribution to this research.

    • Hardcover $55.00 £40.95
    • Paperback $47.00 £37.00
  • Protocells


    Bridging Nonliving and Living Matter

    Steen Rasmussen, Mark A. Bedau, Liaohai Chen, David Deamer, David C. Krakauer, Norman H. Packard, and Peter F. Stadler

    The first comprehensive general resource on state-of-the-art protocell research, describing current approaches to making new forms of life from scratch in the laboratory.

    Protocells offers a comprehensive resource on current attempts to create simple forms of life from scratch in the laboratory. These minimal versions of cells, known as protocells, are entities with lifelike properties created from nonliving materials, and the book provides in-depth investigations of processes at the interface between nonliving and living matter. Chapters by experts in the field put this state-of-the-art research in the context of theory, laboratory work, and computer simulations on the components and properties of protocells. The book also provides perspectives on research in related areas and such broader societal issues as commercial applications and ethical considerations. The book covers all major scientific approaches to creating minimal life, both in the laboratory and in simulation. It emphasizes the bottom-up view of physicists, chemists, and material scientists but also includes the molecular biologists' top-down approach and the origin-of-life perspective. The capacity to engineer living technology could have an enormous socioeconomic impact and could bring both good and ill. Protocells promises to be the essential reference for research on bottom-up assembly of life and living technology for years to come. It is written to be both resource and inspiration for scientists working in this exciting and important field and a definitive text for the interested layman.

  • From Embryology to Evo-Devo

    From Embryology to Evo-Devo

    A History of Developmental Evolution

    Manfred D. Laubichler and Jane Maienschein

    Historians, philosophers, sociologists, and biologists explore the history of the idea that embryological development and evolution are linked.

    Although we now know that ontogeny (individual development) does not actually recapitulate phylogeny (evolutionary transformation), contrary to Ernst Haeckel's famous dictum, the relationship between embryological development and evolution remains the subject of intense scientific interest. In the 1990s a new field, evolutionary developmental biology (or evo-devo), was hailed as the synthesis of developmental and evolutionary biology. In From Embryology to Evo-Devo, historians, philosophers, sociologists, and biologists offer diverse perspectives on the history of efforts to understand the links between development and evolution. After examining events in the history of early twentieth century embryology and developmental genetics—including the fate of Haeckel's law and its various reformulations, the ideas of William Bateson, and Richard Goldschmidt's idiosyncratic synthesis of ontogeny and phylogeny—the contributors explore additional topics ranging from the history of comparative embryology in America to a philosophical-historical analysis of different research styles. Finally, three major figures in theoretical biology—Brian Hall, Gerd Müller, and Günter Wagner—reflect on the past and future of evo-devo, particularly on the interdisciplinary nature of the field. The sum is an exciting interdisciplinary exploration of developmental evolution.

    • Hardcover $57.00 £42.95
    • Paperback $35.00 £27.00