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  1. André Ariew (2003). Ernst Mayr's 'Ultimate/Proximate' Distinction Reconsidered and Reconstructed. Biology and Philosophy 18 (4):553-565.
    It's been 41 years since the publication of Ernst Mayr's Cause and Effect in Biology wherein Mayr most clearly develops his version of the influential distinction between ultimate and proximate causes in biology. In critically assessing Mayr's essay I uncover false statements and red-herrings about biological explanation. Nevertheless, I argue to uphold an analogue of the ultimate/proximate distinction as it refers to two different kinds of explanations, one dynamical the other statistical.
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  2. Gillian Barker & John Odling-Smee (2013). Integrating Ecology and Evolution: Niche Construction and Ecological Engineering. In Gillian Barker, Eric Desjardins & Trevor Pearce (eds.), Entangled Life: Organism and Environment in the Biological and Social Sciences. Springer. 187-211.
  3. Charles A. Berger (1932). The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Thought 7 (1):167-171.
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  4. Carl T. Bergstrom & Peter Godfrey-Smith (1998). On the Evolution of Behavioral Complexity in Individuals and Populations. Biology and Philosophy 13 (2):205-31.
    A wide range of ecological and evolutionary models predict variety in phenotype or behavior when a population is at equilibrium. This heterogeneity can be realized in different ways. For example, it can be realized through a complex population of individuals exhibiting different simple behaviors, or through a simple population of individuals exhibiting complex, varying behaviors. In some theoretical frameworks these different realizations are treated as equivalent, but natural selection distinguishes between these two alternatives in subtle ways. By investigating an increasingly (...)
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  5. Michael Bertrand (2013). Proper Environment and the SEP Account of Biological Function. Synthese 190 (9):1503-1517.
    The survival enhancing propensity (SEP) account has a crucial role to play in the analysis of proper function. However, a central feature of the account, its specification of the proper environment to which functions are relativized, is seriously underdeveloped. In this paper, I argue that existent accounts of proper environment fail because they either allow too many or too few characters to count as proper functions. While SEP accounts retain their promise, they are unworkable because of their inability to specify (...)
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  6. Jonathan Birch (2014). Has Grafen Formalized Darwin? Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):175-180.
    One key aim of Grafen’s Formal Darwinism project is to formalize ‘modern biology’s understanding and updating of Darwin’s central argument’. In this commentary, I consider whether Grafen has succeeded in this aim.
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  7. Jonathan Birch (2012). The Negative View of Natural Selection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (2):569-573.
    An influential argument due to Elliott Sober, subsequently strengthened by Denis Walsh and Joel Pust, moves from plausible premises to the bold conclusion that natural selection cannot explain the traits of individual organisms. If the argument were sound, the explanatory scope of selection would depend, surprisingly, on metaphysical considerations concerning origin essentialism. I show that the Sober-Walsh-Pust argument rests on a flawed counterfactual criterion for explanatory relevance. I further show that a more defensible criterion for explanatory relevance recently proposed by (...)
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  8. Jonathan Birch & James A. R. Marshall (2014). Queller's Separation Condition Explained and Defended. American Naturalist 184 (4):531-540.
    The theories of inclusive fitness and multilevel selection provide alternative perspectives on social evolution. The question of whether these perspectives are of equal generality remains a divisive issue. In an analysis based on the Price equation, Queller argued (by means of a principle he called the separation condition) that the two approaches are subject to the same limitations, arising from their fundamentally quantitative-genetical character. Recently, van Veelen et al. have challenged Queller’s results, using this as the basis for a broader (...)
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  9. Alexander Bird (2006). Selection and Explanation. In , Rethinking Explanation. Springer. 131--136.
    Selection explanations explain some non-accidental generalizations in virtue of a selection process. Such explanations are not particulaizable - they do not transfer as explanations of the instances of such generalizations. This is unlike many explanations in the physical sciences, where the explanation of the general fact also provides an explanation of its instances (i.e. standard D-N explanations). Are selection explanations (e.g. in biology) therefore a different kind of explanation? I argue that to understand this issue, we need to see that (...)
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  10. Frédéric Bouchard (2009). Understanding Colonial Traits Using Symbiosis Research and Ecosystem Ecology. Biological Theory 4 (3):240-246.
    E. O. Wilson (1974: 54) describes the problem that social organisms pose: “On what bases do we distinguish the extremely modified members of an invertebrate colony from the organs of a metazoan animal?” This framing of the issue has inspired many to look more closely at how groups of organisms form and behave as emergent individuals. The possible existence of “superorganisms” test our best intuitions about what can count and act as genuine biological individuals and how we should study them. (...)
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  11. Robert Brandon & Leonore Fleming (2014). Drift Sometimes Dominates Selection, and Vice Versa: A Reply to Clatterbuck, Sober and Lewontin. Biology and Philosophy 29 (4):577-585.
    Clatterbuck et al. (Biol Philos 28: 577–592, 2013) argue that there is no fact of the matter whether selection dominates drift or vice versa in any particular case of evolution. Their reasons are not empirically based; rather, they are purely conceptual. We show that their conceptual presuppositions are unmotivated, unnecessary and overly complex. We also show that their conclusion runs contrary to current biological practice. The solution is to recognize that evolution involves a probabilistic sampling process, and that drift is (...)
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  12. Björn Brunnander (2013). Natural Selection and Multiple Realisation: A Closer Look. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):73 - 83.
    The target of this article is the claim that natural selection accounts for the multiple realisation of biological and psychological kinds. I argue that the explanation actually offered does not provide any insight about the phenomenon since it presupposes multiple realisation as an unexplained premise, and this is what does all the work. The purported explanation mistakenly invokes the ?indifference? of selection to structure as an additional explanatorily relevant factor. While such indifference can be explanatory in intentional contexts, it is (...)
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  13. Henry C. Byerly & Richard E. Michod (1991). Fitness and Evolutionary Explanation. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 6 (1):45-53.
    Recent philosophical discussions have failed to clarify the roles of the concept fitness in evolutionary theory. Neither the propensity interpretation of fitness nor the construal of fitness as a primitive theoretical term succeed in explicating the empirical content and explanatory power of the theory of natural selection. By appealing to the structure of simple mathematical models of natural selection, we separate out different contrasts which have tended to confuse discussions of fitness: the distinction between what fitness is defined as versus (...)
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  14. Gustavo Caponi, Claude Bernard, Charles Darwin y los dos modos fundamentales de interrogar lo viviente.
    Research in modern biology has largely been developed according to two main ways of inquiry, as they were outlined by Charles Darwin and Claude Bernard. Each stands for a specific approach to the living corresponding to two different methodological rules: the principle of natural selection and the principle of causation.
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  15. Gustavo Caponi (2010). La regla de Darwin. Principia 4 (1):27-78.
    Taking as a starting point Brandon's account of the principle of natural selection, we argue that it is possible to consider such a principle as bearing the same status of the principle of causation, to wit, that of a methodological rule whose function would be to introduce a "teleological mode of inquiring the living". This way of understanding the principle of natural selection will drive us into an interpretation of Darwinism that is close to that one argued for by Daniel (...)
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  16. Josep Corcó (2001). La Selección Natural En Popper y Peirce. Anuario Filosófico 34 (69):139-156.
    Both Peirce and Popper thought about the darwinian theory of evolution. From different perspectives they coincided in stating that natural selection is a non productive factor of biological evolution. Each of them put forward an active agent other than natural selection in the evolutionary process.
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  17. John F. Cornell (1987). God's Magnificent Law: The Bad Influence of Theistic Metaphysics on Darwin's Estimation of Natural Selection. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 20 (3):381 - 412.
    It is natural for us — living after the Darwinian Revolution and the neo-Darwinian synthesis — to consider the adoption of evolution by natural selection as unconditionally rational, because it now seems the best theory or explanation of many phenomena. Nonetheless, if we take historical inquiry seriously, as allowing us to probe into the ground of our knowledge, the roots of even this “rational” Darwinism might be unearthed. Darwinian doctrine betrays a deceptive desire for unity and simplicity of principle, and (...)
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  18. Lindley Darden & Joseph A. Cain (1989). Selection Type Theories. Philosophy of Science 56 (1):106-129.
    Selection type theories solve adaptation problems. Natural selection, clonal selection for antibody production, and selective theories of higher brain function are examples. An abstract characterization of typical selection processes is generated by analyzing and extending previous work on the nature of natural selection. Once constructed, this abstraction provides a useful tool for analyzing the nature of other selection theories and may be of use in new instances of theory construction. This suggests the potential fruitfulness of research to find other theory (...)
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  19. Charles Darwin (2009). Sobre a origem das espécies por meio de selecção natural. Critica.
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  20. Michael R. Dietrich & Roberta L. Millstein (2008). The Role of Causal Processes in the Neutral and Nearly Neutral Theories. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):548-559.
    The neutral and nearly neutral theories of molecular evolution are sometimes characterized as theories about drift alone, where drift is described solely as an outcome, rather than a process. We argue, however, that both selection and drift, as causal processes, are integral parts of both theories. However, the nearly neutral theory explicitly recognizes alleles and/or molecular substitutions that, while engaging in weakly selected causal processes, exhibit outcomes thought to be characteristic of random drift. A narrow focus on outcomes obscures the (...)
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  21. José Díez & Pablo Lorenzano (2013). Who Got What Wrong? Fodor and Piattelli on Darwin: Guiding Principles and Explanatory Models in Natural Selection. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 78 (5):1143-1175.
    The purpose of this paper is to defend, contra Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini (F&PP), that the theory of natural selection (NS) is a perfectly bona fide empirical unified explanatory theory. F&PP claim there is nothing non-truistic, counterfactual-supporting, of an “adaptive” character and common to different explanations of trait evolution. In his debate with Fodor, and in other works, Sober defends NS but claims that, compared with classical mechanics (CM) and other standard theories, NS is peculiar in that its explanatory models are (...)
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  22. João Dinis de Sousa (2006). Book Review: A Reason for Everything: Natural Selection and the English Imagination. [REVIEW] Bioessays 28 (6):679-680.
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  23. Brian D. Earp, Anders Sandberg & Julian Savulescu (2012). Natural Selection, Childrearing, and the Ethics of Marriage (and Divorce): Building a Case for the Neuroenhancement of Human Relationships. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):561-587.
    We argue that the fragility of contemporary marriages—and the corresponding high rates of divorce—can be explained (in large part) by a three-part mismatch: between our relationship values, our evolved psychobiological natures, and our modern social, physical, and technological environment. “Love drugs” could help address this mismatch by boosting our psychobiologies while keeping our values and our environment intact. While individual couples should be free to use pharmacological interventions to sustain and improve their romantic connection, we suggest that they may have (...)
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  24. L. T. Evans (1984). Darwin's Use of the Analogy Between Artificial and Natural Selection. Journal of the History of Biology 17 (1):113 - 140.
    The central role played by Darwin's analogy between selection under domestication and that under nature has been adequately appreciated, but I have indicated how important the domesticated organisms also were to other elements of Darwin's theory of evolution-his recognition of “the constant principle of change,” for instance, of the imperfection of adaptation, and of the extent of variation in nature. The further development of his theory and its presentation to the public likewise hinged on frequent reference to domesticates.We have seen (...)
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  25. W. J. Ewens (2011). What is the Gene Trying to Do? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):155-176.
    The aim of this paper is to offer a new biological interpretation of Fisher’s ‘Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection’ and from this to consider optimality properties of gene frequency changes. These matters are of continuing interest to biologists and philosophers alike. In particular, the extent to which biological evolution can be calculated from the ‘gene’s-eye’ point of view is also discussed. In this sense, the paper bears indirectly on the concepts of the unit of selection and of the ‘selfish gene’. (...)
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  26. Warren J. Ewens (2014). Grafen, the Price Equations, Fitness Maximization, Optimisation and the Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection. Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):197-205.
    This paper is a commentary on the focal article by Grafen and on earlier papers of his on which many of the results of this focal paper depend. Thus it is in effect a commentary on the “formal Darwinian project”, the focus of this sequence of papers. Several problems with this sequence are raised and discussed. The first of these concerns fitness maximization. It is often claimed in these papers that natural selection leads to a maximization of fitness and that (...)
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  27. Donald R. Forsdyke (2012). Immunology (1955-1975): The Natural Selection Theory, the Two Signal Hypothesis and Positive Repertoire Selection. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 45 (1):139 - 161.
    Observations suggesting the existence of natural antibody prior to exposure of an organism to the corresponding antigen, led to the natural selection theory of antibody formation of Jerne in 1955, and to the two signal hypothesis of Forsdyke in 1968. Aspects of these were not only first discoveries but also foundational discoveries in that they influenced contemporaries in a manner that, from our present vantage point, appears to have been constructive. Jerne's later hypothesis (1971, European Journal of Immunology 1: 1-9), (...)
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  28. Kenneth T. Gallagher (1989). “Natural Selection”. International Philosophical Quarterly 29 (1):17-31.
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  29. Andy Gardner (2014). Life, the Universe and Everything. Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):207-215.
    The Formal Darwinism project probes the connections between the dynamics of natural selection and the design of organisms. Here, I explain why this work should be of interest to philosophers, arguing that it is the natural development in a long-running scholarly enquiry into the meaning of life. I then review some of my own work which has applied the tools of Formal Darwinism to address issues concerning the units of adaptation in social evolution, leading to a deeper understanding of the (...)
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  30. Jean Gayon (2011). Economic Natural Selection: What Concept of Selection? Biological Theory 6 (4):320-325.
    The article examines two cases of adoption of evolutionary ways of thinking by modern economists: Nelson and Winter’s (Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change, 1982), and evolutionary game theory (1990s and after). In both cases, the authors explicitly refer to natural selection in an economic context. I show that natural selection is taken in two different senses, which correspond to two general conceptions of the principle of natural selection, one of which contains reproduction and heredity as key elements, whereas the other (...)
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  31. Peter Gildenhuys (2012). Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (1):192-195.
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Volume 90, Issue 1, Page 192-195, March 2012.
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  32. Santiago Ginnobili (2007). Hay Lo Que Queda: Sobre la Presunta Tautologicidad de la Teoría de la Selección Natural. Análisis Filosófico 27 (1):75-89.
    En uno de los ataques más reiterados a Darwin, que todavía subsiste en la literatura actual, se señala que la teoría de la selección natural es tautológica, analítica o, al menos, irrefutable. En docenas de artículos, diversos autores han señalado las condiciones en que la selección natural quedaría refutada, intentando mostrar que no carece de contenido empírico. La estrategia seguida en este trabajo será otra. Teniendo en cuenta que la crítica de tautologicidad o irrefutabilidad ha sido esgrimida contra leyes fundamentales (...)
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  33. Bruce Glymour (1999). Is Pure R-Selection Really Selection? Philosophy of Science 66 (3):195.
    Lennox and Wilson (1994) critique dispositional accounts of selection on the grounds that such accounts will class evolutionary events as cases of selection whether or not the environment constrains population growth. Lennox and Wilson claim that pure r-selection involves no environmental checks on growth, and that accounts of natural selection ought to distinguish between the two sorts of cases. I argue that Lennox and Wilson are mistaken in claiming that pure r-selection involves no environmental checks, but suggest that two related (...)
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  34. Paul E. Griffiths (2001). Genetic Information: A Metaphor in Search of a Theory. Philosophy of Science 68 (3):394-412.
    John Maynard Smith has defended against philosophical criticism the view that developmental biology is the study of the expression of information encoded in the genes by natural selection. However, like other naturalistic concepts of information, this ‘teleosemantic’ information applies to many non-genetic factors in development. Maynard Smith also fails to show that developmental biology is concerned with teleosemantic information. Some other ways to support Maynard Smith’s conclusion are considered. It is argued that on any definition of information the view that (...)
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  35. Philip Hanson (2001). Darwin's Algorithm, Natural Selective History, and Intentionality Naturalized. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (Supplement):53-83.
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  36. Thomas H. Huxley, The Origin of Species.
    h e Darwinian hypothesis has the merit of being eminently simple and comprehensible in principle, and its essential positions may be stated in a very few words: all species have been produced by the development of varieties from common stocks; by the conversion of these, first into permanent races and then into new species, by the process of natural selection , which process is essentially identical with that artificial selection by which man has originated the races of domestic animals—the struggle (...)
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  37. Harold Kincaid (2006). Evolutionary Social Science Beyond Culture. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):356-356.
    Mesoudi et al.'s case can be improved by expanding to compelling selectionist explanations elsewhere in the social sciences and by seeing that natural selection is an instance of general selectionist process. Obstacles include the common use of extreme idealizations and optimality evidence, the copresence of nonselectionist social processes, and the fact that selectionist explanations often presuppose other kinds of social explanations. (Published Online November 9 2006).
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  38. Dominic Klyve (2013). Darwin, Malthus, Süssmilch, and Euler: The Ultimate Origin of the Motivation for the Theory of Natural Selection. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology:1-24.
    It is fairly well known that Darwin was inspired to formulate his theory of natural selection by reading Thomas Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population. In fact, by reading Darwin’s notebooks, we can even locate one particular sentence which started Darwin thinking about population and selection. What has not been done before is to explain exactly where this sentence – essentially Malthus’s ideas about geometric population growth – came from. In this essay we show that eighteenth century mathematician Leonhard (...)
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  39. Ulrich Krohs (2006). The Changeful Fate of a Groundbreaking Insight: The Darwinian Fitness Principle Caught in Different Webs of Belief. Yearbook for European Culture of Science 2:107-124.
    Darwin’s explanation of biological speciation in terms of variation and natural selection has revolutionised biological thought. However, while his principle of natural selection, the fitness principle, has shaped biology until the present, its interpretation changed more than once during the almost 150 years of its history. The most striking change of the status of the principle is that, in the middle of the 20th century, it transmutated from an often disputed, groundbreaking insight into a tautology. Moreover, not only the interpretation (...)
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  40. Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee, William Hoppitt & Tobias Uller (2013). More on How and Why: Cause and Effect in Biology Revisited. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):719-745.
    In 1961, Ernst Mayr published a highly influential article on the nature of causation in biology, in which he distinguished between proximate and ultimate causes. Mayr argued that proximate causes (e.g. physiological factors) and ultimate causes (e.g. natural selection) addressed distinct ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions and were not competing alternatives. That distinction retains explanatory value today. However, the adoption of Mayr’s heuristic led to the widespread belief that ontogenetic processes are irrelevant to evolutionary questions, a belief that has (1) hindered (...)
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  41. Marc Lange & Alexander Rosenberg (2011). Can There Be A Priori Causal Models of Natural Selection? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):591 - 599.
    Sober 2011 argues that, contrary to Hume, some causal statements can be known a priori to be true?notably, some ?would promote? statements figuring in causal models of natural selection. We find Sober's argument unconvincing. We regard the Humean thesis as denying that causal explanations contain any a priori knowable statements specifying certain features of events to be causally relevant. We argue that not every ?would promote? statement is genuinely causal, and we suggest that Sober has not shown that his examples (...)
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  42. Marc Lange, Raphael van Riel, Maximilian Schlosshauer, Gregory Wheeler, Zalán Gyenis, Miklós Rédei, John Byron Manchak, James Owen Weatherall, Bruce Glymour & Bradford Skow (2011). 10. Discussion: Problems for Natural Selection as a Mechanism Discussion: Problems for Natural Selection as a Mechanism (Pp. 512-523). [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 78 (3).
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  43. Joseph LaPorte (2001). Selection for Handicaps. Biology and Philosophy 16 (2):239-249.
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  44. James Maclaurin (2012). Universal Darwinism: Its Scope and Limits. In , Defensor Rationes: Essays in Honour of Colin Cheyne. Springer.
    Many things evolve: species, languages, sports, tools, biological niches, and theories. But are these real instances of natural selection? Current assessments of the proper scope of Darwinian theory focus on the broad similarity of cultural or non-organic processes to familiar central instances of natural selection. That similarity is analysed in terms of abstract functional descriptions of evolving entities (e.g. replicators, interactors, developmental systems etc). These strategies have produced a proliferation of competing evolutionary analyses. I argue that such reasoning ought not (...)
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  45. Maximiliano Martínez & Andrés Moya (2011). Natural Selection and Multi-Level Causation. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 3 (20130604).
    In this paper, using a multilevel approach, we defend the positive role of natural selection in the generation of organismal form. Despite the currently widespread opinion that natural selection only plays a negative role in the evolution of form, we argue, in contrast, that the Darwinian factor is a crucial (but not exclusive) factor in morphological organization. Analyzing some classic arguments, we propose incorporating the notion of ‘downward causation’ into the concept of ‘natural selection.’ In our opinion, this kind of (...)
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  46. Mohan Matthen (2011). Art, Sexual Selection, Group Selection (Critical Notice of Denis Dutton, The Art Instinct). Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (2):337-356.
    The capacity to engage with art is a human universal present in all cultures and just about every individual human. This indicates that this capacity is evolved. In this Critical Notice of Denis Dutton's The Art Instinct, I discuss various evolutionary scenarios and their consequences. Dutton and I both reject the "spandrel" approach that originates from the work of Gould and Lewontin. Dutton proposes, following work of Geoffrey Miller, that art is sexually selected--that art-production is a sign of a fit (...)
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  47. Mohan Matthen (2010). What is Drift? A Response to Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 2 (20130604).
    The statistical interpretation of the Theory of Natural Selection claims that natural selection and drift are statistical features of mathematical aggregates of individual-level events. Natural selection and drift are not themselves causes. The statistical interpretation is motivated by a metaphysical conception of individual priority. Recently, Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich (2009) have argued (a) that natural selection and drift are physical processes, and (b) that the statistical interpretation rests on a misconception of the role of mathematics in biology. Both theses are (...)
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  48. Mohan Matthen (2009). Drift and “Statistically Abstractive Explanation”. Philosophy of Science 76 (4):464-487.
    A hitherto neglected form of explanation is explored, especially its role in population genetics. “Statistically abstractive explanation” (SA explanation) mandates the suppression of factors probabilistically relevant to an explanandum when these factors are extraneous to the theoretical project being pursued. When these factors are suppressed, the explanandum is rendered uncertain. But this uncertainty traces to the theoretically constrained character of SA explanation, not to any real indeterminacy. Random genetic drift is an artifact of such uncertainty, and it is therefore wrong (...)
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  49. Mohan Matthen & André Ariew (2009). Selection and Causation. Philosophy of Science 76 (2):201-224.
    We have argued elsewhere that: (A) Natural selection is not a cause of evolution. (B) A resolution-of-forces (or vector addition) model does not provide us with a proper understanding of how natural selection combines with other evolutionary influences. These propositions have come in for criticism recently, and here we clarify and defend them. We do so within the broad framework of our own “hierarchical realization model” of how evolutionary influences combine.
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  50. Mohan Matthen & André Ariew (2009). Selection and Causation. Philosophy of Science 76 (2):201-224.
    We have argued elsewhere that: (A) Natural selection is not a cause of evolution. (B) A resolution-of-forces (or vector addition) model does not provide us with a proper understanding of how natural selection combines with other evolutionary influences. These propositions have come in for criticism recently, and here we clarify and defend them. We do so within the broad framework of our own “hierarchical realization model” of how evolutionary influences combine.
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