Chance and natural selection

Philosophy of Science 51 (2):183-211 (1984)
Abstract
Among the liveliest disputes in evolutionary biology today are disputes concerning the role of chance in evolution--more specifically, disputes concerning the relative evolutionary importance of natural selection vs. so-called "random drift". The following discussion is an attempt to sort out some of the broad issues involved in those disputes. In the first half of this paper, I try to explain the differences between evolution by natural selection and evolution by random drift. On some common construals of "natural selection", those two modes of evolution are completely indistinguishable. Even on a proper construal of "natural selection", it is difficult to distinguish between the "improbable results of natural selection" and evolution by random drift. In the second half of this paper, I discuss the variety of positions taken by evolutionists with respect to the evolutionary importance of random drift vs. natural selection. I will then consider the variety of issues in question in terms of a conceptual distinction often used to describe the rise of probabilistic thinking in the sciences. I will argue, in particular, that what is going on here is not, as might appear at first sight, just another dispute about the desirability of "stochastic" vs. "deterministic" theories. Modern evolutionists do not argue so much about whether evolution is stochastic, but about how stochastic it is
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA
    Peter Gildenhuys (2009). An Explication of the Causal Dimension of Drift. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):521-555.
    F. J. K. Soontiëns (1991). Evolution: Teleology or Chance? [REVIEW] Journal for General Philosophy of Science 22 (1):133-141.

    View all 13 citations

    Similar books and articles
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2009-01-28

    Total downloads

    41 ( #34,894 of 1,088,810 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    2 ( #42,743 of 1,088,810 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.