The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness and the Propensity Interpretation of Probability

Erkenntnis (forthcoming)
Abstract
The paper provides a new critical perspective on the propensity interpretation of fitness, by investigating its relationship to the propensity interpretation of probability. Two main conclusions are drawn. First, the claim that fitness is a propensity cannot be understood properly: fitness is not a propensity in the sense prescribed by the propensity interpretation of probability. Second, this interpretation of probability is inessential for explanations proposed by the propensity interpretation of fitness in evolutionary biology. Consequently, interpreting the probabilistic dimension of fitness in terms of propensities is neither a strong motivation in favor of this interpretation, nor a possible target for substantial criticism
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Citations of this work BETA
Elliott Sober (2013). Trait Fitness is Not a Propensity, but Fitness Variation Is. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):336-341.
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