The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness and the Propensity Interpretation of Probability

Erkenntnis:1-12 (forthcoming)
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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DOI 10.1007/s10670-014-9681-2
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References found in this work BETA
D. H. Mellor (2004). The Matter of Chance. Cambridge University Press.
Stephen Mumford (1998). Dispositions. Oxford University Press.
Robert N. Brandon (1978). Adaptation and Evolutionary Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 9 (3):181-206.

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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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