David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Mind and Language 23 (1):1–24 (2008)
Darwinism consists of two parts: a phylogenesis of biological species (ours included) and the claim that the primary mechanism of the evolution of phenotypes is natural selection. I assume that Darwin’s account of phylogeny is essentially correct; attention is directed to the theory of natural selection. I claim that Darwin’s account of evolution by natural selection cannot be sustained. The basic problem is that, according to the consensus view, evolution consists in changes of the distribution of phenotypic traits in populations of organisms. An evolutionary theory must therefore explicate not just the notion of organisms being selected, but also the notion of organisms being selected for their phenotypic traits. I argue that that there is no way for a theory of natural selection to do so, and that Darwin’s assumption to the contrary was likely the consequence of placing too much weight on the analogy between natural selection and artificial selection. The paper ends with the suggestion that selectionist explanations, insofar as they are convincing, are best construed as post hoc historical narratives: natural history rather than biology.
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References found in this work BETA
Elliott Sober (1984/1993). The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus. University of Chicago Press.
Jerry A. Fodor (2000). The Mind Doesn't Work That Way: The Scope and Limits of Computational Psychology. MIT Press.
David J. Buller (2005). Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature. MIT Press.
Elliott Sober (1986). The Nature of Selection. Behaviorism 14 (1):77-88.
Citations of this work BETA
Shira Elqayam & Jonathan Evans (2011). Subtracting “Ought” From “Is”: Descriptivism Versus Normativism in the Study of Human Thinking. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (05):251-252.
Ramon Das (2016). Evolutionary Debunking of Morality: Epistemological or Metaphysical? Philosophical Studies 173 (2):417-435.
Barry Loewer (2009). Why is There Anything Except Physics? Synthese 170 (2):217 - 233.
Elliott Sober (2010). Natural Selection, Causality, and Laws: What Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini Got Wrong. Philosophy of Science 77 (4):594-607.
José Díez & Pablo Lorenzano (2015). Are Natural Selection Explanatory Models a Priori? Biology and Philosophy 30 (6):787-809.
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Denis M. Walsh (2003). Fit and Diversity: Explaining Adaptive Evolution. Philosophy of Science 70 (2):280-301.
Edward S. Reed (1978). Darwin's Evolutionary Philosophy: The Laws of Change. Acta Biotheoretica 27 (3-4):201-235.
Joeri Witteveen (2009). Darwinism About Darwinism. [REVIEW] Biological Theory 4 (2):207-213.
Timothy Shanahan (2004). The Evolution of Darwinism: Selection, Adaptation, and Progress in Evolutionary Biology. Cambridge University Press.
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