David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 74 (5):616-627 (2007)
Do evolutionary processes such as selection and random drift cause evolutionary change, or are they merely convenient ways of describing or summarizing it? Philosophers have lined up on both sides of this question. One recent defense (Reisman and Forber 2005) of the causal status of selection and drift appeals to a manipulability theory of causation. Yet, even if one accepts manipulability, there are still reasons to doubt that genetic drift, in particular, is genuinely causal. We will address two challenges to treating drift as causal within a manipulation framework. We will argue that both challenges ultimately fail, but that they raise interesting and subtle issues about the nature of causation and the differences between selection and drift. ‡Thanks to audiences at the ‘PBDB1' Conference and the 2006 PSA Meeting for valuable feedback. †To contact the authors, please write to: Patrick Forber, Tufts University, Philosophy Department, Miner Hall, Medford, MA 02155; e-mail: email@example.com.
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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.
James Woodward (2003). Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation. Oxford University Press.
Judea Pearl (2000). Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference. Cambridge University Press.
Elliott Sober (1986). The Nature of Selection. Behaviorism 14 (1):77-88.
Ernst Mayr (1963). Animal Species and Evolution. Belknap of Harvard University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Charles H. Pence (forthcoming). Is Genetic Drift a Force? Synthese:1-22.
Stuart Glennan (2009). Productivity, Relevance and Natural Selection. Biology and Philosophy 24 (3):325-339.
Marshall Abrams (2015). Probability and Manipulation: Evolution and Simulation in Applied Population Genetics. Erkenntnis 80 (S3):519-549.
Christopher Stephens (2010). Forces and Causes in Evolutionary Theory. Philosophy of Science 77 (5):716-727.
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