David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 27 (6):785-810 (2012)
The aim of this paper is to assess the relevance of somatic evolution by natural selection to our understanding of cancer development. I do so in two steps. In the first part of the paper, I ask to what extent cancer cells meet the formal requirements for evolution by natural selection, relying on Godfrey-Smith’s (2009) framework of Darwinian populations. I argue that although they meet the minimal requirements for natural selection, cancer cells are not paradigmatic Darwinian populations. In the second part of the paper, I examine the most important examples of adaptation in cancer cells. I argue that they are not significant accumulations of evolutionary changes, and that as a consequence natural selection plays a lesser role in their explanation. Their explanation, I argue, is best sought in the previously existing wiring of the healthy cells.
|Keywords||cancer adaptation natural selection explanation Darwinian populations|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
S. J. Gould & R. C. Lewontin (1994). The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme. In E. Sober (ed.), Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology. The MIT Press. Bradford Books 73-90.
C. Kenneth Waters (2007). Causes That Make a Difference. Journal of Philosophy 104 (11):551-579.
Frédéric Bouchard (2008). Causal Processes, Fitness, and the Differential Persistence of Lineages. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):560-570.
David L. Hull, Rodney E. Langman & Sigrid S. Glenn (2001). A General Account of Selection: Biology, Immunology, and Behavior. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (3):511-528.
Citations of this work BETA
Sara Green, Arnon Levy & William Bechtel (2015). Design Sans Adaptation. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (1):15-29.
Alessandro Blasimme, Paolo Maugeri & Pierre-Luc Germain (2013). What Mechanisms Can’T Do: Explanatory Frameworks and the Function of the P53 Gene in Molecular Oncology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):374-384.
Similar books and articles
Denis M. Walsh (2003). Fit and Diversity: Explaining Adaptive Evolution. Philosophy of Science 70 (2):280-301.
Armando Aranda-Anzaldo (2001). Cancer Development and Progression: A Non-Adaptive Process Driven by Genetic Drift. Acta Biotheoretica 49 (2):89-108.
Anya Plutynski (2010). Review of Godfrey-Smith's Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection. [REVIEW] Philosophical Books 51 (2):83-101.
David Queller (2011). A Gene's Eye View of Darwinian Populations. Biology and Philosophy 26 (6):905-913.
Joeri Witteveen (2009). Darwinism About Darwinism. [REVIEW] Biological Theory 4 (2):207-213.
Roy Douglas Pearson (1981). Tumourigenesis: The Subterfuge of Selection. Acta Biotheoretica 30 (3):171-176.
Matt Gers (2012). Overqualified: Generative Replicators as Darwinian Reproducers. Biology and Philosophy 27 (4):595-605.
Maximiliano Martínez & Andrés Moya (2011). Natural Selection and Multi-Level Causation. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 3 (20130604).
Rebecca Dresser (2011). Bioethics and Cancer: When the Professional Becomes Personal. Hastings Center Report 41 (6):14-18.
Jerry Fodor (2008). Against Darwinism. Mind and Language 23 (1):1–24.
Dominik Wodarz (2006). Somatic Evolution of Cells and the Development of Cancer. Biological Theory 1 (2):119-122.
T. Pradeu (2011). Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Mind 120 (479):863-870.
Added to index2012-08-04
Total downloads76 ( #40,113 of 1,725,153 )
Recent downloads (6 months)16 ( #47,062 of 1,725,153 )
How can I increase my downloads?