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
Katherine Belov (2012). Contagious Cancer: Lessons From the Devil and the Dog. Bioessays 34 (4):285-292.
Marta Bertolaso (2011). Hierarchies and Causal Relationships in Interpretative Models of the Neoplastic Process. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 33 (4).
Frédéric Bouchard (2008). Causal Processes, Fitness, and the Differential Persistence of Lineages. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):560-570.
Steven A. Frank & Martin A. Nowak (2004). Problems of Somatic Mutation and Cancer. Bioessays 26 (3):291-299.
Citations of this work BETA
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 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 downloads70 ( #31,888 of 1,699,805 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #62,577 of 1,699,805 )
How can I increase my downloads?