On semantic pitfalls of biological adaptation

Philosophy of Science 33 (1/2):147- (1966)
"Adaptation" has several meanings which have often been confused, including relations, processes, states, and intrinsic properties. It is used in comparative and historical contexts. "Adaptation" and "environment" may designate probabilistic concepts. Recognition of these points refutes arguments for the notions that: 1) all organisms are perfectly adapted; 2) organisms cannot be ill-adapted and survive or well-adapted and die; 3) adaptation is necessarily relative to the environment; 4) change in environment is necessary for evolution; 5) preadaptation implies teleology. Such notions are associated with metaphysical ideas, and may affect the thinking of biologists
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DOI 10.1086/288083
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Michael T. Ghiselin (1981). Categories, Life, and Thinking. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (2):269.

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