David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Philosophy 104 (10):489-516 (2007)
Both biologists and philosophers often make use of simple verbal formulations of necessary and sufficient conditions for evolution by natural selection (ENS). Such summaries go back to Darwin's Origin of Species (especially the "Recapitulation"), but recent ones are more compact.1 Perhaps the most commonly cited formulation is due to Lewontin.2 These summaries tend to have three or four conditions, where the core requirement is a combination of variation, heredity, and fitness differences. The summaries are employed in several ways. First, they are often used in pedagogical contexts, and in showing the coherence of evolutionary theory in response to attacks from outside biology. Second, they are important in discussions of extensions of evolutionary principles to new domains, such as cultural change. The summaries also have intrinsic scientific and philosophical interest as attempts to capture some core principles of evolutionary theory in a highly concise way. Despite their prominence, both the proper formulation and status of these summaries are unclear. Standard formulations are subject to counterexamples, and their relations to formal models of evolutionary change are not straightforward. Here I look closely at these verbal summaries, and at how they relate to formal models. Are the summaries merely rough approximations that have no theoretical role of their own? Perhaps they could operate as theoretical statements in Darwin's time, but have now been superseded by more exact treatments.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Eugene Earnshaw-Whyte (2012). Increasingly Radical Claims About Heredity and Fitness. Philosophy of Science 79 (3):396-412.
Justin Garson (2012). Function, Selection, and Construction in the Brain. Synthese 189 (3):451-481.
Deborah E. Shelton & Richard E. Michod (2014). Levels of Selection and the Formal Darwinism Project. Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):217-224.
Nicholas Shea (2011). Developmental Systems Theory Formulated as a Claim About Inherited Representations. Philosophy of Science 78 (1):60-82.
Justin Garson (2011). Selected Effects and Causal Role Functions in the Brain: The Case for an Etiological Approach to Neuroscience. Biology and Philosophy 26 (4):547-565.
Similar books and articles
John Beatty (1984). Chance and Natural Selection. Philosophy of Science 51 (2):183-211.
Charles Darwin (1975). Charles Darwin's Natural Selection: Being the Second Part of His Big Species Book Written From 1856 to 1858. Cambridge University Press.
Denis M. Walsh (2003). Fit and Diversity: Explaining Adaptive Evolution. Philosophy of Science 70 (2):280-301.
John Beatty (2006). Chance Variation: Darwin on Orchids. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):629-641.
Timothy Shanahan (2004). The Evolution of Darwinism: Selection, Adaptation, and Progress in Evolutionary Biology. Cambridge University Press.
Edward S. Reed (1978). Darwin's Evolutionary Philosophy: The Laws of Change. Acta Biotheoretica 27 (3-4):201-235.
Mohan Matthen & André Ariew (2002). Two Ways of Thinking About Fitness and Natural Selection. Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):55-83.
Mohan Matthen & Andre Ariew (2005). How to Understand Casual Relations in Natural Selection: Reply to Rosenberg and Bouchard. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):355-364.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads106 ( #36,427 of 1,796,218 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #60,296 of 1,796,218 )
How can I increase my downloads?