Adaptive speciation: the role of natural selection in mechanisms of geographic and non-geographic speciation
Graduate studies at Western
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 36 (2):303-326 (2005)
|Abstract||Recent discussion of mechanism has suggested new approaches to several issues in the philosophy of science, including theory structure, causal explanation, and reductionism. Here, I apply what I take to be the fruits of the Ônew mechanical philosophyÕ to an analysis of a contemporary debate in evolutionary biology about the role of natural selection in speciation. Traditional accounts of that debate focus on the geographic context of genetic divergence— namely, whether divergence in the absence of geographic isolation is possible (or signiﬁcant). Those accounts are at best incomplete, I argue, because they ignore the mechanisms producing divergence and miss what is at stake in the biological debate. I argue that the biological debate instead concerns the scope of particular speciation mechanisms which assign diﬀerent roles to natural selection at various stages of divergence. The upshot is a new interpretation of the crux of that debate—namely, whether divergence with gene ﬂow is possible (or signiﬁcant) and whether the isolating mechanisms producing it are adaptive. Ó 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved|
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