David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 2 (4):383-396 (1987)
In much of the discourse of evolutionary theory, reproduction is treated as an autonomous function of the individual organism — even in discussions of sexually reproducing organisms. In this paper, I examine some of the functions and consequences of such manifestly peculiar language. In particular, I suggest that it provides crucial support for the central project of evolutionary theory — namely that of locating causal efficacy in intrinsic properties of the individual organism. Furthermore, I argue that the language of individual reproduction is maintained by certain methodological conventions that both obscure many of the problems it generates and serve to actively impede attempts to redress those difficulties that can be identified. Finally, I suggest that inclusion of the complexities introduced by sexual reproduction — in both language and methodology — may radically undermine the individualist focus of evolutionary theory.
|Keywords||Reproduction individualism fitness natural selection units of selection|
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References found in this work BETA
Elliott Sober (1984/1993). The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus. University of Chicago Press.
Elliott Sober (1986). The Nature of Selection. Behaviorism 14 (1):77-88.
Elliott Sober & Richard C. Lewontin (1982). Artifact, Cause and Genic Selection. Philosophy of Science 49 (2):157-180.
Richard E. Michod (1986). On Fitness and Adaptedness and Their Role in Evolutionary Explanation. Journal of the History of Biology 19 (2):289 - 302.
Henry Byerly (1986). Fitness as a Function. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:494 - 501.
Citations of this work BETA
Grant Ramsey & Robert Brandon (2011). Why Reciprocal Altruism is Not a Kind of Group Selection. Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):385-400.
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