David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
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|
|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
Henry Byerly (1986). Fitness as a Function. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:494 - 501.
Richard E. Michod (1986). On Fitness and Adaptedness and Their Role in Evolutionary Explanation. Journal of the History of Biology 19 (2):289 - 302.
Elliott Sober (1984/1993). The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus. University of Chicago Press.
Elliott Sober & Richard C. Lewontin (1982). Artifact, Cause and Genic Selection. Philosophy of Science 49 (2):157-180.
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.
Similar books and articles
William S. Cooper (2001). The Evolution of Reason: Logic as a Branch of Biology. Cambridge University Press.
A. J. Lustig (2000). Sex, Death, and Evolution in Proto- and Metazoa, 1876-1913. Journal of the History of Biology 33 (2):221 - 246.
Mary B. Williams (1973). Falsifiable Predictions of Evolutionary Theory. Philosophy of Science 40 (4):518-537.
Bruce Glymour (2001). Selection, Indeterminism, and Evolutionary Theory. Philosophy of Science 68 (4):518-535.
Philip Kitcher (2004). Evolutionary Theory and the Social Uses of Biology. Biology and Philosophy 19 (1):1-15.
Kostas Kampourakis (2013). Teaching About Adaptation: Why Evolutionary History Matters. [REVIEW] Science and Education 22 (2):173-188.
Bouchard Frédéric (2011). Darwinism Without Populations: A More Inclusive Understanding of the “Survival of the Fittest”. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 42 (1):106-114.
Pieter E. Vermaas & Wybo Houkes (2003). Ascribing Functions to Technical Artefacts: A Challenge to Etiological Accounts of Functions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):261-289.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads17 ( #101,832 of 1,099,996 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #190,060 of 1,099,996 )
How can I increase my downloads?