Why genic and multilevel selection theories are here to stay

Philosophy of Science 72 (2):311-333 (2005)
Abstract
I clarify the difference between pluralist and monist interpretations of levels of selection disputes. Lloyd has challenged my claim that a plurality of models correctly accounts for situations such as maintenance of the sickle-cell trait, and I revisit this example to show that competing theories don't disagree about the existence of `high-level' or `low-level' causes; rather, they parse these causes differently. Applying Woodward's theory of causation, I analyze Sober's distinction between `selection of' versus `selection for'. My analysis shows that this distinction separates true causes from pseudocauses, but it also reveals that the distinction is irrelevant to the levels debate; it makes no sense to say true causes are at higher levels and not lower levels. The levels debate is not about separating real causes from pseudocauses; it's about finding useful ways to parse and disentangle causes.
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