David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 19 (2):185-203 (2004)
The concept of fitness, central to population genetics and to the synthetic theory of evolution, is discussed. After a historical introduction on the origin of this concept, the current meaning of it in population genetics is examined: a cause of the selective process and its quantification. Several difficulties arise for its exact definition. Three adequacy criteria for such a definition are formulated. It is shown that it is impossible to formulate an adequate definition of fitness respecting these criteria. The propensity definition of fitness is presented and rejected. Finally it is argued that fitness is a conceptual device, a useful tool, only for descriptive purposes of selective processes, changing from case to case, and thus devoid of any substantial physical counterpart. Any attempt to its reification is an apport to the metaphysical load evolutionary theory has inherited from Natural Theology.
|Keywords||Fitness Population genetics Theory of evolution|
|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
Marshall Abrams (2007). How Do Natural Selection and Random Drift Interact? Philosophy of Science 74 (5):666-679.
Marshall Abrams (2009). Fitness “Kinematics”: Biological Function, Altruism, and Organism–Environment Development. Biology and Philosophy 24 (4):487-504.
Grant Ramsey (2013). Driftability. Synthese 190 (17):3909-3928.
Marshall Abrams (2009). The Unity of Fitness. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):750-761.
Charles H. Pence (2015). The Early History of Chance in Evolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 50:48-58.
Similar books and articles
Alejandro Rosas (2010). Beyond Inclusive Fitness? On A Simple And General Explanation For The Evolution of Altruism. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 2 (20130604).
Robert C. Richardson & Richard M. Burian (1992). A Defense of Propensity Interpretations of Fitness. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:349 - 362.
Alex Rosenberg & Frederic Bouchard (2005). Matthen and Ariew's Obituary for Fitness: Reports of its Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):343-353.
Henry Byerly (1986). Fitness as a Function. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:494 - 501.
André Ariew & R. C. Lewontin (2004). The Confusions of Fitness. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2):347-363.
Andre Ariew (2009). What Fitness Can't Be. Erkenntnis 71 (3):289 - 301.
Susan K. Mills & John H. Beatty (1979). The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness. Philosophy of Science 46 (2):263-286.
Peter Godfrey-Smith (1992). Additivity and the Units of Selection. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:315 - 328.
Henry C. Byerly & Richard E. Michod (1991). Fitness and Evolutionary Explanation. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 6 (1):45-53.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads46 ( #97,810 of 1,938,529 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #98,698 of 1,938,529 )
How can I increase my downloads?