David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):161-182 (2009)
Godfrey-Smith ( 2001 ) has distinguished three types of adaptationism. This article builds on his analysis, and revises it in places, by distinguishing seven varieties of adaptationism. This taxonomy allows us to clarify what is at stake in debates over adaptationism, and it also helps to cement the importance of Gould and Lewontin’s ‘Spandrels’ essay. Some adaptationists have suggested that their essay does not offer any coherent alternative to the adaptationist programme: it consists only in an exhortation to test adaptationist hypotheses more thoroughly than was usual in the 1970s. Here it is argued that the ‘Spandrels’ paper points towards a genuinely non-adaptationist methodology implicit in much evolutionary developmental biology. This conclusion helps to expose the links between older debates over adaptationism and more recent questions about the property of evolvability.
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References found in this work BETA
Ron Amundson (1994). Two Concepts of Constraint: Adaptationism and the Challenge From Developmental Biology. Philosophy of Science 61 (4):556-578.
David J. Buller (ed.) (1999). Function, Selection, and Design. State University of New York Press.
S. J. Gould & R. C. Lewontin (1994). The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme. In E. Sober (ed.), Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology. The Mit Press. Bradford Books. 73-90.
Tim Lewens (2007). Adaptation. In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press.
Tim Lewens (2002). Adaptationism and Engineering. Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):1-31.
Citations of this work BETA
Jonathan Birch (2012). Robust Processes and Teleological Language. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (3):299-312.
Russell Powell (2012). Convergent Evolution and the Limits of Natural Selection. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):355-373.
Matthew Rellihan (2012). Adaptationism and Adaptive Thinking in Evolutionary Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 25 (2):245-277.
Angela Potochnik (2009). Optimality Modeling in a Suboptimal World. Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):183-197.
Patrick Forber (2009). Introduction: A Primer on Adaptationism. Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):155-159.
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