A structural approach to defining units of selection

Philosophy of Science 56 (3):395-418 (1989)
Abstract
The conflation of two fundamentally distinct issues has generated serious confusion in the philosophical and biological literature concerning the units of selection. The question of how a unit of selection of defined, theoretically, is rarely distinguished from the question of how to determine the empirical accuracy of claims--either specific or general--concerning which unit(s) is undergoing selection processes. In this paper, I begin by refining a definition of the unit of selection, first presented in the philosophical literature by William Wimsatt, which is grounded in the structure of natural selection models. I then explore the implications of this structural definition for empirical evaluation of claims about units of selection. I consider criticisms of this view presented by Elliott Sober--criticisms taken by some (for example, Mayo and Gilinsky 1987) to provide definitive damage to the structuralist account. I shall show that Sober has misinterpreted the structuralist views; he knocks down a straw man in order to motivate his own causal account. Furthermore, I shall argue, Sober's causal account is dependent on the structuralist account that he rejects. I conclude by indicating how the refined structural definition can clarify which sorts of empirical evidence could be brought to bear on a controversial case involving units of selection
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive Elisabeth A. Lloyd, A structural approach to defining units of selection
External links
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

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
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.
Tim Lewens (2010). The Natures of Selection. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (2):313-333.
Fred Gifford (1986). Sober's Use of Unanimity in the Units of Selection Problem. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:473 - 482.
Robert Brandon (1982). The Levels of Selection. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:315 - 323.
Elisabeth A. Lloyd (1986). Evaluation of Evidence in Group Selection Debates. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:483 - 493.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

13 ( #113,076 of 1,096,265 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #81,717 of 1,096,265 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.