David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 56 (3):395-418 (1989)
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)|
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.
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.
David Walton (1991). The Units of Selection and the Bases of Selection. Philosophy of Science 58 (3):417-435.
Robert Brandon (1982). The Levels of Selection. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:315 - 323.
Timothy Shanahan (1990). Evolution, Phenotypic Selection, and the Units of Selection. Philosophy of Science 57 (2):210-225.
Sandra D. Mitchell (1987). Competing Units of Selection?: A Case of Symbiosis. Philosophy of Science 54 (3):351-367.
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.
Harmon R. Holcomb Iii (1986). Causes, Ends, and the Units of Selection. Philosophy Research Archives 12:519-539.
Tim Lewens (2010). The Natures of Selection. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (2):313-333.
Elliott Sober (2011). Realism, Conventionalism, and Causal Decomposition in Units of Selection: Reflections on Samir Okasha's Evolution and the Levels of Selection. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):221-231.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads15 ( #116,773 of 1,167,998 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #140,193 of 1,167,998 )
How can I increase my downloads?