Evolution, Wisconsin style: Selection and the explanation of individual traits

natural selection may show why all (most, some) humans have an opposable thumb, but cannot show why any particular human has one, Karen Neander ([1995a], [1995b]) argues that this is false because natural selection is 'cumulative'. It is argued here, on grounds independent of its cumulativity, that selection can explain the characteristics of individual organisms subsequent to the event. The difference of opinion between Sober and his critics turns on an ontological dispute about how organisms are identified and individuated. The assumption that Sober needs to make his point is extraneous to population genetics, and, for this reason, gratuitous.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/50.1.143
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Ulrich E. Stegmann (2010). What Can Natural Selection Explain? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (1):61-66.
Jonathan Birch (2012). The Negative View of Natural Selection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (2):569-573.

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