David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):33-53 (2002)
The latter half of the twentieth century has been marked by debates in evolutionary biology over the relative significance of natural selection and random drift: the so-called “neutralist/selectionist” debates. Yet John Beatty has argued that it is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the concept of random drift from the concept of natural selection, a claim that has been accepted by many philosophers of biology. If this claim is correct, then the neutralist/selectionist debates seem at best futile, and at worst, meaningless. I reexamine the issues that Beatty raises, and argue that random drift and natural selection, conceived as processes, can be distinguished from one another.
|Keywords||Beatty Brandon Carson causal relevance chance conceptual distinction discriminate sampling evolution Hodge indiscriminate sampling natural selection|
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Citations of this work BETA
Charles H. Pence (forthcoming). Is Genetic Drift a Force? Synthese:1-22.
Denis M. Walsh (2007). The Pomp of Superfluous Causes: The Interpretation of Evolutionary Theory. Philosophy of Science 74 (3):281-303.
Robert A. Skipper & Roberta L. Millstein (2005). Thinking About Evolutionary Mechanisms: Natural Selection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):327-347.
Marshall Abrams (2015). Probability and Manipulation: Evolution and Simulation in Applied Population Genetics. Erkenntnis 80 (S3):519-549.
Philippe Huneman (2015). Inscrutability and the Opacity of Natural Selection and Random Genetic Drift: Distinguishing the Epistemic and Metaphysical Aspects. Erkenntnis 80 (3):491-518.
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