David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 54 (3):351-367 (1987)
The controversy regarding the unit of selection is fundamentally a dispute about what is the correct causal structure of the process of evolution by natural selection and its ontological commitments. By characterizing the process as consisting of two essential steps--interaction and transmission--a singular answer to the unit question becomes ambiguous. With such an account on hand, two recent defenses of competing units of selection are considered. Richard Dawkins maintains that the gene is the appropriate unit of selection and Robert Brandon, in response, argues that the individual organism is better suited to the role. This paper argues that by making explicit the underlying questions that each of these views addresses, the apparent conflict can be resolved. Furthermore, such a resolution allows for a more complete and realistic understanding of the process of evolution by natural selection
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J. Bogen (2001). `Two as Good as a Hundred': Poorly Replicated Evidence in Some Nineteenth-Century Neuroscientific Research. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (3):491-533.
Barbara L. Horan (1992). What Price Optimality? Biology and Philosophy 7 (1):89-109.
Stanislas Dehaene & Jean-Pierre Changeux (1988). Selectionist Mechanisms: A Framework for Interactionism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (4):633.
Margaret Gilbert (1994). Me, You, and Us: Distinguishing “Egoism,” “Altruism,” and “Groupism”. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (4):621.
Timothy D. Johnston (1988). Developmental Explanation and the Ontogeny of Birdsong: Nature/Nurture Redux. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (4):617.
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