Competing units of selection?: A case of symbiosis

Philosophy of Science 54 (3):351-367 (1987)
Abstract
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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Citations of this work BETA
Barbara L. Horan (1992). What Price Optimality? Biology and Philosophy 7 (1):89-109.
Eugene S. Gollin (1988). Nature/Nurture and Other Dichotomies. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 11 (4):633.

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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.
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Robert Brandon (1982). The Levels of Selection. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:315 - 323.
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