David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1099-1112 (2005)
Two strong arguments have been given in favor of the claim that no selection process can play a role in explaining adaptations. According to the ﬁrst argument, selection is a negative force; it may explain why the eliminated individuals are eliminated, but it does not explain why the ones that survived (or their offspring) have the traits they have. The second argument points out that the explanandum and the explanans are phenomena at different levels: selection is a population-level phenomenon, whereas adaptation occurs on the individual level. Thus, selection can explain why individuals in a certain population have a certain trait, but it cannot explain why a certain indi- vidual has this trait. After pointing out that both arguments ignore the signiﬁcance of the limitation of environmental resources, I will construe a positive argument for the claim that cumulative selection processes can, indeed, play a role in explaining adaptations.
|Keywords||Natural selection Adaptation Environmental resources Selective explanation Evolutionary explanation|
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Citations of this work BETA
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Casey Helgeson (2013). What Selection Can and Cannot Explain: A Reply to Nanay's Critique of Sober. Philosophy of Science 80 (1):155-159.
Brian McLoone (2013). Selection Explanations of Token Traits. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):342-346.
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