David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (1):25-50 (2001)
The group selection controversy is about whether natural selection ever operates at the level of groups, rather than at the level of individual organisms. Traditionally, group selection has been invoked to explain the existence of altruistic behaviour in nature. However, most contemporary evolutionary biologists are highly sceptical of the hypothesis of group selection, which they regard as biologically implausible and not needed to explain the evolution of altruism anyway. But in their recent book, Elliot Sober and David Sloan Wilson  argue that the widespread opposition to group selection is founded on conceptual confusion. The theories that have been propounded as alternatives to group selection are actually group selection in disguise, they maintain. I examine their arguments for this claim, and John Maynard Smith's arguments against it. I argue that Sober and Wilson arrive at a correct position by faulty reasoning. In the final section, I examine the issue of how to apply the principle of natural selection at different levels of the biological hierarchy, which underlies the dispute between Sober and Wilson and Maynard Smith.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Thomas A. C. Reydon (2007). Philosophy of Biology, German styleReview of Ulrich Krohs and Georg Toepfer (Eds): Philosophie der Biologie: Eine Einführung [Philosophy of Biology: An Introduction]. Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):619-626.
Similar books and articles
Grant Ramsey & Robert Brandon (2011). Why Reciprocal Altruism is Not a Kind of Group Selection. Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):385-400.
David Sloan Wilson & Elliott Sober (1998). Multilevel Selection and the Return of Group-Level Functionalism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (2):305-306.
Samir Okasha (2005). Altruism, Group Selection and Correlated Interaction. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (4):703-725.
Elliott Sober (1980). Holism, Individualism, and the Units of Selection. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:93 - 121.
Peter Gildenhuys (2003). The Evolution of Altruism: The Sober/Wilson Model. Philosophy of Science 70 (1):27-48.
Nicholas S. Thompson (2000). Shifting the Natural Selection Metaphor to the Group Level. Behavior and Philosophy 28 (1/2):83 - 101.
Deborah G. Mayo & Norman L. Gilinsky (1987). Models of Group Selection. Philosophy of Science 54 (4):515-538.
Samir Okasha (2005). Maynard Smith on the Levels of Selection Question. Biology and Philosophy 20 (5):989-1010.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads63 ( #29,457 of 1,679,387 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #47,978 of 1,679,387 )
How can I increase my downloads?