Why the Causal View of Fitness Survives

Philosophy of Science 78 (2):209-224 (2011)
We critically examine Denis Walsh’s latest attack on the causalist view of fitness. Relying on Judea Pearl’s Sure-Thing Principle and geneticist John Gillespie’s model for fitness, Walsh has argued that the causal interpretation of fitness results in a reductio. We show that his conclusion only follows from misuse of the models, that is, (1) the disregard of the real biological bearing of the population-size parameter in Gillespie’s model and (2) the confusion of the distinction between ordinary probability and Pearl’s causal probability. Properly understood, the models used by Walsh do not threaten the causalist view of fitness.
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DOI 10.1086/659219
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References found in this work BETA
Robert Northcott (2010). Walsh on Causes and Evolution. Philosophy of Science 77 (3):457-467.

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Citations of this work BETA
Marshall Abrams (2013). Populations and Pigeons: Prosaic Pluralism About Evolutionary Causes. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):294-301.
Charles H. Pence (2015). The Early History of Chance in Evolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 50:48-58.

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