David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):697-713 (2005)
In the past five years, there have been a series of papers in the journal Evolution debating the relative significance of two theories of evolution, a neo-Fisherian and a neo-Wrightian theory, where the neo-Fisherians make explicit appeal to parsimony. My aim in this paper is to determine how we can make sense of such an appeal. One interpretation of parsimony takes it that a theory that contains fewer entities or processes, (however we demarcate these) is more parsimonious. On the account that I defend here, parsimony is a ‘local’ virtue. Scientists’ appeals to parsimony are not necessarily an appeal to a theory’s simplicity in the sense of it’s positing fewer mechanisms. Rather, parsimony may be proxy for greater probability or likelihood. I argue that the neo-Fisherians appeal is best understood on this interpretation. And indeed, if we interpret parsimony as either prior probability or likelihood, then we can make better sense of Coyne et al. argument that Wright’s three phase process operates relatively infrequently.
|Keywords||Parsimony evolutionary genetics Fisher, R. A. Wright, S.|
|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
Elliott Sober & David Sloan Wilson (1998). Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. Harvard University Press.
Elliott Sober (1992). Reconstructing the Past: Parsimony, Evolution, and Inference. Philosophical Review 101 (3):725-729.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Mark Phelan (2011). Just What Are Your Intentions? The Philosophers' Magazine 52 (52):72-77.
Fabio Paglieri & John Woods (2011). Enthymematic Parsimony. Synthese 178 (3):461 - 501.
Alan Baker (2003). Quantitative Parsimony and Explanatory Power. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):245-259.
Craig DeLancey (2011). Does a Parsimony Principle Entail a Simple World? Metaphysica 12 (2):87-100.
Thomas D. Bontly (2005). Modified Occam's Razor: Parsimony, Pragmatics, and the Acquisition of Word Meaning. Mind and Language 20 (3):288–312.
Elliott Sober (1996). Parsimony and Predictive Equivalence. Erkenntnis 44 (2):167 - 197.
Daniel Nolan (1997). Quantitative Parsimony. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):329-343.
Elliott Sober (1987). Parsimony, Likelihood, and the Principle of the Common Cause. Philosophy of Science 54 (3):465-469.
Richard C. Richards (2002). Kuhnian Values and Cladistic Parsimony. Perspectives on Science 10 (1):1-27.
Michael Huemer (2009). When is Parsimony a Virtue? Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):216-236.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads104 ( #31,582 of 1,777,953 )
Recent downloads (6 months)30 ( #27,347 of 1,777,953 )
How can I increase my downloads?