A Defense of Propensity Interpretations of Fitness

We offer a systematic examination of propensity interpretations of fitness, which emphasizes the role that fitness plays in evolutionary theory and takes seriously the probabilistic character of evolutionary change. We distinguish questions of the probabilistic character of fitness from the particular interpretations of probability which could be incorporated. The roles of selection and drift in evolutionary models support the view that fitness must be understood within a probabilistic framework, and the specific character of organism/environment interactions supports the conclusion that fitness must be understood as a propensity rather than as a limiting frequency.
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DOI 10.2307/192767
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Marshall Abrams (2006). Infinite Populations and Counterfactual Frequencies in Evolutionary Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 37 (2):256-268.

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