David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy and Theory in Biology 1 (20130604):e002 (2009)
Recently, a number of philosophers of biology (e.g., Matthen and Ariew 2002; Walsh, Lewens, and Ariew 2002; Pigliucci and Kaplan 2006; Walsh 2007) have endorsed views about random drift that, we will argue, rest on an implicit assumption that the meaning of concepts such as drift can be understood through an examination of the mathematical models in which drift appears. They also seem to implicitly assume that ontological questions about the causality (or lack thereof) of terms appearing in the models can be gleaned from the models alone. We will question these general assumptions by showing how the same equation — the simple (p + q)2 = p2 + 2pq + q2 — can be given radically different interpretations, one of which is a physical, causal process and one of which is not. This shows that mathematical models on their own yield neither interpretations nor ontological conclusions. Instead, we argue that these issues can only be resolved by considering the phenomena that the models were originally designed to represent and the phenomena to which the models are currently applied. When one does take those factors into account, starting with the motivation for Sewall Wright’s and R.A. Fisher’s early drift models and ending with contemporary applications, a very different picture of the concept of drift emerges. On this view, drift is a term for a set of physical processes, namely, indiscriminate sampling processes (Beatty 1984; Hodge 1987; Millstein 2002, 2005).
|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
Philippe Huneman (2012). Natural Selection: A Case for the Counterfactual Approach. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 76 (2):171-194.
Roberta L. Millstein (2013). Exploring the Status of Population Genetics: The Role of Ecology. Biological Theory 7 (4):346-357.
Joanna Masel (2012). Rethinking Hardy–Weinberg and Genetic Drift in Undergraduate Biology. Bioessays 34 (8):701-710.
Similar books and articles
Peter Gildenhuys (2009). An Explication of the Causal Dimension of Drift. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):521-555.
Robert C. Richardson (2006). Chance and the Patterns of Drift: A Natural Experiment. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):642-654.
Roberta L. Millstein (2005). Selection Vs. Drift: A Response to Brandon's Reply. Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):171-175.
Roberta L. Millstein (1996). Random Drift and the Omniscient Viewpoint. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):S10-S18.
Michael J. White (1992). The Continuous and the Discrete: Ancient Physical Theories From a Contemporary Perspective. Oxford University Press.
Michael R. Dietrich & Roberta L. Millstein (2008). The Role of Causal Processes in the Neutral and Nearly Neutral Theories. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):548-559.
Mohan Matthen (2010). What is Drift? A Response to Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich. Philosophy and Theory in Biology 2 (20130604).
Added to index2010-07-26
Total downloads13 ( #113,466 of 1,096,342 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #32,806 of 1,096,342 )
How can I increase my downloads?