John Maynard Smith and the natural philosophy of␣adaptation

Biology and Philosophy 20 (5):1027-1040 (2005)
One of the most remarkable aspects of John Maynard Smith’s work was the fact that he devoted time both to doing science and to reflecting philosophically upon its methods and concepts. In this paper I offer a philosophical analysis of Maynard Smith’s approach to modelling phenotypic evolution in relation to three main themes. The first concerns the type of scientific understanding that ESS and optimality models give us. The second concerns the causal–historical aspect of stability analyses of adaptation. The third concerns the concept of evolutionary stability itself. Taken together, these three themes comprise what I call the natural philosophy of adaptation.
Keywords Adaptation  ESS  Evolutionary game theory  Evolutionary stability  Optimality  Phenotypic evolution
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-005-9021-7
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,865
External links
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
Peter Godfrey-Smith (1993). Functions: Consensus Without Unity. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 74 (3):196-208.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Angela Potochnik (2011). Explanation and Understanding. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 1 (1):29-38.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

18 ( #150,601 of 1,724,951 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #268,623 of 1,724,951 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.