Matthen and Ariew's obituary for fitness: Reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):343-353 (2005)
Philosophers of biology have been absorbed by the problem of defining evolutionary fitness since Darwin made it central to biological explanation. The apparent problem is obvious. Define fitness as some biologists implicitly do, in terms of actual survival and reproduction, and the principle of natural selection turns into an empty tautology: those organisms which survive and reproduce in larger numbers, survive and reproduce in larger numbers. Accordingly, many writers have sought to provide a definition for ‘fitness’ which avoid this outcome. In particular the definition of fitness as a probabilistic propensity has been widely favored.1 Others, recognizing that no definition both correct and complete can actually be provided, have accepted the consequence that the leading principle of the theory is a definitional truth and attempted to mitigate the impact of this outcome for the empirical character of the theory.2 Still others have argued that ‘fitness’ is properly viewed as a term undefined in the theory of natural selection (on the model of mass—a term undefined in Newtonian mechanics).3 But few have contemplated the solution to this problem proposed by Mohan Matthen and André Ariew (hereafter, MA), in..
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy of Biology Evolutionary Biology|
|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
Denis M. Walsh (2007). The Pomp of Superfluous Causes: The Interpretation of Evolutionary Theory. Philosophy of Science 74 (3):281-303.
Peter Gildenhuys (2009). An Explication of the Causal Dimension of Drift. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):521-555.
Matthew C. Haug (2007). Of Mice and Metaphysics: Natural Selection and Realized Population‐Level Properties. Philosophy of Science 74 (4):431-451.
Bence Nanay (2010). Population Thinking as Trope Nominalism. Synthese 177 (1):91 - 109.
D. Benjamin Barros (2008). Natural Selection as a Mechanism. Philosophy of Science 75 (3):306-322.
Similar books and articles
Robert C. Richardson & Richard M. Burian (1992). A Defense of Propensity Interpretations of Fitness. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:349 - 362.
Abner Shimony (1989). The Non-Existence of a Principle of Natural Selection. Biology and Philosophy 4 (3):255-273.
Henry C. Byerly & Richard E. Michod (1991). Fitness and Evolutionary Explanation. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 6 (1):45-53.
Robert N. Brandon (1980). A Structural Description of Evolutionary Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:427 - 439.
Susan K. Mills & John H. Beatty (1979). The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness. Philosophy of Science 46 (2):263-286.
André Ariew & R. C. Lewontin (2004). The Confusions of Fitness. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2):347-363.
Mohan Matthen & André Ariew (2002). Two Ways of Thinking About Fitness and Natural Selection. Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):55-83.
Mohan Matthen & Andre Ariew (2005). How to Understand Casual Relations in Natural Selection: Reply to Rosenberg and Bouchard. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):355-364.
Andre Ariew (2009). What Fitness Can't Be. Erkenntnis 71 (3):289 - 301.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads41 ( #47,605 of 1,413,361 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #67,207 of 1,413,361 )
How can I increase my downloads?