David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 18 (4):493-512 (2003)
This contribution to the adaptationism debate elaborates the nature of constraints and their importance in evolutionary explanation and argues that the adaptationism debate should be limited to the issue of how to privilege causes in evolutionary explanation. I argue that adaptationist explanations are deeply conceptually dependent on developmental constraints, and explanations that appeal to constraints are dependant on the results of natural selection. I suggest these explanations should be integrated into the framework of historical causal explanation. Each strategy explicitly appeals to some aspect of the evolutionary process, while implicitly appealing to others. Thus, adaptationists and anti-adaptationists can offer complementary causal explanations of the same explanandum. This eliminates much of the adaptationism debate and explains why its adversaries regularly agree with each other more than they would like. The adaptationism issue that remains is a species of the general issue of how to privilege causes in explanation. I show how a proposed solution to this general problem might be brought to bear on evolutionary explanations, and investigate some difficulties that might arise due to the nature of the evolutionary process.
|Keywords||Adaptationism Causal explanation Constraint Historical turn Privileging causes|
|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
Adrian Mitchell Currie (2012). Convergence, Contingency & Morphospace. Biology and Philosophy 27 (4):583-593.
Adrian Mitchell Currie (2014). Venomous Dinosaurs and Rear-Fanged Snakes: Homology and Homoplasy Characterized. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 79 (3):701-727.
Similar books and articles
Matthew Rellihan (2012). Adaptationism and Adaptive Thinking in Evolutionary Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 25 (2):245-277.
Brian Haig & Russil Durrant (2002). Adaptationism and Inference to the Best Explanation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (4):520-521.
Todd A. Grantham (2004). Constraints and Spandrels in Gould's Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Biology and Philosophy 19 (1):29-43.
Ron Amundson (1994). Two Concepts of Constraint: Adaptationism and the Challenge From Developmental Biology. Philosophy of Science 61 (4):556-578.
Scott Atran (2002). Modest Adaptationism: Muddling Through Cognition and Language. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (4):504-506.
Tim Lewens (2009). Seven Types of Adaptationism. Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):161-182.
Christopher Lang, Elliott Sober & Karen Strier (2002). Are Human Beings Part of the Rest of Nature? Biology and Philosophy 17 (5):661-671.
Paul E. Griffiths (1996). The Historical Turn in the Study of Adaptation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (4):511-532.
Gillian Barker (2008). Biological Levers and Extended Adaptationism. Biology and Philosophy 23 (1):1-25.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads18 ( #92,649 of 1,101,122 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #177,118 of 1,101,122 )
How can I increase my downloads?