David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Acta Biotheoretica 45 (2) (1997)
In an important article, Kim Sterelny and Philip Kitcher (1988) challenge the common assumption that for any biological phenomenon requiring a selectionist explanation, it is possible to identify a uniquely correct account of the relevant selection process. They argue that selection events can be modeled in any of a number of different, equally correct ways. They call their view 'Pluralism,' and explicitly connect it with various antirealist positions in the philosophy of science. I critically evaluate Sterelny and Kitcher's Pluralism along with its attendant antirealist theses. In particular, I argue that there are serious problems with their pluralistic antirealism regarding units of selection. By correctly diagnosing these problems a more adequate position can be constructed. I defend such a position, which I designate Inclusive Hierarchical Monism, and show how it captures the important virtues of Sterelny and Kitcher's approach while avoiding its problems.
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