A Priori Causal Models of Natural Selection

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):571 - 589 (2011)
To evaluate Hume's thesis that causal claims are always empirical, I consider three kinds of causal statement: ?e1 caused e2 ?, ?e1 promoted e2 ?, and ?e1 would promote e2 ?. Restricting my attention to cases in which ?e1 occurred? and ?e2 occurred? are both empirical, I argue that Hume was right about the first two, but wrong about the third. Standard causal models of natural selection that have this third form are a priori mathematical truths. Some are obvious, others less so. Empirical work on natural selection takes the form of defending causal claims of the first two types. I provide biological examples that illustrate differences among these three kinds of causal claim
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DOI 10.1080/00048402.2010.535006
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References found in this work BETA
Donald Davidson (1987). Knowing One's Own Mind. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 60 (3):441-458.

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Citations of this work BETA
Elliott Sober (2013). Trait Fitness is Not a Propensity, but Fitness Variation Is. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):336-341.

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Roberta L. Millstein (2006). Natural Selection as a Population-Level Causal Process. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):627-653.
Elisabeth A. Lloyd (1986). Evaluation of Evidence in Group Selection Debates. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:483 - 493.

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