David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (3):423-437 (2003)
We explore the evidential relationships that connect two standard claims of modern evolutionary biology. The hypothesis of common ancestry (which says that all organisms now on earth trace back to a single progenitor) and the hypothesis of natural selection (which says that natural selection has been an important influence on the traits exhibited by organisms) are logically independent; however, this leaves open whether testing one requires assumptions about the status of the other. Darwin noted that an extreme version of adaptationism would undercut the possibility of making inferences about common ancestry. Here we develop a converse claim—hypotheses that assert that natural selection has been an important influence on trait values are untestable unless supplemented by suitable background assumptions. The fact of common ancestry and a claim about quantitative genetics together suffice to render such hypotheses testable. Furthermore, we see no plausible alternative to these assumptions; we hypothesize that they are necessary as well as sufficient for adaptive hypotheses to be tested. This point has important implications for biological practice, since biologists standardly assume that adaptive hypotheses predict trait associations among tip species. Another consequence is that adaptive hypotheses cannot be confirmed or disconfirmed by a trait value that is universal within a single species, if that trait value deviates even slightly from the optimum. 1 Two Darwinian hypotheses 2 Logical independence 3 How adaptive hypotheses bear on the tree of life hypothesis 4 How the tree of life hypothesis bears on adaptive hypotheses 5 What do adaptive hypotheses predict? 6 Common ancestry and quantitative genetics to the rescue 7 Conclusion.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Wybo Houkes (2012). Population Thinking and Natural Selection in Dual-Inheritance Theory. Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):401-417.
Similar books and articles
Jerry Fodor (2008). Against Darwinism. Mind and Language 23 (1):1–24.
Alejandro Rosas (2007). Beyond the Sociobiological Dilemma: Social Emotions and the Evolution of Morality. Zygon 42 (3):685-700.
Malcolm R. Forster (1988). Sober's Principle of Common Cause and the Problem of Comparing Incomplete Hypotheses. Philosophy of Science 55 (4):538-559.
Denis M. Walsh (2003). Fit and Diversity: Explaining Adaptive Evolution. Philosophy of Science 70 (2):280-301.
Karen Neander (1988). What Does Natural Selection Explain? Correction to Sober. Philosophy of Science 55 (3):422-426.
Craig W. LaMunyon & Todd K. Shackelford (2002). Evolutionary Analyses Should Include Pluralistic and Falsifiable Hypotheses. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (4):522-523.
Sergio M. Pellis (2002). When is a Trait an Adaptation? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (4):524-524.
David Resnik (1996). Adaptationism: Hypothesis or Heuristic? [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 12 (1):39-50.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads21 ( #88,131 of 1,139,861 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #165,020 of 1,139,861 )
How can I increase my downloads?