David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Few problems in the philosophy of evolutionary biology are more widely disseminated and discussed than the charge of Darwinian evolution being a tautology. The history is long and complex, and the issues are many, and despite the problem routinely being dismissed as an introductory-level issue, based on misunderstandings of evolution, it seems that few agree on what exactly these misunderstandings consist of. In this paper, I will try to comprehensively review the history and the issues. Then, I will try to present the following “solution”, or, one might say, “dissolution”, of the problem, and consider the wider implications of formal, or schematic, explanations in science: yes, the principle of natural selection is a tautology, and so what? It is a promissory note for actual, physical, explanations in particular cases, and is none the worse for that. This is not a new argument, of course, but it does point up the importance of formal schematic models in science.
|Keywords||tautology natural selection model|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|External links||This entry has no external links. Add one.|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Wim J. Steen (1983). Methodological Problems in Evolutionary Biology I. Testability and Tautologies. Acta Biotheoretica 32 (3).
Alex Rosenberg & Frederic Bouchard (2005). Matthen and Ariew's Obituary for Fitness: Reports of its Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):343-353.
Roberta L. Millstein (2002). Evolution. In Peter Machamer Michael Silberstein (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Science. Blackwell.
Ulrich Krohs (2006). The Changeful Fate of a Groundbreaking Insight: The Darwinian Fitness Principle Caught in Different Webs of Belief. Yearbook for European Culture of Science 2:107-124.
Mohan Matthen & André Ariew (2002). Two Ways of Thinking About Fitness and Natural Selection. Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):55-83.
Jerry Fodor (2008). Against Darwinism. Mind and Language 23 (1):1–24.
Charles Darwin (1975). Charles Darwin's Natural Selection: Being the Second Part of His Big Species Book Written From 1856 to 1858. Cambridge University Press.
Lia Ettinger, Eva Jablonka & Peter McLaughlin (1990). On the Adaptations of Organisms and the Fitness of Types. Philosophy of Science 57 (3):499-513.
Richmond Campbell & Jason Scott Robert (2005). The Structure of Evolution by Natural Selection. Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):673-696.
Added to index2010-04-18
Total downloads163 ( #3,110 of 1,011,427 )
Recent downloads (6 months)11 ( #9,515 of 1,011,427 )
How can I increase my downloads?