Natural selection is an important force that shapes the evolution of all living things by determining which individuals contribute the most descendents to future generations. The biological unit upon which selection acts has been the subject of serious debate, with reasonable arguments made on behalf of populations, individuals, individual phenotypic characters and, finally, individual genes themselves. In this essay, I argue that the usual unit of selection is the gene. There are powerful logical arguments in favor of this conclusion, as (...) well as many real-world examples. I also explore the possibility that epigenetic differences between individuals may be heritable between generations. Although few such examples exist, epigenetic differences provide an exciting source of potentially heritable variation that may allow rapid evolutionary change to occur, perhaps in response to environmental influences. (shrink)
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This chapter offers a review of standard views about the requirements for natural selection to shape evolution and for the sorts of ‘units’ on which selection might operate. It then summarizes traditional arguments for genic selectionism, i.e., the view that selection operates primarily on genes (e.g., those of G. C. Williams, Richard Dawkins, and David Hull) and traditional counterarguments (e.g., those of William Wimsatt, Richard Lewontin, and Elliott Sober, and a diffuse group based on life history strategies). It then offers (...) a series of responses to the arguments, based on more contemporary considerations from molecular genetics, offered by CarmenSapienza. A key issue raised by Sapienza concerns the degree to which a small number of genes might be able to control much of the variation relevant to selection operating on such selectively critical organs as hearts. The response to these arguments suggests that selection acts on many levels at once and that sporadic selection, acting with strong effects, can act successively on different key traits (and genes) while maintaining a balance among many potentially conflicting demands faced by organisms within an evolving lineage. (shrink)
El presente artículo aborda las connotaciones y los fundamentos de la paráfrasis cum canere vellem en Serv. Ecl. 6. 3. El análisis del sentido del verbo volo en este contexto y la confrontación del pasaje con Serv. Ecl. 6. 5 revelan que Servio interpreta la frase cum canerem reges et proelia como referencia a un temprano empeño de Virgilio en componer poesía épica, del que pronto desistió. Esta interpretación está condicionada por la idea de que la secuencia cronológica Églogas - (...) Geórgicas - Eneida tiene un correlato jerárquico, idea que se funda en noticias biográficas y en la teoría de la tripertita varietas. This paper focuses on the connotations and grounds of the paraphrase cum canere vellem in Serv. Ecl. 6. 3. The analysis of the sense of verb volo within this context, as well as the confrontation between that passage and Serv. Ecl. 6. 5, show that Servius interprets the clause cum canerem reges et proelia as a reference to Virgil's early endeavor to compose an epic poem, from which he shortly desisted. This interpretation is conditioned by the idea that the chronological sequence Eclogues - Georgics - Aeneid has a hierarchical correlate, an idea which is founded on biographical information and the theory of tripertita varietas. (shrink)
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw ends her landmark essay “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color” with a normative claim about coalitions. She suggests that we should reconceptualize identity groups as “in fact coalitions,” or at least as “potential coalitions waiting to be formed.” In this essay, I explore this largely overlooked claim by combining philosophical analysis with archival research I conducted at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Historical Society Archive in San Francisco about Somos Hermanas, (...) the solidarity project of the Alliance Against Women’s Oppression, based in the San Francisco Women’s Building (1984–90). I extend my analysis into the present by drawing on the oral history and published works of Carmen Vázquez, a key organizer in both Somos Hermanas and the Women’s Building. I argue that conceptualizing identities as in fact coalitions—as complex, internally heterogeneous unities constituted by their internal differences and dissonances and by internal as well as external relations of power—enables us to organize effective political coalitions that cross existing identity categories and to pursue a liberatory politics of interconnection. (shrink)