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  1. Robert Brandon & Leonore Fleming (2014). Drift Sometimes Dominates Selection, and Vice Versa: A Reply to Clatterbuck, Sober and Lewontin. Biology and Philosophy 29 (4):577-585.
    Clatterbuck et al. (Biol Philos 28: 577–592, 2013) argue that there is no fact of the matter whether selection dominates drift or vice versa in any particular case of evolution. Their reasons are not empirically based; rather, they are purely conceptual. We show that their conceptual presuppositions are unmotivated, unnecessary and overly complex. We also show that their conclusion runs contrary to current biological practice. The solution is to recognize that evolution involves a probabilistic sampling process, and that drift is (...)
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  2. Robert N. Brandon (2013). A General Case for Functional Pluralism. In. In Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. Springer. 97--104.
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  3. Robert N. Brandon & Daniel W. McShea (2012). Four Solutions for Four Puzzles. Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):737-744.
  4. Grant Ramsey & Robert Brandon (2011). Why Reciprocal Altruism is Not a Kind of Group Selection. Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):385-400.
    Reciprocal altruism was originally formulated in terms of individual selection and most theorists continue to view it in this way. However, this interpretation of reciprocal altruism has been challenged by Sober and Wilson (1998). They argue that reciprocal altruism (as well as all other forms of altruism) evolves by the process of group selection. In this paper, we argue that the original interpretation of reciprocal altruism is the correct one. We accomplish this by arguing that if fitness attaches to (at (...)
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  5. Robert N. Brandon (2010). A Non-Newtonian Newtonian Model of Evolution: The ZFEL View. Philosophy of Science 77 (5):702-715.
  6. Robert Brandon, Natural Selection. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection provided the first, and only, causal-mechanistic account of the existence of adaptations in nature. As such, it provided the first, and only, scientific alternative to the “argument from design”. That alone would account for its philosophical significance. But the theory also raises other philosophical questions not encountered in the study of the theories of physics. Unfortunately the concept of natural selection is intimately intertwined with the other basic concepts of evolutionary theory—such as the (...)
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  7. Robert N. Brandon & Grant Ramsey (2007). What's Wrong with the Emergentist Statistical Interpretation of Natural Selection and Random Drift. In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press. 66--84.
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  8. Robert N. Brandon (2006). The Principle of Drift: Biology's First Law. Journal of Philosophy 103 (7):319-335.
    Drift is to evolution as inertia is to Newtonian mechanics. Both are the "natural" or default states of the systems to which they apply. Both are governed by zero-force laws. The zero-force law in biology is stated here for the first time.
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  9. Robert N. Brandon & H. Frederik Nijhout (2006). The Empirical Nonequivalence of Genic and Genotypic Models of Selection: A (Decisive) Refutation of Genic Selectionism and Pluralistic Genic Selectionism. Philosophy of Science 73 (3):277-297.
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  10. Robert N. Brandon & H. Frederik Nijhout (2006). The Empirical Nonequivalence of Genic and Genotypic Models of Selection: A (Decisive) Refutation of Genic Selectionism and Pluralistic Genic Selectionism. Philosophy of Science 73 (3):277-297.
    Genic selectionists (Williams 1966; Dawkins 1976) defend the view that genes are the (unique) units of selection and that all evolutionary events can be adequately represented at the genic level. Pluralistic genic selectionists (Sterelny and Kitcher 1988; Waters 1991; Dawkins 1982) defend the weaker view that in many cases there are multiple equally adequate accounts of evolutionary events, but that always among the set of equally adequate representations will be one at the genic level. We describe a range of cases (...)
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  11. Richard Corry, Robert N. Brandon, H. Frederik Nijhout, Richard Dawid, Ron Mallon, Jonathan M. Weinberg & Hong Yu Wong (2006). Causal Realism and the Laws of Nature. In Borchert (ed.), Philosophy of Science. Macmillan. 261-276.
  12. Robert N. Brandon (2005). The Difference Between Selection and Drift: A Reply to Millstein. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):153-170.
    Millstein [Bio. Philos. 17 (2002) 33] correctly identies a serious problem with the view that natural selection and random drift are not conceptually distinct. She offers a solution to this problem purely in terms of differences between the processes of selection and drift. I show that this solution does not work, that it leaves the vast majority of real biological cases uncategorized. However, I do think there is a solution to the problem she raises, and I offer it here. My (...)
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  13. Robert Brandon & Alexander Rosenberg (2003). Philosophy of Biology. In Peter Clark & Katherine Hawley (eds.), Philosophy of Science Today. Oxford University Press. 147--180.
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  14. Robert Brandon, Alan Love, Paul Griffths & Frederic Bouchard, Session 4: Evolutionary Indeterminism.
    Proceedings of the Pittsburgh Workshop in History and Philosophy of Biology, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, March 23-24 2001 Session 4: Evolutionary Indeterminism.
     
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  15. Robert N. Brandon (1999). Introduction. Biology and Philosophy 14 (1):1-7.
  16. Robert N. Brandon (1999). The Units of Selection Revisited: The Modules of Selection. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 14 (2):167-180.
    Richard Lewontin's (1970) early work on the units of selection initiated the conceptual and theoretical investigations that have led to the hierarchical perspective on selection that has reached near consensus status today. This paper explores other aspects of his work, work on what he termed continuity and quasi-independence, that connect to contemporary explorations of modularity in development and evolution. I characterize such modules and argue that they are the true units of selection in that they are what evolution by natural (...)
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  17. John Beatty, Robert Brandon, Elliott Sober & Sandra D. Mitchell (1997). Symposium: Are There Laws in Biology? Philosophy of Science 64 (4):S432 - S479.
     
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  18. Robert N. Brandon (1997). Does Biology Have Laws? The Experimental Evidence. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):457.
    In this paper I argue that we can best make sense of the practice of experimental evolutionary biology if we see it as investigating contingent, rather than lawlike, regularities. This understanding is contrasted with the experimental practice of certain areas of physics. However, this presents a problem for those who accept the Logical Positivist conception of law and its essential role in scientific explanation. I address this problem by arguing that the contingent regularities of evolutionary biology have a limited range (...)
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  19. Robert N. Brandon (1997). Discussion: Reply to Hitchcock. Biology and Philosophy 12 (4):531-538.
    Christopher Hitchcocks discussion of my use of screening-off in analyzing the causal process of natural selection raises some interesting issues to which I am pleased to reply. The bulk of his article is devoted to some fairly general points in the theory of explanation. In particular, he questions whether or not my point that phenotype screens off genotype from reproductive success (in cases of organismic selection) supports my claim that the explanation of differential reproductive success should be in terms of (...)
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  20. Robert N. Brandon & Scott Carson (1996). The Indeterministic Character of Evolutionary Theory: No "No Hidden Variables Proof" but No Room for Determinism Either. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):315-337.
    In this paper we first briefly review Bell's (1964, 1966) Theorem to see how it invalidates any deterministic "hidden variable" account of the apparent indeterminacy of quantum mechanics (QM). Then we show that quantum uncertainty, at the level of DNA mutations, can "percolate" up to have major populational effects. Interesting as this point may be it does not show any autonomous indeterminism of the evolutionary process. In the next two sections we investigate drift and natural selection as the locus of (...)
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  21. Robert N. Brandon (1994). Theory and Experiment in Evolutionary Biology. Synthese 99 (1):59 - 73.
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  22. Robert N. Brandon, Janis Antonovics, Richard Burian, Scott Carson, Greg Cooper, Paul Sheldon Davies, Christopher Horvath, Brent D. Mishler, Robert C. Richardson, Kelly Smith & Peter Thrall (1994). Sober on Brandon on Screening-Off and the Levels of Selection. Philosophy of Science 61 (3):475-486.
    Sober (1992) has recently evaluated Brandon's (1982, 1990; see also 1985, 1988) use of Salmon's (1971) concept of screening-off in the philosophy of biology. He critiques three particular issues, each of which will be considered in this discussion.
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  23. John D. Sommer, Ed Casey, Mary C. Rawlinson, Eva Kittay, Michael A. Simon, Patrick Grim, Clyde Lee Miller, Rita Nolan, Marshall Spector, Don Ihde, Peter Williams, Anthony Weston, Donn Welton, Dick Howard, David A. Dilworth, Tom Foster Digby 3d, Anthony Appiah, David Auerbach, Annette Baier, Seyla Benhabib, Akeel Bilgrami, Richard Boyd, Robert Brandon, Joshua Cohen, Arnold Davidson, Owen Flanagan, Nancy Fraser, Marcia Lind, Alexander Nehamas, Linda Nicholson, Adrian Piper, Lynne Tirrell, Lawrence Blum, Lawrence Foster, Roma Farion, Mitchel Silver, Jenifer Radden, Jack Bayne, Robert K. Shope, Jane Roland Martin, Arthur B. Millman, Beebe Nelson, Robert Rosenfeld, Janet Farrell-Smith, David E. Flesche, Daniel E. Anderson, J. R. Brown, F. Cunningham, D. Goldstick, I. Hacking, C. Normore, A. Ripstein, W. Sumner, Alison M. Jaggar, Harry Deutsch, Irving Stein, John Hund, George Englebretsen, Fred Strohm, D. L. Ouren, P. Bilimoria, F. B. D. & Nora Nevin (1993). Letters to the Editor. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 66 (5):97 - 112.
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  24. Robert N. Brandon (1992). A Simple Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. Philosophy of Science 59 (2):276-281.
    Kary (1990) defends the view that evolution by natural selection can be adequately explained in terms of a theory incorporating only a single level of selection. Here I point out some of the inherent inadequacies of such a theory.
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  25. Brent D. Mishler & Robert N. Brandon (1989). Sex and the Individuality of Species: A Response to Ghiselin. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 4 (1):77-79.
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  26. Brent D. Mishler & Robert N. Brandon (1987). Individuality, Pluralism, and the Phylogenetic Species Concept. Biology and Philosophy 2 (4):397-414.
    The concept of individuality as applied to species, an important advance in the philosophy of evolutionary biology, is nevertheless in need of refinement. Four important subparts of this concept must be recognized: spatial boundaries, temporal boundaries, integration, and cohesion. Not all species necessarily meet all of these. Two very different types of pluralism have been advocated with respect to species, only one of which is satisfactory. An often unrecognized distinction between grouping and ranking components of any species concept is necessary. (...)
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  27. Robert N. Brandon & Richard Burian (eds.) (1986). Genes, Organisms, Populations: Controversies Over the Units of Selection. A Bradford Book.
     
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  28. Robert N. Brandon & Norbert Hornstein (1986). From Icons to Symbols: Some Speculations on the Origins of Language. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 1 (2):169-189.
    This paper is divided into three sections. In the first section we offer a retooling of some traditional concepts, namely icons and symbols, which allows us to describe an evolutionary continuum of communication systems. The second section consists of an argument from theoretical biology. In it we explore the advantages and disadvantages of phenotypic plasticity. We argue that a range of the conditions that selectively favor phenotypic plasticity also favor a nongenetic transmission system that would allow for the inheritance of (...)
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  29. Robert N. Brandon (1984). Grene on Mechanism and Reductionism: More Than Just a Side Issue. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:345 - 353.
    In this paper the common association between ontological reductionism and a methodological position called 'Mechanism' is discussed. Three major points are argued for: (1) Mechanism is not to be identified with reductionism in any of its forms; in fact, mechanism leads to a non-reductionist ontology. (2) Biological methodology is thoroughly mechanistic. (3) Mechanism is compatible with at least one form of teleology. Along the way the nature and value of scientific explanations, some recent controversies in biology and why reductionism has (...)
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  30. Robert Brandon & John Beatty (1984). The Propensity Interpretation of 'Fitness'--No Interpretation is No Substitute. Philosophy of Science 51 (2):342-347.
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  31. Robert Brandon (1982). The Levels of Selection. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:315 - 323.
    In this paper Wimsatt's analysis of units of selection is taken as defining the units of selection question. A definition of levels of selection is offered and it is shown that the levels of selection question is quite different from the units of selection question. Some of the relations between units and levels are briefly explored. It is argued that the levels of selection question is the question relevant to explanatory concerns, and it is suggested that it is the question (...)
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  32. Robert N. Brandon (1981). Biological Teleology: Questions and Explanations. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 12 (2):91-105.
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  33. Robert N. Brandon (1980). A Structural Description of Evolutionary Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:427 - 439.
    The principle of natural selection is stated. It connects fitness values (actual reproductive success) with expected fitness values. The term 'adaptedness' is used for expected fitness values. The principle of natural selection explains differential fitness in terms of relative adaptedness. It is argued that this principle is absolutely central to Darwinian evolutionary theory. The empirical content of the principle of natural selection is examined. It is argued that the principle itself has no empirical biological content, but that the presuppositions of (...)
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  34. Robert N. Brandon (1978). Adaptation and Evolutionary Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 9 (3):181-206.
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  35. Robert N. Brandon (1978). Evolution. Philosophy of Science 45 (1):96-109.
    These days 'evolution' is usually defined as any change in the relative frequencies of genes in a population over time. This definition and some obvious alternatives are examined and rejected. The criticism of these definitions points out the need for a more holistic analysis of genotypes. I attempt such analysis by introducing measures of similarity of whole genotypes and then by grouping genotypes into similarity classes. Three sorts of measures of similarity are examined: a measure of structural similarity, a measure (...)
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