This paper provides a philosophical analysis of the Price equation and its role in evolutionary theory. Traditional models in population genetics postulate simplifying assumptions in order to make the models mathematically tractable. On the contrary, the Price equation implies a very specific way of theorizing, starting with assumptions that we think are true and then deriving from them the mathematical rules of the system. I argue that the Price equation is a generalization-sketch, whose main purpose is to provide a unifying (...) framework for researchers, helping them to develop specific models. The Price equation plays this role because, like other scientific principles, shows features as abstractness, unification and invariance. By underwriting this special role for the Price equation some recent disputes about it could be diverted. (shrink)
This article analyzes the view of evolutionary theory as a theory of forces. The analogy with Newtonian mechanics has been challenged due to the alleged mismatch between drift and the other evolutionary forces. Since genetic drift has no direction several authors tried to protect its status as a force: denying its lack of directionality, extending the notion of force and looking for a force in physics which also lacks of direction. I analyse these approaches, and although this strategy finally succeeds, (...) this discussion overlooks the crucial point on the debate between causalists and statisticalists: the causal status of evolutionary theory. (shrink)
This paper analyses the structure of evolutionary theory as a quasi-Newtonian theory and the need to establish a Zero-Cause Law. Several authors have postulated that the special character of drift is because it is the default behaviour or Zero-Cause Law of evolutionary systems, where change and not stasis is the normal state of them. For these authors, drift would be a Zero-Cause Law, the default behaviour and therefore a constituent assumption impossible to change without changing the system. I defend that (...) drift's causal and explanatory power prevents it from being considered as a Zero-Cause Law. Instead, I propose that the default behaviour of evolutionary systems is what I call the Principle of Stasis, which posits that an evolutionary system where there is no selection, drift, mutation, migration, etc., and therefore no difference-maker, will not undergo any change (it will remain in stasis). (shrink)
In this paper, we address the question whether a mechanistic approach can account for evolutionary causes. The last decade has seen a major attempt to account for natural selection as a mechanism. Nevertheless, we stress the relevance of broadening the debate by including the other evolutionary causes inside the mechanistic approach, in order to be a legitimate conceptual framework on the same footing as other approaches to evolutionary theory. We analyse the current debate on natural selection as a mechanism, and (...) extend it to the rest of the evolutionary causes. We focus on three approaches that we call the stochastic view, the functional view, and the minimalist view. We argue that all of them are unable to account for evolutionary causes as mechanisms. It is concluded that the current mechanistic proposals cannot be accepted as a common framework for evolutionary causes. Finally, we outline some guidelines and requirements that any mechanistic proposal should meet in order to be applied to evolutionary theory. (shrink)
El deseo y oraciones de Juan XXIII pidiendo que el Vaticano II fuera un Pentecostés para la Iglesia, fue ampliamente escuchado por el Señor. El Vaticano II fue una auténtica irrupción del Espíritu sobre la Iglesia, un acontecimiento salvífico, un kairós. Hay un “antes” un “después” del Vaticano II.