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  1. John Maynard Smith’s Typology of Animal Signals: A View From Semiotics.Timo Maran - 2009 - Sign Systems Studies 37 (3/4):477-495.
    Approaches to animal communication have for the most part been quite different in semiotics and evolutionary biology. In this context the writings of a leading evolutionary biologist who has also been attracted to semiotics — John Maynard Smith — are an interesting exception and object of study. The present article focuses on the use and adaptation of semiotic terminology in Maynard Smith’s works with reference to general theoretical premises both in semiotics and evolutionary biology. In developing a typology of animal (...)
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  • Darwinism, Memes, and Creativity: A Critique of Darwinian Analogical Reasoning From Nature to Culture.Maria Kronfeldner - 2007 - Dissertation, University of Regensburg
    The dissertation criticizes two analogical applications of Darwinism to the spheres of mind and culture: the Darwinian approach to creativity and memetics. These theories rely on three basic analogies: the ontological analogy states that the basic ontological units of culture are so-called memes, which are replicators like genes; the origination analogy states that novelty in human creativity emerges in a "blind" Darwinian manner; and the explanatory units of selection analogy states that memes are "egoistic" and that they can spread independently (...)
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  • Eric Alden Smith and Bruce Winterhalder, Eds., Evolutionary Ecology and Human Behavior. Aldine de Gruyter, New York, 1992. Pp. XV, 470, Tables, Boxes, Figures, Bibliography, Author Index, Subject Index. $59.95 (Cloth), $29.95 (Paper. [REVIEW]Andrew P. Vayda - 1995 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 25 (2):219-249.
  • General Solution to All Philosophical Problems With Some Exceptions.Wayde Beasley - forthcoming - north of parallel 40: Numerous uncommitted.
    Philosophy is unsolved. My forthcoming book sets forth the final resolution, with some exceptions, to this 2,500 year crisis. I am currently close to finishing page 983.
     
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  • What Determines Biological Fitness? The Problem of the Reference Environment.Marshall Abrams - 2009 - Synthese 166 (1):21-40.
    Organisms' environments are thought to play a fundamental role in determining their fitness and hence in natural selection. Existing intuitive conceptions of environment are sufficient for biological practice. I argue, however, that attempts to produce a general characterization of fitness and natural selection are incomplete without the help of general conceptions of what conditions are included in the environment. Thus there is a "problem of the reference environment"—more particularly, problems of specifying principles which pick out those environmental conditions which determine (...)
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  • The Non-Existence of a Principle of Natural Selection.Abner Shimony - 1989 - Biology and Philosophy 4 (3):255-273.
    The theory of natural selection is a rich systematization of biological knowledge without a first principle. When formulations of a proposed principle of natural selection are examined carefully, each is seen to be exhaustively analyzable into a proposition about sources of fitness and a proposition about consequences of fitness. But whenever the fitness of an organic variety is well defined in a given biological situation, its sources are local contingencies together with the background of laws from disciplines other than the (...)
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  • How Do Natural Selection and Random Drift Interact?Marshall Abrams - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):666-679.
    One controversy about the existence of so called evolutionary forces such as natural selection and random genetic drift concerns the sense in which such “forces” can be said to interact. In this paper I explain how natural selection and random drift can interact. In particular, I show how population-level probabilities can be derived from individual-level probabilities, and explain the sense in which natural selection and drift are embodied in these population-level probabilities. I argue that whatever causal character the individual-level probabilities (...)
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  • Are Probabilities Necessary for Evolutionary Explanations?André Ariew - 1998 - Biology and Philosophy 13 (2):245-253.
    Several philosophers of science have advanced an instrumentalist thesis about the use of probabilities in evolutionary biology. I investigate the consequences of instrumentalism on evolutionary explanations. I take issue with Barbara Horan's (1994) argument that probabilities are unnecessary to explain evolutionary change given the underlying deterministic character of evolutionary processes. First, I question Horan's deterministic assumption. Then, I attempt to undermine her Laplacian argument by demonstrating that whether probabilities are necessary depends upon the sort of questions one is asking.
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  • A Taxonomy of Functions.Denis M. Walsh & André Ariew - 1996 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):493 - 514.
    There are two general approaches to characterising biological functions. One originates with Cummins. According to this approach, the function of a part of a system is just its causal contribution to some specified activity of the system. Call this the ‘C-function’ concept. The other approach ties the function of a trait to some aspect of its evolutionary significance. Call this the ‘E-function’ concept. According to the latter view, a trait's function is determined by the forces of natural selection. The C-function (...)
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  • Two Outbreaks of Lawlessness in Recent Philosophy of Biology.Elliott Sober - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (4):467.
    John Beatty (1995) and Alexander Rosenberg (1994) have argued against the claim that there are laws in biology. Beatty's main reason is that evolution is a process full of contingency, but he also takes the existence of relative significance controversies in biology and the popularity of pluralistic approaches to a variety of evolutionary questions to be evidence for biology's lawlessness. Rosenberg's main argument appeals to the idea that biological properties supervene on large numbers of physical properties, but he also develops (...)
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  • The Unity of Fitness.Marshall Abrams - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):750-761.
    It has been argued that biological fitness cannot be defined as expected number of offspring in all contexts. Some authors argue that fitness therefore merely satisfies a common schema or that no unified mathematical characterization of fitness is possible. I argue that comparative fitness must be relativized to an evolutionary effect; thus relativized, fitness can be given a unitary mathematical characterization in terms of probabilities of producing offspring and other effects. Such fitnesses will sometimes be defined in terms of probabilities (...)
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  • On Fitness.Costas B. Krimbas - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (2):185-203.
    The concept of fitness, central to population genetics and to the synthetic theory of evolution, is discussed. After a historical introduction on the origin of this concept, the current meaning of it in population genetics is examined: a cause of the selective process and its quantification. Several difficulties arise for its exact definition. Three adequacy criteria for such a definition are formulated. It is shown that it is impossible to formulate an adequate definition of fitness respecting these criteria. The propensity (...)
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  • Can Fitness Differences Be a Cause of Evolution?Grant Ramsey - 2013 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 5 (20130604):1-13.
    Biological fitness is a foundational concept in the theory of natural selection. Natural selection is often defined in terms of fitness differences as “any consistent difference in fitness (i.e., survival and reproduction) among phenotypically different biological entities” (Futuyma 1998, 349). And in Lewontin’s (1970) classic articulation of the theory of natural selection, he lists fitness differences as one of the necessary conditions for evolution by natural selection to occur. Despite this foundational position of fitness, there remains much debate over the (...)
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  • The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness and the Propensity Interpretation of Probability.Isabelle Drouet & Francesca Merlin - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):457-468.
    The paper provides a new critical perspective on the propensity interpretation of fitness, by investigating its relationship to the propensity interpretation of probability. Two main conclusions are drawn. First, the claim that fitness is a propensity cannot be understood properly: fitness is not a propensity in the sense prescribed by the propensity interpretation of probability. Second, this interpretation of probability is inessential for explanations proposed by the PIF in evolutionary biology. Consequently, interpreting the probabilistic dimension of fitness in terms of (...)
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  • Optimality Models and the Propensity Interpretation of Fitness.Ariel Jonathan Roffé & Santiago Ginnobili - 2020 - Acta Biotheoretica 68 (3):367-385.
    The propensity account of fitness intends to solve the classical tautologicity issue by identifying fitness with a disposition, the ability to survive and reproduce. As proponents recognized early on, this account requires operational independence from actual reproductive success to avoid circularity and vacuousness charges. They suggested that operational independence is achieved by measuring fitness values through optimality models. Our goal in this article is to develop this suggestion. We show that one plausible procedure by which these independent operationalizations could be (...)
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  • Transitivity, Self-Explanation, and the Explanatory Circularity Argument Against Humean Accounts of Natural Law.Marc Lange - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1337-1353.
    Humean accounts of natural lawhood have often been criticized as unable to account for the laws’ characteristic explanatory power in science. Loewer has replied that these criticisms fail to distinguish grounding explanations from scientific explanations. Lange has replied by arguing that grounding explanations and scientific explanations are linked by a transitivity principle, which can be used to argue that Humean accounts of natural law violate the prohibition on self-explanation. Lange’s argument has been sharply criticized by Hicks and van Elswyk, Marshall, (...)
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  • Probability in Biology: The Case of Fitness.Roberta L. Millstein - 2016 - In A. Hájek & C. R. Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 601-622.
    I argue that the propensity interpretation of fitness, properly understood, not only solves the explanatory circularity problem and the mismatch problem, but can also withstand the Pandora’s box full of problems that have been thrown at it. Fitness is the propensity (i.e., probabilistic ability, based on heritable physical traits) for organisms or types of organisms to survive and reproduce in particular environments and in particular populations for a specified number of generations; if greater than one generation, “reproduction” includes descendants of (...)
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  • When Will a Darwinian Approach Be Useful for the Study of Society?Samuel Bagg - 2017 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 16 (3):259-281.
    In recent years, some have claimed that a Darwinian perspective will revolutionize the study of human society and culture. This project is viewed with disdain and suspicion, on the other hand, by many practicing social scientists. This article seeks to clear the air in this heated debate by dissociating two claims that are too often assumed to be inseparable. The first is the ‘ontological’ claim that Darwinian principles apply, at some level of abstraction, to human society and culture. The second (...)
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  • In What Sense Can There Be Evolution by Natural Selection Without Perfect Inheritance?Pierrick Bourrat - 2019 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 32 (1):13-31.
    ABSTRACTIn Darwinian Population and Natural Selection, Peter Godfrey-Smith brought the topic of natural selection back to the forefront of philosophy of biology, highlighting different issues surro...
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  • Taming Fitness: Organism‐Environment Interdependencies Preclude Long‐Term Fitness Forecasting.Guilhem Doulcier, Peter Takacs & Pierrick Bourrat - 2021 - Bioessays 43 (1):2000157.
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  • Functions and Functioning in Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and in Ecology.Roberta L. Millstein - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):1107-1118.
    I examine the use of the term function in Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, invoked as (1) the healthy functioning of the land community, which is dependent on (2) the maintenance of the characteristic functions of populations that are parts of the land community. The latter can be understood as referring to interactions between species that are the products of coevolution (such as parasite-host, predator-prey) and, thus, in terms of the “selected effect” account of function. The performance of these functions under (...)
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  • Hamilton’s Rule and its Discontents.Jonathan Birch - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):381-411.
    In an incendiary 2010 Nature article, M. A. Nowak, C. E. Tarnita, and E. O. Wilson present a savage critique of the best-known and most widely used framework for the study of social evolution, W. D. Hamilton’s theory of kin selection. More than a hundred biologists have since rallied to the theory’s defence, but Nowak et al. maintain that their arguments ‘stand unrefuted’. Here I consider the most contentious claim Nowak et al. defend: that Hamilton’s rule, the core explanatory principle (...)
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  • A New Foundation for the Propensity Interpretation of Fitness.Charles H. Pence & Grant Ramsey - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):851-881.
    The propensity interpretation of fitness (PIF) is commonly taken to be subject to a set of simple counterexamples. We argue that three of the most important of these are not counterexamples to the PIF itself, but only to the traditional mathematical model of this propensity: fitness as expected number of offspring. They fail to demonstrate that a new mathematical model of the PIF could not succeed where this older model fails. We then propose a new formalization of the PIF that (...)
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  • From Necessary Chances to Biological Laws.Chris Haufe - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2):279-295.
    In this article, I propose a new way of thinking about natural necessity and a new way of thinking about biological laws. I suggest that much of the lack of progress in making a positive case for distinctively biological laws is that we’ve been looking for necessity in the wrong place. The trend has been to look for exceptionlessness at the level of the outcomes of biological processes and to build one’s claims about necessity off of that. However, as Beatty (...)
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  • Chances and Propensities in Evo-Devo.Laura Nuño de la Rosa & Cristina Villegas - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    While the notion of chance has been central in discussions over the probabilistic nature of natural selection and genetic drift, its role in the production of variants on which populational sampling takes place has received much less philosophical attention. This article discusses the concept of chance in evolution in the light of contemporary work in evo-devo. We distinguish different levels at which randomness and chance can be defined in this context, and argue that recent research on variability and evolvability demands (...)
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  • Musing on Means: Fitness, Expectation, and the Principles of Natural Selection.Bengt Autzen - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):373-389.
    How to measure fitness in the theory of natural selection? A fitness measure that has been proposed in both the biological and the philosophical literature is the expected relative reproductive success. The aim of this article is to examine the relationship between expected relative reproductive success and future actual evolutionary success. Doing so will not only clarify the use of expected relative reproductive success as a fitness measure but also shed light on the role of fitness in the theory of (...)
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  • Why a Convincing Argument for Causalism Cannot Entirely Eschew Population-Level Properties: Discussion of Otsuka.Brian McLoone - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):11.
    Causalism is the thesis that natural selection can cause evolution. A standard argument for causalism involves showing that a hypothetical intervention on some population-level property that is identified with natural selection will result in evolution. In a pair of articles, one of which recently appeared in the pages of this journal, Jun Otsuka has put forward a quite different argument for causalism. Otsuka attempts to show that natural selection can cause evolution by considering a hypothetical intervention on an individual-level property. (...)
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  • Supervenience and Reduction in Biological Hierarchies.John Collier - 1988 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 14:209.
  • Understanding Interests and Causal Explanation.Petri Ylikoski - 2001 - Dissertation, University of Helsinki
    This work consists of two parts. Part I will be a contribution to a philo- sophical discussion of the nature of causal explanation. It will present my contrastive counterfactual theory of causal explanation and show how it can be used to deal with a number of problems facing theories of causal explanation. Part II is a contribution to a discussion of the na- ture of interest explanation in social studies of science. The aim is to help to resolve some controversies (...)
     
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  • Stranger in a Strange Land: An Optimal-Environments Account of Evolutionary Mismatch.Rick Morris - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):4021-4046.
    In evolutionary medicine, researchers characterize some outcomes as evolutionary mismatch. Mismatch problems arise as the result of organisms living in environments to which they are poorly adapted, typically as the result of some rapid environmental change. Depression, anxiety, obesity, myopia, insomnia, breast cancer, dental problems, and numerous other negative health outcomes have all been characterized as mismatch problems. The exact nature of evolutionary mismatch itself is unclear, however. This leads to a lack of clarity about the sorts of problems that (...)
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  • Content, Consciousness, and Cambridge Change.Matthew Rellihan - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (4):325-345.
    Representationalism is widely thought to grease the skids of ontological reduction. If phenomenal character is just a certain sort of intentional content, representationalists argue, the hard problem of accommodating consciousness within a broadly naturalistic view of the world reduces to the much easier problem of accommodating intentionality. I argue, however, that there’s a fatal flaw in this reasoning, for if phenomenal character really is just a certain sort of intentional content, it’s not anything like the sort of intentional content described (...)
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  • Feminist Philosophy of Science1.Lynn Hankinson Nelson - 2002 - In Peter Machamer Michael Silberstein (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Science. Blackwell. pp. 312.
  • Téléologie et fonctions en biologie. Une approche non causale des explications téléofonctionnelles.Alberto Molina Pérez - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
    This dissertation is focused on teleology and functions in biology. More precisely, it focuses on the scientific legitimacy of teleofunctional attributions and explanations in biology. It belongs to a multi-faceted debate that can be traced back to at least the 1970s. One aspect of the debate concerns the naturalization of functions. Most authors try to reduce, translate or explain functions and teleology in terms of efficient causes so that they find their place in the framework of the natural sciences. Our (...)
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  • Sex and Sensibility: The Role of Social Selection: Roughgarden, Joan: The Genial Gene: Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009, Ix+261pp, $40.00 HB, $18.95 PB.Erika L. Milam, Roberta L. Millstein, Angela Potochnik & Joan E. Roughgarden - 2011 - Metascience 20 (2):253-277.
    Sex and sensibility: The role of social selection Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9464-6 Authors Erika L. Milam, Department of History, University of Maryland, 2115 Francis Scott Key Hall, College Park, MD 20742, USA Roberta L. Millstein, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA Angela Potochnik, Department of Philosophy, University of Cincinnati, P.O. Box 210374, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA Joan E. Roughgarden, Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020, USA Journal Metascience Online (...)
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  • Can Altruism Be Unified?Grant Ramsey - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 56:32-38.
    There is clearly a plurality of forms of altruism. Classically, biological altruism is distinguished from psychological altruism. Recent discussions of altruism have attempted to distinguish even more forms of altruism. I will focus on three altruism concepts, biological altruism, psychological altruism, and helping altruism. The questions I am concerned with here are, first, how should we understand these concepts? and second, what relationship do these concepts bear to one another? In particular, is there an essence to altruism that unifies these (...)
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  • Reconstrucción estructuralista de la teoría de la selección natural.Santiago Ginnobili - 2012 - Agora 31 (2):143-169.
    Aunque parece una teoría relativamente simple, la teoría de la selección natural ha traído muchas discusiones al respecto de su reconstrucción. En particular, los autores han tenido dificultades a la hora de elucidar el concepto de aptitud (fitness) adecuadamente. El punto de vista de este trabajo consiste en que para entender adecuadamente esta cuestión, y además, para dar cuenta de manera adecuada de las explicaciones seleccionistas, tanto las dadas por Darwin como sus aplicaciones más actuales, es necesario a la hora (...)
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  • Conditions for Evolution by Natural Selection.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (10):489-516.
    Both biologists and philosophers often make use of simple verbal formulations of necessary and sufficient conditions for evolution by natural selection (ENS). Such summaries go back to Darwin's Origin of Species (especially the "Recapitulation"), but recent ones are more compact.1 Perhaps the most commonly cited formulation is due to Lewontin.2 These summaries tend to have three or four conditions, where the core requirement is a combination of variation, heredity, and fitness differences. The summaries are employed in several ways. First, they (...)
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  • Explaining Drift From a Deterministic Setting.Pierrick Bourrat - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (1):27-38.
    Drift is often characterized in statistical terms. Yet such a purely statistical characterization is ambiguous for it can accept multiple physical interpretations. Because of this ambiguity it is important to distinguish what sorts of processes can lead to this statistical phenomenon. After presenting a physical interpretation of drift originating from the most popular interpretation of fitness, namely the propensity interpretation, I propose a different one starting from an analysis of the concept of drift made by Godfrey-Smith. Further on, I show (...)
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  • Statistical Theories of Functions and the Problem of Epidemic Disease.Daniel M. Kraemer - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (3):423-438.
    Several decades ago, Christopher Boorse formulated an influential statistical theory of normative biological functions but it has often been claimed that his theory suffers from insuperable problems such as an inability to handle cases of epidemic and universal diseases. This paper develops a new statistical theory of normative functions that is capable of dealing with the notorious problem of epidemic and universal diseases. The theory is also more detailed than its predecessors and offers other important advantages over them. It is (...)
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  • Tracking Eudaimonia.Paul Bloomfield - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (2).
    A basic challenge to naturalistic moral realism is that, even if moral properties existed, there would be no way to naturalistically represent or track them. Here, the basic structure for a tracking account of moral epistemology is given in empirically respectable terms, based on a eudaimonist conception of morality. The goal is to show how this form of moral realism can be seen as consistent with the details of evolutionary biology as well as being amenable to the most current understanding (...)
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  • Darwinism Without Populations: A More Inclusive Understanding of the “Survival of the Fittest”.Frédéric Bouchard - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (1):106-114.
    Following Wallace’s suggestion, Darwin framed his theory using Spencer’s expression “survival of the fittest”. Since then, fitness occupies a significant place in the conventional understanding of Darwinism, even though the explicit meaning of the term ‘fitness’ is rarely stated. In this paper I examine some of the different roles that fitness has played in the development of the theory. Whereas the meaning of fitness was originally understood in ecological terms, it took a statistical turn in terms of reproductive success throughout (...)
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  • Not a Sure Thing: Fitness, Probability, and Causation.Denis M. Walsh - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (2):147-171.
    In evolutionary biology changes in population structure are explained by citing trait fitness distribution. I distinguish three interpretations of fitness explanations—the Two‐Factor Model, the Single‐Factor Model, and the Statistical Interpretation—and argue for the last of these. These interpretations differ in their degrees of causal commitment. The first two hold that trait fitness distribution causes population change. Trait fitness explanations, according to these interpretations, are causal explanations. The last maintains that trait fitness distribution correlates with population change but does not cause (...)
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  • Fitness ecológico.Santiago Ginnobili - 2013 - Contrastes. Revista Internacional de Filosofía: Suplemento 18:83-97.
    Existe un acuerdo relativo en la necesidad de distinguir dos usos del término «fitness»: el ecológico y el de la genética de poblaciones. Algunos consideran que el segundo ha venido a reemplazar al primero. Otros que el fitness ecológico tiene cierta capacidad explicativa de la que el segundo carece. Estos últimos autores han intentado dar respuesta a cómo es que el fitness ecológico se relaciona con las propiedades particulares de los organismos, siendo estas tan heterogéneas. En este trabajo intentaré dar (...)
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  • Evolutionary Theory and the Epistemology of Science.Kevin McCain & Brad Weslake - 2013 - In Kostas Kampourakis (ed.), The Philosophy of Biology: A Companion for Educators. Springer. pp. 101-119.
    Evolutionary theory is a paradigmatic example of a well-supported scientific theory. In this chapter we consider a number of objections to evolutionary theory, and show how responding to these objections reveals aspects of the way in which scientific theories are supported by evidence. Teaching these objections can therefore serve two pedagogical aims: students can learn the right way to respond to some popular arguments against evolutionary theory, and they can learn some basic features of the structure of scientific theories and (...)
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  • Organisms, Traits, and Population Subdivisions: Two Arguments Against the Causal Conception of Fitness?Grant30 Ramsey - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):589-608.
    A major debate in the philosophy of biology centers on the question of how we should understand the causal structure of natural selection. This debate is polarized into the causal and statistical positions. The main arguments from the statistical side are that a causal construal of the theory of natural selection's central concept, fitness, either (i) leads to inaccurate predictions about population dynamics, or (ii) leads to an incoherent set of causal commitments. In this essay, I argue that neither the (...)
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  • Fitness “Kinematics”: Biological Function, Altruism, and Organism–Environment Development.Marshall Abrams - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (4):487-504.
    It’s recently been argued that biological fitness can’t change over the course of an organism’s life as a result of organisms’ behaviors. However, some characterizations of biological function and biological altruism tacitly or explicitly assume that an effect of a trait can change an organism’s fitness. In the first part of the paper, I explain that the core idea of changing fitness can be understood in terms of conditional probabilities defined over sequences of events in an organism’s life. The result (...)
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  • Fitness and Propensity’s Annulment?Marshall Abrams - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (1):115-130.
    Recent debate on the nature of probabilities in evolutionary biology has focused largely on the propensity interpretation of fitness (PIF), which defines fitness in terms of a conception of probability known as “propensity”. However, proponents of this conception of fitness have misconceived the role of probability in the constitution of fitness. First, discussions of probability and fitness have almost always focused on organism effect probability, the probability that an organism and its environment cause effects. I argue that much of the (...)
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  • Potentiality in Biology.Andreas Hüttemann & Marie I. Kaiser - 2018 - In K. Engelhardt & M. Quante (eds.), Handbook of Potentiality. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 401-428.
    We take the potentialities that are studied in the biological sciences (e.g., totipotency) to be an important subtype of biological dispositions. The goal of this paper is twofold: first, we want to provide a detailed understanding of what biological dispositions are. We claim that two features are essential for dispositions in biology: the importance of the manifestation process and the diversity of conditions that need to be satisfied for the disposition to be manifest. Second, we demonstrate that the concept of (...)
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  • Dispositional Properties in Evo-Devo.Christopher J. Austin & Laura Nuño de la Rosa - 2018 - In Laura Nuño de la Rosa & G. Müller (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
    In identifying intrinsic molecular chance and extrinsic adaptive pressures as the only causally relevant factors in the process of evolution, the theoretical perspective of the Modern Synthesis had a major impact on the perceived tenability of an ontology of dispositional properties. However, since the late 1970s, an increasing number of evolutionary biologists have challenged the descriptive and explanatory adequacy of this “chance alone, extrinsic only” understanding of evolutionary change. Because morphological studies of homology, convergence, and teratology have revealed a space (...)
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  • A Critical Review of the Statisticalist Debate.Jun Otsuka - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (4):459-482.
    Over the past decade philosophers of biology have discussed whether evolutionary theory is a causal theory or a phenomenological study of evolution based solely on the statistical features of a population. This article reviews this controversy from three aspects, respectively concerning the assumptions, applications, and explanations of evolutionary theory, with a view to arriving at a definite conclusion in each contention. In so doing I also argue that an implicit methodological assumption shared by both sides of the debate, namely the (...)
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