Philosophy of Science 76 (5):750-761 (2009)

Authors
Marshall Abrams
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Abstract
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 of effects occurring over the long term, but these probabilities nevertheless concern effects occurring over the short term. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, HB 414A, 900 13th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35294‐1260; e‐mail: mabrams@uab.edu.
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DOI 10.1086/605788
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References found in this work BETA

The Nature of Selection.Elliott Sober - 1986 - Behaviorism 14 (1):77-88.
Adaptation and Evolutionary Theory.Robert N. Brandon - 1978 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 9 (3):181.
Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology.E. Sober (ed.) - 1994 - The Mit Press. Bradford Books.
The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness.Susan K. Mills & John H. Beatty - 1979 - Philosophy of Science 46 (2):263-286.

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Citations of this work BETA

A New Foundation for the Propensity Interpretation of Fitness.Charles Pence & Grant Ramsey - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):851-881.
Levels, Time and Fitness in Evolutionary Transitions in Individuality.Pierrick Bourrat - 2015 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 7 (20150505).

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