Synthese 166 (1):21-40 (2009)

Authors
Marshall Abrams
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Abstract
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 fitness. I distinguish various reference environment problems and propose solutions to some of them. While there has been a limited amount of work on problems concerning what I call "subenvironments", there appears to be no earlier work on problems of what I call the "whole environment". The first solution I propose for a whole environment problem specifies the overall environment for natural selection on a set of biological types present in a population over a specified period of time. The second specifies an environment relevant to extinction of types in a population; this kind of environment is especially relevant to certain kinds of long-term evolution
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Language   Metaphysics   Epistemology   Logic
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2009
DOI 10.1007/s11229-007-9255-9
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 54,593
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Philosophy of Biology.Elliott Sober - 2000 - Westview Press.
The Nature of Selection.Elliott Sober - 1986 - Behaviorism 14 (1):77-88.
The Nature of Mental States.Hilary Putnam - 1967 - In W.H. Capitan & D.D. Merrill (eds.), Art, Mind, and Religion. Pittsburgh University Press. pp. 1--223.

View all 25 references / Add more references

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.
Mechanistic Probability.Marshall Abrams - 2012 - Synthese 187 (2):343-375.
Statistical Mechanical Imperialism.Brad Weslake - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 241-257.
The Unity of Fitness.Marshall Abrams - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):750-761.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Fitness and Propensity’s Annulment?Marshall Abrams - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (1):115-130.
Can Fitness Differences Be a Cause of Evolution?Grant Ramsey - 2013 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 5 (20130604).
Is Cultural Fitness Hopelessly Confused?Grant Ramsey & Andreas De Block - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (2).
The Unity of Fitness.Marshall Abrams - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):750-761.
The Confusions of Fitness.André Ariew & R. C. Lewontin - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2):347-363.
Fitness as a Function.Henry Byerly - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:494 - 501.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
114 ( #83,543 of 2,385,743 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #206,123 of 2,385,743 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes