Authors
Giorgio Airoldi
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (PhD)
Abstract
Darwin’s claim that Natural Selection, through optimization of fitness, explains complex biological design has not yet been properly formalized. Alan Grafen’s Formal Darwinism Project aims at providing such a formalization and at demonstrating that fitness maximization is coherent with results from Population Genetics, usually interpreted as denying it. We suggest that Grafen’s proposal suffers from some limitations linked to its concept of design as optimized fitness. In order to overcome these limitations, we propose a classification of evolutionary facts based on a bi-dimensional complexity space, which adds robustness to fitness as measure of the quality of a design. In this space, each point represents an organismic architecture, and movement between two points would be an evolutionary fact. Natural Selection explains movement along the fitness axis, while non-selective mechanisms explain movement on the robustness axis. Moreover, we propose a thermodynamic metaphor to draw parallelisms between notions of fitness and entropy, robustness and energy, and movement in this space and reversible and irreversible cycles. We argue that this metaphor illustrates different evolutionary processes usually overlooked by proposals of formalization of Darwinian theory, such Grafen’s Formal Darwinism Project.
Keywords philosophy of biology  evolution  natural selection  biological design  complexity  fitness  robustness
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Complexity: A Guided Tour.Melanie Mitchell - 2009 - Oxford University Press.

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