Authors
Alex Rosenberg
Duke University
Frédéric Bouchard
Université de Montréal
Abstract
We argue that a fashionable interpretation of the theory of natural selection as a claim exclusively about populations is mistaken. The interpretation rests on adopting an analysis of fitness as a probabilistic propensity which cannot be substantiated, draws parallels with thermodynamics which are without foundations, and fails to do justice to the fundamental distinction between drift and selection. This distinction requires a notion of fitness as a pairwise comparison between individuals taken two at a time, and so vitiates the interpretation of the theory as one about populations exclusively.
Keywords Fitness   Probability   Natural Selection   Biology
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/55.4.693
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Papers.David Kellogg Lewis - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Natural Selection as a Population-Level Causal Process.Roberta L. Millstein - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):627-653.
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.
Selection and Causation.Mohan Matthen & André Ariew - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (2):201-224.

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