How to Read ‘Heritability’ in the Recipe Approach to Natural Selection

Pierrick Bourrat
Macquarie University
There are two ways evolution by natural selection is conceptualized in the literature. One provides a ‘recipe’ for ENS incorporating three ingredients: variation, differences in fitness, and heritability. The other provides formal equations of evolutionary change and partitions out selection from other causes of evolutionary changes such as transmission biases or drift. When comparing the two approaches there seems to be a tension around the concept of heritability. A recent claim has been made that the recipe approach is flawed and should be abandoned. In this article, I show that the tension is only a superficial one. If one uses a concept of heritability strictly in line with the formal equations of evolutionary change, the recipe approach keeps its validity and generality. To demonstrate that the intuitive concept of heritability is not a general one, I use one formulation of the Price equation formulated by Okasha, show that the concept of heritability in his formulation incorporates both the intuitive notion of heritability as a measure of similarity between parent and offspring characters, and a measure of persistence. I advocate for persistence to be incorporated in the concept of heritability used in recipes for ENS in the same way heredity is, show that this is readily attainable and thereby dissolve any point of tension concerning heritability between the recipe and the analytical approach to ENS. 1 Introduction2 Heritability in the Price Equation2.1 Different approaches to heredity and heritability2.2 Heritability: From recipes to the Price equation3 A Problem for the Recipes?4 Reinterpreting Heritability for Recipes5 Conclusion Appendix
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axu015
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References found in this work BETA

Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2009 - Critica 41 (123):162-170.
Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2006 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Dissolving the Missing Heritability Problem.Pierrick Bourrat & Qiaoying Lu - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1055-1067.
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.
The Evolutionary Gene and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.Qiaoying Lu & Pierrick Bourrat - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):775-800.
Multispecies individuals.Pierrick Bourrat & Paul E. Griffiths - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (2):33.

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