Natural Selection and Drift as Individual-Level Causes of Evolution

Acta Biotheoretica 66 (3):159-176 (2018)

Authors
Pierrick Bourrat
Macquarie University
Abstract
In this paper I critically evaluate Reisman and Forber’s :1113–1123, 2005) arguments that drift and natural selection are population-level causes of evolution based on what they call the manipulation condition. Although I agree that this condition is an important step for identifying causes for evolutionary change, it is insufficient. Following Woodward, I argue that the invariance of a relationship is another crucial parameter to take into consideration for causal explanations. Starting from Reisman and Forber’s example on drift and after having briefly presented the criterion of invariance, I show that once both the manipulation condition and the criterion of invariance are taken into account, drift, in this example, should better be understood as an individual-level rather than a population-level cause. Later, I concede that it is legitimate to interpret natural selection and drift as population-level causes when they rely on genuinely indeterministic events and some cases of frequency-dependent selection.
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DOI 10.1007/s10441-018-9331-1
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References found in this work BETA

Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2009 - Critica 41 (123):162-170.

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Citations of this work BETA

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.

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