Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 38 (1):270-288 (2007)
The paper addresses the question of whether heritability can be useful in establishing genetics as an explanation for an individual’s display of some trait or behavior. After reviewing the fundamental philosophical challenge to heritability—that heritability is a population level measure—an argument is presented for rethinking the role heritability occupies in both causal and explanatory claims. It is argued that heritability can be useful for genetically based explanations of individual traits, if the conditions for proper genetic explanation are modestly reconceived, and the measure is seen as an evidential tool which conforms to standard methods for determining causal factors
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