Erkenntnis 80 (S3):457-468 (2015)

Authors
Isabelle Drouet
Université Paris-Sorbonne
Francesca Merlin
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Abstract
The paper provides a new critical perspective on the propensity interpretation of fitness, by investigating its relationship to the propensity interpretation of probability. Two main conclusions are drawn. First, the claim that fitness is a propensity cannot be understood properly: fitness is not a propensity in the sense prescribed by the propensity interpretation of probability. Second, this interpretation of probability is inessential for explanations proposed by the PIF in evolutionary biology. Consequently, interpreting the probabilistic dimension of fitness in terms of propensities is neither a strong motivation in favor of this interpretation, nor a possible target for substantial criticism.
Keywords Propensity  Fitness  Propensity interpretation  Probability  Objective chance  Explanation  Evolutonary theory  Natural selection
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-014-9681-2
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References found in this work BETA

Dispositions.Stephen Mumford - 1998 - Clarendon Press.
Statistical Explanation & Statistical Relevance.Wesley Salmon - 1971 - University of Pittsburgh Press.
The Matter of Chance.D. H. Mellor - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
Three Theses About Dispositions.Elizabeth Prior, Robert Pargetter & Frank Jackson - 1982 - American Philosophical Quarterly 19 (3):251-257.
The Propensity Interpretation of Probability.Karl R. Popper - 1959 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10 (37):25-42.

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Citations of this work BETA

Trait Fitness is Not a Propensity, but Fitness Variation Is.Elliott Sober - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):336-341.
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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