Grafen, the Price equations, fitness maximization, optimisation and the fundamental theorem of natural selection

Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):197-205 (2014)

Abstract
This paper is a commentary on the focal article by Grafen and on earlier papers of his on which many of the results of this focal paper depend. Thus it is in effect a commentary on the “formal Darwinian project”, the focus of this sequence of papers. Several problems with this sequence are raised and discussed. The first of these concerns fitness maximization. It is often claimed in these papers that natural selection leads to a maximization of fitness and that this view is claimed in Fisher’s “fundamental theorem of natural selection”. These claims are refuted, and various incorrect statements about the meaning and interpretation of the fundamental theorem of natural selection, in this sequence and in other papers by other authors, are discussed. Next, much of the work in this sequence rests on the first Price equation. In the deterministic (infinite population) case this equation is no more than the standard classical equation relating to changes in gene frequencies. In the stochastic case the equation gives the change in gene frequencies as the sum of two terms (the second of which vanishes in the deterministic case). These two terms are of essentially equal importance in the situation considered in the focal article, yet one of Grafen’s results ignores the second term in the stochastic analysis. This is associated with a wavering between deterministic and stochastic analyses and the use of the Price fitness concept and the classical fitness concept. These comments cast doubts on Grafen’s optimization theory
Keywords Optimization  Maximization  Price equations  Fitness  Fundamental theorem of natural selection  Gene frequencies
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-013-9412-0
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References found in this work BETA

The Formal Darwinism Project in Outline.Alan Grafen - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):155-174.
What is the Gene Trying to Do?W. J. Ewens - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):155-176.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Formal Darwinism Project in Outline.Alan Grafen - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):155-174.
Natural Selection and the Maximization of Fitness.Jonathan Birch - 2016 - Biological Reviews 91 (3):712-727.

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The Formal Darwinism Project in Outline.Alan Grafen - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):155-174.

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