Cancer cells and adaptive explanations

Biology and Philosophy 27 (6):785-810 (2012)

Authors
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to assess the relevance of somatic evolution by natural selection to our understanding of cancer development. I do so in two steps. In the first part of the paper, I ask to what extent cancer cells meet the formal requirements for evolution by natural selection, relying on Godfrey-Smith’s (2009) framework of Darwinian populations. I argue that although they meet the minimal requirements for natural selection, cancer cells are not paradigmatic Darwinian populations. In the second part of the paper, I examine the most important examples of adaptation in cancer cells. I argue that they are not significant accumulations of evolutionary changes, and that as a consequence natural selection plays a lesser role in their explanation. Their explanation, I argue, is best sought in the previously existing wiring of the healthy cells.
Keywords cancer  adaptation  natural selection  explanation  Darwinian populations
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-012-9334-2
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Causes That Make a Difference.C. Kenneth Waters - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (11):551-579.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Design Sans Adaptation.Sara Green, Arnon Levy & William Bechtel - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (1):15-29.
Against Organizational Functions.Justin Garson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1093-1103.
What Mechanisms Can’T Do: Explanatory Frameworks and the Function of the P53 Gene in Molecular Oncology.Alessandro Blasimme, Paolo Maugeri & Pierre-Luc Germain - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):374-384.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Fit and Diversity: Explaining Adaptive Evolution.Denis M. Walsh - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (2):280-301.
Tumourigenesis: The Subterfuge of Selection.Roy Douglas Pearson - 1981 - Acta Biotheoretica 30 (3):171-176.
Natural Selection and Multi-Level Causation.Maximiliano Martínez & Andrés Moya - 2011 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 3 (20130604).
Against Darwinism.Jerry Fodor - 2008 - Mind and Language 23 (1):1–24.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2012-08-04

Total views
518 ( #9,024 of 2,286,123 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
74 ( #10,106 of 2,286,123 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature