An explication of the causal dimension of drift

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):521-555 (2009)
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Among philosophers, controversy over the notion of drift in population genetics is ongoing. This is at least partly because the notion of drift has an ambiguous usage among population geneticists. My goal in this paper is to explicate the causal dimension of drift, to say what causal influences are responsible for the stochasticity in population genetics models. It is commonplace for population genetics to oppose the influence of selection to that of drift, and to consider how the dynamics of populations are altered when each has greater or lesser influence. I define the causes that are referred to as drift when researchers speak this way. Introduction Populations and Variant Types The Cause–Effect Ambiguity of Drift Non-directional Factors in Population Genetics How N ev Is Used in Population Genetics Causal Conceptions of Drift 6.1 The Millstein/Beatty conception of drift 6.2 Rosenberg and Bouchard: Drift as initial conditions NINPICs 7.1 Why drift is instituted by NINPICs 7.2 How NINPICS work 7.3 NINPICs and random sampling 7.4 Independent sampling and effective population size 7.5 Variance in progeny number 7.6 Population effects of NINPICs NINPICs and the Stochastic Character of Selection Theory Conclusion Appendix CiteULike Connotea What's this?



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Peter Gildenhuys
Lafayette College

Citations of this work

The Causal Structure of Evolutionary Theory.Grant Ramsey - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):421-434.
Driftability.Grant Ramsey - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3909-3928.
Drift and evolutionary forces: scrutinizing the Newtonian analogy.Víctor J. Luque - 2016 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (3):397-410.
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