Biology and Philosophy 14 (4):521-536 (1999)

Authors
Bruce Glymour
Kansas State University
Abstract
Sober (1984) presents an account of selection motivated by the view that one property can causally explain the occurrence of another only if the first plays a unique role in the causal production of the second. Sober holds that a causal property will play such a unique role if it is a population level cause of its effect, and on this basis argues that there is selection for a trait T only if T is a population level cause of survival and reproductive success. Sterelny and Kitcher (1988) claim against Sober that some traits directly subject to selection will not satisfy the probabilistic condition on population level causation. In this paper I show that Sober has the resources to resist the Sterelny-Kitcher complaint, but I argue that not all traits that satisfy the probabilistic condition play the required unique role in the production of their effects.
Keywords fitness  natural selection  population level causation  unification
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1006516232674
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References found in this work BETA

Adaptation and Evolutionary Theory.Robert N. Brandon - 1978 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 9 (3):181.
The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness.Susan K. Mills & John H. Beatty - 1979 - Philosophy of Science 46 (2):263-286.
The Return of the Gene.Kim Sterelny & Philip Kitcher - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (7):339.

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Citations of this work BETA

Not a Sure Thing: Fitness, Probability, and Causation.Denis M. Walsh - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (2):147-171.
Why the Gene Will Not Return.Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (2):287-310.
Units and Levels of Selection.Elisabeth Lloyd - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Can There Be Stochastic Evolutionary Causes?Patrick Forber & Kenneth Reisman - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):616-627.

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