The historical turn in the study of adaptation

A number of philosophers and ‘evolutionary psychologists’ have argued that attacks on adaptationism in contemporary biology are misguided. These thinkers identify anti-adaptationism with advocacy of non-adaptive modes of explanation. They overlook the influence of anti-adaptationism in the development of more rigorous forms of adaptive explanation. Many biologists who reject adaptationism do not reject Darwinism. Instead, they have pioneered the contemporary historical turn in the study of adaptation. One real issue which remains unresolved amongst these methodological advances is the nature of ‘phylogenetic inertia’. To what extent is an adaptive explanation needed for the persistence of a trait as well as its origin?
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/47.4.511
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Arnon Levy & Adrian Currie (2015). Model Organisms Are Not Models. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):327-348.
Sara Green, Arnon Levy & William Bechtel (2015). Design Sans Adaptation. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (1):15-29.
Brett Calcott (2014). Engineering and Evolvability. Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):293-313.

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