Do We Need a New Account of Group Selection? A Reply to McLoone

Biological Theory 11 (2):57-68 (2016)
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In "Some Criticism of the Contextual Approach, and a Few Proposals" in Biological Theory, Brian McLoone discusses some of the points about the contextual approach that I made in a recent paper. Besides offering a reply to McLoone’s comments on my paper, in this article I show why McLoone’s discussion of the two main frameworks for thinking about group selection—the contextual and the Price approach—is partly misguided. In particular, I show that one of McLoone’s main arguments against the contextual approach is missing the target and that one of his (and Elliott Sober’s) arguments in defense of the Price approach is flawed. Criticizing these arguments will help me present an entirely different picture than McLoone’s of the current status of multilevel selection theory. More precisely, I argue that the idea that we are dealing with "multilevel selection" in the type of multigroup cases in which the focal units are the individuals (and their traits) has recently come under threat. Finally, I discuss the ways in which this idea might be salvaged by appealing either to the contextual or to the Price approach.



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Ciprian Jeler
Al.I.Cuza Iasi University of Iasi

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Explanatory Goals and Explanatory Means in Multilevel Selection Theory.Ciprian Jeler - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (3):1-24.

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