What is Drift? A Response to Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich

Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 2 (20130604) (2010)
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Abstract

The statistical interpretation of the Theory of Natural Selection claims that natural selection and drift are statistical features of mathematical aggregates of individual-level events. Natural selection and drift are not themselves causes. The statistical interpretation is motivated by a metaphysical conception of individual priority. Recently, Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich (2009) have argued (a) that natural selection and drift are physical processes, and (b) that the statistical interpretation rests on a misconception of the role of mathematics in biology. Both theses are contested.

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Mohan Matthen
University of Toronto, Mississauga

Citations of this work

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Causal Foundations of Evolutionary Genetics.Jun Otsuka - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):247-269.
Causal Foundations of Evolutionary Genetics.Jun Otsuka - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axu039.

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References found in this work

Natural selection as a population-level causal process.Roberta L. Millstein - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):627-653.
Selection and causation.Mohan Matthen & André Ariew - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (2):201-224.
Drift and “Statistically Abstractive Explanation”.Mohan Matthen - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (4):464-487.

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