Are random drift and natural selection conceptually distinct?

Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):33-53 (2002)
The latter half of the twentieth century has been marked by debates in evolutionary biology over the relative significance of natural selection and random drift: the so-called “neutralist/selectionist” debates. Yet John Beatty has argued that it is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the concept of random drift from the concept of natural selection, a claim that has been accepted by many philosophers of biology. If this claim is correct, then the neutralist/selectionist debates seem at best futile, and at worst, meaningless. I reexamine the issues that Beatty raises, and argue that random drift and natural selection, conceived as processes, can be distinguished from one another.
Keywords Beatty  Brandon  Carson  causal relevance  chance  conceptual distinction  discriminate sampling  evolution  Hodge  indiscriminate sampling  natural selection
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1012990800358
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,793
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Chance and Natural Selection.John Beatty - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (2):183-211.
Chance and Macroevolution.Roberta L. Millstein - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (4):603-624.
Instrumental Biology or the Disunity of Science.Alexander Rosenberg - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (186):120-122.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Natural Selection as a Population-Level Causal Process.Roberta L. Millstein - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):627-653.
A New Foundation for the Propensity Interpretation of Fitness.Charles H. Pence & Grant Ramsey - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):851-881.
Thinking About Evolutionary Mechanisms: Natural Selection.Robert A. Skipper & Roberta L. Millstein - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):327-347.

View all 36 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
What is Drift? A Response to Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich.Mohan Matthen - 2010 - Philosophy and Theory in Biology 2 (20130604).
Beatty on Chance and Natural Selection.Timothy Shanahan - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (3):484-489.
Chance and Natural Selection.John Beatty - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (2):183-211.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
81 ( #71,215 of 2,214,685 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #108,528 of 2,214,685 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature