Population genetics

In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press (2006)

Abstract

Population genetics attempts to measure the influence of the causes of evolution, viz., mutation, migration, natural selection, and random genetic drift, by understanding the way those causes change the genetics of populations. But how does it accomplish this goal? After a short introduction, we begin in section (2) with a brief historical outline of the origins of population genetics. In section (3), we sketch the model theoretic structure of population genetics, providing the flavor of the ways in which population genetics theory might be understood as incorporating causes. In sections (4) and (5) we discuss two specific problems concerning the relationship between population genetics and evolutionary causes, viz., the problem of conceptually distinguishing natural selection from random genetic drift, and the problem of interpreting fitness. In section (6), we briefly discuss the methodology and key epistemological problems faced by population geneticists in uncovering the causes of evolution. Section (7) of the essay contains concluding remarks.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,743

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
90 (#132,825)

6 months
1 (#387,390)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Roberta L. Millstein
University of California, Davis

References found in this work

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.

View all 20 references / Add more references