Evolutionary causes as mechanisms: a critical analysis


Authors
Saúl Pérez-González
Universitat de Valencia
Victor J. Luque
University of Valencia
Abstract
In this paper, we address the question whether a mechanistic approach can account for evolutionary causes. The last decade has seen a major attempt to account for natural selection as a mechanism. Nevertheless, we stress the relevance of broadening the debate by including the other evolutionary causes inside the mechanistic approach, in order to be a legitimate conceptual framework on the same footing as other approaches to evolutionary theory. We analyse the current debate on natural selection as a mechanism, and extend it to the rest of the evolutionary causes. We focus on three approaches that we call the stochastic view, the functional view, and the minimalist view. We argue that all of them are unable to account for evolutionary causes as mechanisms. It is concluded that the current mechanistic proposals cannot be accepted as a common framework for evolutionary causes. Finally, we outline some guidelines and requirements that any mechanistic proposal should meet in order to be applied to evolutionary theory.
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DOI 10.1007/s40656-019-0250-5
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References found in this work BETA

Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biol and Biomed Sci 36 (2):421--441.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life.David L. Hull - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):435-438.

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