Biology and Philosophy 15 (4):475-491 (2000)

Authors
Gregory Radick
University of Leeds
Abstract
Natural selection explains how living forms are fitted to theirconditions of life. Darwin argued that selection also explains what hecalled the gradual advancement of the organisation, i.e.evolutionary progress. Present-day selectionists disagree. In theirview, it is happenstance that sustains conditions favorable to progress,and therefore happenstance, not selection, that explains progress. Iargue that the disagreement here turns not on whether there exists aselection-based condition bias – a belief now attributed to Darwin – but on whether there needs to be such a bias for selection to count as explaining progress. In Darwin''s own view, selection explained progressso far as more complex organisms have the selective advantage whenselection operates unimpeded. I show that these two explanations ofevolutionary progress, selection and happenstance, answer for theirobjectivity to different standards, and for their truth or falsehood todifferent features of the world.
Keywords explanation  evolutionary progress  natural selection  styles of reasoning
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DOI 10.1023/A:1006609532691
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References found in this work BETA

The Self-Vindication of the Laboratory Sciences.Ian Hacking - 1992 - In Andrew Pickering (ed.), Science as Practice and Culture. University of Chicago Press. pp. 29--64.
The Dialectical Biologist.Philip Kitcher, Richard Levins & Richard Lewontin - 1989 - Philosophical Review 98 (2):262.
‘Style’ for Historians and Philosophers.Ian Hacking - 1991 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 23 (1):1-20.
Complexity and Evolution: What Everybody Knows.Daniel W. McShea - 1991 - Biology and Philosophy 6 (3):303-324.

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Citations of this work BETA

Primate Language and the Playback Experiment, in 1890 and 1980.Gregory Radick - 2005 - Journal of the History of Biology 38 (3):461-493.
Cultures of Evolutionary Biology.Gregory Radick - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 34 (1):187-200.

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