Organisms, Traits, and Population Subdivisions: Two Arguments against the Causal Conception of Fitness?

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (3):589-608 (2013)
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Abstract

A major debate in the philosophy of biology centers on the question of how we should understand the causal structure of natural selection. This debate is polarized into the causal and statistical positions. The main arguments from the statistical side are that a causal construal of the theory of natural selection's central concept, fitness, either (i) leads to inaccurate predictions about population dynamics, or (ii) leads to an incoherent set of causal commitments. In this essay, I argue that neither the predictive inaccuracy nor the incoherency arguments successfully undermine the causal account of fitness. 1 Introduction2 The Importance of Trait Fitness3 Trait Fitness is not a Silver Bullet4 The Fundamental Incoherency Argument5 Car Racing and Trait Fitness Reversals6 Population Subdivisions and Evolution7 The STP and the Argument for the Incoherency of the Causal Account of Fitness8 Conclusions

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References found in this work

Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):201-202.

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