The Heuristic Role of Sewall Wright’s 1932 Adaptive Landscape Diagram

Philosophy of Science 71 (5):1176-1188 (2004)
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Sewall Wright's adaptive landscape is the most influential heuristic in evolutionary biology. Wright's biographer, Provine, criticized Wright's adaptive landscape, claiming that its heuristic value is dubious because of deep flaws. Ruse has defended Wright against Provine. Ruse claims Provine has not shown Wright's use of the landscape is flawed, and that, even if it were, it is heuristically valuable. I argue that both Provine's and Ruse's analyses of the adaptive landscape are defective and suggest a more adequate understanding of it.



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Robert Skipper
St. Mary's University, Texas

References found in this work

Essay Review: Sociobiology: Twenty-Five Years Later. [REVIEW]Edward O. Wilson - 1975 - Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):577-584.
The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change. R. C. Lewontin.Michael Ruse - 1976 - Philosophy of Science 43 (2):302-304.
Are Pictures Really Necessary? The Case of Sewell Wright's "Adaptive Landscapes".Michael Ruse - 1990 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:63 - 77.

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