This article elaborates on McShea and Brandon’s idea that drift is unlike the rest of the evolutionary factors because it is constitutive rather than imposed on the evolutionary process. I show that the way they spelled out this idea renders it inadequate and is the reason why it received some objections. I propose a different way in which their point could be understood, that rests on two general distinctions. The first is a distinction between the underlying mathematical apparatus used to formulate a theory and a concept proposed by that theory. With the aid of a formal reconstruction of a population genetic model, I show that drift belongs to the first category. That is, that drift is constitutive of population genetics in the same sense that multiplication is constitutive in classical mechanics, or that circle is constitutive in Ptolemaic astronomy. The second distinction is between eliminating a concept from a theory and setting its value to zero. I will show that even though drift can be set to zero just like the rest of the evolutionary factors, eliminating drift is much harder than eliminating those other factors, since it would require changing the entire mathematical apparatus of standard population genetic theory. I conclude by drawing some other implications from the proposed formal reconstruction.
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DOI 10.1007/s40656-019-0294-6
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Logical Foundations of Probability.Ernest H. Hutten - 1950 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 16 (3):205-207.
Chance and Natural Selection.John Beatty - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (2):183-211.

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