Biology and Philosophy 31 (4):551-569 (2016)

Hannah Rubin
University of Notre Dame
The ‘phenotypic gambit,’ the assumption that we can ignore genetics and look at the fitness of phenotypes to determine the expected evolutionary dynamics of a population, is often used in evolutionary game theory. However, as this paper will show, an overlooked genotype to phenotype map can qualitatively affect evolution in ways the phenotypic approach cannot predict or explain. This gives us reason to believe that, even in the long-term, correspondences between phenotypic predictions and dynamical outcomes are not robust for all plausible assumptions regarding the underlying genetics of traits. This paper shows important ways in which the phenotypic gambit can fail and how to proceed with evolutionary game theoretic modeling when it does.
Keywords Evolutionary game theory  Philosophy of biology  Methodology  Evolutionary models
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-016-9524-4
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