The persistence of the R.A. Fisher-Sewall Wright controversy

Biology and Philosophy 17 (3):341-367 (2002)
Robert Skipper
University of Cincinnati
This paper considers recent heated debates led by Jerry A. Coyne andMichael J. Wade on issues stemming from the 1929–1962 R.A. Fisher-Sewall Wrightcontroversy in population genetics. William B. Provine once remarked that theFisher-Wright controversy is central, fundamental, and very influential.Indeed,it is also persistent. The argumentative structure of therecent (1997–2000) debates is analyzed with the aim of eliminating a logicalconflict in them, viz., that the two sides in the debates havedifferent aims and that, as such, they are talking past each other. Given aphilosophical analysis of the argumentative structure of the debates,suggestions supportive of Wade's work on the debate are made that areaimed, modestly, at putting the persistent Fisher-Wright controversy on thecourse to resolution.
Keywords Coyne  Fisher  Large Population Size Theory  Population genetics  Shifting Balance Theory  Wade  Wright
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1020178411042
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 33,741
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change.R. C. Lewontin - 1976 - Philosophy of Science 43 (2):302-304.
Why Do Biologists Argue Like They Do?John Beatty - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (4):443.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Confirmation and Explaining How Possible.Patrick Forber - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (1):32-40.
Sewall Wright, Shifting Balance Theory, and the Hardening of the Modern Synthesis.Ishida Yoichi - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 61:1-10.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total downloads
52 ( #117,662 of 2,263,108 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #143,146 of 2,263,108 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature