In Ellery Eells & James H. Fetzer (eds.), The Place of Probability in Science. Springer. pp. 133--60 (2010)
Evolutionary theory is awash with probabilities. For example, natural selection is said to occur when there is variation in fitness, and fitness is standardly decomposed into two components, viability and fertility, each of which is understood probabilistically. With respect to viability, a fertilized egg is said to have a certain chance of surviving to reproductive age; with respect to fertility, an adult is said to have an expected number of offspring.1 There is more to evolutionary theory than the theory of natural selection, and here too one finds probabilistic concepts aplenty. When there is no selection, the theory of neutral evolution says that a gene’s chance of eventually reaching fixation is 1/(2N), where N is the number of organisms in the generation of the diploid population to which the gene belongs. The evolutionary consequences of mutation are likewise conceptualized in terms of the probability per unit time a gene has of changing from one state to another. The examples just mentioned are all “forwarddirected” probabilities; they describe the probability of later events, conditional on earlier events. However, evolutionary theory also uses “backwards probabilities” that describe the probability of a cause conditional on its effects; for example, coalescence theory allows one to calculate the expected number of generations in the past that the genes in the present generation find their most recent common ancestor.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Less is Different: Emergence and Reduction Reconciled. [REVIEW]J. Butterfield - 2011 - Foundations of Physics 41 (6):1065-1135.
Quantum Propensities.Mauricio Suárez - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 38 (2):418-438.
Probability in GRW Theory.Roman Frigg & Carl Hoefer - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 38 (2):371-389.
Toward a Propensity Interpretation of Stochastic Mechanism for the Life Sciences.Lane DesAutels - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):2921-2953.
Similar books and articles
Conditional Probabilities and Probabilities Given Knowledge of a Condition.Paul Weirich - 1983 - Philosophy of Science 50 (1):82-95.
The Statistical Character of Evolutionary Theory.Barbara L. Horan - 1994 - Philosophy of Science 61 (1):76-95.
Are Probabilities Necessary for Evolutionary Explanations?André Ariew - 1998 - Biology and Philosophy 13 (2):245-253.
Deterministic Probability: Neither Chance nor Credence.Aidan Lyon - 2010 - Synthese 182 (3):413-432.
A Structural Description of Evolutionary Theory.Robert N. Brandon - 1980 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:427 - 439.
The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus.Elliott Sober - 1984 - University of Chicago Press.
Infinite Populations and Counterfactual Frequencies in Evolutionary Theory.Marshall Abrams - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 37 (2):256-268.
Interpretations of Probability in Evolutionary Theory.Roberta L. Millstein - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1317-1328.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads85 ( #59,360 of 2,151,957 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #89,484 of 2,151,957 )
How can I increase my downloads?
There are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.