Authors
Elliott Sober
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Abstract
The propensity interpretation of fitness draws on the propensity interpretation of probability, but advocates of the former have not attended sufficiently to problems with the latter. The causal power of C to bring about E is not well-represented by the conditional probability Pr. Since the viability fitness of trait T is the conditional probability Pr, the viability fitness of the trait does not represent the degree to which having the trait causally promotes surviving. The same point holds for fertility fitness. This failure of trait fitness to capture causal role can also be seen in the fact that coextensive traits must have the same fitness values even if one of them promotes survival and the other is neutral or deleterious. Although the fitness of a trait does not represent the trait’s causal power to promote survival and reproduction, variation in fitness in a population causally promotes change in trait frequencies; in this sense, fitness variation is a population-level propensity
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.03.002
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References found in this work BETA

Mathematical Truth.Paul Benacerraf - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (19):661-679.
The Propensity Interpretation of Probability.Karl R. Popper - 1959 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 10 (37):25-42.
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Citations of this work BETA

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Natural Selection and the Reference Grain Problem.Pierrick Bourrat - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 80:1-8.

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