Biology and Philosophy 34 (3):34 (2019)

Walter Veit
University of Sydney
For decades Darwinian processes were framed in the form of the Lewontin conditions: reproduction, variation and differential reproductive success were taken to be sufficient and necessary. Since Buss and the work of Maynard Smith and Szathmary biologists were eager to explain the major transitions from individuals to groups forming new individuals subject to Darwinian mechanisms themselves. Explanations that seek to explain the emergence of a new level of selection, however, cannot employ properties that would already have to exist on that level for selection to take place. Recently, Hammerschmidt et al. provided a ‘bottom-up’ experiment corroborating much of the theoretical work Paul Rainey has done since 2003 on how cheats can play an important role in the emergence of new Darwinian individuals on a multicellular level. The aims of this paper are twofold. First, I argue for a conceptual shift in perspective from seeing cheats as a ‘problem’ that needs to be solved for multi-cellularity to evolve to the very ‘key’ for the evolution of multicellularity. Secondly, I illustrate the consequences of this shift for both theoretical and experimental work, arguing for a more prominent role of ecology and the multi-level selection framework within the debate then they currently occupy.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-019-9688-9
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,046
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2009 - Critica 41 (123):162-170.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Model Pluralism.Walter Veit - 2019 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (2):91-114.
Biological Normativity: A New Hope for Naturalism?Walter Veit - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (2):291-301.
Perspectival Pluralism for Animal Welfare.Walter Veit & Heather Browning - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-14.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Multilevel Selection and the Major Transitions in Evolution.Samir Okasha - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1013-1025.
Human Evolution and Transitions in Individuality.Paulo C. Abrantes - 2013 - Contrastes: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 18 (S1):203-220.
Sex, Meiosis and Multicellularity.A. Ruvinsky - 1997 - Acta Biotheoretica 45 (2):127-141.
Maynard Smith on the Levels of Selection Question.Samir Okasha - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (5):989-1010.
Discussion: Leo Buss's the Evolution of Individuality.David B. Resnik - 1992 - Biology and Philosophy 7 (4):453-460.
The Units of Selection and the Structure of the Multi-Level Genome.William C. Wimsatt - 1980 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:122 - 183.
Fit and Diversity: Explaining Adaptive Evolution.Denis M. Walsh - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (2):280-301.
Epigenetic and Cultural Evolution Are Non-Darwinian.Liane Gabora - 2007 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (4):371-371.
Cultural Evolution is Not Equivalent to Darwinian Evolution.Dwight W. Read - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):361-361.
Précis of Evolution and the Levels of Selection. [REVIEW]Samir Okasha - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):212-220.


Added to PP index

Total views
32 ( #342,197 of 2,454,496 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #179,332 of 2,454,496 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes