Bookkeeping or metaphysics? The units of selection debate

Synthese 138 (3):337 - 361 (2004)
Abstract
The Units of Selection debate is a dispute about the causes of population change. I argue that it is generated by a particular `dynamical'' interpretation of natural selection theory, according to which natural selection causes differential survival and reproduction of individuals and natural selection explanations cite these causes. I argue that the dynamical interpretation is mistaken and offer in outline an alternative, `statistical'' interpretation, according to which natural selection theory is a fancy kind of `bookkeeping''. It explains by citing the statistical structure of a population and not by citing the causes of survival and reproduction. From the perspective of the statistical interpretation there is no substantive Units of Selection issue.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/B:SYNT.0000016426.73707.92
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,810
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Descriptions and Models: Some Responses to Abrams.Denis M. Walsh - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):302-308.
Natural Selection and Mechanistic Regularity.Lane DesAutels - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57:13-23.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
What is Drift? A Response to Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich.Mohan Matthen - 2010 - Philosophy and Theory in Biology 2 (20130604).
The Levels of Selection.Robert Brandon - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:315 - 323.
The Units of Selection and the Bases of Selection.David Walton - 1991 - Philosophy of Science 58 (3):417-435.
Units and Levels of Selection.Elisabeth Lloyd - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
61 ( #89,292 of 2,202,780 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #35,429 of 2,202,780 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature