Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (1):1-18 (2017)
AbstractOver the past fifteen years there has been a considerable amount of debate concerning what theoretical population dynamic models tell us about the nature of natural selection and drift. On the causal interpretation, these models describe the causes of population change. On the statistical interpretation, the models of population dynamics models specify statistical parameters that explain, predict, and quantify changes in population structure, without identifying the causes of those changes. Selection and drift are part of a statistical description of population change; they are not discrete, apportionable causes. Our objective here is to provide a definitive statement of the statistical position, so as to allay some confusions in the current literature. We outline four commitments that are central to statisticalism. They are: 1. Natural Selection is a higher order eﬀect; 2. Trait fitness is primitive; 3. Modern Synthesis (MS)-models are substrate neutral; 4. MS-selection and drift are model-relative.
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Citations of this work
Natural selection and the reference grain problem.Pierrick Bourrat - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 80:1-8.
Natural Selection and Drift as Individual-Level Causes of Evolution.Pierrick Bourrat - 2018 - Acta Biotheoretica 66 (3):159-176.
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