Not a sure thing: Fitness, probability, and causation

Philosophy of Science 77 (2):147-171 (2010)
Abstract
In evolutionary biology changes in population structure are explained by citing trait fitness distribution. I distinguish three interpretations of fitness explanations—the Two‐Factor Model, the Single‐Factor Model, and the Statistical Interpretation—and argue for the last of these. These interpretations differ in their degrees of causal commitment. The first two hold that trait fitness distribution causes population change. Trait fitness explanations, according to these interpretations, are causal explanations. The last maintains that trait fitness distribution correlates with population change but does not cause it. My defense of the Statistical Interpretation relies on a distinctive feature of causation. Causes conform to the Sure Thing Principle. Trait fitness distributions, I argue, do not. *Received July 2009; revised October 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy/Institute for the History, Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto, Victoria College, 91 Charles Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1K7, Canada; e‐mail: denis.walsh@utoronto.ca.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/651320
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,478
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
A New Foundation for the Propensity Interpretation of Fitness.Charles H. Pence & Grant Ramsey - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):851-881.
Three Kinds of New Mechanism.Arnon Levy - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (1):99-114.

View all 23 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
What Fitness Can't Be.Andre Ariew - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (3):289 - 301.
The Confusions of Fitness.André Ariew & R. C. Lewontin - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2):347-363.
Fitness as a Function.Henry Byerly - 1986 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:494 - 501.
The Unity of Fitness.Marshall Abrams - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):750-761.
The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness.Susan K. Mills & John H. Beatty - 1979 - Philosophy of Science 46 (2):263-286.
Fitness and Function.D. M. Walsh - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (4):553-574.
Fitness and Propensity's Annulment?Marshall Abrams - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (1):115-130.
A Defense of Propensity Interpretations of Fitness.Robert C. Richardson & Richard M. Burian - 1992 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:349 - 362.
Added to PP index
2010-03-27

Total downloads
114 ( #44,053 of 2,180,553 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #68,339 of 2,180,553 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums