Why Genic and Multilevel Selection Theories Are Here to Stay

Philosophy of Science 72 (2):311-333 (2005)
C. Kenneth Waters
University of Calgary
I clarify the difference between pluralist and monist interpretations of levels of selection disputes. Lloyd has challenged my claim that a plurality of models correctly accounts for situations such as maintenance of the sickle-cell trait, and I revisit this example to show that competing theories don’t disagree about the existence of ‘high-level’ or ‘lowlevel’ causes; rather, they parse these causes differently. Applying Woodward’s theory of causation, I analyze Sober’s distinction between ‘selection of’ versus ‘selection for’. My analysis shows that this distinction separates true causes from pseudocauses, but it also reveals that the distinction is irrelevant to the levels debate; it makes no sense to say true causes are at higher levels and not lower levels. The levels debate is not about separating real causes from pseudocauses; it’s about finding useful ways to parse and disentangle causes.
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DOI 10.1086/432426
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Gestalt-Switching and the Evolutionary Transitions.P. Godfrey-Smith & B. Kerr - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):205-222.
Okasha's Unintended Argument for Toolbox Theorizing.C. Kenneth Waters - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):232-240.

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