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  1.  67
    More on How and Why: Cause and Effect in Biology Revisited.Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee, William Hoppitt & Tobias Uller - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):719-745.
    In 1961, Ernst Mayr published a highly influential article on the nature of causation in biology, in which he distinguished between proximate and ultimate causes. Mayr argued that proximate causes (e.g. physiological factors) and ultimate causes (e.g. natural selection) addressed distinct ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions and were not competing alternatives. That distinction retains explanatory value today. However, the adoption of Mayr’s heuristic led to the widespread belief that ontogenetic processes are irrelevant to evolutionary questions, a belief that has (1) hindered (...)
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  2.  59
    Three Epigenetic Information Channels and Their Different Roles in Evolution.Nicholas Shea, Ido Pen & Tobias Uller - 2011 - Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24:1178-87.
    There is increasing evidence for epigenetically mediated transgenerational inheritance across taxa. However, the evolutionary implications of such alternative mechanisms of inheritance remain unclear. Herein, we show that epigenetic mechanisms can serve two fundamentally different functions in transgenerational inheritance: (i) selection-based effects, which carry adaptive information in virtue of selection over many generations of reliable transmission; and (ii) detection-based effects, which are a transgenerational form of adaptive phenotypic plasticity. The two functions interact differently with a third form of epigenetic information transmission, (...)
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  3.  4
    Niche Construction and Conceptual Change in Evolutionary Biology.Tobias Uller & Heikki Helanterä - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The theoretical status of ‘niche construction’ in evolution is intensely debated. Here we substantiate the reasons for different interpretations. We consider two concepts of niche construction brought to bear on evolutionary theory; one that emphasizes how niche construction contributes to selection and another that emphasizes how it contributes to development and inheritance. We explain the rationale for claims that selective and developmental niche construction motivate conceptual change in evolutionary biology and the logic of those who reject these claims. Our analysis (...)
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  4.  30
    More on How and Why: A Response to Commentaries.Kevin N. Laland, John Odling-Smee, William Hoppitt & Tobias Uller - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):793-810.
    We are grateful to the commentators for taking the time to respond to our article. Too many interesting and important points have been raised for us to tackle them all in this response, and so in the below we have sought to draw out the major themes. These include problems with both the term ‘ultimate causation’ and the proximate-ultimate causation dichotomy more generally, clarification of the meaning of reciprocal causation, discussion of issues related to the nature of development and phenotypic (...)
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  5.  28
    The Price Equation and Extended Inheritance.Tobias Uller - 2010 - Philosophy & Theory in Biology 2 (20130604).
    The presence of various mechanisms of non-genetic inheritance is one of the main problems for current evolutionary theory according to several critics. Sufficient empirical and conceptual reasons exist to take this claim seriously, but there is little consensus on the implications of multiple inheritance systems for evolutionary processes. Here we use the Price Equation as a starting point for a discussion of the differences between four recently proposed categories of inheritance systems; genetic, epigenetic, behavioral and symbolic. Specifically, we address how (...)
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  6.  6
    The Price Equation and Extended Inheritance.Heikki Helanterä & Tobias Uller - 2010 - Philosophy and Theory in Biology 2 (20160629).
  7.  10
    Human Mate Choice and the Wedding Ring Effect.Tobias Uller & L. Christoffer Johansson - 2003 - Human Nature 14 (3):267-276.
    Individuals are often restricted to indirect cues when assessing the mate value of a potential partner. Females of some species have been shown to copy each other’s choice; in other words, the probability of a female choosing a particular male increases if he has already been chosen by other females. Recently it has been suggested that mate-choice copying could be an important aspect of human mate choice as well. We tested one of the hypotheses, the so-called wedding ring effect—that women (...)
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  8.  22
    The Information Value of Non-Genetic Inheritance in Plants and Animals.Sinead English, Ido Pen, Nicholas Shea & Tobias Uller - 2015 - PLoS ONE 10 (1):e0116996.
    Parents influence the development of their offspring in many ways beyond the transmission of DNA. This includes transfer of epigenetic states, nutrients, antibodies and hormones, and behavioural interactions after birth. While the evolutionary consequences of such nongenetic inheritance are increasingly well understood, less is known about how inheritance mechanisms evolve. Here, we present a simple but versatile model to explore the adaptive evolution of non-genetic inheritance. Our model is based on a switch mechanism that produces alternative phenotypes in response to (...)
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  9.  17
    Towards an Evolutionary Developmental Biology of Cooperation?Tobias Uller & Heikki Helanterä - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 48:267-271.
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