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Evolution and the Levels of Selection

Oxford University Press (2006)

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  1. Scientific Realism, the Semantic View and Evolutionary Biology.Fabio Sterpetti - 2016 - In Emiliano Ippoliti, Fabio Sterpetti & Thomas Nickles (eds.), Models and Inferences in Science. Springer. pp. 55-76.
    The semantic view of theories is normally considered to be an ac-count of theories congenial to Scientific Realism. Recently, it has been argued that Ontic Structural Realism could be fruitfully applied, in combination with the semantic view, to some of the philosophical issues peculiarly related to bi-ology. Given the central role that models have in the semantic view, and the relevance that mathematics has in the definition of the concept of model, the fo-cus will be on population genetics, which is (...)
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  • Kinds of Biological Individuals: Sortals, Projectibility, and Selection.DiFrisco James - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):845-875.
    Individuality is an important concept in biology, yet there are many non-equivalent criteria of individuality expressed in different kinds of biological individuals. This article evaluates these different kinds in terms of their capacity to support explanatory generalizations over the systems they individuate. Viewing the problem of individuality from this perspective promotes a splitting strategy in which different kinds make different epistemic trade-offs that suit them for different explanatory roles. I argue that evolutionary individuals, interpreted as forming a functional kind, face (...)
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  • What is a Philosophical Stance? Paradigms, Policies and Perspectives.Sandy C. Boucher - 2014 - Synthese 191 (10):2315-2332.
    Since van Fraassen first put forward the suggestive idea that many philosophical positions should be construed as ‘stances’ rather than factual beliefs, there have been various attempts to spell out precisely what a philosophical stance might be, and on what basis one should be adopted. In this paper I defend a particular account of stances, the view that they are pragmatically justified perspectives or ways of seeing the world, and compare it to some other accounts that have been offered. In (...)
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  • Pluralism in Evolutionary Controversies: Styles and Averaging Strategies in Hierarchical Selection Theories.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, Michael J. Wade & Christopher C. Dimond - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (6):957-979.
    Two controversies exist regarding the appropriate characterization of hierarchical and adaptive evolution in natural populations. In biology, there is the Wright-Fisher controversy over the relative roles of random genetic drift, natural selection, population structure, and interdemic selection in adaptive evolution begun by Sewall Wright and Ronald Aylmer Fisher. There is also the Units of Selection debate, spanning both the biological and the philosophical literature and including the impassioned group-selection debate. Why do these two discourses exist separately, and interact relatively little? (...)
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  • Population Pluralism and Natural Selection.Jacob Stegenga - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-29.
    I defend a radical interpretation of biological populations—what I call population pluralism—which holds that there are many ways that a particular grouping of individuals can be related such that the grouping satisfies the conditions necessary for those individuals to evolve together. More constraining accounts of biological populations face empirical counter-examples and conceptual difficulties. One of the most intuitive and frequently employed conditions, causal connectivity—itself beset with numerous difficulties—is best construed by considering the relevant causal relations as ‘thick’ causal concepts. I (...)
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  • Modern Synthesis is the Light of Microbial Genomics.Austin Booth, Carlos Mariscal & W. Ford Doolittle - 2016 - Annual Reviews of Microbiology 70 (1):279-297.
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  • Is ‘Assisted Reproduction’ Reproduction?Monika Piotrowska - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (270):138-157.
    With an increasing number of ways to ‘assist’ reproduction, some bioethicists have started to wonder what it takes to become a genetic parent. It is widely agreed that sharing genes is not enough to substantiate the parent–offspring relation, but what is? Without a better understanding of the concept of reproduction, our thinking about parent–offspring relations and the ethical issues surrounding them risk being unprincipled. Here, I address that problem by offering a principled account of reproduction—the Overlap, Development and Persistence account—which (...)
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  • The Extended (Evolutionary) Synthesis Debate: Where Science Meets Philosophy.Massimo Pigliucci & Leonard Finkelman - 2015 - BioScience 64 (6):511-516.
    Recent debates between proponents of the modern evolutionary synthesis (the standard model in evolutionary biology) and those of a possible extended synthesis are a good example of the fascinating tangle among empirical, theoretical, and conceptual or philosophical matters that is the practice of evolutionary biology. In this essay, we briefly discuss two case studies from this debate, highlighting the relevance of philosophical thinking to evolutionary biologists in the hope of spurring further constructive cross-pollination between the two fields.
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  • Hierarchy Theory of Evolution and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis: Some Epistemic Bridges, Some Conceptual Rifts.Alejandro Fábregas-Tejeda & Francisco Vergara-Silva - 2018 - Evolutionary Biology 45 (2):127-139.
    Contemporary evolutionary biology comprises a plural landscape of multiple co-existent conceptual frameworks and strenuous voices that disagree on the nature and scope of evolutionary theory. Since the mid-eighties, some of these conceptual frameworks have denounced the ontologies of the Modern Synthesis and of the updated Standard Theory of Evolution as unfinished or even flawed. In this paper, we analyze and compare two of those conceptual frameworks, namely Niles Eldredge’s Hierarchy Theory of Evolution (with its extended ontology of evolutionary entities) and (...)
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  • Pathways to Pluralism About Biological Individuality.Beckett Sterner - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):609-628.
    What are the prospects for a monistic view of biological individuality given the multiple epistemic roles the concept must satisfy? In this paper, I examine the epistemic adequacy of two recent accounts based on the capacity to undergo natural selection. One is from Ellen Clarke, and the other is by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Clarke’s position reflects a strong monism, in that she aims to characterize individuality in purely functional terms and refrains from privileging any specific material properties as important in their (...)
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  • A Conceptual and Empirical Framework for the Social Distribution of Cognition: The Case of Memory.Amanda Barnier, John Sutton, Celia Harris & Robert A. Wilson - 2008 - Cognitive Systems Research 9 (1):33-51.
    In this paper, we aim to show that the framework of embedded, distributed, or extended cognition offers new perspectives on social cognition by applying it to one specific domain: the psychology of memory. In making our case, first we specify some key social dimensions of cognitive distribution and some basic distinctions between memory cases, and then describe stronger and weaker versions of distributed remembering in the general distributed cognition framework. Next, we examine studies of social influences on memory in cognitive (...)
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  • Constreñimientos, variación evolutiva y planos corporales.Maximiliano Martínez & Eugenio Andrade - 2014 - Signos Filosóficos 16 (31).
    En este artículo defendemos la necesidad de reformular los conceptos de constreñimiento del desarrollo y variación considerando trabajos empíricos y teóricos recientes, principalmente sobre genes Hox, estado filotípico y morfogénesis. Argumentamos que la noción de variación isotrópica e ilimitada asociada con las teorías darwinianas y neodarwinianas deben ser reconsideradas a la luz de los aportes recientes de la biología del desarrollo. En esta visión, la variación estaría constreñida y sesgada. Esta reforma del concepto de variación coincide con la reformulación del (...)
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  • The Inclusive Fitness Controversy: Finding a Way Forward.Jonathan Birch - 2017 - Royal Society Open Science 4:170335.
    This paper attempts to reconcile critics and defenders of inclusive fitness by constructing a synthesis that does justice to the insights of both. I argue that criticisms of the regression-based version of Hamilton’s rule, although they undermine its use for predictive purposes, do not undermine its use as an organizing framework for social evolution research. I argue that the assumptions underlying the concept of inclusive fitness, conceived as a causal property of an individual organism, are unlikely to be exactly true (...)
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  • Varieties of Population Structure and the Levels of Selection.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (1):25-50.
    Group-structured populations, of the kind prominent in discussions of multilevel selection, are contrasted with ‘neighbor-structured’ populations. I argue that it is a necessary condition on multilevel description of a selection process that there should be a nonarbitrary division of the population into equivalence classes (or an approximation to this situation). The discussion is focused via comparisons between two famous problem cases involving group structure (altruism and heterozygote advantage) and two neighbor-structured cases that resemble them. Conclusions are also drawn about the (...)
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  • Multi-Level Selection and the Explanatory Value of Mathematical Decompositions.Christopher Clarke - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4):1025-1055.
    Do multi-level selection explanations of the evolution of social traits deepen the understanding provided by single-level explanations? Central to the former is a mathematical theorem, the multi-level Price decomposition. I build a framework through which to understand the explanatory role of such non-empirical decompositions in scientific practice. Applying this general framework to the present case places two tasks on the agenda. The first task is to distinguish the various ways of suppressing within-collective variation in fitness, and moreover to evaluate their (...)
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  • Cooperation, Culture, and Conflict.Kim Sterelny - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):31-58.
    In this article I develop a big picture of the evolution of human cooperation, and contrast it to an alternative based on group selection. The crucial claim is that hominin history has seen two major transitions in cooperation, and hence poses two deep puzzles about the origins and stability of cooperation. The first is the transition from great ape social lives to the lives of Pleistocene cooperative foragers; the second is the stability of the social contract through the early Holocene (...)
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  • Kin Selection, Group Selection, and the Varieties of Population Structure.Jonathan Birch - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx028.
    Various results show the ‘formal equivalence’ of kin and group selectionist methodologies, but this does not preclude there being a real and useful distinction between kin and group selection processes. I distinguish individual and population-centred approaches to drawing such a distinction, and I proceed to develop the latter. On the account I advance, the differences between kin and group selection are differences of degree in the structural properties of populations. A spatial metaphor provides a useful framework for thinking about these (...)
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  • Okasha’s Evolution and the Levels of Selection: Toward a Broader Conception of Theoretical Biology. [REVIEW]Massimo Pigliucci - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):405-415.
    The debate about the levels of selection has been one of the most controversial both in evolutionary biology and in philosophy of science. Okasha’s book makes the sort of contribution that simply will not be able to be ignored by anyone interested in this field for many years to come. However, my interest here is in highlighting some examples of how Okasha goes about discussing his material to suggest that his book is part of an increasingly interesting trend that sees (...)
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  • Immunity and the Emergence of Individuality.Thomas Pradeu - 2013 - In Philippe Huneman & Frédéric Bouchard (eds.), From Groups to Individuals. Evolution and Emerging Individuality. MIT Press. pp. 77.
    Since, it has become clear that individuality is not to be considered as a given, but rather as something which needs to be explained. How has individuality emerged through evolution, and how has it subsequently been maintained? In particular, why is it that multicellular organisms appeared and persisted, despite the obvious interest of each cell of favoring its own replication? Several biologists see the immune system as one of the key components for explaining the maintenance of multicellular organisms’ individuality. Indeed, (...)
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  • The Nature of Programmed Cell Death.Pierre M. Durand & Grant Ramsey - 2019 - Biological Theory 14 (1):30-41.
    In multicellular organisms, cells are frequently programmed to die. This makes good sense: cells that fail to, or are no longer playing important roles are eliminated. From the cell’s perspective, this also makes sense, since somatic cells in multicellular organisms require the cooperation of clonal relatives. In unicellular organisms, however, programmed cell death poses a difficult and unresolved evolutionary problem. The empirical evidence for PCD in diverse microbial taxa has spurred debates about what precisely PCD means in the case of (...)
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  • The Evolution of Failure: Explaining Cancer as an Evolutionary Process.Christopher Lean & Anya Plutynski - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (1):39-57.
    One of the major developments in cancer research in recent years has been the construction of models that treat cancer as a cellular population subject to natural selection. We expand on this idea, drawing upon multilevel selection theory. Cancer is best understood in our view from a multilevel perspective, as both a by-product of selection at other levels of organization, and as subject to selection at several levels of organization. Cancer is a by-product in two senses. First, cancer cells co-opt (...)
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  • Individuals, Groups, Fitness and Utility: Multi-Level Selection Meets Social Choice Theory.Samir Okasha - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):561-584.
    In models of multi-level selection, the property of Darwinian fitness is attributed to entities at more than one level of the biological hierarchy, e.g. individuals and groups. However, the relation between individual and group fitness is a controversial matter. Theorists disagree about whether group fitness should always, or ever, be defined as total (or average) individual fitness. This paper tries to shed light on the issue by drawing on work in social choice theory, and pursuing an analogy between fitness and (...)
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  • Symbiosis, Lateral Function Transfer and the (Many) Saplings of Life.Frédéric Bouchard - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):623-641.
    One of intuitions driving the acceptance of a neat structured tree of life is the assumption that organisms and the lineages they form have somewhat stable spatial and temporal boundaries. The phenomenon of symbiosis shows us that such ‘fixist’ assumptions does not correspond to how the natural world actually works. The implications of lateral gene transfer (LGT) have been discussed elsewhere; I wish to stress a related point. I will focus on lateral function transfer (LFT) and will argue, using examples (...)
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  • Selection Never Dominates Drift.Hayley Clatterbuck, Elliott Sober & Richard Lewontin - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (4):577-592.
    The probability that the fitter of two alleles will increase in frequency in a population goes up as the product of N (the effective population size) and s (the selection coefficient) increases. Discovering the distribution of values for this product across different alleles in different populations is a very important biological task. However, biologists often use the product Ns to define a different concept; they say that drift “dominates” selection or that drift is “stronger than” selection when Ns is much (...)
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  • Realism, Conventionalism, and Causal Decomposition in Units of Selection: Reflections on Samir Okasha’s Evolution and the Levels of Selection.Elliott Sober - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):221-231.
    I discuss two subjects in Samir Okasha’s excellent book, Evolution and the Levels of Selection. In consonance with Okasha’s critique of the conventionalist view of the units of selection problem, I argue that conventionalists have not attended to what realists mean by group, individual, and genic selection. In connection with Okasha’s discussion of the Price equation and contextual analysis, I discuss whether the existence of these two quantitative frameworks is a challenge to realism.
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  • Which Comes First in Major Transitions: The Behavioral Chicken, or the Evolutionary Egg?Michael Trestman - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (1):48 - 55.
    This paper takes a close look at the role of behavior in the “major transitions” in evolution—events during which inheritance and development, and therefore the process of adaptation by natural selection, are reorganized at a new level of compositional hierarchy—and at the requirements for sufficiently explaining these important events in the history of life. I argue that behavior played a crucial role in driving at least some of the major transitions. Because behavioral interactions can become stably organized in novel ways (...)
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  • Plant Individuality: A Solution to the Demographer’s Dilemma.Ellen Clarke - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):321-361.
    The problem of plant individuality is something which has vexed botanists throughout the ages, with fashion swinging back and forth from treating plants as communities of individuals (Darwin 1800 ; Braun and Stone 1853 ; Münch 1938 ) to treating them as organisms in their own right, and although the latter view has dominated mainstream thought most recently (Harper 1977 ; Cook 1985 ; Ariew and Lewontin 2004 ), a lively debate conducted mostly in Scandinavian journals proves that the issues (...)
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  • Efficient Social Contracts and Group Selection.Simon M. Huttegger & Rory Smead - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (4):517-531.
    We consider the Stag Hunt in terms of Maynard Smith’s famous Haystack model. In the Stag Hunt, contrary to the Prisoner’s Dilemma, there is a cooperative equilibrium besides the equilibrium where every player defects. This implies that in the Haystack model, where a population is partitioned into groups, groups playing the cooperative equilibrium tend to grow faster than those at the non-cooperative equilibrium. We determine under what conditions this leads to the takeover of the population by cooperators. Moreover, we compare (...)
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  • Books Received. [REVIEW][author unknown] - 2008 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (1):127-137.
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  • Evolutionary Epistemology and the Aim of Science.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):209-225.
    Both Popper and van Fraassen have used evolutionary analogies to defend their views on the aim of science, although these are diametrically opposed. By employing Price's equation in an illustrative capacity, this paper considers which view is better supported. It shows that even if our observations and experimental results are reliable, an evolutionary analogy fails to demonstrate why conjecture and refutation should result in: (1) the isolation of true theories; (2) successive generations of theories of increasing truth-likeness; (3) empirically adequate (...)
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  • The Series, the Network, and the Tree: Changing Metaphors of Order in Nature.Olivier Rieppel - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):475-496.
    The history of biological systematics documents a continuing tension between classifications in terms of nested hierarchies congruent with branching diagrams (the ‘Tree of Life’) versus reticulated relations. The recognition of conflicting character distribution led to the dissolution of the scala naturae into reticulated systems, which were then transformed into phylogenetic trees by the addition of a vertical axis. The cladistic revolution in systematics resulted in a representation of phylogeny as a strictly bifurcating pattern (cladogram). Due to the ubiquity of character (...)
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  • Schaffner’s Model of Theory Reduction: Critique and Reconstruction.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (2):119-142.
    Schaffner’s model of theory reduction has played an important role in philosophy of science and philosophy of biology. Here, the model is found to be problematic because of an internal tension. Indeed, standard antireductionist external criticisms concerning reduction functions and laws in biology do not provide a full picture of the limits of Schaffner’s model. However, despite the internal tension, his model usefully highlights the importance of regulative ideals associated with the search for derivational, and embedding, deductive relations among mathematical (...)
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  • Of Human Bonding: An Essay on the Natural History of Agency.Mariam Thalos & Chrisoula Andreou - 2009 - Public Reason 1 (2).
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  • How to Read ‘Heritability’ in the Recipe Approach to Natural Selection.Pierrick Bourrat - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (4):883-903.
    There are two ways evolution by natural selection is conceptualized in the literature. One provides a ‘recipe’ for ENS incorporating three ingredients: variation, differences in fitness, and heritability. The other provides formal equations of evolutionary change and partitions out selection from other causes of evolutionary changes such as transmission biases or drift. When comparing the two approaches there seems to be a tension around the concept of heritability. A recent claim has been made that the recipe approach is flawed and (...)
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  • Levels of Selection Are Artefacts of Different Fitness Temporal Measures.Pierrick Bourrat - 2015 - Ratio 28 (1):40-50.
    In this paper I argue against the claim, recently put forward by some philosophers of biology and evolutionary biologists, that there can be two or more ontologically distinct levels of selection. I show by comparing the fitness of individuals with that of collectives of individuals in the same environment and over the same period of time – as required to decide if one or more levels of selection is acting in a population – that the selection of collectives is a (...)
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  • From Survivors to Replicators: Evolution by Natural Selection Revisited.Pierrick Bourrat - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (4):517-538.
    For evolution by natural selection to occur it is classically admitted that the three ingredients of variation, difference in fitness and heredity are necessary and sufficient. In this paper, I show using simple individual-based models, that evolution by natural selection can occur in populations of entities in which neither heredity nor reproduction are present. Furthermore, I demonstrate by complexifying these models that both reproduction and heredity are predictable Darwinian products (i.e. complex adaptations) of populations initially lacking these two properties but (...)
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  • Levels, Time and Fitness in Evolutionary Transitions in Individuality.Pierrick Bourrat - 2015 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 7 (20150505).
    Yes, fitness is the central concept of evolutionary biology, but it is an elusive concept. Almost everyone who looks at it seriously comes out in a different place.
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  • A Teoria da Dupla Herança E a Evolução da Moralidade.Fábio Portela Lopes de Almeida & Paulo Cesar Coelho Abrantes - 2012 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 16 (1):1-32.
    A darwinian evolutionary approach can contribute to reassess philosophical problems in different fields, including ethics and moral theory. Sociobiology and evolutionary psychology address these issues by presupposing mechanisms such as kin selection and reciprocal altruism. However, these mechanisms can’t account for cooperation in the human species. Dual inheritance theory addresses human cooperation differently, by taking into account the above-mentioned classical biological mechanisms without ignoring, however, relevant knowledge produced by social scientists. According to this approach, human social psychology comprises tribal social (...)
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  • Can Fitness Differences Be a Cause of Evolution?Grant Ramsey - 2013 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 5 (20130604).
    Biological fitness is a foundational concept in the theory of natural selection. Natural selection is often defined in terms of fitness differences as “any consistent difference in fitness (i.e., survival and reproduction) among phenotypically different biological entities” (Futuyma 1998, 349). And in Lewontin’s (1970) classic articulation of the theory of natural selection, he lists fitness differences as one of the necessary conditions for evolution by natural selection to occur. Despite this foundational position of fitness, there remains much debate over the (...)
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  • A Conceptual Taxonomy of Adaptation in Evolutionary Biology.Emanuele Serrelli & Francesca Micol Rossi - manuscript
    The concept of adaptation is employed in many fields such as biology, psychology, cognitive sciences, robotics, social sciences, even literacy and art,1 and its meaning varies quite evidently according to the particular research context in which it is applied. We expect to find a particularly rich catalogue of meanings within evolutionary biology, where adaptation has held a particularly central role since Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859) throughout important epistemological shifts and scientific findings that enriched and diversified the concept. Accordingly, (...)
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  • Darwin’s Ant Problem. Group Selection in the Origin of Species.Mihail-Valentin Cernea - 2017 - Annals of the University of Bucharest - Philosophy Series 66 (1).
    This paper explores two philosophical issues related to Darwin’s treatment of the sterile castes of insects in the Origin of Species. The first aim is to review the scholarly articles on the subjects of Darwin’s acceptance or rejection of natural selection acting at levels above that of the individuals. The second aim is to see whether Darwin’s position on group selection informs in any way contemporary debates on group selection and multilevel selection. The paper arrives at the conclusion that, there (...)
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  • Levels of Selection in Synergy.Alejandro Rosas - 2009 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 28 (2):135-150.
    Individual and group selection are usually conceived as opposed evolutionary processes. Though cases of synergy are occasionally recognized, the evolutionary importance of synergy is largely ignored. However, synergy is the plausible explanation for the evolution of collectives as higher level individuals i.e., collectives acting as adaptive units, e.g., genomes and colonies of social insects. It rests on the suppression of the predictable tendency of evolutionary units to benefit at the expense of other units or of the wholes they contribute to (...)
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  • Using Causal Models to Integrate Proximate and Ultimate Causation.Jun Otsuka - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (1):19-37.
    Ernst Mayr’s classical work on the nature of causation in biology has had a huge influence on biologists as well as philosophers. Although his distinction between proximate and ultimate causation recently came under criticism from those who emphasize the role of development in evolutionary processes, the formal relationship between these two notions remains elusive. Using causal graph theory, this paper offers a unified framework to systematically translate a given “proximate” causal structure into an “ultimate” evolutionary response, and illustrates evolutionary implications (...)
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  • Explanation in Biology: Reduction, Pluralism, and Explanatory Aims.Ingo Brigandt - 2011 - Science & Education 22 (1):69-91.
    This essay analyzes and develops recent views about explanation in biology. Philosophers of biology have parted with the received deductive-nomological model of scientific explanation primarily by attempting to capture actual biological theorizing and practice. This includes an endorsement of different kinds of explanation (e.g., mathematical and causal-mechanistic), a joint study of discovery and explanation, and an abandonment of models of theory reduction in favor of accounts of explanatory reduction. Of particular current interest are philosophical accounts of complex explanations that appeal (...)
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  • The Paradox of Sexual Reproduction and the Levels of Selection: Can Sociobiology Shed a Light?Joachim Dagg - 2012 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 4 (20130604).
    The group selection controversy largely focuses on altruism (e.g., Wilson 1983; Lloyd 2001; Shavit 2004; Okasha 2006, 173ff; Borrello 2010; Leigh 2010; Rosas 2010; Hamilton and Dimond in press). Multilevel selection theory is a resolution of this controversy. Whereas kin selection partitions inclusive fitness into direct and indirect components (via influencing the replication of copies of genes in other individuals), multilevel selection considers within-group and between-group components of fitness (Gardner et al. 2011; Lion et al. 2011). Two scenarios of multilevel (...)
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  • Natural Selection and Multi-Level Causation.Maximiliano Martínez & Andrés Moya - 2011 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 3 (20130604).
    In this paper, using a multilevel approach, we defend the positive role of natural selection in the generation of organismal form. Despite the currently widespread opinion that natural selection only plays a negative role in the evolution of form, we argue, in contrast, that the Darwinian factor is a crucial (but not exclusive) factor in morphological organization. Analyzing some classic arguments, we propose incorporating the notion of ‘downward causation’ into the concept of ‘natural selection.’ In our opinion, this kind of (...)
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  • The Price Equation and Extended Inheritance.Heikki Helanterä & Tobias Uller - 2010 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice 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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  • Okasha’s Unintended Argument for Toolbox Theorizing.C. Kenneth Waters - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):232-240.
    Okasha claims at the outset of his book "Evolution and the Levels of Selection" (2006) that the Price equation lays bare the fundamentals underlying all selection phenomena. However, the thoroughness of his subsequent analysis of multi-level selection theories leads him to abandon his fundamentalist commitments. At critical points he invokes cost benefit analyses that sometimes favors the Price approach and sometimes the contextual approach, sometimes favors MLS1 and sometimes MLS2. And although he doesn’t acknowledge it, even the Price approach breaks (...)
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  • Gould’s Replay Revisited.Derek D. Turner - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (1):65-79.
    This paper develops a critical response to John Beatty’s recent (2006) engagement with Stephen Jay Gould’s claim that evolutionary history is contingent. Beatty identifies two senses of contingency in Gould’s work: an unpredictability sense and a causal dependence sense. He denies that Gould associates contingency with stochastic phenomena, such as drift. In reply to Beatty, this paper develops two main claims. The first is an interpretive claim: Gould really thinks of contingency has having to do with stochastic effects at the (...)
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  • Moving Past the Levels of Selection Debates: Review of Samir Okasha’s Evolution and the Levels of Selection. [REVIEW]Stephen M. Downes - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):417-423.
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