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  1. 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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  • Transitions in Evolution: A Formal Analysis.Pierrick Bourrat - forthcoming - Synthese.
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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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  • Gestalt-Switching and the Evolutionary Transitions.P. Godfrey-Smith & B. Kerr - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):205-222.
    Formal methods developed for modeling levels of selection problems have recently been applied to the investigation of major evolutionary transitions. We discuss two new tools of this kind. First, the ‘near-variant test’ can be used to compare the causal adequacy of predictively equivalent representations. Second, ‘state-variable gestalt-switching’ can be used to gain a useful dual perspective on evolutionary processes that involve both higher and lower level populations.
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  • Why Reciprocal Altruism is Not a Kind of Group Selection.Grant Ramsey & Robert Brandon - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):385-400.
    Reciprocal altruism was originally formulated in terms of individual selection and most theorists continue to view it in this way. However, this interpretation of reciprocal altruism has been challenged by Sober and Wilson (1998). They argue that reciprocal altruism (as well as all other forms of altruism) evolves by the process of group selection. In this paper, we argue that the original interpretation of reciprocal altruism is the correct one. We accomplish this by arguing that if fitness attaches to (at (...)
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  • The Relation Between Kin and Multilevel Selection: An Approach Using Causal Graphs.Samir Okasha - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (2):435-470.
    Kin selection and multilevel selection are alternative approaches for studying the evolution of social behaviour, the relation between which has long been a source of controversy. Many recent theorists regard the two approaches as ultimately equivalent, on the grounds that gene frequency change can be correctly expressed using either. However, this shows only that the two are formally equivalent, not that they offer equally good causal representations of the evolutionary process. This article articulates the notion of an ‘adequate causal representation’ (...)
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  • Multicellular Individuality: The Case of Bacteria.Rafael Ventura - 2019 - Biological Theory 14 (2):131-140.
    Recent attention to complex group-level behavior amongst bacteria has led some to conceive of multicellular clusters of bacteria as individuals. In this article, I assess these recent claims by first drawing a distinction between two concepts of individuality: physiological and evolutionary. I then survey cases that are representative of three different modes of growth: myxobacteria, Bacillus subtilis, and cyanobacteria. A closer look at these cases indicates that multicellular individuality among bacteria is remarkably complex. Physiologically, the three cases of multicellular clusters (...)
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  • Some Criticism of the Contextual Approach, and a Few Proposals.Brian McLoone - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (2):116-124.
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  • The Current Status of the Philosophy of Biology.Peter Takacs & Michael Ruse - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (1):5-48.
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  • Local Interaction, Multilevel Selection, and Evolutionary Transitions.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2006 - Biological Theory 1 (4):372-380.
    Group-structured and neighbor-structured populations are compared, especially in relation to multilevel selection theory and evolutionary transitions. I argue that purely neighborstructured populations, which can feature the evolution of altruism, are not properly described in multilevel terms. The ability to “gestalt switch” between individualist and multilevel frameworks is then linked to the investigation of “major transitions” in evolution. Some explanatory concepts are naturally linked to one framework or the other, but a full understanding is best achieved via the use of both.
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  • Group Selection and Group Adaptation During a Major Evolutionary Transition: Insights From the Evolution of Multicellularity in the Volvocine Algae.Deborah E. Shelton & Richard E. Michod - 2014 - Biological Theory 9 (4):452-469.
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  • Multispecies individuals.Pierrick Bourrat & Paul E. Griffiths - 2018 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 40 (2):33.
    We assess the arguments for recognising functionally integrated multispecies consortia as genuine biological individuals, including cases of so-called ‘holobionts’. We provide two examples in which the same core biochemical processes that sustain life are distributed across a consortium of individuals of different species. Although the same chemistry features in both examples, proponents of the holobiont as unit of evolution would recognize one of the two cases as a multispecies individual whilst they would consider the other as a compelling case of (...)
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  • Sewall Wright, Shifting Balance Theory, and the Hardening of the Modern Synthesis.Yoichi Ishida - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 61:1-10.
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  • Levels of Selection in Biofilms: Multispecies Biofilms Are Not Evolutionary Individuals.Ellen Clarke - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (2):191-212.
    Microbes are generally thought of as unicellular organisms, but we know that many microbes live as parts of biofilms—complex, surface-attached microbial communities numbering millions of cells. Some authors have recently argued in favour of reconceiving biofilms as biological entities in their own right. In particular, some have claimed that multispecies biofilms are evolutionary individuals : 10126–10132 2015). Against this view, I defend the conservative consensus that selection acts primarily upon microbial cells.
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  • Social Evolution and Strategic Thinking.Johannes Martens - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (5):697-715.
    Thinking about organisms as if they were rational agents which could choose their own phenotypic traits according to their fitness values is a common heuristic in the field of evolutionary theory. In a 1998 paper, however, Elliott Sober has emphasized several alleged shortcomings of this kind of analogical reasoning when applied to the analysis of social behaviors. According to him, the main flaw of this heuristic is that it proves to be a misleading tool when it is used for predicting (...)
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