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  1. Against Lawton’s Contingency Thesis; or, Why the Reported Demise of Community Ecology Is Greatly Exaggerated.Stefan Linquist - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1104-1115.
    Lawton’s contingency thesis states that there are no useful generalizations at the level of ecological communities because these systems are especially prone to contingent historical events. I argue that this influential thesis has been grounded on the wrong kind of evidence. CT is best understood in Woodward’s terms as a claim about the instability of certain causal dependencies across different background conditions. A recent distinction between evolution and ecology reveals what an adequate test of Lawton’s thesis would look like. To (...)
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  • Do transposable elements have functions of their very own?Justin Garson - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (3):1-18.
    Philosophers who study the problem of biological function often begin their deliberations by reflecting on the functions of parts of animals, or the behavior of animals. Applying theories of biological function to unconventional or borderline cases can help us to better evaluate and refine those theories. This is the case when we consider whether parts of transposable elements —bits of “selfish” DNA that move about within a host genome—have functions of their own, that is, whether the parts of TEs have (...)
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  • All about levels: transposable elements as selfish DNAs and drivers of evolution.W. Ford Doolittle - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (4):1-20.
    The origin and prevalence of transposable elements may best be understood as resulting from “selfish” evolutionary processes at the within-genome level, with relevant populations being all members of the same TE family or all potentially mobile DNAs in a species. But the maintenance of families of TEs as evolutionary drivers, if taken as a consequence of selection, might be better understood as a consequence of selection at the level of species or higher, with the relevant populations being species or ecosystems (...)
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