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  1. The Evolution of Ecosystem Phenotypes.Sébastien Ibanez - 2020 - Biological Theory 15 (2):91-106.
    Evolution by natural selection has been extended to several supraorganismic levels, but whether it can apply to ecosystems remains controversial on two main counts. First, local ecosystems are loosely individuated, so that it is unclear how they manifest heredity and fitness. Second, even if they did, the meta-ecosystem formed by this population of local ecosystems will also suffer from a very low degree of cohesion, which will jeopardize any ENS. We suggest a way to overcome both issues, focusing on ecosystem (...)
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  • Kin Selection, Group Selection, and the Varieties of Population Structure.Jonathan Birch - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):259-286.
    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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  • Revising the Superorganism: An Organizational Approach to Complex Eusociality.Mark Canciani, Argyris Arnellos & Alvaro Moreno - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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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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  • 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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  • Kinds of Process and the Levels of Selection.Benjamin Jantzen - 2019 - Synthese 196 (6):2407-2433.
    Most attempts to answer the question of whether populations of groups can undergo natural selection focus on properties of the groups themselves rather than the dynamics of the population of groups. Those approaches to group selection that do emphasize dynamics lack an account of the relevant notion of equivalent dynamics. I show that the theory of ‘dynamical kinds’ I proposed in Jantzen :3617–3646, 2014) can be used as a framework for assessing dynamical equivalence. That theory is based upon the notion (...)
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  • By Genes Alone: A Model Selectionist Argument for Genetical Explanations of Cooperation in Non-Human Organisms.Armin Schulz - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):951-967.
    I distinguish two versions of kin selection theory—a purely genetic version and a version that also appeals to cultural forms of cooperation —and present an argument in favor of using the former when it comes to accounting for the evolution of cooperation in non-human organisms. Specifically, I first show that both GKST and WKST are equally mathematically coherent—they can both be derived from the Price equation—but not necessarily equally empirically plausible, as they are based on different assumptions about the inheritance (...)
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  • Evolution is About Populations, But Its Causes are About Individuals.Pierrick Bourrat - 2019 - Biological Theory 14 (4):254-266.
    There is a tension between, on the one hand, the view that natural selection refers to individual-level causes, and on the other hand, the view that it refers to a population-level cause. In this article, I make the case for the individual-level cause view. I respond to recent claims made by McLoone that the individual-level cause view is inconsistent. I show that if one were to follow his arguments, any causal claim in any context would have to be regarded as (...)
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  • Some Criticism of the Contextual Approach, and a Few Proposals.Brian McLoone - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (2):116-124.
    The contextual approach is a prominent framework for thinking about group selection. Here, I highlight ambiguity about what the contextual approach is. Then, I discuss problematic entailments the contextual approach has for what processes count as group selection—entailments more troublesome than typically noted. However, Sober and Wilson’s version of the Price approach, which is the main alternative to the contextual approach, is problematic too: it leads to an underappreciated paradox called the vanishing selection problem and thereby generates the wrong qualitative (...)
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  • Transitions in Evolution: A Formal Analysis.Pierrick Bourrat - forthcoming - Synthese.
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  • The Burden of Proof for a Cultural Group Selection Account.Pat Barclay & Daniel Brian Krupp - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
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  • Emergent Group Traits, Reproduction, and Levels of Selection.Samir Okasha - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (3):268-269.
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  • Distinguishing Natural Selection From Other Evolutionary Processes in the Evolution of Altruism.Pierrick Bourrat - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (4):311-321.
    Altruism is one of the most studied topics in theoretical evolutionary biology. The debate surrounding the evolution of altruism has generally focused on the conditions under which altruism can evolve and whether it is better explained by kin selection or multilevel selection. This debate has occupied the forefront of the stage and left behind a number of equally important questions. One of them, which is the subject of this article, is whether the word “selection” in “kin selection” and “multilevel selection” (...)
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