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  1. One Equation to Rule Them All: A Philosophical Analysis of the Price Equation.Victor Luque - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (1):97-125.
    This paper provides a philosophical analysis of the Price equation and its role in evolutionary theory. Traditional models in population genetics postulate simplifying assumptions in order to make the models mathematically tractable. On the contrary, the Price equation implies a very specific way of theorizing, starting with assumptions that we think are true and then deriving from them the mathematical rules of the system. I argue that the Price equation is a generalization-sketch, whose main purpose is to provide a unifying (...)
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  • Ontology, Causality, and Methodology of Evolutionary Research Programs.Jun Otsuka - unknown
    Scientific conflicts often stem from differences in the conceptual framework through which scientists view and understand their own field. In this chapter, I analyze the ontological and methodological assumptions of three traditions in evolutionary biology, namely, Ernst Mayr’s population thinking, the gene-centered view of the Modern Syn thesis, and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. Each of these frameworks presupposes a different account of "evolutionary causes," and this discrepancy prevents mutual understanding and objective evaluation in the recent contention surrounding the EES. From (...)
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  • Causal Foundations of Evolutionary Genetics.Jun Otsuka - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):247-269.
    The causal nature of evolution is one of the central topics in the philosophy of biology. The issue concerns whether equations used in evolutionary genetics point to some causal processes or purely phenomenological patterns. To address this question the present article builds well-defined causal models that underlie standard equations in evolutionary genetics. These models are based on minimal and biologically plausible hypotheses about selection and reproduction, and generate statistics to predict evolutionary changes. The causal reconstruction of the evolutionary principles shows (...)
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  • The Causal Homology Concept.Jun Otsuka - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1128-1139.
    I propose a new account of homology, according to which homology is a correspondence of developmental mechanisms due to common ancestry, formally defined as an isomorphism of causal graphs over lineages. The semiformal definition highlights the role of homology as a higher-order principle unifying evolutionary models and also provides definite meanings to concepts like constraints, evolvability, and novelty. The novel interpretation of homology suggests a broad perspective that accommodates evolutionary developmental biology and traditional population genetics as distinct but complementary approaches (...)
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  • Causal Foundations of Evolutionary Genetics.Jun Otsuka - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axu039.
    The causal nature of evolution is one of the central topics in the philosophy of biology. The issue concerns whether equations used in evolutionary genetics point to some causal processes or purely phenomenological patterns. To address this question the present article builds well-defined causal models that underlie standard equations in evolutionary genetics. These models are based on minimal and biologically plausible hypotheses about selection and reproduction, and generate statistics to predict evolutionary changes. The causal reconstruction of the evolutionary principles shows (...)
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  • A Critical Review of the Statisticalist Debate.Jun Otsuka - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (4):459-482.
    Over the past decade philosophers of biology have discussed whether evolutionary theory is a causal theory or a phenomenological study of evolution based solely on the statistical features of a population. This article reviews this controversy from three aspects, respectively concerning the assumptions, applications, and explanations of evolutionary theory, with a view to arriving at a definite conclusion in each contention. In so doing I also argue that an implicit methodological assumption shared by both sides of the debate, namely the (...)
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  • Task Allocation and the Logic of Research Questions: How Ants Challenge Human Sociobiology.Ryan Ketcham - 2019 - Biological Theory 14 (1):52-68.
    After biologist Deborah Gordon made a series of experimental discoveries in the 1980s, she argued that a change in terminology regarding the division of labor among castes of specialists was needed. Gordon’s investigations of the interactive effects of ants in colonies led her to believe that the established approach Edward O. Wilson had pioneered was biased in a way that made some alternative candidate adaptive explanations invisible. Gordon argued that this was because the term “division of labor” implied a division (...)
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  • Integrative and Separationist Perspectives: Understanding the Causal Role of Cultural Transmission in Human Language Evolution.Francesco Suman - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (4):246-260.
    Biological evolution and cultural evolution are distinct evolutionary processes; they are apparent also in human language, where both processes contributed in shaping its evolution. However, the nature of the interaction between these two processes is still debated today. It is often claimed that the emergence of modern language was preceded by the evolution of a language-ready brain: the latter is usually intended as a product of biological evolution, while the former is believed to be the consequence of cultural processes. I (...)
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