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  1. Unifying Statistically Autonomous and Mathematical Explanations.Travis L. Holmes - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (3):1-22.
    A subarea of the debate over the nature of evolutionary theory addresses what the nature of the explanations yielded by evolutionary theory are. The statisticalist line is that the general principles of evolutionary theory are not only amenable to a mathematical interpretation but that they need not invoke causes to furnish explanations. Causalists object that construction of these general principles involves crucial causal assumptions. A recent view claims that some biological explanations are statistically autonomous explanations whereby phenomena are accounted for (...)
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  • What Is It Like To Be an Environment? A Semantic and Epistemological Inquiry.Philippe Huneman - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-19.
    In this article, I consider the term “environment” in various claims and models by evolutionists and ecologists. I ask whether “environment” is amenable to a philosophical explication, in the same way some key terms of evolutionary theorizing such as “fitness,” “species,” or more recently “population” have been. I will claim that it cannot. In the first section, I propose a typology of theoretical terms, according to whether they are univocal or equivocal, and whether they have been the object of formal (...)
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  • Mathematical Explanations in Evolutionary Biology or Naturalism? A Challenge for the Statisticalist.Fabio Sterpetti - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-33.
    This article presents a challenge that those philosophers who deny the causal interpretation of explanations provided by population genetics might have to address. Indeed, some philosophers, known as statisticalists, claim that the concept of natural selection is statistical in character and cannot be construed in causal terms. On the contrary, other philosophers, known as causalists, argue against the statistical view and support the causal interpretation of natural selection. The problem I am concerned with here arises for the statisticalists because the (...)
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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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  • W.F.R. Weldon changes his mind.Charles H. Pence - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-20.
    A recent debate over the causal foundations of evolutionary theory pits those who believe that natural selection causally explains long-term, adaptive population change against those who do not. In this paper, I argue that this debate – far from being an invention of several articles in 2002 – dates from our very first engagements with evolution as a quantified, statistical science. Further, when we analyze that history, we see that a pivotal figure in the early use of statistical methodology in (...)
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  • General Solution to All Philosophical Problems With Some Exceptions.Wayde Beasley - forthcoming - north of parallel 40: Numerous uncommitted.
    Philosophy is unsolved. My forthcoming book sets forth the final resolution, with some exceptions, to this 2,500 year crisis. I am currently close to finishing page 983.
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  • Misconceptions, conceptual pluralism, and conceptual toolkits: bringing the philosophy of science to the teaching of evolution.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-23.
    This paper explores how work in the philosophy of science can be used when teaching scientific content to science students and when training future science teachers. I examine the debate on the concept of fitness in biology and in the philosophy of biology to show how conceptual pluralism constitutes a problem for the conceptual change model, and how philosophical work on conceptual clarification can be used to address that problem. The case of fitness exemplifies how the philosophy of science offers (...)
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  • Natural Selection and Drift as Individual-Level Causes of Evolution.Pierrick Bourrat - 2018 - Acta Biotheoretica 66 (3):159-176.
    In this paper I critically evaluate Reisman and Forber’s :1113–1123, 2005) arguments that drift and natural selection are population-level causes of evolution based on what they call the manipulation condition. Although I agree that this condition is an important step for identifying causes for evolutionary change, it is insufficient. Following Woodward, I argue that the invariance of a relationship is another crucial parameter to take into consideration for causal explanations. Starting from Reisman and Forber’s example on drift and after having (...)
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  • Environment as Abstraction.Denis Walsh - forthcoming - Biological Theory:1-12.
    The concept of the environment appears to be indispensably involved in adaptive explanation. Quite what its role is, however, is a matter of some dispute. The environment is customarily viewed as the dual of the organism; a wholly external, discrete, autonomous cause of evolution. On this view, the external environment is the principal cause of the adaptedness of form, and the determinant of what it is to be an adaptation. I argue that this conception of the environment neither adequately explains (...)
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  • Why a Convincing Argument for Causalism Cannot Entirely Eschew Population-Level Properties: Discussion of Otsuka.Brian McLoone - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):11.
    Causalism is the thesis that natural selection can cause evolution. A standard argument for causalism involves showing that a hypothetical intervention on some population-level property that is identified with natural selection will result in evolution. In a pair of articles, one of which recently appeared in the pages of this journal, Jun Otsuka has put forward a quite different argument for causalism. Otsuka attempts to show that natural selection can cause evolution by considering a hypothetical intervention on an individual-level property. (...)
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  • Locating Uncertainty in Stochastic Evolutionary Models: Divergence Time Estimation.Charles H. Pence - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (2):21.
    Philosophers of biology have worked extensively on how we ought best to interpret the probabilities which arise throughout evolutionary theory. In spite of this substantial work, however, much of the debate has remained persistently intractable. I offer the example of Bayesian models of divergence time estimation as a case study in how we might bring further resources from the biological literature to bear on these debates. These models offer us an example in which a number of different sources of uncertainty (...)
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  • Population and Organismal Perspectives on Trait Origins.Brian McLoone - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 83:101288.
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  • Natural Selection and the Reference Grain Problem.Pierrick Bourrat - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 80:1-8.
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  • Tracking Eudaimonia.Paul Bloomfield - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (2).
    A basic challenge to naturalistic moral realism is that, even if moral properties existed, there would be no way to naturalistically represent or track them. Here, the basic structure for a tracking account of moral epistemology is given in empirically respectable terms, based on a eudaimonist conception of morality. The goal is to show how this form of moral realism can be seen as consistent with the details of evolutionary biology as well as being amenable to the most current understanding (...)
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