Drift and evolutionary forces: scrutinizing the Newtonian analogy

Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (3):397-410 (2016)
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Abstract

This article analyzes the view of evolutionary theory as a theory of forces. The analogy with Newtonian mechanics has been challenged due to the alleged mismatch between drift and the other evolutionary forces. Since genetic drift has no direction several authors tried to protect its status as a force: denying its lack of directionality, extending the notion of force and looking for a force in physics which also lacks of direction. I analyse these approaches, and although this strategy finally succeeds, this discussion overlooks the crucial point on the debate between causalists and statisticalists: the causal status of evolutionary theory.

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Victor J. Luque
University of Valencia

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