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Kin Selection: A Philosophical Analysis

Dissertation, University of Cambridge (2013)

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  1. Inventing Temperature: Measurement and Scientific Progress.Hasok Chang - 2004 - Oup Usa.
    In Inventing Temperature, Chang takes a historical and philosophical approach to examine how scientists were able to use scientific method to test the reliability of thermometers; how they measured temperature beyond the reach of thermometers; and how they came to measure the reliability and accuracy of these instruments without a circular reliance on the instruments themselves. Chang discusses simple epistemic and technical questions about these instruments, which in turn lead to more complex issues about the solutions that were developed.
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  • Collective Action in the Fraternal Transitions.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):363-380.
    Inclusive fitness theory was not originally designed to explain the major transitions in evolution, but there is a growing consensus that it has the resources to do so. My aim in this paper is to highlight, in a constructive spirit, the puzzles and challenges that remain. I first consider the distinctive aspects of the cooperative interactions we see within the most complex social groups in nature: multicellular organisms and eusocial insect colonies. I then focus on one aspect in particular: the (...)
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  • Pearson’s Wrong Turning: Against Statistical Measures of Causal Efficacy.Robert Northcott - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):900-912.
    Standard statistical measures of strength of association, although pioneered by Pearson deliberately to be acausal, nowadays are routinely used to measure causal efficacy. But their acausal origins have left them ill suited to this latter purpose. I distinguish between two different conceptions of causal efficacy, and argue that: 1) Both conceptions can be useful 2) The statistical measures only attempt to capture the first of them 3) They are not fully successful even at this 4) An alternative definition more squarely (...)
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  • Readings in Animal Cognition.Dale Jamieson & Marc Bekoff (eds.) - 1996 - MIT Press.
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  • Causes That Make a Difference.C. Kenneth Waters - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (11):551-579.
    Biologists studying complex causal systems typically identify some factors as causes and treat other factors as background conditions. For example, when geneticists explain biological phenomena, they often foreground genes and relegate the cellular milieu to the background. But factors in the milieu are as causally necessary as genes for the production of phenotypic traits, even traits at the molecular level such as amino acid sequences. Gene-centered biology has been criticized on the grounds that because there is parity among causes, the (...)
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  • The Return of the Gene.Kim Sterelny & Philip Kitcher - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (7):339-361.
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  • Function, Selection, and Design.David J. Buller (ed.) - 1999 - State University of New York Press.
    A complete sourcebook for philosophical discussion of the nature of function in biology.
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  • Signals: Evolution, Learning, and Information.Brian Skyrms - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
    Brian Skyrms offers a fascinating demonstration of how fundamental signals are to our world. He uses various scientific tools to investigate how meaning and communication develop. Signals operate in networks of senders and receivers at all levels of life, transmitting and processing information. That is how humans and animals think and interact.
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  • Interventionist Counterfactuals.Rachael Briggs - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):139-166.
    A number of recent authors (Galles and Pearl, Found Sci 3 (1):151–182, 1998; Hiddleston, Noûs 39 (4):232–257, 2005; Halpern, J Artif Intell Res 12:317–337, 2000) advocate a causal modeling semantics for counterfactuals. But the precise logical significance of the causal modeling semantics remains murky. Particularly important, yet particularly under-explored, is its relationship to the similarity-based semantics for counterfactuals developed by Lewis (Counterfactuals. Harvard University Press, 1973b). The causal modeling semantics is both an account of the truth conditions of counterfactuals, and (...)
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  • Why Won't the Group Selection Controversy Go Away?Samir Okasha - 2001 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (1):25-50.
    The group selection controversy is about whether natural selection ever operates at the level of groups, rather than at the level of individual organisms. Traditionally, group selection has been invoked to explain the existence of altruistic behaviour in nature. However, most contemporary evolutionary biologists are highly sceptical of the hypothesis of group selection, which they regard as biologically implausible and not needed to explain the evolution of altruism anyway. But in their recent book, Elliot Sober and David Sloan Wilson [1998] (...)
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  • Explaining Complex Adaptations: A Reply to Sober's 'Reply to Neander'.Karen Neander - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (4):583-587.
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  • Functions: New Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology and Biology.Andre Ariew, Robert Cummins & Mark Perlman (eds.) - 2002 - Oxford University Press.
    But what are functions? Here, 15 leading scholars of philosophy of psychology and philosophy of biology present new essays on functions.
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  • Natural Selection Explanation and Origin Essentialism.Joel Pust - 2001 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):201-220.
    Does natural selection explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do? According to "the Negative View," natural selection does not explain why any individual organism has the traits that it does. According to "the Positive View," natural selection at least sometimes does explain why an individual organism has the traits that it does. In this paper, I argue that recent arguments for the Positive View fail in virtue of running afoul of the doctrine of origin essentialism and I (...)
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  • Molecular Models of Life: Philosophical Papers on Molecular Biology.Sahotra Sarkar - 2004 - Bradford.
    Despite the transformation in biological practice and theory brought about by discoveries in molecular biology, until recently philosophy of biology continued to focus on evolutionary biology. When the Human Genome Project got underway in the late 1980s and early 1990s, philosophers of biology -- unlike historians and social scientists -- had little to add to the debate. In this landmark collection of essays, Sahotra Sarkar broadens the scope of current discussions of the philosophy of biology, viewing molecular biology as a (...)
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  • Natural Selection and History.John Beatty & Eric Cyr Desjardins - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):231-246.
    In “Spandrels,” Gould and Lewontin criticized what they took to be an all-too-common conviction, namely, that adaptation to current environments determines organic form. They stressed instead the importance of history. In this paper, we elaborate upon their concerns by appealing to other writings in which those issues are treated in greater detail. Gould and Lewontin’s combined emphasis on history was three-fold. First, evolution by natural selection does not start from scratch, but always refashions preexisting forms. Second, preexisting forms are refashioned (...)
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  • Alternative Formulations of Multilevel Selection.John Damuth & I. Lorraine Heisler - 1988 - Biology and Philosophy 3 (4):407-430.
    Hierarchical expansions of the theory of natural selection exist in two distinct bodies of thought in evolutionary biology, the group selection and the species selection traditions. Both traditions share the point of view that the principles of natural selection apply at levels of biological organization above the level of the individual organism. This leads them both to considermultilevel selection situations, where selection is occurring simultaneously at more than one level. Impeding unification of the theoretical approaches of the multilevel selection traditions (...)
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  • Causation in Biology: Stability, Specificity, and the Choice of Levels of Explanation.James Woodward - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):287-318.
    This paper attempts to elucidate three characteristics of causal relationships that are important in biological contexts. Stability has to do with whether a causal relationship continues to hold under changes in background conditions. Proportionality has to do with whether changes in the state of the cause “line up” in the right way with changes in the state of the effect and with whether the cause and effect are characterized in a way that contains irrelevant detail. Specificity is connected both to (...)
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  • Pluralism, Entwinement, and the Levels of Selection.Robert A. Wilson - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (3):531-552.
    This paper distinguishes and critiques several forms of pluralism about the levels of selection, and introduces a novel way of thinking about the biological properties and processes typically conceptualized in terms of distinct levels. In particular, "levels" should be thought of as being entwined or fused. Since the pluralism discussed is held by divergent theorists, the argument has implications for many positions in the debate over the units of selection. And since the key points on which the paper turns apply (...)
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  • Social Evolution and Strategic Thinking.Johannes Martens - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (5):697-715.
    Thinking about organisms as if they were rational agents which could choose their own phenotypic traits according to their fitness values is a common heuristic in the field of evolutionary theory. In a 1998 paper, however, Elliott Sober has emphasized several alleged shortcomings of this kind of analogical reasoning when applied to the analysis of social behaviors. According to him, the main flaw of this heuristic is that it proves to be a misleading tool when it is used for predicting (...)
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  • Individualist and Multi-Level Perspectives on Selection in Structured Populations.Benjamin Kerr & Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (4):477-517.
    Recent years have seen a renewed debate over the importance of groupselection, especially as it relates to the evolution of altruism. Onefeature of this debate has been disagreement over which kinds ofprocesses should be described in terms of selection at multiple levels,within and between groups. Adapting some earlier discussions, we presenta mathematical framework that can be used to explore the exactrelationships between evolutionary models that do, and those that donot, explicitly recognize biological groups as fitness-bearing entities.We show a fundamental set (...)
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  • Causal Control and Genetic Causation.Ulrich Stegmann - 2014 - Noûs 48 (3):450-465.
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  • Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life.Daniel C. Dennett - 1995 - American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 17 (2):235-240.
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  • Causation.David Lewis - 1986 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Philosophical Papers Ii. Oxford University Press. pp. 159-213.
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  • The Central Dogma as a Thesis of Causal Specificity.Marcel Weber - 2006 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 28 (4):595-610.
    I present a reconstruction of F.H.C. Crick's two 1957 hypotheses "Sequence Hypothesis" and "Central Dogma" in terms of a contemporary philosophical theory of causation. Analyzing in particular the experimental evidence that Crick cited, I argue that these hypotheses can be understood as claims about the actual difference-making cause in protein synthesis. As these hypotheses are only true if restricted to certain nucleic acids in certain organisms, I then examine the concept of causal specificity and its potential to counter claims about (...)
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  • The Price Equation and Extended Inheritance.Heikki Helanterä & Tobias Uller - 2010 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 2 (20130604).
    The presence of various mechanisms of non-genetic inheritance is one of the main problems for current evolutionary theory according to several critics. Sufficient empirical and conceptual reasons exist to take this claim seriously, but there is little consensus on the implications of multiple inheritance systems for evolutionary processes. Here we use the Price Equation as a starting point for a discussion of the differences between four recently proposed categories of inheritance systems; genetic, epigenetic, behavioral and symbolic. Specifically, we address how (...)
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  • Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
    The concept of mechanism is analyzed in terms of entities and activities, organized such that they are productive of regular changes. Examples show how mechanisms work in neurobiology and molecular biology. Thinking in terms of mechanisms provides a new framework for addressing many traditional philosophical issues: causality, laws, explanation, reduction, and scientific change.
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  • The Structure and Confirmation of Evolutionary Theory.Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 1992 - Noûs 26 (1):132-133.
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  • Beyond Inclusive Fitness? On A Simple And General Explanation For The Evolution of Altruism.Alejandro Rosas - 2010 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 2 (20130604).
    Altruism is a central concept in evolutionary biology. Evolutionary biologists still disagree about its meaning (E.O. Wilson 2005; Fletcher et al. 2006; D.S. Wilson 2008; Foster et al. 2006a, b; West et al. 2007a, 2008). Semantic disagreement appears to be quite robust and not easily overcome by attempts at clarification, suggesting that substantive conceptual issues lurk in the background. Briefly, group selection theorists define altruism as any trait that makes altruists losers to selfish traits within groups, and makes groups of (...)
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  • Correlated Interaction and Group Selection.Bruce Glymour - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (4):835-855.
    argues that correlated interactions are necessary for group selection. His argument turns on a particular procedure for measuring the strength of selection, and employs a restricted conception of correlated interaction. It is here shown that the procedure in question is unreliable, and that while related procedures are reliable in special contexts, they do not require correlated interactions for group selection to occur. It is also shown that none of these procedures, all of which employ partial regression methods, are reliable when (...)
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  • The Return of the Group.Kim Sterelny - 1996 - Philosophy of Science 63 (4):562-584.
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  • The Scope of Selection: Sober and Neander on What Natural Selection Explains.D. M. Walsh - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (2):250 – 264.
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  • The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus.Elliott Sober - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (3):397-399.
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  • Plant Individuality and Multilevel Selection Theory.Ellen Clarke - 2011 - In Kim Sterelny & Brett Calcott (eds.), The Major Transitions Revisited. MIT Press. pp. 227--250.
    This chapter develops the idea that the germ-soma split and the suppression of individual fitness differences within the corporate entity are not always essential steps in the evolution of corporate individuals. It illustrates some consequences for multilevel selection theory. It presents evidence that genetic heterogeneity may not always be a barrier to successful functioning as a higher-level individual. This chapter shows that levels-of-selection theorists are wrong to assume that the central problem in transitions is always that of minimizing within-group competition. (...)
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  • Nature's Purposes: Analyses of Function and Design in Biology.Colin Allen, Marc Bekoff & George V. Lauder (eds.) - 1998 - MIT Press.
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  • Organisms and Artifacts Design in Nature and Elsewhere.Tim Lewens - 2004
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  • The Units of Selection and the Structure of the Multi-Level Genome.William C. Wimsatt - 1980 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:122 - 183.
    The reductionistic vision of evolutionary theory, "the gene's eye view of evolution" is the dominant view among evolutionary biologists today. On this view, the gene is the only unit with sufficient stability to act as a unit of selection, with individuals and groups being more ephemeral units of function, but not of selection. This view is argued to be incorrect, on several grounds. The empirical and theoretical bases for the existence of higher-level units of selection are explored, and alternative analyses (...)
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  • The Levels of Selection.Robert Brandon - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:315 - 323.
    In this paper Wimsatt's analysis of units of selection is taken as defining the units of selection question. A definition of levels of selection is offered and it is shown that the levels of selection question is quite different from the units of selection question. Some of the relations between units and levels are briefly explored. It is argued that the levels of selection question is the question relevant to explanatory concerns, and it is suggested that it is the question (...)
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  • Phenotypic Plasticity.Massimo Pigliucci - 2001 - In C. W. Fox D. A. Roff (ed.), Evolutionary Ecology: Concepts and Case Studies.
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  • Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals.R. Mitchell, Nicholas S. Thompson & H. L. Miles (eds.) - 1997 - SUNY Press.
    This is the first book to evaluate the significance and usefulness of the practices of anthropomorphism and anecdotalism for understanding animals.
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  • Phenotypic Evolution: A Reaction Norm Perspective.Carl Schlichting & Massimo Pigliucci - 1998 - Sinauer.
    Phenotypic Evolution explicitly recognizes organisms as complex genetic-epigenetic systems developing in response to changing internal and external environments. As a key to a better understanding of how phenotypes evolve, the authors have developed a framework that centers on the concept of the Developmental Reaction Norm. This encompasses their views: (1) that organisms are better considered as integrated units than as disconnected parts (allometry and phenotypic integration); (2) that an understanding of ontogeny is vital for evaluating evolution of adult forms (ontogenetic (...)
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  • Group Adaptation, Formal Darwinism and Contextual Analysis.Samir Okasha & Cedric Paternotte - 2012 - Journal of Evolutionary Biology 25 (6):1127–1139.
    We consider the question: under what circumstances can the concept of adaptation be applied to groups, rather than individuals? Gardner and Grafen (2009, J. Evol. Biol.22: 659–671) develop a novel approach to this question, building on Grafen's ‘formal Darwinism’ project, which defines adaptation in terms of links between evolutionary dynamics and optimization. They conclude that only clonal groups, and to a lesser extent groups in which reproductive competition is repressed, can be considered as adaptive units. We re-examine the conditions under (...)
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