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  1. Is Genetic Drift a Force?Charles H. Pence - manuscript
    One hotly debated philosophical question in the analysis of evolutionary theory concerns whether or not evolution and the various factors which constitute it may profitably be considered as analogous to “forces” in the traditional, Newtonian sense. Several compelling arguments assert that the force picture is incoherent, due to the peculiar nature of genetic drift. I consider two of those arguments here – that drift lacks a predictable direction, and that drift is constitutive of evolutionary systems – and show that they (...)
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  2. The Reference Class Problem in Evolutionary Biology: Distinguishing Selection From Drift.Michael Strevens - forthcoming - In Charles Pence & Grant Ramsey (eds.), Chance in Evolution.
    Evolutionary biology distinguishes differences in survival and reproduction rates due to selection from those due to drift. The distinction is usually thought to be founded in probabilistic facts: a difference in (say) two variants' average lifespans over some period of time that is due to selection is explained by differences in the probabilities relevant to survival; in the purest cases of drift, by contrast, the survival probabilities are equal and the difference in lifespans is a matter of chance. When there (...)
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  3. Stochastic Stability and Disagreements Between Dynamics.Aydin Mohseni - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (3):497-521.
    The replicator dynamics and Moran process are the main deterministic and stochastic models of evolutionary game theory. The models are connected by a mean-field relationship—the former describes the expected behavior of the latter. However, there are conditions under which their predictions diverge. I demonstrate that the divergence between their predictions is a function of standard techniques used in their analysis and of differences in the idealizations involved in each. My analysis reveals problems for stochastic stability analysis in a broad class (...)
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  4. Drift as Constitutive: Conclusions From a Formal Reconstruction of Population Genetics.Ariel Jonathan Roffé - 2019 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 41 (4):55.
    This article elaborates on McShea and Brandon’s idea that drift is unlike the rest of the evolutionary factors because it is constitutive rather than imposed on the evolutionary process. I show that the way they spelled out this idea renders it inadequate and is the reason why it received some objections. I propose a different way in which their point could be understood, that rests on two general distinctions. The first is a distinction between the underlying mathematical apparatus used to (...)
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  5. Drift as constitutive: conclusions from a formal reconstruction of population genetics.Ariel Jonathan Roffé - 2019 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 41 (4):1-24.
    This article elaborates on McShea and Brandon’s idea that drift is unlike the rest of the evolutionary factors because it is constitutive rather than imposed on the evolutionary process. I show that the way they spelled out this idea renders it inadequate and is the reason why it received some objections. I propose a different way in which their point could be understood, that rests on two general distinctions. The first is a distinction between the underlying mathematical apparatus used to (...)
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  6. Drift Theory and Plate Tectonics: A Case of Embedding in Geology.María Caamaño-Alegre - 2018 - Foundations of Science 23 (1):17-35.
    The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the semantic relation between continental drift and plate tectonics. The numerous attempts to account for this case in either Kuhnian or Lakatosian terms have been convincingly dismissed by Rachel Laudan, who nevertheless acknowledged that there was not yet a plausible alternative to explain the so called “geological revolution”. Several decades later, the epistemological side of this revolution has received much attention, while the semantic relation between drift theory and plate tectonics has remained (...)
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  7. Selection in a Complex World: Deriving Causality From Stable Equilibrium.Hugh Desmond - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (2):265-286.
    It is an ongoing controversy whether natural selection is a cause of population change, or a mere statistical description of how individual births and deaths accumulate. In this paper I restate the problem in terms of the reference class problem, and propose how the structure of stable equilibrium can provide a solution in continuity with biological practice. Insofar natural selection can be understood as a tendency towards equilibrium, key statisticalist criticisms are avoided. Further, in a modification of the Newtonian-force analogy, (...)
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  8. Contemporary Perspectives on the Meaning, Roles, and Implications of Chance in Evolution. [REVIEW]Ariel Roffé - 2018 - Science & Education 27 (9-10):1003-1016.
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  9. Genetic Drift as a Directional Factor: Biasing Effects and a Priori Predictions.Ariel Jonathan Roffé - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (4):535-558.
    The adequacy of Elliott Sober’s analogy between classical mechanics and evolutionary theory—according to which both theories explain via a zero-force law and a set of forces that alter the zero-force state—has been criticized from various points of view. I focus here on McShea and Brandon’s claim that drift shouldn’t be considered a force because it is not directional. I argue that there are a number of different theses that could be meant by this, and show that one of those theses—the (...)
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  10. Four Pillars of Statisticalism.Denis M. Walsh, André Ariew & Mohan Matthen - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (1):1-18.
    Over the past fifteen years there has been a considerable amount of debate concerning what theoretical population dynamic models tell us about the nature of natural selection and drift. On the causal interpretation, these models describe the causes of population change. On the statistical interpretation, the models of population dynamics models specify statistical parameters that explain, predict, and quantify changes in population structure, without identifying the causes of those changes. Selection and drift are part of a statistical description of population (...)
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  11. Drift and Evolutionary Forces: Scrutinizing the Newtonian Analogy.Víctor J. Luque - 2016 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (3):397-410.
    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, (...)
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  12. The Principle of Stasis: Why Drift is Not a Zero-Cause Law.Victor J. Luque - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 57:71-79.
    This paper analyses the structure of evolutionary theory as a quasi-Newtonian theory and the need to establish a Zero-Cause Law. Several authors have postulated that the special character of drift is because it is the default behaviour or Zero-Cause Law of evolutionary systems, where change and not stasis is the normal state of them. For these authors, drift would be a Zero-Cause Law, the default behaviour and therefore a constituent assumption impossible to change without changing the system. I defend that (...)
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  13. Genetic Drift.Roberta L. Millstein - 2016 - Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy.
    Genetic drift (variously called “random drift”, “random genetic drift”, or sometimes just “drift”) has been a source of ongoing controversy within the philosophy of biology and evolutionary biology communities, to the extent that even the question of what drift is has become controversial. There seems to be agreement that drift is a chance (or probabilistic or statistical) element within population genetics and within evolutionary biology more generally, and that the term “random” isn’t invoking indeterminism or any technical mathematical meaning, but (...)
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  14. Chance in Evolution.Grant Ramsey & Charles H. Pence (eds.) - 2016 - Chicago: University of Chicago.
    Evolutionary biology since Darwin has seen a dramatic entrenchment and elaboration of the role of chance in evolution. It is nearly impossible to discuss contemporary evolutionary theory in any depth at all without making reference to at least some concept of “chance” or “randomness.” Many processes are described as chancy, outcomes are characterized as random, and many evolutionary phenomena are thought to be best described by stochastic or probabilistic models. Chance is taken by various authors to be central to the (...)
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  15. Drift Beyond Wright–Fisher.Hayley Clatterbuck - 2015 - Synthese 192 (11):3487-3507.
    Several recent arguments by philosophers of biology have challenged the traditional view that evolutionary factors, such as drift and selection, are genuine causes of evolutionary outcomes. In the case of drift, advocates of the statistical theory argue that drift is merely the sampling error inherent in the other stochastic processes of evolution and thus denotes a mathematical, rather than causal, feature of populations. This debate has largely centered around one particular model of drift, the Wright–Fisher model, and this has contributed (...)
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  16. Inscrutability and the Opacity of Natural Selection and Random Genetic Drift: Distinguishing the Epistemic and Metaphysical Aspects.Philippe Huneman - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):491-518.
    ‘Statisticalists’ argue that the individual interactions of organisms taken together constitute natural selection. On this view, natural selection is an aggregated effect of interactions rather than some added cause acting on populations. The statisticalists’ view entails that natural selection and drift are indistinguishable aggregated effects of interactions, so that it becomes impossible to make a difference between them. The present paper attempts to make sense of the difference between selection and drift, given the main insights of statisticalism; basically, it will (...)
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  17. La deriva genética como fuerza evolutiva.Ariel Jonathan Roffé - 2015 - In J. Ahumada, N. Venturelli & S. Seno Chibeni (eds.), Selección de Trabajos del IX Encuentro AFHIC y las XXV Jornadas de Epistemología e Historia de la ciencia. Córdoba, Argentina: pp. 615-626.
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  18. Cultural Replication and Microbial Evolution.Bence Nanay - 2014 - In Gergely Csibra (ed.), Naturalistic Approaches to Culture. Akademiai.
    The aim of this paper is to argue that cultural evolution is in many ways much more similar to microbial than to macrobial biological evolution. As a result, we are better off using microbial evolution as the model of cultural evolution. And this shift from macrobial to microbial entails adjusting the theoretical models we can use for explaining cultural evolution.
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  19. In Drift Wijsgerig Festival.Deva Waal (ed.) - 2014 - Drift.
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  20. Sexual Drift.Ken Binmore - 2013 - Biological Theory 8 (2):201-208.
    This paper uses a 4 × 4 expansion of the Hawk–Dove Game to illustrate how sexual drift in a large genotype space can shift a population from one equilibrium in a smaller phenotype space to another. An equilibrium is only safe from being destabilized in this way when implemented by recessive alleles.
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  21. Selection Never Dominates Drift.Hayley Clatterbuck, Elliott Sober & Richard Lewontin - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (4):577-592.
    The probability that the fitter of two alleles will increase in frequency in a population goes up as the product of N (the effective population size) and s (the selection coefficient) increases. Discovering the distribution of values for this product across different alleles in different populations is a very important biological task. However, biologists often use the product Ns to define a different concept; they say that drift “dominates” selection or that drift is “stronger than” selection when Ns is much (...)
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  22. Sitting in the Dock of the Bay, Watching ….Jeremy Fernando - 2013 - Continent 3 (2):8-12.
    This piece, included in the drift special issue of continent. , was created as one step in a thread of inquiry. While each of the contributions to drift stand on their own, the project was an attempt to follow a line of theoretical inquiry as it passed through time and the postal service(s) from October 2012 until May 2013. This issue hosts two threads: between space & place and between intention & attention . The editors recommend that to experience the (...)
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  23. Nyctoleptic Nomadism: The Drift/Swerve of Knowing.Gina Rae Foster - 2013 - Continent 3 (2):17-21.
    3rd in the thread: between intention & attention.40.6700º N, 73.9400º W.
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  24. Reading Eyes.R. H. Jackson - 2013 - Continent 3 (2):13-16.
    This piece, included in the drift special issue of continent. , was created as one step in a thread of inquiry. While each of the contributions to drift stand on their own, the project was an attempt to follow a line of theoretical inquiry as it passed through time and the postal service(s) from October 2012 until May 2013. This issue hosts two threads: between space & place and between intention & attention . The editors recommend that to experience the (...)
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  25. Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift.Marc Lange - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):169-188.
    Really statistical explanation is a hitherto neglected form of noncausal scientific explanation. Explanations in population biology that appeal to drift are RS explanations. An RS explanation supplies a kind of understanding that a causal explanation of the same result cannot supply. Roughly speaking, an RS explanation shows the result to be mere statistical fallout.
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  26. 1. Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift Really Statistical Explanations and Genetic Drift (Pp. 169-188).Marc Lange, Peter Vickers, John Michael, Miles MacLeod, Alexander R. Pruss, David John Baker, Clark Glymour & Simon Fitzpatrick - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (2):169-188.
    Really statistical explanation is a hitherto neglected form of noncausal scientific explanation. Explanations in population biology that appeal to drift are RS explanations. An RS explanation supplies a kind of understanding that a causal explanation of the same result cannot supply. Roughly speaking, an RS explanation shows the result to be mere statistical fallout.
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  27. Drift: A Way.David Prater - 2013 - Continent 3 (2):31-33.
    This piece, included in the drift special issue of continent. , was created as one step in a thread of inquiry. While each of the contributions to drift stand on their own, the project was an attempt to follow a line of theoretical inquiry as it passed through time and the postal service(s) from October 2012 until May 2013. This issue hosts two threads: between space & place and between intention & attention . The editors recommend that to experience the (...)
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  28. Driftability.Grant Ramsey - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3909-3928.
    In this paper, I argue (contra some recent philosophical work) that an objective distinction between natural selection and drift can be drawn. I draw this distinction by conceiving of drift, in the most fundamental sense, as an individual-level phenomenon. This goes against some other attempts to distinguish selection from drift, which have argued either that drift is a population-level process or that it is a population-level product. Instead of identifying drift with population-level features, the account introduced here can explain these (...)
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  29. Sentences on Drifting.Patricia Reed - 2013 - Continent 3 (2):28-30.
    This piece, included in the drift special issue of continent. , was created as one step in a thread of inquiry. While each of the contributions to drift stand on their own, the project was an attempt to follow a line of theoretical inquiry as it passed through time and the postal service(s) from October 2012 until May 2013. This issue hosts two threads: between space & place and between intention & attention . The editors recommend that to experience the (...)
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  30. Introduction to the Drift Special Issue.Berit Soli-Holt - 2013 - Continent 3 (2):1-2.
    On behalf of continent. and as a representative of guest editors, April Vannini and Jeremy Fernando, I would like to welcome you to the drift , special issue of continent . In the summer of 2012, April and I set forth a proposal to the editors of continent. that would engage with a manipulation of the structure of how a journal's materials are curated, accrued, and compiled. The following issue is the partial final product of what our Statement of Intent (...)
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  31. A Drift Homogenization Problem Revisited.Marc Briane & Patrick Gérard - 2012 - Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa- Classe di Scienze 11 (1):1-39.
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  32. Drift Detection and Model Selection Algorithms: Concept and Experimental Evaluation.Piotr Cal & Michał Woźniak - 2012 - In Emilio Corchado, Vaclav Snasel, Ajith Abraham, Michał Woźniak, Manuel Grana & Sung-Bae Cho (eds.), Hybrid Artificial Intelligent Systems. Springer. pp. 558--568.
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  33. Rethinking Hardy–Weinberg and Genetic Drift in Undergraduate Biology.Joanna Masel - 2012 - Bioessays 34 (8):701-710.
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  34. Sailing - Philosophy for Everyone: Catching the Drift of Why We Sail.John Rousmaniere - 2012 - Wiley-Blackwell.
    This volume reveals the wisdom we can learn from sailing, a sport that pits human skills against the elements, tests the mettle and is a rich source of valuable lessons in life. Unravels the philosophical mysteries behind one of the oldest organized human activities Features contributions from philosophers and academics as well as from sailors themselves Enriches appreciation of the sport by probing its meaning and value Brings to life the many applications of philosophy to sailing and the profound lessons (...)
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  35. Introducing Drift, a Special Issue of Continent.Berit Soli-Holt, April Vannini & Jeremy Fernando - 2012 - Continent 2 (3):182-185.
    Two continents. Three countries. Mountains, archipelago, a little red dot & more to come. BERIT SOLI-HOLT (Editor): When I think of introductory material, I think of that Derrida documentary when he is asked about what he would like to know about other philosophers. He simply states: their love life. APRIL VANNINI (Editor): And as far as introductions go, I think Derrida brought forth a fruitful discussion on philosophy and thinking with this statement. First, he allows philosophy to open up the (...)
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  36. A Study Using Demographic Data of Genetic Drift and Natural Selection in an Isolated Mediterranean Community: Bayárcal (la Alpujarra, South-East Spain).F. Luna, A. R. Tarelho, A. M. Camargo & V. Alonso - 2011 - Journal of Biosocial Science 43 (4):401-411.
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  37. Drift and the Causes of Evolution.Sahotra Sarkar - 2011 - In Phyllis McKay Illari, Federica Russo & Jon Williamson (eds.), Causality in the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 445.
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  38. What is Drift? A Response to Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich.Mohan Matthen - 2010 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 2 (20130604).
    The statistical interpretation of the Theory of Natural Selection claims that natural selection and drift are statistical features of mathematical aggregates of individual-level events. Natural selection and drift are not themselves causes. The statistical interpretation is motivated by a metaphysical conception of individual priority. Recently, Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich (2009) have argued (a) that natural selection and drift are physical processes, and (b) that the statistical interpretation rests on a misconception of the role of mathematics in biology. Both theses are (...)
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  39. The Mystery of the Mystery of Common Genetic Diseases.Sean A. Valles - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):183-201.
    Common monogenic genetic diseases, ones that have unexpectedly high frequencies in certain populations, have attracted a great number of conflicting evolutionary explanations. This paper will attempt to explain the mystery of why two particularly extensively studied common genetic diseases, Tay Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis, remain evolutionary mysteries despite decades of research. I review the most commonly cited evolutionary processes used to explain common genetic diseases: reproductive compensation, random genetic drift (in the context of founder effect), and especially heterozygote advantage. (...)
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  40. Diffusion, Drift and Their Interrelation Through Volume Density.M. Danielewski & B. Wierzba - 2009 - Philosophical Magazine 89 (4):331-348.
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  41. (Mis)Interpreting Mathematical Models: Drift as a Physical Process.Michael R. Dietrich, Robert A. Skipper Jr & Roberta L. Millstein - 2009 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 1 (20130604):e002.
    Recently, a number of philosophers of biology have endorsed views about random drift that, we will argue, rest on an implicit assumption that the meaning of concepts such as drift can be understood through an examination of the mathematical models in which drift appears. They also seem to implicitly assume that ontological questions about the causality of terms appearing in the models can be gleaned from the models alone. We will question these general assumptions by showing how the same equation (...)
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  42. An Explication of the Causal Dimension of Drift.Peter Gildenhuys - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):521-555.
    Among philosophers, controversy over the notion of drift in population genetics is ongoing. This is at least partly because the notion of drift has an ambiguous usage among population geneticists. My goal in this paper is to explicate the causal dimension of drift, to say what causal influences are responsible for the stochasticity in population genetics models. It is commonplace for population genetics to oppose the influence of selection to that of drift, and to consider how the dynamics of populations (...)
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  43. Drift and “Statistically Abstractive Explanation”.Mohan Matthen - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (4):464-487.
    A hitherto neglected form of explanation is explored, especially its role in population genetics. “Statistically abstractive explanation” (SA explanation) mandates the suppression of factors probabilistically relevant to an explanandum when these factors are extraneous to the theoretical project being pursued. When these factors are suppressed, the explanandum is rendered uncertain. But this uncertainty traces to the theoretically constrained character of SA explanation, not to any real indeterminacy. Random genetic drift is an artifact of such uncertainty, and it is therefore wrong (...)
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  44. Descended From Darwin: Insights Into the History of Evolutionary Studies, 1900-1970.Joe Cain Michael Ruse (ed.) - 2009 - American Philosophical Society.
    Held at Philadelphia for promoting useful knowledge.
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  45. It's Not Random Anymore.Lynn Helena Caporale - 2008 - Bioessays 30 (4):400-402.
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  46. The Role of Causal Processes in the Neutral and Nearly Neutral Theories.Michael R. Dietrich & Roberta L. Millstein - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):548-559.
    The neutral and nearly neutral theories of molecular evolution are sometimes characterized as theories about drift alone, where drift is described solely as an outcome, rather than a process. We argue, however, that both selection and drift, as causal processes, are integral parts of both theories. However, the nearly neutral theory explicitly recognizes alleles and/or molecular substitutions that, while engaging in weakly selected causal processes, exhibit outcomes thought to be characteristic of random drift. A narrow focus on outcomes obscures the (...)
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  47. How Do Natural Selection and Random Drift Interact?Marshall Abrams - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):666-679.
    One controversy about the existence of so called evolutionary forces such as natural selection and random genetic drift concerns the sense in which such “forces” can be said to interact. In this paper I explain how natural selection and random drift can interact. In particular, I show how population-level probabilities can be derived from individual-level probabilities, and explain the sense in which natural selection and drift are embodied in these population-level probabilities. I argue that whatever causal character the individual-level probabilities (...)
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  48. Academic Drift In German Agricultural Education.Mark R. Finlay - 2007 - Minerva 45 (3):349-352.
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  49. Can There Be Stochastic Evolutionary Causes?Patrick Forber & Kenneth Reisman - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):616-627.
    Do evolutionary processes such as selection and random drift cause evolutionary change, or are they merely convenient ways of describing or summarizing it? Philosophers have lined up on both sides of this question. One recent defense (Reisman and Forber 2005) of the causal status of selection and drift appeals to a manipulability theory of causation. Yet, even if one accepts manipulability, there are still reasons to doubt that genetic drift, in particular, is genuinely causal. We will address two challenges to (...)
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  50. Concepts of Drift and Selection in “the Great Snail Debate” of the 1950s and Early 1960s.Roberta L. Millstein - 2007 - In Joe Cain & Michael Ruse (eds.), Descended from Darwin: Insights into the History of Evolutionary Studies, 1900-1970. American Philosophical Society.
    Recently, much philosophical discussion has centered on the best way to characterize the concepts of random drift and natural selection, and, in particular, whether selection and drift can be conceptually distinguished (Beatty, 1984; Brandon, 2005; Hodge, 1983, 1987; Millstein, 2002, 2005; Pfeifer, 2005; Shanahan, 1992; Stephens, 2004). These authors all contend, to a greater or lesser degree, that their concepts make sense of biological practice. So it should be instructive to see how the concepts of drift and selection were distinguished (...)
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