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  1. What Is It Like To Be an Environment? A Semantic and Epistemological Inquiry.Philippe Huneman - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (1):94-112.
    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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  • Darwin’s empirical claim and the janiform character of fitness proxies.Ulrich Krohs - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (2):1-23.
    Darwin’s claim about natural selection is reconstructed as an empirical claim about a causal connection leading from the match of the physiology of an individual and its environment to leaving surviving progeny. Variations in this match, Darwin claims, cause differences in the survival of the progeny. Modern concepts of fitness focus the survival side of this chain. Therefore, the assumption that evolutionary theory wants to explain reproductive success in terms of a modern concept of fitness has given rise to the (...)
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  • The Propensity Interpretation of Probability: A Re-Evaluation.Joseph Berkovitz - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):629-711.
    Single-case and long-run propensity theories are among the main objective interpretations of probability. There have been various objections to these theories, e.g. that it is difficult to explain why propensities should satisfy the probability axioms and, worse, that propensities are at odds with these axioms, that the explication of propensities is circular and accordingly not informative, and that single-case propensities are metaphysical and accordingly non-scientific. We consider various propensity theories of probability and their prospects in light of these objections. We (...)
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  • The Complex Nexus of Evolutionary Fitness.Mauricio Suárez - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-26.
    The propensity nature of evolutionary fitness has long been appreciated and is nowadays amply discussed. The discussion has, however, on occasion followed long standing conflations in the philosophy of probability literature between propensities, probabilities, and frequencies. In this paper, I apply a more recent conception of propensities in modelling practice to some of the key issues, regarding the mathematical representation of fitness and how it may be regarded as explanatory. The ensuing complex nexus of fitness emphasises the distinction between biological (...)
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  • On Probabilities in Biology and Physics.Joseph Berkovitz & Philippe Huneman - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):433-456.
    This volume focuses on various questions concerning the interpretation of probability and probabilistic reasoning in biology and physics. It is inspired by the idea that philosophers of biology and philosophers of physics who work on the foundations of their disciplines encounter similar questions and problems concerning the role and application of probability, and that interaction between the two communities will be both interesting and fruitful. In this introduction we present the background to the main questions that the volume focuses on (...)
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  • Trait Fitness is Not a Propensity, but Fitness Variation Is.Elliott Sober - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):336-341.
    The propensity interpretation of fitness draws on the propensity interpretation of probability, but advocates of the former have not attended sufficiently to problems with the latter. The causal power of C to bring about E is not well-represented by the conditional probability Pr. Since the viability fitness of trait T is the conditional probability Pr, the viability fitness of the trait does not represent the degree to which having the trait causally promotes surviving. The same point holds for fertility fitness. (...)
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  • In What Sense Can There Be Evolution by Natural Selection Without Perfect Inheritance?Pierrick Bourrat - 2019 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 32 (1):13-31.
    ABSTRACTIn Darwinian Population and Natural Selection, Peter Godfrey-Smith brought the topic of natural selection back to the forefront of philosophy of biology, highlighting different issues surro...
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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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