Modeling Environments: Interactive Causation and Adaptations to Environmental Conditions

Philosophy of Science 78 (3):448-471 (2011)
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I argue that a phenotypic trait can be an adaptation to a particular environmental condition, as against others, only if the environmental condition and the phenotype interactively cause fitness. Models of interactive environmental causes of fitness generally require that environments be individuated by explicit representation rather than by measures of environmental quality, although the latter understanding of ‘environment’ is more prominent in the philosophy of biology. Hence, talk of adaptations to some but not other environmental conditions relies on conceptions of ‘environment’ importantly different from that commonly presupposed in philosophy of biology.



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Bruce Glymour
Kansas State University

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References found in this work

Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):201-202.
Animal Ecology.Charles Elton - 2002 - Journal of the History of Biology 35 (2):396-397.

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