Three kinds of adaptationism


Debate about adaptationism in biology continues, in part because within “the” problem of assessing adaptationism, three distinct problems are mixed together. The three problems concern the assessment of three distinct adaptationist positions, each of which asserts the central importance of adaptation and natural selection to the study of evolution, but conceives this importance in a different way. As there are three kinds of adaptationism, there are three distinct "anti-adaptationist" positions as well. Or putting it more formally, there are three different dimensions here, and strongly adaptationist views, strongly anti-adaptationist views, and moderate views are possible for each dimension.



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Peter Godfrey-Smith
University of Sydney