The Nature of Darwin’s Support for the Theory of Natural Selection

Philosophy of Science 50 (1):112-129 (1983)
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Abstract

When natural selection theory was presented, much active philosophical debate, in which Darwin himself participated, centered on its hypothetical nature, its explanatory power, and Darwin's methodology. Upon first examination, Darwin's support of his theory seems to consist of a set of claims pertaining to various aspects of explanatory success. I analyze the support of his method and theory given in the Origin of Species and private correspondence, and conclude that an interpretation focusing on the explanatory strengths of natural selection theory accurately reflects neither Darwin's own self-consciously held views, nor the nature of his support. Darwin's methodological and philosophical arguments were at once consistently empiricist and more sophisticated than such interpretations credit to him

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Elisabeth Lloyd
Indiana University, Bloomington

Citations of this work

Selección artificial, selección sexual, selección natural.Santiago Ginnobili - 2011 - Metatheoria – Revista de Filosofía E Historia de la Ciencia 2 (1):61-78.
Darwin's argument in the origin.M. J. S. Hodge - 1992 - Philosophy of Science 59 (3):461-464.
Confirmation of ecological and evolutionary models.Elisabeth A. Lloyd - 1987 - Biology and Philosophy 2 (3):277-293.

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References found in this work

On the Origin of Species.Charles Darwin - 2008 - Minneapolis, MN: Oxford University Press.
The Scientific Image.William Demopoulos & Bas C. van Fraassen - 1982 - Philosophical Review 91 (4):603.
The inference to the best explanation.Gilbert H. Harman - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (1):88-95.
Explanatory unification.Philip Kitcher - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (4):507-531.
The best explanation: Criteria for theory choice.Paul R. Thagard - 1978 - Journal of Philosophy 75 (2):76-92.

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