Across the great divide: pluralism and the hunt for missing heritability

Synthese 198 (3):2297-2311 (2019)
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Genetic explanation of complex human behavior presents an excellent test case for pluralism. Although philosophers agree that successful scientific investigation of behavior is pluralistic, there remains disagreement regarding integration and elimination—is the plurality of approaches here to stay, or merely a waystation on the road to monism? In this paper we introduce an issue taken very seriously by scientists yet mostly ignored by philosophers—the missing heritability problem—and assess its implications for disagreement among pluralists. We argue that the missing heritability problem, which isn’t going anywhere any time soon, implies that pluralism in behavior genetics is both practically ineliminative and theoretically non-integrative.



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Lucas J. Matthews
Columbia University

Citations of this work

Heritability.Stephen M. Downes & Lucas J. Matthews - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Heritability.Stephen M. Downes - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Unifying heritability in evolutionary theory.Pierrick Bourrat - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 91 (C):201-210.

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References found in this work

Thinking about mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Rethinking mechanistic explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (S3):S342-S353.

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