Two ways of thinking about fitness and natural selection

Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):55-83 (2002)
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Abstract

How do fitness and natural selection relate to other evolutionary factors like architectural constraint, mode of reproduction, and drift? In one way of thinking, drawn from Newtonian dynamics, fitness is one force driving evolutionary change and added to other factors. In another, drawn from statistical thermodynamics, it is a statistical trend that manifests itself in natural selection histories. It is argued that the first model is incoherent, the second appropriate; a hierarchical realization model is proposed as a basis for a statistical treatment. It emerges that natural selection does not cause evolution; it just is evolution. The theory incorporates relations of statistical correlation, but not the kind of causation found in fundamental physical processes.

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Author Profiles

Mohan Matthen
University of Toronto, Mississauga
Ariew Andre
University of Missouri, Columbia

Citations of this work

Natural Kindness.Matthew H. Slater - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):375-411.
The Ontic Account of Scientific Explanation.Carl F. Craver - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the special science: The case of biology and history. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 27-52.
Natural selection as a population-level causal process.Roberta L. Millstein - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):627-653.

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