What does natural selection explain? Correction to Sober

Philosophy of Science 55 (3):422-426 (1988)
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Abstract

In this paper I argue against Sober's claim that natural selection does not explain the traits of individuals. Sober argues that natural selection only explains the distribution of traits in a population. My point is that the explanation of an individual's traits involves us in a description of the individual's ancestry, and in an explanation of the distribution of traits in that ancestral population. Thus Sober is wrong, natural selection is part of the explanation of the traits of individuals

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Author's Profile

Karen Neander
PhD: La Trobe University; Last affiliation: Duke University

Citations of this work

The teleological notion of 'function'.Karen Neander - 1991 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (4):454 – 468.
Nativism in cognitive science.Richard Samuels - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (3):233-65.
Natural selection and distributive explanation: A reply to Neander.Elliott Sober - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (3):384-397.

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References found in this work

Functional analysis.Robert E. Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Goal-directed processes in biology.Ernest Nagel - 1977 - Journal of Philosophy 74 (5):261-279.

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