Authors
Samir Okasha
University of Bristol
Abstract
The group selection controversy is about whether natural selection ever operates at the level of groups, rather than at the level of individual organisms. Traditionally, group selection has been invoked to explain the existence of altruistic behaviour in nature. However, most contemporary evolutionary biologists are highly sceptical of the hypothesis of group selection, which they regard as biologically implausible and not needed to explain the evolution of altruism anyway. But in their recent book, Elliot Sober and David Sloan Wilson [1998] argue that the widespread opposition to group selection is founded on conceptual confusion. The theories that have been propounded as alternatives to group selection are actually group selection in disguise, they maintain. I examine their arguments for this claim, and John Maynard Smith's arguments against it. I argue that Sober and Wilson arrive at a correct position by faulty reasoning. In the final section, I examine the issue of how to apply the principle of natural selection at different levels of the biological hierarchy, which underlies the dispute between Sober and Wilson and Maynard Smith.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/52.1.25
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,192
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Making the Most of Clade Selection.W. Ford Doolittle - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):275-295.
Multilevel Selection and the Major Transitions in Evolution.Samir Okasha - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1013-1025.
Multi-Level Selection, Covariance and Contextual Analysis.Samir Okasha - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (3):481-504.

View all 23 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Models of Group Selection.Deborah G. Mayo & Norman L. Gilinsky - 1987 - Philosophy of Science 54 (4):515-538.
The Evolution of Altruism: The Sober/Wilson Model.Peter Gildenhuys - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (1):27-48.
Evolutionary Ethics and Biologically Supportable Morality.Michael Byron - 1999 - Proceedings of Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, PAIDEIA: Philosophy Educating Humanity.
Morality and Evolution by Group Selection.Michael Byron - 1999 - Http://Www.Bu.Edu/Wcp/Papers/TEth/TEthByro.Htm.
Holism, Individualism, and the Units of Selection.Elliott Sober - 1980 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:93 - 121.
Altruism, Group Selection and Correlated Interaction.Samir Okasha - 2005 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (4):703-725.
Maynard Smith on the Levels of Selection Question.Samir Okasha - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (5):989-1010.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
107 ( #109,502 of 2,507,351 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #417,155 of 2,507,351 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes