Evolution and Constraints on Variation: Variant Specification and Range of Assessment

Philosophy of Science 78 (5):739-751 (2011)
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Abstract

There is still a great deal of debate over what counts as a constraint and about how to assess experimentally the relative importance of constraints and selection in evolutionary history. I will argue that the notion of a constraint on variation, and thus the selection-constraint distinction, depends on two specifications: (1) what counts as a variant -- constraints limit or bias the production of what? and (2) range of assessment -- over what range of times or conditions is the variation assessed? Specifications 1 and 2 help us to understand empirical work on the relative importance of constraint and selection in evolution.

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2012-01-07

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Trevor Pearce
University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Citations of this work

What Evolvability Really Is.Rachael L. Brown - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (3):axt014.
What Evolvability Really Is.Rachael L. Brown - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):549-572.
Convergence and Parallelism in Evolution: A Neo-Gouldian Account.Trevor Pearce - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (2):429-448.
Ecosystem Engineering, Experiment, and Evolution.Trevor Pearce - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (6):793-812.

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Replaying Life’s Tape.John Beatty - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (7):336-362.
Explaining Complex Adaptations: A Reply to Sober’s ”Reply to Neander’.Karen Neander - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (4):583-587.
Chance and macroevolution.Roberta L. Millstein - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (4):603-624.

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