Fitness

Journal of Philosophy (1983)
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Abstract

The diversity, complexity and adaptation of the biological realm is evident. Until Darwin, the best explanation for these three features of the biological was the conclusion of the “argument from design.” Darwin's theory of natural selection provides an explanation of all three of these features of the biological realm without adverting to some mysterious designing entity. But this explanation's success turns on the meaning of its central explanatory concept, ‘fitness’. Moreover, since Darwinian theory provides the resources for a purely causal account of teleology, wherever it is manifested, its reliance on the concept of ‘fitness’ makes it imperative that conceptual problems threatening the explanatory legitimacy of this notion be solved.

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Alex Rosenberg
Duke University

Citations of this work

Fitness, probability and the principles of natural selection.Frederic Bouchard & Alexander Rosenberg - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):693-712.
The confusions of fitness.André Ariew & Richard C. Lewontin - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2):347-363.
Hamilton’s rule and its discontents.Jonathan Birch - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):381-411.
Darwinism without populations: a more inclusive understanding of the “Survival of the Fittest”.Frédéric Bouchard - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (1):106-114.
Missing Concepts in Natural Selection Theory Reconstructions.Santiago Ginnobili - 2016 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 38 (3):1-33.

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