Niche Construction and Conceptual Change in Evolutionary Biology

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2):351-375 (2019)
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The theoretical status of ‘niche construction’ in evolution is intensely debated. Here we substantiate the reasons for different interpretations. We consider two concepts of niche construction brought to bear on evolutionary theory; one that emphasizes how niche construction contributes to selection and another that emphasizes how it contributes to development and inheritance. We explain the rationale for claims that selective and developmental niche construction motivate conceptual change in evolutionary biology and the logic of those who reject these claims. Our analysis shows how the contention arises from alternative assumptions regarding the causal independence of the processes that generate variation, differential fitness and inheritance.



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References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Otto Neurath.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2009 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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