Fit and diversity: Explaining adaptive evolution

Philosophy of Science 70 (2):280-301 (2003)
  Copy   BIBTEX


According to a prominent view of evolutionary theory, natural selection and the processes of development compete for explanatory relevance. Natural selection theory explains the evolution of biological form insofar as it is adaptive. Development is relevant to the explanation of form only insofar as it constrains the adaptation-promoting effects of selection. I argue that this view of evolutionary theory is erroneous. I outline an alternative, according to which natural selection explains adaptive evolution by appeal to the statistical structure of populations, and development explains the causes of adaptive evolution at the level of individuals. Only together can a statistical theory of selection and a mechanical theory of development explain why populations of organisms comprise individuals that are adapted to their conditions of existence.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,347

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Bridges between development and evolution.Eva Jablonka & Marion J. Lamb - 1998 - Biology and Philosophy 13 (1):119-124.
Levels of Selection in Synergy.Alejandro Rosas - 2009 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 28 (2):135-150.
Inherited representations are read in development.Nicholas Shea - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (1):1-31.
Pruning the tree of life.Karen Neander - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (1):59-80.
Brain evolution by natural selection.Toru Shimizu - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (1):23-24.
Against darwinism.Jerry Fodor - 2008 - Mind and Language 23 (1):1–24.


Added to PP

86 (#198,167)

6 months
10 (#277,905)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Denis Walsh
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

References found in this work

The Dialectical Biologist.Philip Kitcher, Richard Levins & Richard Lewontin - 1989 - Philosophical Review 98 (2):262.
Toward a New Philosophy of Biology.Ernst Mayr - 1990 - Journal of the History of Biology 23 (2):321-328.
Form and order in evolutionary biology.Richard M. Burian & Robert C. Richardson - 1996 - In Margaret A. Boden (ed.), The philosophy of artificial life. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 146--72.

Add more references