Fitness made physical: The supervenience of biological concepts revisited

Philosophy of Science 63 (3):411-431 (1996)

Abstract

The supervenience and multiple realizability of biological properties have been invoked to support a disunified picture of the biological sciences. I argue that supervenience does not capture the relation between fitness and an organism's physical properties. The actual relation is one of causal dependence and is, therefore, amenable to causal explanation. A case from optimality theory is presented and interpreted as a microreductive explanation of fitness difference. Such microreductions can have considerable scope. Implications are discussed for reductive physicalism in evolutionary biology and for the unity of science

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Marcel Weber
University of Geneva

References found in this work

Special Sciences.Jerry A. Fodor - 1974 - Synthese 28 (2):97-115.
Unity of Science as a Working Hypothesis.Paul Oppenheim & Hilary Putnam - 1958 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 2:3-36.
Concepts of Supervenience.Jaegwon Kim - 1984 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 45 (December):153-76.
Mind, Language and Reality.Hilary Putnam - 1975/2003 - Critica 12 (36):93-96.

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Citations of this work

How Objective Are Biological Functions?Marcel Weber - 2017 - Synthese 194 (12):4741-4755.
Determinism, Realism, and Probability in Evolutionary Theory.Marcel Weber - 2001 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S213-.
Determinism, Realism, and Probability in Evolutionary Theory.Marcel Weber - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (S3):S213-S224.
Evolution.Roberta L. Millstein - 2017 - Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

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