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  1. The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus.Elliott Sober - 1984 - University of Chicago Press.
    The Nature of Selection is a straightforward, self-contained introduction to philosophical and biological problems in evolutionary theory. It presents a powerful analysis of the evolutionary concepts of natural selection, fitness, and adaptation and clarifies controversial issues concerning altruism, group selection, and the idea that organisms are survival machines built for the good of the genes that inhabit them. "Sober's is the answering philosophical voice, the voice of a first-rate philosopher and a knowledgeable student of contemporary evolutionary theory. His book merits (...)
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  • The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus. Elliott Sober.David C. Culver - 1985 - Philosophy of Science 52 (4):645-646.
  • The Formal Darwinism Project in Outline.Alan Grafen - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):155-174.
    The broader context for the formal darwinism project established by two of the commentators, in terms of reconciling the Modern Synthesis with Darwinian arguments over design and in terms of links to other types of selection and design, is discussed and welcomed. Some overselling of the project is admitted, in particular of whether it claims to consider all organic design. One important fundamental question raised in two commentaries is flagged but not answered of whether design is rightly represented by an (...)
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  • Natural Selection and the Maximization of Fitness.Jonathan Birch - 2016 - Biological Reviews 91 (3):712-727.
    The notion that natural selection is a process of fitness maximization gets a bad press in population genetics, yet in other areas of biology the view that organisms behave as if attempting to maximize their fitness remains widespread. Here I critically appraise the prospects for reconciliation. I first distinguish four varieties of fitness maximization. I then examine two recent developments that may appear to vindicate at least one of these varieties. The first is the ‘new’ interpretation of Fisher's fundamental theorem (...)
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  • Has Grafen Formalized Darwin?Jonathan Birch - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):175-180.
    One key aim of Grafen’s Formal Darwinism project is to formalize ‘modern biology’s understanding and updating of Darwin’s central argument’. In this commentary, I consider whether Grafen has succeeded in this aim.
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  • Kin Selection: A Philosophical Analysis.Jonathan Birch - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Cambridge
    This PhD dissertation examines the conceptual and theoretical foundations of the most general and most widely used framework for understanding social evolution, W. D. Hamilton's theory of kin selection. While the core idea is intuitive enough (when organisms share genes, they sometimes have an evolutionary incentive to help one another), its apparent simplicity masks a host of conceptual subtleties, and the theory has proved a perennial source of controversy in evolutionary biology. To move towards a resolution of these controversies, we (...)
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  • Collective Action in the Fraternal Transitions.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (3):363-380.
    Inclusive fitness theory was not originally designed to explain the major transitions in evolution, but there is a growing consensus that it has the resources to do so. My aim in this paper is to highlight, in a constructive spirit, the puzzles and challenges that remain. I first consider the distinctive aspects of the cooperative interactions we see within the most complex social groups in nature: multicellular organisms and eusocial insect colonies. I then focus on one aspect in particular: the (...)
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  • Hamilton’s Rule and its Discontents.Jonathan Birch - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):381-411.
    In an incendiary 2010 Nature article, M. A. Nowak, C. E. Tarnita, and E. O. Wilson present a savage critique of the best-known and most widely used framework for the study of social evolution, W. D. Hamilton’s theory of kin selection. More than a hundred biologists have since rallied to the theory’s defence, but Nowak et al. maintain that their arguments ‘stand unrefuted’. Here I consider the most contentious claim Nowak et al. defend: that Hamilton’s rule, the core explanatory principle (...)
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  • The Formal Darwinism Project in Outline: Response to Commentaries.Alan Grafen - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):281-292.
    The broader context for the formal darwinism project established by two of the commentators, in terms of reconciling the Modern Synthesis with Darwinian arguments over design and in terms of links to other types of selection and design, is discussed and welcomed. Some overselling of the project is admitted, in particular of whether it claims to consider all organic design. One important fundamental question raised in two commentaries is flagged but not answered of whether design is rightly represented by an (...)
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  • The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus.Robert N. Brandon - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (4):614.
  • Kin Selection and Its Critics.Jonathan Birch & Samir Okasha - 2015 - BioScience 65 (1):22-32.
    Hamilton’s theory of kin selection is the best-known framework for understanding the evolution of social behavior but has long been a source of controversy in evolutionary biology. A recent critique of the theory by Nowak, Tarnita, and Wilson sparked a new round of debate, which shows no signs of abating. In this overview, we highlight a number of conceptual issues that lie at the heart of the current debate. We begin by emphasizing that there are various alternative formulations of Hamilton’s (...)
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  • The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus.Elliott Sober - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (3):397-399.
     
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