Results for 'Natural selection'

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  1.  37
    The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or, the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.Charles Darwin - 1993 - Modern Library.
    Perhaps the most readable and accessible of the great works of scientific imagination, The Origin of Species sold out on the day it was published in 1859. Theologians quickly labeled Charles Darwin the most dangerous man in England, and, as the Saturday Review noted, the uproar over the book quickly "passed beyond the bounds of the study and lecture-room into the drawing-room and the public street." Yet, after reading it, Darwin's friend and colleague T. H. Huxley had a different reaction: (...)
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  2.  36
    Natural Selection and Natural Language.Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4):707-784.
    Many people have argued that the evolution of the human language faculty cannot be explained by Darwinian natural selection. Chomsky and Gould have suggested that language may have evolved as the by-product of selection for other abilities or as a consequence of as-yet unknown laws of growth and form. Others have argued that a biological specialization for grammar is incompatible with every tenet of Darwinian theory – that it shows no genetic variation, could not exist in any (...)
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  3. Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    The book presents a new way of understanding Darwinism and evolution by natural selection, combining work in biology, philosophy, and other fields.
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  4. 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 (...)
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  5. Natural Selection as a Population-Level Causal Process.Roberta L. Millstein - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):627-653.
    Recent discussions in the philosophy of biology have brought into question some fundamental assumptions regarding evolutionary processes, natural selection in particular. Some authors argue that natural selection is nothing but a population-level, statistical consequence of lower-level events (Matthen and Ariew [2002]; Walsh et al. [2002]). On this view, natural selection itself does not involve forces. Other authors reject this purely statistical, population-level account for an individual-level, causal account of natural selection (Bouchard and (...)
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  6. Natural Selection, Causality, and Laws: What Fodor and Piatelli-Palmarini Got Wrong.Elliott Sober - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (4):594-607.
    In their book What Darwin Got Wrong, Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini construct an a priori philosophical argument and an empirical biological argument. The biological argument aims to show that natural selection is much less important in the evolutionary process than many biologists maintain. The a priori argument begins with the claim that there cannot be selection for one but not the other of two traits that are perfectly correlated in a population; it concludes that there cannot (...)
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  7. Natural Language and Natural Selection.Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4):707-27.
    Many people have argued that the evolution of the human language faculty cannot be explained by Darwinian natural selection. Chomsky and Gould have suggested that language may have evolved as the by-product of selection for other abilities or as a consequence of as-yet unknown laws of growth and form. Others have argued that a biological specialization for grammar is incompatible with every tenet of Darwinian theory – that it shows no genetic variation, could not exist in any (...)
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  8. How Do Natural Selection and Random Drift Interact?Marshall Abrams - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):666-679.
    One controversy about the existence of so called evolutionary forces such as natural selection and random genetic drift concerns the sense in which such “forces” can be said to interact. In this paper I explain how natural selection and random drift can interact. In particular, I show how population-level probabilities can be derived from individual-level probabilities, and explain the sense in which natural selection and drift are embodied in these population-level probabilities. I argue that (...)
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  9. Natural Selection and Distributive Explanation: A Reply to Neander.Elliott Sober - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (3):384-397.
    The thesis that natural selection explains the frequencies of traits in populations, but not why individual organisms have the traits tehy do, is here defended and elaborated. A general concept of ‘distributive explanation’ is discussed.
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  10.  56
    Are Natural Selection Explanatory Models a Priori?José Díez & Pablo Lorenzano - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (6):787-809.
    The epistemic status of Natural Selection has seemed intriguing to biologists and philosophers since the very beginning of the theory to our present times. One prominent contemporary example is Elliott Sober, who claims that NS, and some other theories in biology, and maybe in economics, are peculiar in including explanatory models/conditionals that are a priori in a sense in which explanatory models/conditionals in Classical Mechanics and most other standard theories are not. Sober’s argument focuses on some “would promote” (...)
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  11.  37
    The Origin of Species: By Means of Natural Selection of the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.Charles Darwin - 1859 - Norton.
    In The Origin of Species (1859) Darwin challenged many of the most deeply-held beliefs of the Western world. Arguing for a material, not divine, origin of species, he showed that new species are achieved by "natural selection." The Origin communicates the enthusiasm of original thinking in an open, descriptive style, and Darwin's emphasis on the value of diversity speaks more strongly now than ever. As well as a stimulating introduction and detailed notes, this edition offers a register of (...)
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  12. Natural Selection Through Survival Alone, and the Possibility of Gaia.W. Ford Doolittle - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):415-423.
    Here I advance two related evolutionary propositions. (1) Natural selection is most often considered to require competition between reproducing “individuals”, sometimes quite broadly conceived, as in cases of clonal, species or multispecies-community selection. But differential survival of non-competing and non-reproducing individuals will also result in increasing frequencies of survival-promoting “adaptations” among survivors, and thus is also a kind of natural selection. (2) Darwinists have challenged the view that the Earth’s biosphere is an evolved global homeostatic (...)
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  13. Natural Selection and the Emergence of Mind.Karl Popper - 1978 - Dialectica 32 (3‐4):339-55.
  14. Natural Selection and the Limited Nature of Environmental Resources.Bence Nanay - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (4):418-419.
    In this paper, I am clarifying and defending my argument in favor of the claim that cumulative selection can explain adaptation provided that the environmental resources are limited. Further, elaborate on what this limitation of environmental resources means and why it is relevant for the explanatory power of natural selection.
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  15.  99
    Natural Selection as a Mechanism.D. Benjamin Barros - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (3):306-322.
    Skipper and Millstein (2005) argued that existing conceptions of mechanisms failed to "get at" natural selection, but left open the possibility that a refined conception of mechanisms could resolve the problems that they identified. I respond to Skipper and Millstein, and argue that while many of their points have merit, their objections can be overcome and that natural selection can be characterized as a mechanism. In making this argument, I discuss the role of regularity in mechanisms, (...)
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  16. Natural Selection and Multi-Level Causation.Maximiliano Martínez & Andrés Moya - 2011 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 3 (20130604).
    In this paper, using a multilevel approach, we defend the positive role of natural selection in the generation of organismal form. Despite the currently widespread opinion that natural selection only plays a negative role in the evolution of form, we argue, in contrast, that the Darwinian factor is a crucial (but not exclusive) factor in morphological organization. Analyzing some classic arguments, we propose incorporating the notion of ‘downward causation’ into the concept of ‘natural selection.’ (...)
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  17. Teleosemantics Without Natural Selection.Marshall Abrams - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (1):97-116.
    Ruth Millikan and others advocate theories which attempt to naturalize wide mental content (e.g. beliefs.
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  18. Natural Selection Does Care About Truth.Maarten Boudry & Michael Vlerick - 2014 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (1):65-77.
    True beliefs are better guides to the world than false ones. This is the common-sense assumption that undergirds theorizing in evolutionary epistemology. According to Alvin Plantinga, however, evolution by natural selection does not care about truth: it cares only about fitness. If our cognitive faculties are the products of blind evolution, we have no reason to trust them, anytime or anywhere. Evolutionary naturalism, consequently, is a self-defeating position. Following up on earlier objections, we uncover three additional flaws in (...)
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  19. Natural Selection, Childrearing, and the Ethics of Marriage (and Divorce): Building a Case for the Neuroenhancement of Human Relationships. [REVIEW]Brian D. Earp, Anders Sandberg & Julian Savulescu - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):561-587.
    We argue that the fragility of contemporary marriages—and the corresponding high rates of divorce—can be explained (in large part) by a three-part mismatch: between our relationship values, our evolved psychobiological natures, and our modern social, physical, and technological environment. “Love drugs” could help address this mismatch by boosting our psychobiologies while keeping our values and our environment intact. While individual couples should be free to use pharmacological interventions to sustain and improve their romantic connection, we suggest that they may have (...)
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  20.  30
    Missing Concepts in Natural Selection Theory Reconstructions.Santiago Ginnobili - 2016 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 38 (3):1-33.
    The concept of fitness has generated a lot of discussion in philosophy of biology. There is, however, relative agreement about the need to distinguish at least two uses of the term: ecological fitness on the one hand, and population genetics fitness on the other. The goal of this paper is to give an explication of the concept of ecological fitness by providing a reconstruction of the theory of natural selection in which this concept was framed, that is, based (...)
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  21.  95
    Natural Selection and the Traits of Individual Organisms.Joel Pust - 2004 - Biology and Philosophy 19 (5):765-779.
    I have recently argued that origin essentialism regarding individual organisms entails that natural selection does not explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do. This paper defends this and related theses against Mohan Matthen's recent objections.
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  22. Natural Selection and History.John Beatty & Eric Cyr Desjardins - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):231-246.
    In “Spandrels,” Gould and Lewontin criticized what they took to be an all-too-common conviction, namely, that adaptation to current environments determines organic form. They stressed instead the importance of history. In this paper, we elaborate upon their concerns by appealing to other writings in which those issues are treated in greater detail. Gould and Lewontin’s combined emphasis on history was three-fold. First, evolution by natural selection does not start from scratch, but always refashions preexisting forms. Second, preexisting forms (...)
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  23. Natural Selection Explanation and Origin Essentialism.Joel Pust - 2001 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):201-220.
    Does natural selection explain why individual organisms have the traits that they do? According to "the Negative View," natural selection does not explain why any individual organism has the traits that it does. According to "the Positive View," natural selection at least sometimes does explain why an individual organism has the traits that it does. In this paper, I argue that recent arguments for the Positive View fail in virtue of running afoul of the (...)
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  24.  36
    Natural Selection, Plasticity, and the Rationale for Largest-Scale Trends.Hugh Desmond - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 68:25-33.
    Many have argued that there is no reason why natural selection should cause directional increases in measures such as body size or complexity across evolutionary history as a whole. In this paper I argue that this conclusion does not hold for selection for adaptations to environmental variability, and that, given the inevitability of environmental variability, trends in adaptations to variability are an expected feature of evolution by natural selection. As a concrete instance of this causal (...)
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  25.  94
    Natural Selection: A Case for the Counterfactual Approach. [REVIEW]Philippe Huneman - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (2):171-194.
    This paper investigates the conception of causation required in order to make sense of natural selection as a causal explanation of changes in traits or allele frequencies. It claims that under a counterfactual account of causation, natural selection is constituted by the causal relevance of traits and alleles to the variation in traits and alleles frequencies. The “statisticalist” view of selection (Walsh, Matthen, Ariew, Lewens) has shown that natural selection is not a cause (...)
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  26.  35
    Distinguishing Natural Selection From Other Evolutionary Processes in the Evolution of Altruism.Pierrick Bourrat - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (4):311-321.
    Altruism is one of the most studied topics in theoretical evolutionary biology. The debate surrounding the evolution of altruism has generally focused on the conditions under which altruism can evolve and whether it is better explained by kin selection or multilevel selection. This debate has occupied the forefront of the stage and left behind a number of equally important questions. One of them, which is the subject of this article, is whether the word “selection” in “kin (...)” and “multilevel selection” necessarily refers to “evolution by natural selection.” I show, using a simple individual-centered model, that once clear conditions for natural selection and altruism are specified, one can distinguish two kinds of evolution of altruism, only one of which corresponds to the evolution of altruism by natural selection, the other resulting from other evolutionary processes. (shrink)
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  27.  99
    Natural Selection and Self-Organization.Bruce H. Weber & David J. Depew - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (1):33-65.
    The Darwinian concept of natural selection was conceived within a set of Newtonian background assumptions about systems dynamics. Mendelian genetics at first did not sit well with the gradualist assumptions of the Darwinian theory. Eventually, however, Mendelism and Darwinism were fused by reformulating natural selection in statistical terms. This reflected a shift to a more probabilistic set of background assumptions based upon Boltzmannian systems dynamics. Recent developments in molecular genetics and paleontology have put pressure on Darwinism (...)
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  28. Thinking About Evolutionary Mechanisms: Natural Selection.Robert Skipper & Roberta Millstein - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):327-347.
    This paper explores whether natural selection, a putative evolutionary mechanism, and a main one at that, can be characterized on either of the two dominant conceptions of mechanism, due to Glennan and the team of Machamer, Darden, and Craver, that constitute the “new mechanistic philosophy.” The results of the analysis are that neither of the dominant conceptions of mechanism adequately captures natural selection. Nevertheless, the new mechanistic philosophy possesses the resources for an understanding of natural (...)
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  29.  32
    The Natural Selection of Conservative Science.Cailin O'Connor - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 76:24-29.
  30.  38
    Natural Selection and Drift as Individual-Level Causes of Evolution.Pierrick Bourrat - 2018 - Acta Biotheoretica 66 (3):159-176.
    In this paper I critically evaluate Reisman and Forber’s :1113–1123, 2005) arguments that drift and natural selection are population-level causes of evolution based on what they call the manipulation condition. Although I agree that this condition is an important step for identifying causes for evolutionary change, it is insufficient. Following Woodward, I argue that the invariance of a relationship is another crucial parameter to take into consideration for causal explanations. Starting from Reisman and Forber’s example on drift and (...)
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  31. Are Random Drift and Natural Selection Conceptually Distinct?Roberta L. Millstein - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):33-53.
    The latter half of the twentieth century has been marked by debates in evolutionary biology over the relative significance of natural selection and random drift: the so-called “neutralist/selectionist” debates. Yet John Beatty has argued that it is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the concept of random drift from the concept of natural selection, a claim that has been accepted by many philosophers of biology. If this claim is correct, then the neutralist/selectionist debates seem at best (...)
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  32.  5
    On the Origin of Species: By Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.Charles Darwin - 1859 - Sterling.
    Familiarity with Charles Darwin's treatise on evolution is essential to every well-educated individual. One of the most important books ever published--and a continuing source of controversy, a century and a half later--this classic of science is reproduced in a facsimile of the critically acclaimed first edition.
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  33.  59
    Scaffolding Natural Selection.Walter Veit - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (2):163-180.
    Darwin provided us with a powerful theoretical framework to explain the evolution of living systems. Natural selection alone, however, has sometimes been seen as insufficient to explain the emergence of new levels of selection. The problem is one of “circularity” for evolutionary explanations: how to explain the origins of Darwinian properties without already invoking their presence at the level they emerge. That is, how does evolution by natural selection commence in the first place? Recent results (...)
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  34.  69
    Natural Selection.Robert Brandon - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection provided the first, and only, causal-mechanistic account of the existence of adaptations in nature. As such, it provided the first, and only, scientific alternative to the “argument from design”. That alone would account for its philosophical significance. But the theory also raises other philosophical questions not encountered in the study of the theories of physics. Unfortunately the concept of natural selection is intimately intertwined with the other basic concepts of (...)
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  35.  54
    Natural Selection and Causal Productivity.Roberta L. Millstein - 2013 - In Hsiang-Ke Chao, Szu-Ting Chen & Roberta L. Millstein (eds.), Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics,. Springer.
    In the recent philosophical literature, two questions have arisen concerning the status of natural selection: (1) Is it a population-level phenomenon, or is it an organism-level phenomenon? (2) Is it a causal process, or is it a purely statistical summary of lower-level processes? In an earlier work (Millstein, Br J Philos Sci, 57(4):627–653, 2006), I argue that natural selection should be understood as a population-level causal process, rather than a purely statistical population-level summation of lower-level processes (...)
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  36.  9
    The Ecological Dimension of Natural Selection.Bendik Hellem Aaby - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):1199-1209.
    In this article I argue that we should pay extra attention to the ecological dimension of natural selection. By this I mean that we should view natural selection primarily as acting on the outcomes of the interactions organisms have with their environment, which influences their relative reproductive output. A consequence of this view is that natural selection is not sensitive to what system of inheritance ensures reoccurrences of organism-environment interactions over generations. I end by (...)
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  37.  4
    Did Natural Selection Select for True Religious Beliefs?Hans van Eyghen & Christopher T. Bennett - 2022 - Religious Studies 58 (1):113-137.
    Although it is commonly accepted that Darwinian evolution could select for true common-sense beliefs, it is altogether less certain that the same can be said for other classes of beliefs, such as moral or religious beliefs. This issue takes centre stage in debates concerning evolutionary debunking arguments against religious beliefs, where the rationality of beliefs is often dependent upon their production by an evolved faculty that is sensitive to truth. In this article, we consider whether evolution selected for true religious (...)
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  38.  14
    Natural Selection and the Reference Grain Problem.Pierrick Bourrat - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 80:1-8.
  39. Defining Dysfunction: Natural Selection, Design, and Drawing a Line.Peter H. Schwartz - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (3):364-385.
    Accounts of the concepts of function and dysfunction have not adequately explained what factors determine the line between low‐normal function and dysfunction. I call the challenge of doing so the line‐drawing problem. Previous approaches emphasize facts involving the action of natural selection (Wakefield 1992a, 1999a, 1999b) or the statistical distribution of levels of functioning in the current population (Boorse 1977, 1997). I point out limitations of these two approaches and present a solution to the line‐drawing problem that builds (...)
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  40.  15
    Natural Selection and Self-Organization Do Not Make Meaning, while the Agent’s Choice Does.Kalevi Kull - 2021 - Biosemiotics 14 (1):49-53.
    Demonstration of illusiveness of basic beliefs of the Modern Synthesis implies the existence of evolutionary mechanisms that do not require natural selection for the origin of adaptations. This requires adaptive changes that occur independently from replication, but can occasionally become heritable. Plastic self-organizational changes regulated by genome are largely incorporable into the old theory. A fundamentally different source of adaptability is semiosis which includes the agent’s free choice. Adding semiosis into the theory of Extended Evolutionary Synthesis completes the (...)
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  41. The Trials of Life: Natural Selection and Random Drift.Denis M. Walsh, Andre Ariew & Tim Lewens - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (3):452-473.
    We distinguish dynamical and statistical interpretations of evolutionary theory. We argue that only the statistical interpretation preserves the presumed relation between natural selection and drift. On these grounds we claim that the dynamical conception of evolutionary theory as a theory of forces is mistaken. Selection and drift are not forces. Nor do selection and drift explanations appeal to the (sub-population-level) causes of population level change. Instead they explain by appeal to the statistical structure of populations. We (...)
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  42. Chance and Natural Selection.John Beatty - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (2):183-211.
    Among the liveliest disputes in evolutionary biology today are disputes concerning the role of chance in evolution--more specifically, disputes concerning the relative evolutionary importance of natural selection vs. so-called "random drift". The following discussion is an attempt to sort out some of the broad issues involved in those disputes. In the first half of this paper, I try to explain the differences between evolution by natural selection and evolution by random drift. On some common construals of (...)
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  43.  10
    Natural Selection and the Limitations of Environmental Resources.Bence Nanay - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (4):418-419.
    In this paper, I am clarifying and defending my argument in favor of the claim that cumulative selection can explain adaptation provided that the environmental resources are limited. Further, elaborate on what this limitation of environmental resources means and why it is relevant for the explanatory power of natural selection.
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  44.  63
    Charles Darwin's Natural Selection: Being the Second Part of His Big Species Book Written From 1856 to 1858.Charles Darwin - 1975 - Cambridge University Press.
    Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species is unquestionably one of the chief landmarks in biology. The Origin (as it is widely known) was literally only an abstract of the manuscript Darwin had originally intended to complete and publish as the formal presentation of his views on evolution. Compared with the Origin, his original long manuscript work on Natural Selection, which is presented here and made available for the first time in printed form, has more abundant examples and (...)
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  45.  24
    Complexity, Natural Selection and the Evolution of Life and Humans.Börje Ekstig - 2015 - Foundations of Science 20 (2):175-187.
    In this paper, I discuss the concept of complexity. I show that the principle of natural selection as acting on complexity gives a solution to the problem of reconciling the seemingly contradictory notion of generally increasing complexity and the observation that most species don’t follow such a trend. I suggest the process of evolution to be illustrated by means of a schematic diagram of complexity versus time, interpreted as a form of the Tree of Life. The suggested model (...)
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  46. Economic Natural Selection: What Concept of Selection?Jean Gayon - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (4):320-325.
    The article examines two cases of adoption of evolutionary ways of thinking by modern economists: Nelson and Winter’s (Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change, 1982), and evolutionary game theory (1990s and after). In both cases, the authors explicitly refer to natural selection in an economic context. I show that natural selection is taken in two different senses, which correspond to two general conceptions of the principle of natural selection, one of which contains reproduction and heredity (...)
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  47. Productivity, Relevance and Natural Selection.Stuart Glennan - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (3):325-339.
    Recent papers by a number of philosophers have been concerned with the question of whether natural selection is a causal process, and if it is, whether the causes of selection are properties of individuals or properties of populations. I shall argue that much confusion in this debate arises because of a failure to distinguish between causal productivity and causal relevance. Causal productivity is a relation that holds between events connected via continuous causal processes, while causal relevance is (...)
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  48. Natural Selection and its Limits: Where Ecology Meets Evolution.Massimo Pigliucci - 2004 - In R. Casagrandi P. Melia (ed.), Atti del XIII Congresso Nazionale della Societa` Italiana di Ecologia.
    Natural selection [Darwin 1859] is perhaps the most important component of evolutionary theory, since it is the only known process that can bring about the adaptation of living organisms to their environments [Gould 2002]. And yet, its study is conceptually and methodologically complex, and much attention needs to be paid to a variety of phenomena that can limit the efficacy of selection [Antonovics 1976; Pigliucci and Kaplan 2000]. In this essay, I will use examples of recent work (...)
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  49.  73
    Natural Selection and the Struggle for Existence.James G. Lennox & Bradley E. Wilson - 1994 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (1):65-80.
  50. Problems for Natural Selection as a Mechanism.Joyce C. Havstad - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (3):512-523.
    Skipper and Millstein analyze natural selection and mechanism, concluding that natural selection is not a mechanism in the sense of the new mechanistic philosophy. Barros disagrees and provides his own account of natural selection as a mechanism. This discussion identifies a missing piece of Barros's account, attempts to fill in that piece, and reconsiders the revised account. Two principal objections are developed: one, the account does not characterize natural selection; two, the account (...)
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