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Sterrett, Susan G., , . Darwin’s analogy between artificial and natural selection: how does it go?
2002, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (1):151-168.
Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Susan G. Sterrett

Abstract: The analogy Darwin drew between artificial and natural selection in “On the Origin of Species” has a detailed structure that has not been appreciated. In Darwin’s analogy, the kind of artificial selection called Methodical selection is analogous to the principle of divergence in nature, and the kind of artificial selection called Unconscious selection is analogous to the principle of extinction in nature. This paper argues that it is the analogy between these two different principles familiar from his studies of artificial selection and the two different principles he claims are operative in nature that provides the main structure and force of the analogy he uses to make his case for the power of natural selection to produce new species. Darwin’s statements explicitly distinguishing between these two kinds of principles at work in nature occur prominently in the text of the Origin. The paper also shows that a recent revisionist claim that Darwin did not appeal to the efficacy of artificial selection is mistaken

Comment: This paper is useful in discussing Darwin's theory as he presented it, i.e., without a knowledge of genetics. It could also be used in discussing analogy and/or metaphor in science.

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