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Abstract: 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 ; Walsh et al. ). 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 Rosenberg ). I argue that each of these positions is right in one way, but wrong in another; natural selection indeed takes place at the level of populations, but it is a causal process nonetheless.
Comment: This would be useful in a course on the philosophy of science, the philosophy of biology, or in a section on causation in a course on metaphysics. The paper would be appropriate for undergraduate or graduate-level courses. It is quite long.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
Millstein, Roberta. Natural Selection as a Population-Level Causal Process
2006, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57(4): 627-653.
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