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Okasha, Samir, , . Evolution and the levels of selection
2006, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Does natural selection act primarily on individual organisms, on groups, on genes, or on whole species? This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the long-standing controversy in evolutionary biology over the levels of selection, focusing on conceptual, philosophical, and foundational questions. In the first half of the book, a systematic framework is developed for thinking about natural selection acting at multiple levels of the biological hierarchy; the framework is then used to help resolve outstanding issues. Considerable attention is paid to the concept of causality as it relates to the levels of selection, particularly the idea that natural selection at one hierarchical level can have effects that ‘filter’ up or down to other levels. Full account is taken of the recent biological literature on ‘major evolutionary transitions’ and the recent resurgence of interest in multi-level selection theory among biologists. Other biological topics discussed include Price’s equation, kin and group selection, the gene’s eye view, evolutionary game theory, selfish genetic elements, species and clade selection, and the evolution of individuality. Philosophical topics discussed include reductionism and holism, causation and correlation, the nature of hierarchical organization, and realism and pluralism about the levels of selection.

Comment: This book integrates the biological and philosophical discussions and offers in-depth analysis of multi-level selection theory. The author is fully informed by the latest work in evolutionary biology. Recommended for postgraduate courses in philosophy of science focusing in philosophy of biology.

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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.
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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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