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Natural Selection is not Environmental Selection: Revisiting Lewontin’s Argument From Niche Construction

Chiu, Lynn (2017) Natural Selection is not Environmental Selection: Revisiting Lewontin’s Argument From Niche Construction. UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Richard Lewontin is often cited as an inspiration and founder of what is now known as Niche Construction Theory. The first goal of this paper is to argue that they present distinct arguments from niche construction against Adaptationism. While Niche Construction Theory argues that natural selection is not the only adaptive evolutionary force, Lewontin rejects the externalist characterization of natural selection. The key difference lies in the types of phenomena that are allowed to count as “niche construction” and their argumentative roles. The second goal is to argue that it is time to revive Lewontin’s argument. I argue that it finds renewed support in Denis Walsh’s ecological affordance framework (Walsh 2015) and empirical evidence from ecological developmental biology (Sultan 2015). Reexamining the roots of Niche Construction Theory (Odling-Smee 1988), I suggest that the rich conceptual resources therein provide a way for Niche Construction Theory to also develop a neo-Lewontinian argument against the externalism of natural selection explanations.


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Item Type: Other
Creators:
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Chiu, Lynnchiulynnc@gmail.com
Additional Information: Currently under peer review
Keywords: Frequency-dependent Selection, Experiential Niche Construction, Physical Niche Construction, Ecological Affordances, Plasticity, Ecological Developmental Biology, Niche Construction Theory, Adaptationism, Externalism
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Depositing User: Dr. Lynn Chiu
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2017 18:22
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2017 18:22
Item ID: 14177
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Date: 5 December 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14177

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