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The Persistence of the R.A. Fisher-Sewall Wright Controversy

Skipper, Robert (2002) The Persistence of the R.A. Fisher-Sewall Wright Controversy. [Preprint]


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This paper considers recent heated debates led by Jerry A. Coyne and Michael J. Wade on issues stemming from the 1929-1962 R. A. Fisher-Sewall Wright controversy in population genetics. William B. Provine once remarked that the Fisher-Wright controversy is central, fundamental, and very influential. Indeed, it is also persistent. The argumentative structure of the recent (1997-2000) debates is analyzed with the aim of eliminating a logical conflict in them, viz., that the two “sides” in the debates have different aims and that, as such, they are talking past each other. Given a philosophical analysis of the argumentative structure of the debates, suggestions supportive of Wade’s work on the debate are made that are aimed, modestly, at putting the persistent Fisher-Wright controversy on the course to resolution.

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Item Type: Preprint
Skipper, Robert
Keywords: Fisher, Wright, Coyne, Wade, population genetics, shifting balance theory, large population size theory
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology
Depositing User: Robert Skipper
Date Deposited: 10 May 2004
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:12
Item ID: 1750

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