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Evolvability as a Disposition: Philosophical Distinctions, Scientific Implications

Brigandt, Ingo and Villegas, Cristina and Love, Alan C. and Nuño de la Rosa, Laura (2021) Evolvability as a Disposition: Philosophical Distinctions, Scientific Implications. [Preprint]

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Abstract

A disposition or dispositional property is a capacity, ability, or potential to display or exhibit some outcome. Evolvability refers to a disposition to evolve. This chapter discusses why the dispositional nature of evolvability matters—why philosophical distinctions about dispositions can have scientific implications. To that end, we build a conceptual toolkit with vocabulary from prior philosophical analyses using a different disposition: protein foldability. We then apply this toolkit to address several methodological questions related to evolvability. What entities are the bearers of evolvability? What features causally contribute to the disposition of evolvability? How does evolvability manifest? The various possible answers to these questions available from philosophical distinctions suggest key implications for why the concept of evolvability as a disposition is useful in evolutionary research. These include (1) securing scientific virtues (e.g., explanatory depth and generalization, prediction or retrodiction, and control or manipulation) and (2) fostering interdisciplinary collaboration through the coordination of definitional diversity and different types of inquiry. Together these facilitate concentration on a variety of research questions at different levels of organization and on distinct time scales, all of which should be expected for a complex dispositional property such as evolvability.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Brigandt, Ingobrigandt@ualberta.ca0000-0003-0283-1337
Villegas, Cristinacrvilleg@ucm.es0000-0002-6402-5288
Love, Alan C.aclove@umn.edu
Nuño de la Rosa, Lauralauranun@ucm.es0000-0003-0513-0077
Additional Information: To appear in: Evolvability. T. Hansen, D. Houle, M. Pavličev, and C. Pélabon (eds), Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA
Keywords: evolvability, dispositions, philosophical toolkit, intrinsicality, contributors to evolvability
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Depositing User: Ingo Brigandt
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 04:05
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2021 04:05
Item ID: 19516
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Date: 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19516

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