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Scaffolding Natural Selection (Preprint)

Veit, Walter (2021) Scaffolding Natural Selection (Preprint). [Preprint]

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Abstract

Darwin provided us with a powerful theoretical framework to explain the evolution of living systems. Natural selection alone, however, has sometimes been seen as insufficient to explain the emergence of new levels of selection. The problem is one of `circularity' for evolutionary explanations: how to explain the origins of Darwinian properties without already invoking their presence at the level they emerge. That is, how does evolution by natural selection commence in the first place? Recent results in experimental evolution suggest a way forward: Paul Rainey and his collaborators have shown that Darwinian properties could be exogenously imposed via what they call ``ecological scaffolding''. This could solve the `black box' dilemma faced by Darwinian explanations of new levels of organization. Yet, despite `scaffolding' recently becoming a popular term in the study of cognition, culture and evolution, the concept has suffered from vagueness and ambiguity. This article aims to show that we scaffolding can be turned into a proper scientific concept able to do explanatory work within the context of the major evolutionary transitions. Doing so will allow us to once again extend the scope of the Darwinian model of evolution by natural selection.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Veit, Walterwrwveit@gmail.com0000-0001-7701-8995
Keywords: Natural selection; Ecological scaffolding; Multi-level selection; Major transitions; Multicellularity; Individuality; Ecology; Group selection; Hierarchy; Selection analysis; Scaffolding
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Mr. Walter Veit
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2021 15:32
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2021 15:32
Item ID: 19550
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Complex Systems
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19550

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