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Adaptive speciation: The role of natural selection in mechanisms of geographic and non-geographic speciation

Byron (formerly Baker), Jason M. (2005) Adaptive speciation: The role of natural selection in mechanisms of geographic and non-geographic speciation. UNSPECIFIED.

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    Recent discussion of mechanism has suggested new approaches to several issues in the philosophy of science, including theory structure, causal explanation, and reductionism. Here, I apply what I take to be the fruits of the "new mechanical philosophy" to an analysis of a contemporary debate in evolutionary biology about the role of natural selection in speciation. Traditional accounts of that debate focus on the geographic context of genetic divergence--namely, whether divergence in the absence of geographic isolation is possible (or significant). Those accounts are at best incomplete, I argue, because they ignore the mechanisms producing divergence and miss what is at stake in the biological debate. I argue that the biological debate instead concerns the scope of particular speciation mechanisms which assign different roles to natural selection at various stages of divergence. The upshot is a new interpretation of the crux of that debate--namely, whether divergence with gene flow is possible (or significant) and whether the isolating mechanisms producing it are adaptive.

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    Item Type: Other
    Additional Information: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (June 2005): 303-326.
    Keywords: Speciation mechanisms; Isolating mechanisms; Reproductive isolation; Natural selection; Adaptation; Spandrels
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
    Specific Sciences > Biology > Systematics
    General Issues > Models and Idealization
    Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
    Depositing User: Jason M. Byron
    Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2005
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:13
    Item ID: 2331
    Public Domain: No

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