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Natural Selection as a Cause: Probability, Chance, and Selective Biases.

Longy, Françoise (2008) Natural Selection as a Cause: Probability, Chance, and Selective Biases. In: [2008] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 21st Biennial Mtg (Pittsburgh, PA) > PSA 2008 Contributed Papers.

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    Abstract

    To what do "natural selection" and "genetic drift" refer? To causes, as is usually thought? Or to mere statistical effects? The question arises because assessing causes faces specific difficulties when stochastic processes are concerned. In this paper, I establish that a central anti-causalist argument from Matthen and Ariew (2002) does not work, because selection doesn't depend on chance (or unknown factors) in the manner that current analogies with games of chance suggest. I then explain how a clear understanding of how chance and biases are involved in natural selection supports one form of causalism, while every other form has indeed to be rejected.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Keywords: Natural selection, genetic drift, probability, selective factor, chance, biased chance, cause of evolution, interpretation of the theory of evolution
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
    Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
    General Issues > Causation
    Conferences and Volumes: [2008] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 21st Biennial Mtg (Pittsburgh, PA) > PSA 2008 Contributed Papers
    Depositing User: Françoise Longy
    Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2008
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:17
    Item ID: 4290
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/4290

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