There is no asymmetry of identity assumptions in the debate over selection and individuals

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Abstract

A long-running dispute concerns which adaptation-related explananda natural selection can be said to explain. (The issue is conceptual—not empirical—and orthogonal adaptationism.) At issue are explananda of the form: why a given individual organism has a given adaptation rather than that same individual having another trait. It is broadly agreed that one must be ready to back up a “no” answer with an appropriate theory of trans-world identity for individuals. I argue, against the conventional wisdom, that the same is true for a “yes” answer. My conclusion recasts the landscape and opens the door to a potential resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Volume82
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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