The impact of evolutionary theory on the philosophy of science has been no less profound than its impact on the science of biology itself. Advances in this theory provide a rich set of examples for thinking about the nature of scientific explanation and the structure of science. Many of the developments in our understanding of evolution resulted from contributions by both philosophers and biologists engaging over theoretical questions of mutual interest. This volume traces some of the most influential exchanges in this field over the last few decades. Focal topics include the nature of biological functions, adaptationism as an explanatory and methodological doctrine, the levels of selection debate, the concepts of fitness and drift, and the relationship of evolutionary to developmental biology.
Contents: Introduction; Part I Function and Purpose in Biology: Functions as selected effects: the conceptual analyst's defense, Karen Neander; A modern history theory of functions, Peter Godfrey-Smith; Function without purpose: the uses of causal role function in evolutionary biology, Ron Amundson and George V. Lauder; Function, homology and character individuation, Paul E. Griffiths. Part II Adaptionism, Optimality and Adaptive Co-Variation: Adaptationism and the power of selection, Peter Godfrey-Smith; Optimality models and the test of adaptionism, Steven Hecht Orzack and Elliott Sober; Testing adaptationism: a comment on Orzack and Sober, Robert N. Brandon and Mark D. Rausher; The causes of natural selection, Michael J. Wade and Susan Kalisz. Part III Fitness, Drift and the Forces of Evolution: The propensity interpretation of fitness, Susan K. Mills and John H. Beatty; Chance and natural selection, John Beatty; The indeterministic character of evolutionary theory: no 'no hidden variables proof' but no room for determinism either, Robert N. Brandon and Scott Carson; Is indeterminism the source of the statistical character of evolutionary theory?, Leslie Graves, Barbara L. Horan and Alex Rosenberg; Are random drift and natural selection conceptually distinct?, Roberta L. Millstein; The trials of life: natural selection and random drift, Denis M. Walsh, Tim Lewens and André Ariew; Fitness, probability, and the principles of natural selection, Frédéric Bouchard and Alex Rosenberg. Part IV Selfish Genes, Altruistic Organisms and the Levels of Selection Debate: Reviving the superorganism, David Sloan Wilson and Elliott Sober; The return of the group, Kim Sterelny; The 'averaging fallacy' and the levels of selection, Samir Okasha; The empirical nonequivalence of genic and genotypic models of selection: a (decisive) refutation of genic selectionism and pluralistic genic selectionism, Robert N. Brandon and H.Frederik Nijhout. Part V Three Challenges from Development