Evolution and the Levels of Selection

Front Cover
Clarendon Press, Nov 16, 2006 - Philosophy - 263 pages
Does natural selection act primarily on individual organisms, on groups, on genes, or on whole species? Samir Okasha provides a comprehensive analysis of the debate in evolutionary biology over the levels of selection, focusing on conceptual, philosophical and foundational questions. A systematic framework is developed for thinking about natural selection acting at multiple levels of the biological hierarchy; the framework is then used to help resolve outstanding issues. Considerable attention is paid to the concept of causality as it relates to the levels of selection, in particular the idea that natural selection at one hierarchical level can have effects that 'filter' up or down to other levels. Unlike previous work in this area by philosophers of science, full account is taken of the recent biological literature on 'major evolutionary transitions' and the recent resurgence of interest in multi-level selection theory among biologists. Other biological topics discussed include Price's equation, kin and group selection, the gene's eye view, evolutionary game theory, outlaws and selfish genetic elements, species and clade selection, and the evolution of individuality. Philosophical topics discussed include reductionism and holism, causation and correlation, the nature of hierarchical organization, and realism and pluralism.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
1
1 Natural Selection in the Abstract
10
Concepts and Methods
40
3 Causality and MultiLevel Selection
76
4 Philosophical Issues in the LevelsofSelection Debate
112
5 The GenesEye View and its Discontents
143
6 The Group Selection Controversy
173
7 Species Selection Clade Selection and Macroevolution
203
8 Levels of Selection and the Major Evolutionary Transitions
218
Bibliography
241
Index
257
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Samir Okasha is Professor of Philosphy of Science at the University of Bristol.

Bibliographic information