You are not currently logged in.
Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:
If You Use a Screen ReaderThis content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Population Genetics and Population Thinking: Mathematics and the Role of the Individual
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 71, No. 5, Proceedings of the 2002 Biennial Meeting of The Philosophy of Science AssociationPart II: Symposia PapersEdited by Sandra D. Mitchell (December 2004), pp. 1189-1200
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/425241
Page Count: 12
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Preview not available
Ernst Mayr has criticised the methodology of population genetics for being essentialist: interested only in “types” as opposed to individuals. In fact, he goes so far as to claim that “he who does not understand the uniqueness of individuals is unable to understand the working of natural selection” (1982, 47). This is a strong claim indeed especially since many responsible for the development of population genetics (especially Fisher, Haldane, and Wright) were avid Darwinians. In order to unravel this apparent incompatibility I want to examine the possible sources and implications of essentialism in this context and show why the kind of mathematical analysis found in Fisher’s work is better seen as responsible for extending the theory of natural selection to a broader context rather than inhibiting its applicability.
Copyright 2004 by the Philosophy of Science Association. All rights reserved.