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Why the Causal View of Fitness Survives*
Jun Otsuka, Trin Turner, Colin Allen and Elisabeth A. Lloyd
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 78, No. 2 (April 2011), pp. 209-224
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/659219
Page Count: 16
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Paradoxes, Population size, Ecological competition, Simulations, Genotypes, Population mean, Analgesics, Biological altruism, Parametric models, Evolutionary biology
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We critically examine Denis Walsh’s latest attack on the causalist view of fitness. Relying on Judea Pearl’s Sure-Thing Principle and geneticist John Gillespie’s model for fitness, Walsh has argued that the causal interpretation of fitness results in a reductio. We show that his conclusion only follows from misuse of the models, that is, (1) the disregard of the real biological bearing of the population-size parameter in Gillespie’s model and (2) the confusion of the distinction between ordinary probability and Pearl’s causal probability. Properly understood, the models used by Walsh do not threaten the causalist view of fitness.
Copyright 2011 by the Philosophy of Science Association. All rights reserved.