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A Structural Description of Evolutionary Theory

Robert N. Brandon
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1980, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1980), pp. 427-439
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192602
Page Count: 13
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A Structural Description of Evolutionary Theory
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Abstract

The principle of natural selection is stated. It connects fitness values (actual reproductive success) with expected fitness values. The term 'adaptedness' is used for expected fitness values. The principle of natural selection explains differential fitness in terms of relative adaptedness. It is argued that this principle is absolutely central to Darwinian evolutionary theory. The empirical content of the principle of natural selection is examined. It is argued that the principle itself has no empirical biological content, but that the presuppositions of its applicability are empirical. They form the empirical biological core of evolutionary theory.

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