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Fitness and Explanation

Gregory Cooper
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1988, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1988), pp. 207-215
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192987
Page Count: 9
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Fitness and Explanation
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Abstract

Although consensus appears to be on the horizon, the foundations of the theory of natural selection remain a matter of controversy. This paper looks at two recent challenges to the emerging "received view" of this theory. It argues that different views of the nature of scientific explanation are playing a pivotal role in the debates. Do explanations in biology fit the covering-law paradigm? What are the explanatory laws of biology like? Until agreement is reached on these fundamental questions, there is little prospect for consensus on the foundations of the theory of natural selection. Furthermore, the three alternative positions identified in this paper each face serious challenges.

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