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Sober's Use of Unanimity in the Units of Selection Problem

Fred Gifford
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1986, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1986), pp. 473-482
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/193147
Page Count: 10
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Sober's Use of Unanimity in the Units of Selection Problem
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Abstract

Sober argues that the units of selection problem in evolutionary biology is to be understood and solved by applying the general analysis of what it means for C to cause E in a population. The account he utilizes is the unanimity account, according to which C causes E in a population when C raises the probability of E in each causal context. I argue that he does not succeed here, both because the unanimity account is not well grounded in the general case, and because there are important differences between cases of population causation which do involve selection and those which do not.

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