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Is Sex Really Necessary? And Other Questions for Lewens

Mohan Matthen
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Vol. 54, No. 2 (Jun., 2003), pp. 297-308
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3541969
Page Count: 12
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Is Sex Really Necessary? And Other Questions for Lewens
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Abstract

It has been claimed that certain forms of individual essentialism render the Theory of Natural Selection unable to explain why any given individual has the traits it does. Here, three reasons are offered why the Theory ought to ignore these forms of essentialism. First, the trait-distributions explained by population genetics supervene on individual-level causal links, and thus selection must have individual-level effects. Second, even if there are individuals that possess thick essences, they lie outside the domain of the Theory. Finally, the contingency of sexual reproduction suggests that essentialism is misguided in this arena.

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