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What Fitness Can't Be

André Ariew and Zachary Ernst
Erkenntnis (1975-)
Vol. 71, No. 3 (Nov., 2009), pp. 289-301
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40267438
Page Count: 13
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What Fitness Can't Be
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Abstract

Recently advocates of the propensity interpretation of fitness have turned critics. To accommodate examples from the population genetics literature they conclude that fitness is better defined broadly as a family of propensities rather than the propensity to contribute descendants to some future generation. We argue that the propensity theorists have misunderstood the deeper ramifications of the examples they cite. These examples demonstrate why there are factors outside of propensities that determine fitness. We go on to argue for the more general thesis that no account of fitness can satisfy the desiderata that have motivated the propensity account.

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