A Priori Causal Models of Natural Selection

@article{Sober2011APC,
  title={A Priori Causal Models of Natural Selection},
  author={Elliott Sober},
  journal={Australasian Journal of Philosophy},
  year={2011},
  volume={89},
  pages={571 - 589}
}
  • E. Sober
  • Published 2011
  • Psychology
  • Australasian Journal of Philosophy
To evaluate Hume's thesis that causal claims are always empirical, I consider three kinds of causal statement: ‘e1 caused e2 ’, ‘e1 promoted e2 ’, and ‘e1 would promote e2 ’. Restricting my attention to cases in which ‘e1 occurred’ and ‘e2 occurred’ are both empirical, I argue that Hume was right about the first two, but wrong about the third. Standard causal models of natural selection that have this third form are a priori mathematical truths. Some are obvious, others less so. Empirical work… Expand
Can There be A Priori Causal Models of Natural Selection?
Sober 2011 argues that, contrary to Hume, some causal statements can be known a priori to be true—notably, some ‘would promote’ statements figuring in causal models of natural selection. We findExpand
Are natural selection explanatory models a priori?
The epistemic status of Natural Selection (NS) has seemed intriguing to biologists and philosophers since the very beginning of the theory to our present times. One prominent contemporary example isExpand
Causal, A Priori True, and Explanatory: A Reply to Lange and Rosenberg
Abstract Sober [2011] argues that some causal statements are a priori true and that a priori causal truths are central to explanations in the theory of natural selection. Lange and Rosenberg [2011]Expand
Why a convincing argument for causalism cannot entirely eschew population-level properties: discussion of Otsuka
Causalism is the thesis that natural selection can cause evolution. A standard argument for causalism involves showing that a hypothetical intervention on some population-level property that isExpand
Who Got What Wrong? Fodor and Piattelli on Darwin: Guiding Principles and Explanatory Models in Natural Selection
The purpose of this paper is to defend, contra Fodor and Piattelli-Palmarini (F&PP), that the theory of natural selection (NS) is a perfectly bona fide empirical unified explanatory theory. F&PPExpand
A priori causal laws
Abstract Sober and Elgin defend the claim that there are a priori causal laws in biology. Lange and Rosenberg take issue with this on Humean grounds, among others. I will argue that Sober and ElginExpand
Genetic drift as a directional factor: biasing effects and a priori predictions
The adequacy of Elliott Sober’s analogy between classical mechanics and evolutionary theory—according to which both theories explain via a zero-force law and a set of forces that alter the zero-forceExpand
Drift beyond Wright–Fisher
TLDR
This case study illustrates the influence of methodological assumptions on ontological judgments, particularly the pernicious effect of focusing on a particular model at the expense of others and confusing its assumptions and idealizations for true claims about the phenomena being modeled. Expand
Hamilton’s Rule and Its Discontents
  • Jonathan Birch
  • Philosophy
  • The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
  • 2014
In an incendiary 2010 Nature article, M. A. Nowak, C. E. Tarnita, and E. O. Wilson present a savage critique of the best-known and most widely used framework for the study of social evolution, W. D.Expand
Calculus and counterpossibles in science
TLDR
It is shown how an alternative semantics, one that employs impossible worlds, can deliver the judgment that some counterpossible formulations of differential equation models in science are not all vacuously true—some are non-vacuously true, and some are false. Expand
...
1
2
3
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 43 REFERENCES
Do All and Only Causes Raise the Probabilities of Effects
[Introduction] According to probabilistic theories of causation, causes raise the probabilities of their effects. Opponents of probabilistic theories of causation offer putative counterexamples. AExpand
Supervenience and Singular Causal Statements
In his recent book, Causation: A Realistic Approach , Michael Tooley discusses the following thesis, which he calls the ‘thesis of the Humean Supervenience of Causal Relations’: (T) The truth valuesExpand
A generalized probabilistic theory of causal relevance
I advance a new theory of causal relevance, according to which causal claims convey information about conditional probability functions. This theory is motivated by the problem of disjunctiveExpand
Did Darwin write the Origin backwards?
  • E. Sober
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2009
TLDR
It is argued that common ancestry has evidential priority, and it is raised the question of why Darwin puts natural selection first and foremost in the Origin. Expand
Two Concepts of Cause
  • E. Sober
  • Mathematics
  • PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
  • 1984
A distinction is drawn between property causation and token causation. According to the former, a positive causal factor in a population raises the probability of its effects within "backgroundExpand
The nature of selection
Abstract A model that unifies all types of selection (chemical, sociological, genetical, and every other kind of selection) may open the way to develop a general “Mathematical Theory of Selection”Expand
Independence, Invariance and the Causal Markov Condition
This essay explains what the Causal Markov Condition says and defends the condition from the many criticisms that have been launched against it. Although we are skeptical about some of theExpand
Manipulation and the Causes of Evolution
Evolutionary processes such as natural selection and random drift are commonly regarded as causes of population‐level change. We respond to a recent challenge that drift and selection are bestExpand
Biology and A Priori Laws
  • M. Elgin
  • Biology, Sociology
  • Philosophy of Science
  • 2003
TLDR
It is argued that the epistemic functions of a priori biological laws in biology are the same as those of empirical laws in physics, and the requirement that laws be empirical is idle in connection with how laws operate in science. Expand
The Multiple Realizability Argument against Reductionism
  • E. Sober
  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Science
  • 1999
Reductionism is often understood to include two theses: (1) every singular occurrence that the special sciences can explain also can be explained by physics; (2) every law in a higher-level scienceExpand
...
1
2
3
4
5
...