Cause and Effect in Biology Revisited: Is Mayr’s Proximate-Ultimate Dichotomy Still Useful?

  title={Cause and Effect in Biology Revisited: Is Mayr’s Proximate-Ultimate Dichotomy Still Useful?},
  author={Kevin N. Laland and Kim Sterelny and John C. Odling-Smee and William J. E. Hoppitt and Tobias Uller},
  pages={1512 - 1516}
Fifty years ago, Ernst Mayr published a hugely influential paper on the nature of causation in biology, in which he distinguished between proximate and ultimate causes. Mayr equated proximate causation with immediate factors (for example, physiology) and ultimate causation with evolutionary explanations (for example, natural selection). He argued that proximate and ultimate causes addressed different questions and were not alternatives. Mayr’s account of causation remains widely accepted today… 
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