The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness

@article{Mills1979ThePI,
  title={The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness},
  author={Susan K. Mills and John H. Beatty},
  journal={Philosophy of Science},
  year={1979},
  volume={46},
  pages={263 - 286}
}
The concept of "fitness" is a notion of central importance to evolutionary theory. Yet the interpretation of this concept and its role in explanations of evolutionary phenomena have remained obscure. We provide a propensity interpretation of fitness, which we argue captures the intended reference of this term as it is used by evolutionary theorists. Using the propensity interpretation of fitness, we provide a Hempelian reconstruction of explanations of evolutionary phenomena, and we show why… 

A Defense of Propensity Interpretations of Fitness

We offer a systematic examination of propensity interpretations of fitness, which emphasizes the role that fitness plays in evolutionary theory and takes seriously the probabilistic character of

The Propensity Interpretation of Fitness and the Propensity Interpretation of Probability

The claim that fitness is a propensity cannot be understood properly: fitness is not a propensity in the sense prescribed by the propensity interpretations of probability, and this interpretation of probability is inessential for explanations proposed by the PIF in evolutionary biology.

On the Adaptations of Organisms and the Fitness of Types

We claim that much of the confusion associated with the "tautology problem" about survival of the fittest is due to the mistake of attributing fitness to individuals instead of to types. We argue

The Unity of Fitness

It is argued that comparative fitness must be relativized to an evolutionary effect; thus, fitness can be given a unitary mathematical characterization in terms of probabilities of producing offspring and other effects.

A Structural Description of Evolutionary Theory

  • R. Brandon
  • Philosophy
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
  • 1980
The principle of natural selection is stated. It connects fitness values (actual reproductive success) with expected fitness values. The term 'adaptedness' is used for expected fitness values. The

" Adaptation " 1

In this chapter, I examine three concepts of adaptedness and adaptation found in Darwin and two additional concepts of " Darwinian fitness " employed in current population biology and evolutionary

Fitness and Explanation

  • Gregory J. Cooper
  • Philosophy
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
  • 1988
Although consensus appears to be on the horizon, the foundations of the theory of natural selection remain a matter of controversy. This paper looks at two recent challenges to the emerging "received

Missing concepts in natural selection theory reconstructions

The goal of this paper is to give an explication of the concept of ecological fitness by providing a reconstruction of the theory of natural selection in which this concept was framed, that is, based on the way the theory was put to use in Darwin's main texts.

Fitness: Philosophical Problems

This work focuses on the relationship between fitness values and reproductive outcomes in the context of an influential definition of fitness proposed in the late 1970s: the propensity interpretation.

Is Organismic Fitness at the Basis of Evolutionary Theory?

It is argued that it is organismic fitness that lies at the bases of both the conceptual role of fitness and its role as a measure of evolutionary dynamics.
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 46 REFERENCES

The genetical evolution of social behaviour. I.

Explanation and prediction in evolutionary theory.

The thesis of this article is that scientific explanation is perfectly possible in the irregular subjects even when prediction is precluded, and that the impossibility of a Newtonian revolution in the social sciences is not fatal to their status as sciences.

Deducing the consequences of evolution: a mathematical model.

A GENERAL THEORY OF CLUTCH SIZE

  • M. Cody
  • Biology
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 1966
This paper is an attempt to show that this and other existing hypotheses when taken singly are inadequate in some respect to account for all the data, that each holds for some particular set of con- ditions, and that each is but a part of the complete explanation.

Falsifiable Predictions of Evolutionary Theory

Many philosophers have asserted that evolutionary theory is unfalsifiable. In this paper I refute these assertions by detailing some falsifiable predictions of the theory and the evidence used to

IS THERE A CONSTANT FITNESS VALUE FOR A GIVEN GENOTYPE? NO!

  • K. Kojima
  • Biology
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 1971
The purpose of this paper is to call to the attention of population and evolutionary geneticists that most constant fitness models do not hold true in estimating fitness values in a set proportion of genotypes and in predicting population behavior with respect to the future genetic structure of a given population.

The Logical Structure of Functional Explanations in Biology

  • Mary B. Williams
  • Philosophy
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
  • 1976
This paper: (1) gives a schema of the logical structure of functional explanation in biology; (2) shows that it falls under the covering law model of explanation by proving that the explanandum

The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

The paper sets out a primitive ontology of the natural world in terms of primitive stuff, that is, stuff that has as such no physical properties at all, but that is not a bare substratum either,

Probabilities: Reasonable or True?

Hempel's high probability requirement asserts that any rationally acceptable answer to the question 'Why did event X occur?' must offer information which shows that X was to be expected at least with

Selection in the polymorphic land snail Cepæa nemoralis

An investigation into the problem of the relative importance of selection and drift in determining the distribution of different colour and banding patterns in C. nemoralis finds that they have definite selective values, related to the environment, determining the general aspect of different populations and therefore of their gene ratios.