Lezing Grant Ramsey: Can fitness differences cause evolution?

September 2010

16/9/2010: Lezing Grant Ramsey: Can fitness differences cause evolution?

Op 16 september zal de Amerikaanse filosoof Grant Ramsey (University of Notre Dame) een lezing houden aan de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
De lezing is getiteld 'Can fitness differences cause evolution?', en gaat door om 16 uur in de Salons van het Hoger Instituut Wijsbegeerte, Kardinaal Mercierplein 2, 3000 Leuven.
Deelname is gratis, maar vooraf inschrijven is verplicht. U kunt zich inschrijven door contact op te nemen met Prof. Dr. Andreas De Block: Andreas.DeBlock[AT]
Can Fitness Differences be a Cause of Evolution?
The fitness debates in the philosophy of biology have taken a surprising path. The propensity interpretation of fitness (PIF), which seemed so promising at its introduction, has been under attack for the past thirty years. Alternative views quite distinct and quite radical are now being taken seriously, such as the position advanced by Mohan Matthen, Andre Ariew, Dennis Walsh and others, that natural selection is not a causal process. Such claims should not be taken lightly. In fact, I argue here that we should pause and reexamine two central assumptions that have formed the trajectory of the fitness debates: (1) the fitness of a trait is both the average fitness of individuals bearing the trait and a predictor of trait dynamics, and (2) if fitness is a propensity, this propensity should be understood as a mathematical expectation. Each of these assumptions is false and I will show why in this paper. More importantly, I will show how the falsity of these assumptions undercuts the critiques that have been made against the PIF. With these critiques out of the way, the PIF should be reconsidered.