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Is Organismic Fitness at the Basis of Evolutionary Theory?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


Fitness is a central theoretical concept in evolutionary theory. Despite its importance, much debate has occurred over how to conceptualize and formalize fitness. One point of debate concerns the roles of organismic and trait fitness. In a recent addition to this debate, Elliott Sober argues that trait fitness is the central fitness concept, and that organismic fitness is of little value. In this paper, by contrast, we argue 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.

Philosophy of Science , Volume 82 , Issue 5 , December 2015 , pp. 1081 - 1091
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Thanks to Elliott Sober and Carlos Mariscal for comments. Thanks also to audiences at the 2014 Philosophy of Science Association Meeting, the 2014 British Society for Philosophy of Science Meeting, and the Duke Philosophy of Biology Reading Group.


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