Evolution and the Levels of Selection

Paperback | December 1, 2008

bySamir Okasha

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Does natural selection act primarily on individual organisms, on groups, on genes, or on whole species? Samir Okasha provides a comprehensive analysis of the debate in evolutionary biology over the levels of selection, focusing on conceptual, philosophical and foundational questions. Asystematic framework is developed for thinking about natural selection acting at multiple levels of the biological hierarchy; the framework is then used to help resolve outstanding issues. Considerable attention is paid to the concept of causality as it relates to the levels of selection, inparticular the idea that natural selection at one hierarchical level can have effects that 'filter' up or down to other levels. Unlike previous work in this area by philosophers of science, full account is taken of the recent biological literature on 'major evolutionary transitions' and the recentresurgence of interest in multi-level selection theory among biologists. Other biological topics discussed include Price's equation, kin and group selection, the gene's eye view, evolutionary game theory, outlaws and selfish genetic elements, species and clade selection, and the evolution ofindividuality. Philosophical topics discussed include reductionism and holism, causation and correlation, the nature of hierarchical organization, and realism and pluralism.

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Does natural selection act primarily on individual organisms, on groups, on genes, or on whole species? Samir Okasha provides a comprehensive analysis of the debate in evolutionary biology over the levels of selection, focusing on conceptual, philosophical and foundational questions. Asystematic framework is developed for thinking abou...

Samir Okasha is Professor of Philosophy at Bristol University. Before that he taught at the University of York for 3 years, and was a Jacobsen Research Fellow at the London School of Economics for 2 years. He was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Univeristy of Mexico for 1 year and received his doctorate in 1998 from the ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.63 inPublished:December 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199556717

ISBN - 13:9780199556717

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Natural Selection in the Abstract2. Selection at Multiple Levels: Concepts and Methods3. Causality and Multi-level Selection4. Philosophical Issues in the Levels of Selection Debate5. The Gene's Eye View and its Discontents6. The Group Selection Controversy7. Species Selection, Clade Selection and Macroevolution8. Levels of Selection and the Major Evolutionary Transitions

Editorial Reviews

`Review from previous edition Okasha has written an extremely important book. . . . required reading for anyone working on the levels of selection question. 'Jonathan Michael Kaplan, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews