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Carving Nature at Its JointsNatural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science$
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Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015936

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015936.001.0001

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Predicting Populations by Modeling Individuals

Predicting Populations by Modeling Individuals

(p.231) 11 Predicting Populations by Modeling Individuals
Carving Nature at Its Joints

Bruce Glymour

The MIT Press

This chapter focuses on the concept of evolutionary theory (ET), which is defined here as a theory about how frequencies of types change in populations and how this change is related to natural selection. Despite their differences, the dynamic and statistical interpretations of ET share a common understanding of the theory. Both interpretations regard ET as a population-level theory in that it explains properties of populations by appeal to other properties of populations, and the dependencies between these properties are more or less constant over different populations. Each interpretation differs essentially only in its understanding of the fitness parameter and its putative causal role. It is argued in this chapter that any interpretation of ET on which it is a general theory, applicable to any biological population, will have to abstract from the particulars, by which survival and reproductive success are generated.

Keywords:   evolutionary theory, ET, natural selection, population-level theory, fitness parameter, survival, reproductive success

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