Chapter

Natural Selection in the Abstract

Samir Okasha

in Evolution and the Levels of Selection

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780199267972
Published online January 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780191708275 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267972.003.0001
 Natural Selection in the Abstract

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This chapter studies the logic of evolution by natural selection and the origin of the levels of selection question. The abstract nature of the core Darwinian principles, and thus their potential applicability at multiple levels of the biological hierarchy, is emphasized. Price's equation — a key foundational result in evolutionary theory — is introduced and discussed, which teaches us that character-fitness covariance is the essence of natural selection. The relation between Price's equation and Lewontin's tripartite analysis of the conditions required for Darwinian evolution is briefly examined.

Keywords: Darwinian principles; hierarchical organization; Lewontin's conditions; Price's equation; character-fitness covariance; causality; heritability; random drift

Chapter.  11995 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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