Journal Article

Is Sex Really Necessary? And Other Questions for Lewens

Mohan Matthen

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 54, issue 2, pages 297-308
Published in print June 2003 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2003 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/54.2.297
Is Sex Really Necessary? And Other Questions for Lewens

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It has been claimed that certain forms of individual essentialism render the Theory of Natural Selection unable to explain why any given individual has the traits it does. Here, three reasons are offered why the Theory ought to ignore these forms of essentialism. First, the trait‐distributions explained by population genetics supervene on individual‐level causal links, and thus selection must have individual‐level effects. Second, even if there are individuals that possess thick essences, they lie outside the domain of the Theory. Finally, the contingency of sexual reproduction suggests that essentialism is misguided in this arena.

1 The problem

2 A reprise of the controversy

3 Enter individual essences

4 How can selection not have individual‐level effects?

5 Why can't we get rid of essences we don't like?

6 Is sex necessary?

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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