Journal Article

The Confusions of Fitness

André Ariew and R. C. Lewontin

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, issue 2, pages 347-363
Published in print June 2004 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
The Confusions of Fitness

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The central point of this essay is to demonstrate the incommensurability of ‘Darwinian fitness’ with the numeric values associated with reproductive rates used in population genetics. While sometimes both are called ‘fitness’, they are distinct concepts coming from distinct explanatory schemes. Further, we try to outline a possible answer to the following question: from the natural properties of organisms and a knowledge of their environment, can we construct an algorithm for a particular kind of organismic life-history pattern that itself will allow us to predict whether a type in the population will increase or decrease relative to other types?


Darwinian fitness

Reproductive fitness and genetical models of evolution

The models of reproductive fitness

4.1 The Standard Viability Model

4.2 Frequency-dependent selection

4.3 Fertility models

4.4 Overlapping generations

Fitness as outcome

5.1 Fitness as actual increase in type

5.2 Fitness as expected increase in type

5.2.1 Expected increase within a generation

5.2.2 Expected increase between generations

5.2.3 Postponed reproductive fitness effects

The book-keeping problem


Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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