Journal Article

Multi-Level Selection, Covariance and Contextual Analysis

Samir Okasha

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, issue 3, pages 481-504
Published in print September 2004 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online September 2004 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/55.3.481
Multi-Level Selection, Covariance and Contextual Analysis

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Two alternative statistical approaches to modelling multi-level selection in nature, both found in the contemporary biological literature, are contrasted. The simple covariance approach partitions the total selection differential on a phenotypic character into within-group and between-group components, and identifies the change due to group selection with the latter. The contextual approach partitions the total selection differential into different components, using multivariate regression analysis. The two approaches have different implications for the question of what constitutes group selection and what does not. I argue that the contextual approach is theoretically preferable. This has important implications for a number of issues in the philosophical debate about the levels of selection.

Introduction

Group selection and the covariance formulation of selection

The contextual approach

A modification of the simple covariance approach

Consequences: frameshifting and additivity

5.1 Frameshifting

5.2 Additivity

Conclusion

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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