PhilSci Archive

How to read “heritability” in the recipe approach to natural selection

Bourrat, Pierrick (2013) How to read “heritability” in the recipe approach to natural selection. [Preprint]


Download (655kB)


There are two ways evolution by natural selection (ENS) is conceptualized in the literature. One provides a ‘recipe’ for
ENS incorporating three ingredients: variation, differences in fitness and heritability. The other provides formal
equations of evolutionary change and partitions out selection from other causes of evolutionary changes such as
transmission biases or drift. When comparing the two approaches there seems to be a tension around the concept of
heritability. A recent claim has be made that the recipe approach is flawed and should be abandoned. In this paper I
show that the tension is only a superficial one. If one uses a concept of heritability strictly in line with the formal
equations of evolutionary change, the recipe approach keeps its validity and generality. To demonstrate that the intuitive
concept of heritability is not a general one, I use one formulation of the Price equation formulated by Okasha, show
that the concept of heritability in his formulation incorporates both the intuitive notion of heritability as a measure of
similarity between parent and offspring characters and a measure of persistence. I advocate that for persistence to be
incorporated in the concept of heritability used in recipes for ENS in the same way heredity is, show that this is readily
attainable and thereby dissolve any point of tension concerning heritability between the recipe and the analytical
approach to ENS.

Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Depositing User: Mr Pierrick Bourrat
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2013 12:08
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2013 12:08
Item ID: 10066
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Date: 2013

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item