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Four Pillars of Statisticalism

Walsh, Denis M. and Ariew, André and Matthen, Mohan (2017) Four Pillars of Statisticalism. Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology, 9 (1). ISSN 2475-3025

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Abstract

Over the past fifteen years there has been a considerable amount of debate concerning what theoretical population dynamic models tell us about the nature of natural selection and drift. On the causal interpretation, these models describe the causes of population change. On the statistical interpretation, the models of population dynamics models specify statistical parameters that explain, predict, and quantify changes in population structure, without identifying the causes of those changes. Selection and drift are part of a statistical description of population change; they are not discrete, apportionable causes. Our objective here is to provide a definitive statement of the statistical position, so as to allay some confusions in the current literature. We outline four commitments that are central to statisticalism. They are: 1. Natural Selection is a higher order effect; 2. Trait fitness is primitive; 3. Modern Synthesis (MS)-models are substrate neutral; 4. MS-selection and drift are model-relative.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Walsh, Denis M.denis.walsh@utoronto.ca
Ariew, Andréariewa@missouri.edu
Matthen, Mohanmohan.matthen@utoronto.ca
Keywords: causation, Darwinian model, fitness, modern synthesis model, slection
Depositing User: Nora Boyd
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2018 16:10
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2018 16:10
Item ID: 14522
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.3998/ptb.6959004.0009.001
Date: 2017
Volume: 9
Number: 1
ISSN: 2475-3025
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14522

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