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W.F.R. Weldon Changes His Mind

Pence, Charles H. (2021) W.F.R. Weldon Changes His Mind. [Preprint]

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Abstract

A recent debate over the causal foundations of evolutionary theory pits those who believe that natural selection causally explains long-term, adaptive population change against those who do not. In this paper, I argue that this debate – far from being an invention of several articles in 2002 – dates from our very first engagements with evolution as a quantified, statistical science. Further, when we analyze that history, we see that a pivotal figure in the early use of statistical methodology in evolutionary theory, W.F.R. Weldon (1860–1906), changes his mind about precisely the central claim at issue. I close by drawing some morals which I think the case can offer for the contemporary debate going forward.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Pence, Charles H.charles@charlespence.net0000-0002-6836-6047
Keywords: evolutionary theory; natural selection; causation; statistics; W.F.R. Weldon
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Depositing User: Charles H. Pence
Date Deposited: 28 May 2021 01:43
Last Modified: 28 May 2021 01:43
Item ID: 19100
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Date: 25 May 2021
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19100

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