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Evolvability as a Disposition: Philosophical Distinctions, Scientific Implications

Brigandt, Ingo and Villegas, Cristina and Love, Alan C. and Nuño de la Rosa, Laura (2022) Evolvability as a Disposition: Philosophical Distinctions, Scientific Implications. [Preprint]

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Abstract

A disposition or dispositional property is a capacity, ability, or potential to exhibit some outcome. Evolvability refers to a disposition to evolve. This chapter discusses why the dispositional nature of evolvability matters—why philosophical distinctions about dispositions can have scientific implications. To that end, we build a conceptual toolkit with vocabulary from prior philosophical analyses using a different disposition (protein foldability) and then apply this toolkit to address several methodological questions related to evolvability. What entities are the bearers of evolvability? What features causally contribute to the disposition of evolvability? How does evolvability manifest? The various possible answers to these questions available from philosophical distinctions suggest implications for why the concept of evolvability as a disposition is useful in evolutionary research. These include (1) securing scientific virtues (e.g., explanatory depth and generalization, prediction or retrodiction, and control or manipulation) and (2) fostering interdisciplinary collaboration through the coordination of definitional diversity and different types of inquiry. Together these implications facilitate concentration on a variety of research questions at different levels of organization and on distinct timescales, all of which should be expected for a complex dispositional property such as evolvability.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Brigandt, Ingobrigandt@ualberta.ca0000-0003-0283-1337
Villegas, Cristinacrvilleg@ucm.es0000-0002-6402-5288
Love, Alan C.aclove@umn.edu
Nuño de la Rosa, Lauralauranun@ucm.es0000-0003-0513-0077
Additional Information: To appear in: Evolvability. T. Hansen, D. Houle, M. Pavličev, and C. Pélabon (eds), Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA
Keywords: evolvability, dispositions, philosophical toolkit, intrinsicality, contributors to evolvability
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Depositing User: Ingo Brigandt
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2022 02:22
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2022 02:22
Item ID: 20180
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
Date: 31 January 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20180

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