PhilSci Archive

The Price Equation and the Causal Analysis of Evolutionary Change

Okasha, Samir and Otsuka, Jun (2020) The Price Equation and the Causal Analysis of Evolutionary Change. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 375. p. 20190365. ISSN 0962-8436

[img]
Preview
Text
The_Price_equation_and_the_causal_analysis_of_evolutionary_change.pdf

Download (331kB) | Preview

Abstract

Though the Price equation in itself is simply a statistical identity, biologists have often adopted a "causal interpretation'' of the equation, in the sense that its component terms have been supposed to correspond to distinct causal processes in evolution, such as natural selection and transmission bias. In this paper we bring the issue of causal interpretation to the fore, by studying the conditions under which it is legitimate to read causal meaning into the Price equation. We argue that only if substantive assumptions about causal structure are made, which can be represented in the form of a causal model, can the component terms of the Price equation be interpreted as causally meaningful. We conclude with a reflection on the epistemic uses of the Price equation, emphasizing the difference between the description, explanation and prediction of evolutionary change.


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

Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Okasha, SamirSamir.Okasha@bristol.ac.uk
Otsuka, Junjunotk@gmail.com
Keywords: evolution, Price equation, causality
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Causation
Depositing User: Dr Samir Okasha
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2022 12:18
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2022 12:18
Item ID: 20872
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Publisher: Royal Society
Official URL: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.109...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0365
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Causation
Date: 9 March 2020
Page Range: p. 20190365
Volume: 375
ISSN: 0962-8436
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20872

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Altmetric.com

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item