PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Genealogy and Evolvability

Recent debates about evolvability have taken insufficient account of genealogy. In this paper, I show how evolvability is influenced by genealogical features, analyzing some experiments on the evolution of the Escherichia coli bacteria. The recognition of this influence broadens our understanding of evolvability and its explanatory roles, overcoming two limitations in recent debates. Firstly, such debates focus on developmental causes of evolvability but usually fail to grasp other causes. Secondly, lineages are thought of as phylogenetic manifestations of evolvability, but this characterization is incomplete. Lineages are crucial if we want to get the measure of evolvability right.

Author Information:

Celso Antonio Alves Neto    
Leibniz Universitat Hannover


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