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

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Non-Selectionist Explanations of Major Transitions

Potential conflicts of interests arise between different levels of biological organization. In this paper, I argue that selectionist explanations cannot possibly give a full explanation of an evolutionary transition from one level of organization to another. I also show that despite the fact that selection cannot drive an evolutionary system from one level to another, there is another very general diversification process described by the Zero Force Evolutionary Law that makes certain evolutionary transitions more likely. I therefore conclude that at least for some evolutionary transitions, the outlines of a general theory can be traced.

Author Information:

Robert Brandon    
Philosophy and Biology
Duke University


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