The Relation between Kin and Multi-level Selection: An Approach Using Causal Graphs

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Abstract

Kin selection and multilevel selection are alternative approaches for studying the evolution of social behaviour, the relation between which has long been a source of controversy. Many recent theorists regard the two approaches as ultimately equivalent, on the grounds that gene frequency change can be correctly expressed using either. However, this shows only that the two are formally equivalent, not that they offer equally good causal representations of the evolutionary process. This article articulates the notion of an ‘adequate causal representation’ using causal graphs, and then seeks to identify circumstances under which kin and multilevel selection do and do not satisfy the test of causal adequacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-470
Number of pages36
JournalBritish Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Volume67
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jan 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

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