Causal Foundations of Evolutionary Genetics

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Otsuka, Jun
preprint description
The causal nature of evolution is one of the central topics in the philosophy of biology. It has been discussed whether equations used in evolutionary genetics point to some causal processes or are purely phenomenological patterns. To address this question the present paper builds well-defined causal models that underlie standard equations in evolutionary genetics. These models are based on minimal and biologically-plausible hypotheses about selection and reproduction, and generate statistics to predict evolutionary changes. The causal reconstruction of the evolutionary principles shows adaptive evolution as a genuine causal process, where fitness and selection are both causes of evolution.