What Is Drift? A Response to Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich

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Philosophy and Theory in Biology, ISSN: 1949-0739, Vol: 2, Issue: 20170609, Page: 1-6

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Matthen, Mohan
University of Michigan Library; Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library
article description
The statistical interpretation of the Theory of Natural Selection claims that natural selection and drift are statistical features of mathematical aggregates of individual-level events. Natural selection and drift are not themselves causes. The statistical interpretation is motivated by a metaphysical conception of individual priority. Recently, Millstein, Skipper, and Dietrich (2009) have argued (a) that natural selection and drift are physical processes, and (b) that the statistical interpretation rests on a misconception of the role of mathematics in biology. Both theses are contested.