Is Organismic Fitness at the Basis of Evolutionary Theory?

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Pence, Charles H.; Ramsey, Grant
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conference paper description
Fitness is a central theoretical concept in evolutionary theory. Despite its importance, much debate has occurred over how to conceptualize and formalize fitness. One point of debate concerns the roles of organismic and trait fitness. In a recent addition to this debate, Elliott Sober argues that trait fitness is the central fitness concept, and that organismic fitness is of little value. In this paper, by contrast, we argue that it is organismic fitness that lies at the bases of both the conceptual role of fitness, as well as its role as a measure of evolutionary dynamics.