Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 639–657

Assessing the fitness landscape revolution


DOI: 10.1007/s10539-008-9127-9

Cite this article as:
Calcott, B. Biol Philos (2008) 23: 639. doi:10.1007/s10539-008-9127-9


According to Pigliucci and Kaplan, there is a revolution underway in how we understand fitness landscapes. Recent models suggest that a perennial problem in these landscapes—how to get from one peak across a fitness valley to another peak—is, in fact, non-existent. In this paper I assess the structure and the extent of Pigliucci and Kaplan’s proposed revolution and argue for two points. First, I provide an alternative interpretation of what underwrites this revolution, motivated by some recent work on model-based science. Second, I show that the implications of this revolution need to carefully assessed depending on question being asked, for peak-shifting is not central to all evolutionary questions that fitness landscapes have been used to explore.


MorphospaceEvo-devoSpeciationFitness landscapesModelsNeutral change

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Program, RSSSAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Macroevolution and MacroecologyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia