Book Review

Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 405-415

First online:

Okasha’s evolution and the levels of selection: toward a broader conception of theoretical biology

Oxford University Press, Oxford
  • Massimo PigliucciAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, City University of New York-Lehman College Email author 

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The debate about the levels of selection has been one of the most controversial both in evolutionary biology and in philosophy of science. Okasha’s book makes the sort of contribution that simply will not be able to be ignored by anyone interested in this field for many years to come. However, my interest here is in highlighting some examples of how Okasha goes about discussing his material to suggest that his book is part of an increasingly interesting trend that sees scientists and philosophers coming together to build a broadened concept of “theory” through a combination of standard mathematical treatments and conceptual analyses. Given the often contentious history of the relationship between philosophy and science, such trend cannot but be welcome.


Multi-level selection Theoretical biology Price equation Evolutionary theory