, Volume 179, Issue 3, pp 455–477

Replication without replicators


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-009-9702-x

Cite this article as:
Nanay, B. Synthese (2011) 179: 455. doi:10.1007/s11229-009-9702-x


According to a once influential view of selection, it consists of repeated cycles of replication and interaction. It has been argued that this view is wrong: replication is not necessary for evolution by natural selection. I analyze the nine most influential arguments for this claim and defend the replication–interaction conception of selection against these objections. In order to do so, however, the replication–interaction conception of selection needs to be modified significantly. My proposal is that replication is not the copying of an entity, the replicator, but the copying of a property. Thus, we can have a replication process without there being a replicator that is being copied.


Selection Replication Interaction Properties Entities Microbial evolution Clonal evolution 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Syracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA