Advertisement

Metascience

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 373–382 | Cite as

Reply to Dennett, Gardner and Rubin

Samir Okasha: Agents and Goals in Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, xiv+254 pp, £30.00 HB
  • Samir OkashaEmail author
Symposium

I am grateful to Daniel Dennett, Andy Gardner and Hannah Rubin for their careful reading of Agents and Goals in Evolution and welcome the opportunity to respond to their critiques. I will begin by briefly rehearsing some of the main themes in my book, focusing on points with which one or more of my interlocutors disagree.

Some core themes from Agents and Goals in Evolution

The main concern of my book is to analyse a mode of thinking in evolutionary biology that is quite common, and philosophically interesting. I call it “agential thinking,” a term due to Peter Godfrey-Smith. It is a way of doing evolutionary analysis that invokes the notion of agency, and kindred notions such as interests, goals and strategies.Agential thinking assumes a variety of forms, but in its paradigm case it involves treating an evolved organism as if it were a rational agent pursuing a goal, such as survival and reproduction, and treating its phenotypic traits, including its behaviour, as strategies for...

Notes

References

  1. Dennett, D. 1987. The Intentional Stance. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  2. Dennett, D. 2017. From Bacteria to Bach. London: WW Norton.Google Scholar
  3. Edwards, A.W.F. 2014. R. A. Fisher’s gene-centred view of evolution and the Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection. Biological Reviews 89: 135–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ewens, W.J. 2011. What is the gene trying to do? The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62: 155–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Okasha, S. 2008. Fisher’s fundamental theorem of natural selection: a philosophical analysis. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59: 319–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Parker, G.A., and J. Maynard Smith. 1990. Optimality theory in evolutionary biology. Nature 348: 27–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of BristolBristolUK

Personalised recommendations