Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 1–32 | Cite as

Major and minor groups in evolution

  • Peter GildenhuysEmail author


Kerr and Godfrey-Smith argue that two mathematically equivalent, alternative formal representations drawn from population genetics, the contextualist and collectivist formalisms, may be equally good for quantifying the dynamics of some natural systems, despite important differences between the formalisms. I draw on constraints on causal representation from Woodward (Making things happen, Oxford University Press, New York, 2003) and Eberhardt and Scheines (Philos Sci 74(5):981–995, 2006) to argue that one or the other formalism will be superior for arbitrary natural systems in which individuals form different types of groups.


Evolutionary theory Population genetics Group selection Genic pluralism Multilevel selection 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lafayette CollegeEastonUSA

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