Multilevel Selection and the Theory of Evolution

Historical and Conceptual Issues

  • Ciprian Jeler

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Ciprian Jeler
    Pages 1-9
  3. Historical Issues: Multilevel Selection and the Theory of Evolution During the Twentieth Century

  4. Conceptual Issues: Higher-level Causes, Fitnesses and Traits

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 149-151

About this book


This book puts multilevel selection theory into a much needed historical perspective. This is achieved by discussing multilevel selection in the first half of the twentieth century, the reasons for the energetic rejection of Wynne-Edwards’ group selectionist stance in the 1960s, Elisabeth Lloyd’s contribution to the units of selection debate, Price’s hierarchical equation and its possible interpretations and, finally, species selection in macroevolutionary contexts. Another idea also seems to emerge from these studies; namely, that perhaps a more sure-footed position for multilevel selection theory would be acquired if we were to show a renewed interest in 'old group selection', i.e. in scenarios in which the differential reproduction of the groups themselves affects the frequencies of either individual-level or group-level traits. This book will be of interest to philosophers and historians of biology, as well as to theoretically inclined biologists who have an interest in multilevel selection theory.


biology evolutionary theory natural selection group selection history of biology contextual analysis

Editors and affiliations

  • Ciprian Jeler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Interdisciplinary Research – Humanities and Social Sciences“Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of IaşiIaşiRomania

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Pivot, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-78676-6
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-78677-3
  • Buy this book on publisher's site