The Arrival of the Fittest What?
Biologists and philosophers of biology usually use the phrase “the arrival of the fittest” in the context of discussions on the following question: does natural selection only explain why some organismal traits (i.e., adaptations) are preserved and spread while other traits are not, or does it explain their origin too? In these discussions, the mechanism of natural selection is often compared to a sieve through which some organism or trait types pass while others do not. In the present paper, I shall raise two worries with respect to this analogy and attempt to show that using the analogy does more harm than good when one wants to know what reference to natural selection can explain.
KeywordsNatural Selection Existence Problem Evolutionary Novelty Trait Type False Dichotomy
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