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Realism, Conventionalism, and Causal Decomposition in Units of Selection: Reflections on Samir Okasha’s Evolution and the Levels of Selection

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Abstract

I discuss two subjects in Samir Okasha’s excellent book, Evolution and the Levels of Selection. In consonance with Okasha’s critique of the conventionalist view of the units of selection problem, I argue that conventionalists have not attended to what realists mean by group, individual, and genic selection. In connection with Okasha’s discussion of the Price equation and contextual analysis, I discuss whether the existence of these two quantitative frameworks is a challenge to realism.

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