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The Role of Analogy in Adaptive Explanation

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thesis
posted on 10.11.2021, 19:59 authored by Currie, Adrian Mitchell

Cases of 'convergence' (traits which have independently evolved in two or more lineages) could play an important role in the construction and corroboration of adaptive hypotheses. In particular, they could inform us about the evolutionary histories of novel traits. However, there is a problem of causal depth in the use of analogies. Natural Selection's affect on phenotype is constrained by phylogenetic history to a degree that we are unfounded in projecting adaptive stories from one lineage to another. I will argue for two approaches to resolve this issue. First, by constraining our catchment area to closely related lineages we can control for developmental noise. Second, by integrating analogies into explanations which incorporate other streams of evidence or bootstrapping an analogous model across many instantiations, we can overcome the problem of causal depth.

History

Copyright Date

01/01/2010

Date of Award

01/01/2010

Publisher

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Philosophy

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level

Masters

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis

Language

en_NZ

Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations

Advisors

Sterelny, Kim; Jeffares, Ben