Adaptationism and Optimality

A collection of new articles on natural selection and its role in organic evolution

Steven Orzack and Elliott Sober, editors
Cambridge University Press, 2001

We believe that developments over the last fifteen years or so in phylogenetic analysis, in our theoretical understanding of optimality and ESS models, in methods of testing models, as well as the dramatic increases in numbers of models and in tests of models, all have significantly increased our understanding of adaptationism and optimality. Yet many old and new questions remain unanswered. For these reasons, we have produced this integrated collection of the variety of views about these central issues in evolutionary biology. This book will be of interest to biologists "in the trenches" and to philosophers of biology who confront issues about adaptationism and optimality in their work.


David Baum and Mike Donoghue, A Likelihood Framework for the Phylogenetic Analysis of Adaptation

How distinct approaches to the historical study of adaptation can be unified
and how such a unification can contribute to a test of adaptationism.


Steven Orzack and Elliott Sober, Adaptation, Phylogenetic Inertia, and the Method of Controlled Comparisons

How phylogenetic inertia and natural selection relate to one another
and how adaptive and inertial hypotheses should be tested.


H. Kern Reeve and Paul Sherman, Optimality and Phylogeny: A Critique of Current Thought

How phylogenetic analyses relate to the debate
over adaptationism and optimality.


Joel Brown, Fit of Form and Function, Diversity of Life, and Procession of Life as an Evolutionary Game

How game theory can supply a complete picture of evolution.
The strong adaptationist view of evolution.


Ilan Eshel and Marc Feldman, Optimality and Evolutionary Stability under Short-term and Long-term Evolution

How two types of population dynamic contribute to the debate
over the validity of adaptationism.


Allen Herre, Stuart West, and Carlos Machado, Selective Regime and Fig Wasp Sex Ratios: Towards Sorting Rigor from Pseudo-Rigor in Tests of Adaptation

How tests of specific optimality models relate to
the debate over adaptationism.


George Gilchrist and Joel Kingsolver, Is Optimality Over the Hill? The Fitness Landscapes of Idealized Organisms

How analyses of fitness landscapes can contribute to the
debate over the validity of adaptationism.


Ken Halama and Dave Reznick, Adaptation, Optimality, and the Meaning of Phenotypic Variation in Natural Populations

How variation among individuals relates to the debate
over adaptationism and optimality.


Peter Abrams, Adaptationism, Optimality Models, and Tests of Adaptive Scenarios

How the roles of adaptationism and of optimality models have been overstated
and misunderstood by both proponents and opponents of these approaches.


Ron Amundson, Adaptation and Development: On the Lack of Common Ground

How two approaches to the problem of integrating the study of adaptation
and the study of developmental biology relate to one another


Peter Godfrey-Smith, Three Kinds of Adaptationism

How three different forms of adaptationism correspond to
three views of the roles of adaptation and selection in nature.


Egbert Leigh, Jr., Adaptation, Adaptationism, and Optimality

How the development and testing of optimality models relates
to assessing the validity of adaptationism