A non-newtonian newtonian model of evolution: The ZFEL view


Journal Article

Recently philosophers of biology have argued over whether or not Newtonian mechanics provides a useful analogy for thinking about evolutionary theory. For philosophers, the canonical presentation of this analogy is Sober's. Matthen and Ariew and Walsh, Lewins, and Ariew argue that this analogy is deeply wrong-headed. Here I argue that the analogy is indeed useful, however, not in the way it is usually interpreted. The Newtonian analogy depends on having the proper analogue of Newton's First Law. That analogue is what McShea and Brandon call the Zero Force Evolutionary Law (ZFEL). According to the ZFEL, change, not stasis, is the default state of evolutionary systems. Copyright 2010 by the Philosophy of Science Association. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Brandon, RN

Published Date

  • January 1, 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 77 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 702 - 715

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0031-8248

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1086/656901

Citation Source

  • Scopus