A Pricean formalization of Gaia


The compatibility of the Gaia hypothesis with Darwinism is often challenged on the grounds that 1) to be potent, natural selection requires the existence of a population (whereas Gaia is a single entity), and 2) natural selection requires the entities forming a population to reproduce (while Gaia merely persists). However, using the Price equation, I argue, following others, that the Gaia hypothesis can fit squarely within a Darwinian framework because Gaia can exhibit adaptations if a process at a lower level (e.g., an ecosystem) can occur, and the notion of natural selection can be extended to accommodate evolution without reproduction.

Philosophy of Science, 90(3), pp. 704-720.
Pierrick Bourrat
Pierrick Bourrat
Senior Lecturer & DECRA Fellow

My research interests include the various concepts deployed in evolutionary theory, causation, and the interplay between biological and cultural evolution.