Facts, Conventions, and the Levels of Selection


Debates concerning the units and levels of selection have persisted for over fifty years. One major question in this literature is whether units and levels of selection are genuine, in the sense that they are objective features of the world, or merely reflect the interests and goals of an observer. Scientists and philosophers have proposed a range of answers to this question. This Element introduces this literature and proposes a novel contribution. It defends a realist stance and offers a way of delineating genuine levels of selection by invoking the notion of a functional unit.

Cambridge University Press
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.